How Often To Replace Breast Pump Parts (A Complete Guide)

For many moms, breast pumps are a lifesaver. They provide the ability to store milk for later feedings, or to have someone else feed the baby while you’re away. Did you know that breast pumps require regular maintenance to function properly? A quality breast pump can cost several hundred dollars, so it’s important to take care of your investment. That means regularly cleaning and sanitizing all parts that come into contact with breastmilk, and replacing worn out parts as needed. Luckily, most brands of popular breast pumps offer kits of replacement parts that are quite reasonably priced and they also sell individual pump parts if you’re not in need of a full kit.

single electric medela breast pump

When using a breast pump, one of the most important questions is: how often should I replace the parts? In this article we’ll discuss how often you should replace your breast pump parts in general and also based on which brand you are specifically using.

General Guidelines

Most breast pump manufacturers recommend replacing valves and membranes every 30-90 days and replacing the following parts every three to six months: 

  • Membranes
    • replace every 3-6 months
  • Tubing
    • 3-6 months, or if there’s ever moisture build up inside
  • Breast Shields & Flanges
    • up to 6 months
  • Connectors
    • up to 6 months
  • Duck Valves & Membranes
    • replace every 30-90 days or are ripped, discolored or warped
  • Backflow Protectors:
    • up to 6 months, replace when they lose elasticity (at six months or more frequently)
  • Diaphragms:
    • up to 6 months, when ripped, discolored or warped

Generally, breast pump parts, such as the tubing and breast shields, should be replaced every three to six months. The reason for this is that over time, the parts can become worn down and no longer work as effectively. Additionally, bacteria can build up on breast pump parts, which can lead to infection. For these reasons, it is important to regularly replace breast pump parts in order to maintain a healthy pumping routine. However, it is also important to note that breast pump manufacturers typically have different recommendations for how often to replace parts. 

replacement valves and membranes
Replacement valves and membranes

It’s also important to regularly clean all other parts of your breast pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Doing so will help ensure that your milk is free from harmful bacteria. Dried milk and bacteria can settle in the little nooks and crannies of your equipment (in hard to clean places). If you notice any cracks or leaks in your tubing, or if your pump starts making strange noises, it’s important to replace the affected parts right away. Continuing to use a damaged or broken breast pump can put your milk supply at risk. Aside from how effective your pump is at removing milk, replacing pump parts regularly can help keep your baby safe and healthy. Parts made out of hard plastic don’t wear out as quickly as parts made of flexible material like silicone but you should still consider replacing them every 6 months for hygienic reasons.

replacement membranes
Replacement membranes

If you only use your pump occasionally, you may be able to get away with replacing parts less frequently. For example, if you only pumped a few times here and there, you could probably wait up to a year before replacing the breast shields. However, if you are pumping multiple times per day for an extended period of time (or exclusively pumping instead of nursing), you will need to replace parts more frequently. In this case, it’s best to be cautious and replace parts every 3 months. 

The first thing you want to check if you notice a dip in your milk supply, is to see if you have old breast pump parts that might be contributing to poor suction. It can be a common misconception that pumping moms don’t need to replace their parts or check them for wear and tear on a daily basis. As a first-time mom, it can be easy to blame your milk supply issues on external factors first instead of checking to see if your pump’s motor or another part of the breast pump is working correctly.

You’ll also need to replace breast pump parts if you’re purchasing something second hand like a double electric breast pump. Using someone else’s motor is fine, but you’ll want to replace all the parts that could potentially have come into contact with someone else’s milk for hygienic reasons and disease control.

How often to replace Medela breast pump parts?

Medela recommends replacing parts like: membranes, valves and breast shields every three to six months, or more frequently if they show signs of wear and tear. By taking care of your breast pump and replacing parts as needed, you can ensure that it will continue to work well for years to come.

replacement tubing
Replacement tubing

Breast pumps have a lot of moving pieces, and each one plays an important role in making sure the pump works effectively. Over time, these parts can become worn down or damaged, reducing the pump’s efficiency. Medela pump parts are sold individually so you can choose which extra parts you need to replace. You can also purchase additional breast pump parts in a kit, which is helpful if you’re purchasing a used pump motor.

  • Membranes
    • replace every 3-6 months
  • Tubing
    • replace up to 6 months
  • Breast Shields
    • replace up to 6 months
  • Connectors
    • replace up to 6 months
  • Duck Valves & Membranes
    • replace every 30-90 days

How often to replace Spectra breast pump parts?

Spectra has several breast pumps that are similar in style to each other and require many of the same parts, but they have a few different types of motors. Some of their pumps are hospital grade and others are a smaller, portable design. The type of breast pump motor you have will play into how long your Spectra pump lasts. Typically, larger, stronger motors last longer than smaller portable ones.

portable single electric pump
Portable single electric breast pump

Spectra recommends replacing their parts at least every 6 months for hygienic reasons, depending on if there is build up that has occurred on the parts. Some parts like valve membranes need to be replaced sooner than 6 months because of the regular wear and tear from each pumping session that causes them to degrade.

