Did you know that pump parts needed to be replaced regularly? When I started pumping, I had no idea about this.
After my first few weeks of exclusively pumping, my pump did not seem to have as much suction as it did in the beginning.
I was confused because I was using a hospital grade Medela Symphony, and it had a lot of power.
I started looking for answers to why my pump would lose suction and found out that the pump parts should be replaced periodically.
So, how often should you replace pump parts?
|Pump Part||Replacement Frequency|
|Valves||2 – 8 weeks|
|Membranes||2 – 8 weeks|
|Duckbill Valves||4 – 12 weeks|
|Backflow Protectors||3 – 6 months|
|Tubing||3 – 6 months|
|Flanges||Every 6 months (or as needed)|
|Connectors||Every 6 months (or as needed)|
|Milk Collection Bottles||When chipped, cracked, or leaking|
I found that different pump parts needed to be replaced at different intervals.
The frequency that they needed to be replaced also depends on if you are exclusively pumping or only pumping a few times per day.
The more that the parts are used, the more likely that they will become stretched out or dirty and require replacement.
How Frequently Do You Replace Valves And Membranes?
Valves and membranes need to be replaced every 2 to 4 weeks if you are exclusively pumping. If you are pumping a few times per day (3 pumps or less), then you may be able to go as many as 2 months before replacing them.
Valves are the small yellow (or white) hard plastic pieces that screw onto the flanges or connectors.
Membranes are the small, flat, round silicone disks that connect to the valves.
You can also look at the valves and membranes to figure out if they need to be replaced. Turn the valve so the membrane is facing towards the floor.
If it flops down and there is a gap between the membrane and the valve, it is time to replace it. If the membrane stays flush against the valve without a gap, then you can keep using it.
Secret Tip To Get The Most Milk When Pumping
If you ever notice that your pump has lost suction, the culprit is most likely loose membranes or duckbill valves. The soft silicone pieces stretch and wear out quickly. Replace the membranes and duckbill valves every 2 to 4 weeks to make sure you are getting the most from each pumping session!
You may be surprised with how much more effective your pump is when you replace the membranes.
I always kept several pairs on hand. This is because they were so delicate and easy to lose while washing and sterilizing.
Here is a link to my favorite set of membranes for replacement.
I had a set of valves and membranes with my Medela pump set but did not have them with my Spectra set.
So if you are a Spectra user, do not worry if you don’t have a set of valves and membranes!
How Frequently Should You Replace Duckbill Valves?
I always kept a few sets of duckbill valves on hand because they needed to be replaced every 4 weeks when I was exclusively pumping.
If you are only pumping 1 to 3 times per day, then you may be able to get away with replacing the duckbill valves every 2 to 3 months.
Duckbill valves are the small white silicone pieces that screw onto the flanges. These came standard with my Spectra pump. They are the most important piece that controls the suction for your pump.
Even though these are the guidelines from the manufacturer, you can try replacing the duckbill valves if your pump has lost suction.
I also would replace the duckbill valves if it started taking me longer to feel empty while I was pumping.
If you look at the duckbill valves and see a small hole between the two flaps, then the duckbill valves need to be replaced.
When there is a hole, your pump is not able to provide the best suction during your pumping session.
If you are using valves and membranes with a Medela pump, you may want to try using duckbill valves instead. I found that the duckbill valves had better suction and they were sturdier.
They were not as easy to rip as the membranes. They were also easier to keep track of because they are a larger piece than the small flat membranes.
What Is The Best Duckbill Valve For Pumping?
I also tried four different brands of duckbill valves. Some of them worked much better than others. Both of these brands worked with my Spectra pump and with my Medela pump.
My favorite brand of duckbill valves was a little pricier, but I found the valves more durable. Here is a link to my favorite duckbill valves that I found (on Amazon).
My other favorite brand of duckbill valves worked well for me but were slightly more difficult to pull on and off the pump flanges. Here is a link to my second favorite duckbill valves (at Target).
I would not recommend buying the other types of duckbill valves on Amazon.
I found that they didn’t have the suction that I needed to pump effectively. They also wore out more quickly than my two favorite brands.
Pro Tip: Replacing these pump parts can add up. I negotiated several discounts on pumping and breastfeeding items for all of you. Click here to check out all of the discounts from brands like the Willow breast pump, Kiinde, LaVie, Legendairy Milk supplements, and more! Plus, I also included instructions on how to check if your insurance may cover replacement pump parts.
When Do You Replace Backflow Protectors?
Backflow protectors should be replaced every 6 months if you are pumping between 1 to 3 times per day. They should be replaced every 3 months if you are pumping more frequently than 3 times per day, or if you are exclusively pumping.
Backflow protectors come with a closed system pump like the Spectra.
On the Spectra, they are the soft white silicone pieces along with the hard round clear plastic pieces that connect bottles to the tubing.
They prevent milk from backing up from the flange into the tubing while you are pumping.
The round, white piece of the backflow protectors are made from soft silicone. Because they are made from silicone, they can stretch out over time as they are used.
If they are not replaced, the white piece may start to stretch out and reduce the amount of suction on your pump.
Here is a link to the backflow protectors that I recommend (on Amazon).
When Should You Replace Pump Tubing?
Pump tubing should be replaced at least every 3 – 6 months. Replace pump tubing immediately if there are any signs of mold.
