The parts you use with your breast pump can make all the difference. At Pumpables we are constantly hearing reports from mums that they’re getting better results after replacing parts. Here are some things to think about:
Try a new breastshield size
If you haven’t yet, you should measure your nipple for your breastshield size. Using the correct sized breastshield is so important not only for your comfort but also for your milk output. Monique, a mum with hyoplasia (insuffient breast duct tissue) pumped exclusively for 6 months with her second baby and says that her supply massively increased after getting fitted with the right breastshield size. “I struggled with low supply twice due to hypoplasia. I exclusively pumped for 6 months with my 2nd baby. Thanks to Pumpables I finally got my true size of breastshield and could make 3/4 of my baby’s needs! This was HUGE since I only produced drops with my first child and I only made about 1 to 2 oz max per day with that one. I fought through my low supply harder than any one I know!”.
What size breastshield do I need?
If you’re not sure what breastshield size you need, you should start by measuring your nipple. Pump for 5 minutes so that your nipples are swollen. Then, measure the diameter of your nipple at the base. A properly fitted breastshield should leave 2-3mm of space around the nipple while you’re pumping. Be careful that not too much areola is being drawn in and around the nipple while your pumping, because that can actually hinder milkflow! If you’re feeling any discomfort while pumping, or seeing redness or whiteness in your nipple after you pump, you should definitely check your breastshield size. If you need help finding your breastshield size, get in touch with the Pumpables Fitting Room for a free breastshield sizing consultation. 🙂
How often to replace breast pump parts
You know why you should replace your breast pump parts, but how often? The frequency you replace your breast pump parts depends on how often you pump. Parts like valves and backflow protectors need to be replaced most frequently. Over time, these silicone parts lose elasticity, which impacts your milk output. Pay attention to slow but gradual decreases in milk output as a sign that these parts need to be replaced.
I even noticed changing out the duckbills frequently makes a difference too! So many parts but totally worth it!! Going on 10 months strong! My goal is to make it to a year and go from there!
If you’re wondering about average ranges for how frequently you need to replace specific breast pump parts, you can check out our guide for when to replace breast pump parts.
Duck valves vs. valve membranes
One question we get a lot is which is better: the white silicone duck valves (like the ones that come with the Milk Genie), or the valve and membrane set (like the ones that come with the Pumpables All-in-One Breastshield set)? A lot of times you can find replacement valves in both styles for most major breast pump brands – and some brands like Spectra sell both. So, which do you choose? If you have a breast pump that will take either style of valve, it’s worth trying them both out to see which you prefer – and if it makes a difference with output.
I replaced the membranes and valves on my pump with duckbill valves and doubled my output!
Generally speaking, the major difference between the two styles of valves is that duckbill valves need to be replaced less frequently, but lots of mums find that valve membranes are easier to clean because they come apart.