Storage capacity

What is breast storage capacity?

Storage capacity is the ability of the breast to store milk between feeds. Mothers with a lot of capacity can go longer between feeds without feeling full, having a decrease in milk supply, or developing other breastfeeding problems. They generally express more milk. Babies of mothers with a large capacity may struggle to breastfeed because of the large amount of milk available.

A) Describing storage capacity

Storage capacity is the breast’s ability to store milk between feeds (Daly 1993; Kent 1999; Peaker 1996). It is not directly related to breast size, although very small breasts tend to have less storage capacity.

Mothers with a large storage capacity:

  • Can go longer between feeds or expressing without:
    • Feeling full.
    • Having a decrease in milk supply.
  • Generally express more milk than average.

The babies of mothers with a large storage capacity may:


Daly SE, Owens RA, Hartmann PE. The short-term synthesis and infant-regulated removal of milk in lactating women. Exp Physiol. 1993 Mar;78(2):209-20
Kent KC, Mitoulas L, Cox D, et al. Breast volume and milk production during extended lactation in women. Exp Physiol. 1999 Mar;84(2):435-47
Peaker M, Wilde CJ. Feedback control of milk secretion from milk. Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 1996 Jul;1(3):307-15