Mold particles can transfer through the air and make a baby sick if they drink milk that was pumped with moldy tubing. It should also be replaced if it looks dirty and you cannot clean it thoroughly.
If pump tubing looks clean, and it has become loose, simply cut off an inch from the end and then re-attach the tubing to the pump and flanges.
This may be enough to remove the loose piece of tubing. This works well for Spectra tubing but does not work well for Medela tubing because Medela tubing has connectors on the ends.
For more information on the correct way to clean pump tubing, check out this article I wrote on pump tubing.
In the article, I researched several types of pump tubing and the instructions on how to make sure it is clean and dry for your pumping sessions.
I tested several different brands of pump tubing, and here are my favorites.
This is my favorite pump tubing for Medela PISA. It contains tubing and replacement membranes. This was useful because I found that both needed to be replaced pretty frequently.
This is my favorite replacement tubing for the Spectra pump. It is pretty inexpensive and I loved that I could cut it to whatever length that worked for me.
When Should Flanges, Breastshields, And Connectors Be Replaced?
Flanges should be replaced every 6 months. Breast shields and Connectors should also be replaced every 6 months.
These pieces can collect dried milk in small crevices. Even if you have a rigorous cleaning routine, it can be difficult to reach into every little crevice in these parts.
This is why it is recommended to replace these items after 6 months of use.
The flanges, breast shields, and connectors are all made from hard plastic.
They should not stretch out with every use in the same way the white silicone pieces will stretch.
If you are rigorous about your cleaning routine, and you inspect the flanges frequently, then you may be able to extend the life of them.
For example, say you have a strict daily cleaning routine. This means you rinse milk off immediately after pumping, soak in hot water and sanitize every day.
This routine will reduce the possibility of dried milk collecting in places that are difficult to clean.
As another example, you may not be as rigorous with cleaning and you put your pump parts in the refrigerator between pumping sessions.
This can cause milk to dry and collect in hard to reach places.
This can make cleaning your flanges difficult because milk has collected in the small crevices and dried.
This is one of the reasons that I do not recommend putting pump parts in the refrigerator.
Free Replacement Pump Parts Through Insurance
If you need to replace your flanges or breast shields, I recommend filling out this form at Aeroflow. It will look like you are asking for a new breast pump, but do not worry.
Step 1: Get your insurance card and have it ready
Step 2: Fill out this form at Aeroflow. For the due date, put in your baby’s birthdate (if your little one has already been born).
Step 3: After they contact you, email them back and ask if your insurance covers replacement pump parts.
I was able to get replacement parts for free this way! Hopefully, your insurance plan will cover them too.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to SAVE this to your BABY or BREASTFEEDING board on Pinterest so you can find it later![scriptless]
How Often Should I Replace Milk Collection Bottles
The milk collection bottles used while pumping should be replaced as needed. If you see that one of the bottles is chipped, cracked, or leaking, then it is time to replace the bottles.
They should also be replaced if a residue builds up and you are unable to clean off the residue.
The milk bottles are more durable because they are made from hard plastic.
They also are generally fairly easy to keep clean with a good bottle brush and soap that is designed for breast milk or baby products.
Why Do Pump Parts Need To Be Replaced?
Pump parts should be replaced for a few different reasons. One reason is that the parts may become stretched out, reducing the effectiveness of the pump.
Your pump may lose suction and it may take you longer to feel empty after pumping with old pump parts.
Pump parts should also be replaced is for hygienic reasons.
If you feel that your milk supply has dropped and replacing pump parts does not work to bring your supply back, I have several tips you can try to increase it.
Below is a summary of the parts by brand and how often they should be replaced.
How Often Should You Replace Medela Pump Parts?
Medela pump parts such as valves and membranes should be replaced every 2 to 8 weeks. This depends on the number of pumping sessions they are used in each day.
Other Medela pump parts such as breast shields, connectors, and bottles should be replaced every 6 months or if they look dirty.
Medela pump tubing should be replaced immediately if it contains mold or looks dirty.
I checked around and found that Amazon had the best price for Medela replacement parts. This is my favorite replacement kit for Medela because it contains tubing, breast shields, and valves and membranes.
When Should You Replace Spectra Breast Pump Parts?
Spectra duckbill valves should be replaced every 4 to 12 weeks. Spectra flanges and milk collection bottles should be replaced every 6 months or if they look dirty.
Spectra pump tubing should be replaced immediately if it looks dirty or contains mold.
This is my favorite replacement tubing for the Spectra pump. It is inexpensive and I love that you can cut it to the length that you need.
When Should I Replace Baby Bottles?
Baby bottles should be replaced when they become chipped, cracked, or if they start leaking.
The nipples on baby bottles should be inspected each time before they are used.
Because the bottle nipples are made from a softer silicone material, they may tear and become damaged more easily.
The interval for replacement of baby bottles is the same replacement interval as for milk collection bottles.
Many times, babies can be fed straight from the bottle that is used for pumping.
NEXT, Check out these articles:
- Find your perfect pump bag – Sarah Wells Vs. JuJuBe Pump Bags (Best Stylish Pump Bags)
- Check out this article for all of my best pumping tips – 17 Best Pumping Tips for Beginners
- Ever wonder how many calories you burn by pumping or breastfeeding?
More Pumping Tips
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