How To Power Pump – Power Pumping to Increase Milk Supply!

how to power pump to increase breast milk supply.

If you’ve ever worried about your breast milk supply, then you need to know how to power pump! But what is power pumping? And does power pumping work? 

And most importantly, how do you power pump? 

All the answers are right here, so keep reading – we’ve got you covered! 

How to power pump to increase breast milk supply.


What is power pumping?

Power pumping is a way to increase your breast milk supply by mimicking cluster feeding with a breast pump. It should be used as a supplemental boost to what you’re already doing – whether that’s breastfeeding or pumping. 

Cluster feeding is when your baby feeds frequently, and it generally occurs in the evenings. When cluster feeding, babies might want to eat just a few minutes after the last feeding. It seems exhausting, but it has a purpose! It helps you to increase your breast milk supply. 

So when you wonder what power pumping is, just think of it as a cluster feeding – but with a breast pump! It helps your body produce more breast milk. 

When you breastfeed, your milk supply is dependent on demand. So the more your baby eats, the more milk you will produce. Power pumping is a way to tell your body that there’s more demand. So your body will respond by increasing your milk supply. 

Power Pumping Tips

If you want to try power pumping to increase your breast milk supply, try following these tips along the way: 

  • Take care of yourself! Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids, eating healthy and getting enough rest. These things will help ensure you are in the best place to produce a good milk supply. 
  • Relax. Studies show that relaxing can help with milk release and baby weight gain. Try taking some deep breaths, and relaxing your body before you pump. 
  • Cluster feed instead. If possible, it’s better to cluster feed your baby. If your baby wants to eat for an extended amount of time, or wants to eat soon after finishing – let them! If you can get your baby to cluster feed, they’ll be MUCH more efficient than a breast pump. 
  • Pump after your milk stops flowing. When power pumping, it’s important to remember that stimulation helps increase milk supply – whether or not milk is coming out. So even after you see the milk stop flowing, pumping can help increase your supply. The stimulation is what tells your body to make more milk. 
  • Hand express after power pumping. One fantastic study showed that women who hand express after pumping produce 48% more milk! Try hand expression after your power pumping session to increase your milk supply. 
  • Use power pumping as a boost, not a replacement. If you want to increase your breast milk supply with power pumping, make sure to use it as a supplement to what you’re already doing. In other words, make sure to continue breastfeeding or pumping as often as you normally would – power pumping is just a boost on top of that. 
  • Get creative with your power pumping routine. When power pumping, instead of following the clock try watching an hour-long TV show and pump during the commercials. Or listen to some music, and pump for 2 songs then rest for 2 songs. It may help the time pass faster. 

How to Power Pump

There are really no set guidelines on how to power pump. Power pumping just means taking a few days to pump on top of your normal pumping or breastfeeding routine. There are many different options you may have, depending on which breast pump you own. Here is how to power pump depending on the breast pump you use. 

Power Pumping with a Double Electric Breast Pump

If you’re wondering how to power pump, the best way is with a double electric breast pump. One study showed that pumping both breasts at the same time (as opposed to one at a time) resulted in more milk release. 

Here’s how to power pump with a double electric breast pump: 

  • Pump for 20 minutes. 
  • Take a 10-minute break. 
  • Pump for 10 minutes. 
  • Take a 10-minute break. 
  • Pump for 10 minutes. 

Typically, power pumping should take an hour with this technique. This is the breast pump I use when power pumping – it’s my favorite and has lasted me a long time. It’s small but convenient to take on-the-go and has a very powerful motor.


Power Pumping with a Single Electric Breast Pump

Not everyone has a double electric breast pump, so you may need to know how to pump with a single electric breast pump. 

To pump with a single electric breast pump: 

  • Pump the right breast for 10 minutes. 
  • Pump the left breast for 10 minutes. 
  • Pump the right breast for 10 minutes. 
  • Pump the left breast for 10 minutes. 
  • Pump the right breast for 10 minutes. 
  • Pump the left breast for 10 minutes. 

