When I began my pumping journey and received my first breast pump, I had no idea it would come with so many parts! I thought: ‘what do all these parts even do, anyways?’ It was quite the learning curve figuring out how all the parts fit together and how to properly clean and sterilize them after each use. Let me take the guesswork out for you! Keep reading to learn about each breast pump part, its purpose, and how to properly care for it.

Breast Pump Parts

1. Pump

All breast pumps come with the pump itself, which creates the vacuum and suction to draw your milk out. The pump contains buttons that allow you to control the speed and suction power while you pump. Your pump may come with a power cable that allows you to plug it into the wall, or it may contain a battery pack that allows you to be mobile while pumping.

2. Flanges

The flanges are the cone-shaped pieces of the breast pump that attach directly to your breast. The piece itself has a funnel shape that allows your nipple to be sucked in by the vacuum during pumping. It is very important to get your flange sizes right to prevent issues like clogged ducts and sore, cracked nipples.

3. Valves

The breast pump valves attach to the flanges. They have holes in them that allow the milk to drain into the collection bottle. Your pump type and model will determine what type of of valves you have. No matter the type, these pieces can easily become worn out over time, so be sure to replace these if they appear loose!

4. Tubing

Breast pumps also contain long tubing, which connects the flanges and the pump. This allows you to have some room between you and the pump. The tubing also acts as an extra barrier for keeping moisture away from your pump.

5. Collection Bottles

The milk collection bottles do just that. They collect the milk produced from your breasts during pumping. Most collection bottles are compatible with bottle lids that allow you to feed your baby directly from the bottle you pump into!

Depending on the pump you purchase, you may have extra parts specific to that pump. For example, the Spectra pumps come with backflow protectors to prevent milk from reaching the breast pump. Always be sure to read the directions specific to your pump model to ensure you’re utilizing each piece correctly.

Caring for your breast pump

It is very important to make sure your breast pump is properly sterilized after using it to prevent bacteria growth. You should expect to sterilize any pieces of the pump that milk touches, such as the flanges, valves, and collection bottles. Some parts of your breast pump may be boiled in order to sterilize them, but make sure to read the cleaning instructions for your specific pump to make sure each of the pieces can be boiled.

Certain parts of the breast pump will need to be replaced after time, specifically valves and tubing. As these pieces wear out, the pump might not suction as well. If you received your breast pump through insurance, you might be able to get replacement parts through them as well.

As you can see, breast parts have several parts that each serve their own purpose. Knowing how each piece fits together and how to properly care for each part will ensure you get the maximum use from your breast pump. From one breastfeeding mama to another, I’m wishing you the very best of luck on your pumping journey!

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