  • Duck Valves & membranes
    • need to be replaced every 2 weeks to 2 months
  • Backflow protector & diaphragms
    •  need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months
  • Tubing
    • when wet, or every 6 months
  • Breast shields, bottles and nipples
    • every 6 months

How often to replace Bella Baby wearable breast pump parts?

Bella Baby doesn’t specify on their website how often to replace their pump parts. Check your manufacturer’s instruction book for more details or follow general guidelines. Bella Baby company does, however, sell a replacement parts bundle that comes with new: silicone pads, breast shields, membranes, and valves. Replacing parts every three months will help go a long way in keeping your pump in good working order. 

How often to replace EvenFlo breast pump parts?

EvenFlo recommends replacing membranes, valves and diaphragm every 60-90 days. EvenFlo sells individual parts like valves and membranes so you can replace them often and inexpensively. They also sell a double electric breast pump replacement kit that includes:

  • Flanges
  • Flange inserts
  • Diaphragm caps
  • Diaphragms
  • Membranes
  • Valves
  • Tubing and adapters

How often to replace Lansinoh breast pump parts?

Lansinoh recommends replacing valves every 4 weeks if pumping exclusively or often, and up to every 12 weeks if you’re only occasionally pumping. Lansinoh sells a replacement parts kit and they also sell flanges and pump valves separately, since the valves are replaced most often and the flanges vary so much in size for each woman. Their replacement kit includes:

  • Tubing with connector
  • Nipple hood
  • Diaphragm caps
  • Diaphragms
  • Nipple collars with sealing discs
  • White duckbill valves

How often to replace Willow wearable breast pump parts

Willow recommends  replacing parts every 3 months for optimal experience. They sell these replacement parts individually:

  • Milk containers
  • Sizing inserts
  • Duckbill valves
  • Pump diaphragms
  • Flanges

How often to replace Motif breast pump parts

Motif has a lot of great information on when to replace all their parts. Even if you have a rigorous cleaning routine, or you can’t see any visible damage, it’s still a good idea to follow your breast pump manufacturer’s guidelines on when to start using new parts.

Motif recommends replacing parts every 3 months. To make replacement even easier they sell a replacement kit that includes:

  • 2 – Milk Storage Containers
  • 2 – Bottle Lids
  • 2 – Bottle Caps
  • 2 – Bottle Tops
  • 2 – Bottle Nipples
  • 2 – Tubes
  • 2 – Valves
  • 2 – Diaphragms
  • 2 – 21mm, 24mm, 28mm, or 32mm Breast Shields

Motif also specifies how to judge when to replace your parts:

  • Duck Valves:
    • 1-3 months if they don’t close flat anymore or are ripped, discolored or warped.
  • Backflow Protectors:
    • replace when they lose elasticity (at six months minimum)
  • Diaphragms:
    • when ripped, discolored or warped
  • Flanges:
    • every six months at a minimum or when cracked or warped
  • Tubing:
    • Replace tubing every one to three months, or if it ever has moisture build up inside or slides off the pump or diaphragm too easily

How often to replace Elvie breast pump parts

The expected lifespan of Elvie pump parts is about 6 months. The company sells replacement parts individually online like:

  • Breast shields
  • Pump seals
  • Valve and spout kits

How often to replace Haakaa breast pump?

The Haakaa breast pump is not an electric pump, or a standard manual pump. It’s actually a one-piece silicone breast pump that suctions on. It’s great if you are nursing your baby on one side and want to suction it to the other, or if you have a single electric pump instead of a double. 

Haakaas usually just need to be cleaned in soap and warm water after every use and sterilized once per day like normal pump parts. Boiling your Haakaa pump in a touch of vinegar can help reduce a cloudy appearance. It’s still safe to use it if it becomes cloudy looking. 

Replace your Haakaa  if you’ve accidentally used a bleach cleaning product on it or if you’ve mistakenly used a UV sterilizer, which can do irreparable damage to silicone. Both of these will cause your Haakaa to degrade and become sticky and unusable. 

Some moms need to replace their Haakaa every 3-4 months and others use theirs for 6 months and longer. The basic answer is to replace it when it starts losing suction or becomes damaged. Loss of suction can happen to silicone parts like this after months of use and sterilization.

Conclusion: 

To sum up, how often should you replace breast pump parts? It depends on the brand of your pump and how frequently you use it, but most manufacturers recommend replacing the breast shields every 6 months and the valves and membranes every 3 months at a minimum, especially if you’re pumping on a regular basis or doing exclusive pumping. If you notice any cracks or chips in any of your parts, replace them immediately. 

If you only use your pump occasionally, you may be able to get away with replacing parts less frequently. Replacing your pump parts will help make sure you’re making the most out of your pump’s performance by keeping it in good condition. By following the manufacturer’s recommendations, you can help ensure you’re able to maintain a healthy milk supply and a happy baby.

Looking for more tips and info on baby gear? Check out more from Mama’s Buzz!

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