This technique also takes an hour, but instead of taking a complete break you only rest one breast at a time. One breast is being pumped the whole time you power pump with a single electric breast pump. 

This breast pump is probably the best as far as single electric breast pumps go (but I’d still recommend a double electric breast pump). Single electric breast pumps don’t work as well as double electric breast pumps… but they are less expensive. The good news is you can use your HSA to purchase this one:


Power Pumping with a Hand-Held (Manual) Breast Pump

If you don’t own an electric breast pump, that’s okay. Here’s how to power pump with a hand-held (or manual) breast pump: 

  • Pump one side for 8 minutes. 
  • Pump the other side for 8 minutes. 
  • Pump the first side for 5 minutes. 
  • Pump the other side for 5 minutes. 
  • Pump the first side for 5 minutes. 
  • Pump the other side for 5 minutes. 

Power pumping with a held-help pump can be exhausting. That’s why this technique doesn’t go for the whole hour – your hands will probably need to rest! If you only have a manual pump, you may have to power pump a few times per day to see results. 

For the most cost effective solution, use a hand-held breast pump! This is ideal for the mom that wants to save some money, and only pump every once in a while. I actually use my hand-held breast pump often; this is the one I use.


When to Power Pump

You should only power pump if you need to increase your breast milk supply. Many moms worry about their breast milk supply when they are actually producing enough. 

The best way to determine if you have a low milk supply is by your baby’s weight gain. Your pediatrician should be monitoring your baby’s weight gain at each appointment. 

Additionally, in the first 6 weeks if your baby has 4 or more poopy diapers per day, then your supply is fine! After the first 6 weeks, some baby’s poop habits change. But usually, your milk supply has developed during that time. 

Only power pump to increase your breast milk supply if you really need to. 


Because oversupply isn’t a good thing. I’m serious… 

Oversupply can cause painful engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis, foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and make it harder for your baby to latch. 

So to answer the question of when to power pump – only if you are undersupplied and need a little boost. 

When NOT to Power Pump

You shouldn’t power pump if: 

  • Your body keeps up with what your baby eats. 
  • You suffer from engorgement or clogged ducts. 
  • Your baby naturally cluster feeds in the evenings. 
  • Your baby is gaining weight and pooping enough. 
  • You have a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. 

If you’re trying to build a breast milk stash, consider buying a haakaa. Instead of increasing your breast milk supply so much that you become oversupplied, a haakaa will “catch” the breast milk from the opposite breast you’re feeding on. You can simply attach it to your opposite breast while you’re feeding and let the milk drain into it. Many moms are successful in building a stash with a haakaa – without risking oversupply and engorgement. 

Oh and one more thing… 

Pumping after feeding doesn’t accurately show your milk supply! Some moms try to pump after feeding their baby only to not have any milk come out. 

But that doesn’t mean there’s no milk in your breasts! 

Babies are so much more efficient than breast pumps that trying to determine your supply from pumping isn’t really accurate. So just because you don’t have much milk come out when pumping doesn’t necessarily mean you have a low milk supply and need to power pump. 

Does power pumping work?

Does power pumping work?

Yes, power pumping works. It’s based on supply and demand – which is why it’s recommended by many lactation consultants to increase breast milk supply. But women will vary with the results they see because, well, everyone is different! 

Some moms find they only need to power pump once per day and their milk supply increases. Other moms might need to try power pumping a few times per day to see results. 

That’s why it’s important to learn how to power pump for your body! The way you power pump might be different than another mom. 

Also, some moms notice an increase in their milk supply after just one or two days of power pumping. Others need to power pump for a week to see their milk supply increase. You’ll have to try out different things to figure out how power pumping works for you. 

But if power pumping just doesn’t seem to be working… 

Make sure you check your breast pump! Use the right size flange and ensure the tubing is intact. Also, the internal part of the pump (usually a small flap or a “duckbill” valve) needs to suction closed. Sometimes the valves don’t suction together and then they aren’t effective at milk removal. 

The good news is that valves are easily replaced! Here are some replacement valves for Medela and Spectra pumps: 

Make sure your breasts are moving within the pump flange when the suction comes on. If your breasts aren’t moving, that’s a sign there’s something wrong with your breast pump. 

And remember, if everything on the pump is working well, but you don’t see milk coming out that’s okay! The stimulation is still helping you increase your milk supply so keep pumping. 

Power Pumping to Increase Milk Supply

Other things that may affect your milk supply are when your period return, pregnancy, or other hormonal changes. Some moms notice a small dip in their milk supply during that time of the month, but it comes back afterwards. 

Power pumping, eating galactagogues, getting rest, and taking care of yourself are all ways to help increase your milk supply. Feeding your baby is the best though. And even if you do all these things, but don’t stimulate your breasts enough – your milk supply will be affected. Supply and demand is the most important thing! That’s why power pumping to increase milk supply is so effective. 

Power Pumping Results

So what can you expect as far as power pumping results? Well, that depends on the mommy. 

Generally, moms tend to produce more breast milk with subsequent children. So perhaps power pumping will be more effective for you if you’re on your second or third child. 

But some moms are oversupplied or extra sensitive to stimulation with their first child. There’s really no perfect answer for what to expect with power pumping results. 

My best advice is to start out once per day and do it for at least 2-3 days. If you don’t notice an increase in your supply, try power pumping 2 times per day and finish out the week. After that, you should have a good idea of how much power pumping you need to do to get results. 

Also, your milk supply will take a few days to catch up. 

Some moms notice their milk supply increase in as little as 2 days… but that’s rare! It usually takes 3-4 days to really notice a difference. Everyone is different! 

Be patient, and you’ll figure out what works best for you. 

How to power pump with a single or hand held breast pump.

Common Questions for Power Pumping

What breast pump should I use for power pumping?

The best breast pump to use for power pumping is a double electric breast pump. Hospital-grade breast pumps are the best, but insurance-provided double breast pumps work well too. 

If you have a single breast pump or a hand-held pump then don’t worry! You can still power pump, just follow the guidelines above. 

How often should I power pump? 

That depends on you, mama! Some moms do the best power pumping every day for an hour. Other moms just power pump for a day or two when they notice a dip in their milk supply. And some pump twice a day for a week. Everyone is different, and milk supply differs from person to person. 

Just start off with once per day, and if you feel you need to power pump more, then by all means do! With time and experience, you’ll figure out how much power pumping you need to do to increase your breast milk supply. 

How long should I power pump? 

You should probably power pump for at least 2 days in a row (1-2x per day). Since it usually takes 2-4 days for your breast milk supply to increase, you’ll start to see the results around then. Some moms find that they feel the best after power pumping for a week. 

Each power pumping session should take an hour unless you use a hand-held pump. 

What time of day should I power pump? 

Power pumping can happen anytime during the day, so if you can only get it in during the morning that’s perfectly fine! But the best time to power pump is probably evening time. Milk supply decreases more during the evening, and it’s a very common time for babies to cluster feed. 

Since power pumping is mimicking cluster feeding, the evening is probably the optimal time to power pump. 

How to Power Pump: To Sum It Up 

Learning how to power pump really depends on you listening to your body and following the guidelines listed above. When you power pump for a few days, you’ll start to see how your body responds. Then you’ll know if you should add or decrease the number of power pumping sessions per day.

Kealy Hawk lactation consultant
Kealy Hawk, BSN, RN, CLC

Kealy is a Registered Nurse, Lactation Counselor, and most importantly a mommy! Her own baby feeding struggles gave her a passion to help moms throughout their feeding journey. She specializes in breastfeeding support and evidence-based formula recommendations. To talk with Kealy or take one of her breastfeeding or formula classes, visit

If you liked this article, check out these others:

When Should My Breast Milk Come In?

Is it Safe to Have a Glass of Wine While Breastfeeding?

Helpful Tips for Breastfeeding with Flat or Inverted Nipples

Power pumping to increase breast milk supply.
Power pumping to increase breast milk supply
how to power pump with a mechanical pump and hand pump

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