Caring for your pump is essential especially for exclusive pumping mothers. Just as the suckling of a baby determines a mother’s milk supply, the suction and the performance of your pump is crucial in determining and maintaining your supply.
Here’s how you can preserve your Medela PISA for best performance:
Check the membranes on your PISA
The membranes wear out depending on extent of usage. For some they need to be changed more regularly than others.
For exclusive pumping mothers I would recommend to change them every two to three months. With usage they also become thinner which negatively impacts your pumps performance.
To determine if it’s time for your membranes to be changed check them first for any wears and tears. If they seem fine, compare their thickness to your extra set or back up membranes. If they have thinned use your extra membrane set to pump next time round and see if you feel a difference. If yes, then it’s time to throw out the old set.
Inspect your PISA tubing for condensation
After each pumping session, quickly inspect the tubing. If you do see any condensation you can do any of the following:
- Continue to run the pump with the tubing attached but unplugged from your breastshield connectors for an additional minute or so until the condensation disappears. (You can run the pump while you go to store away your milk)
- Pour a small amount of Rubbing Alcohol in the tubing to dry
- Use a can of compressed air (the ones typically used to clean keyboards) to blow out any moisture
Remove mold/milk from your PISA tubing
If milk gets into tubing, best is to insert it in hot soapy water and then rinse with cold water. If mold has formed in the tubes and doesn’t seem to get out with hot water, boil some water in a pot and throw the tubing in the pot. This should rinse out the mold.
Make sure the tubes are dry before pumping again. Either hang them to air-dry or if you are compressed for time attach the tubes to your pump and run it for two minutes or so until they have dried off. Rubbing alcohol gives you even a faster result. Just pour a small amount through the tubing to dry.
To avoid mold from forming in the first place it’s best to rinse the tubing in hot or boiling water once every week.
Ensure your pump is assembled correctly
It’s important you make sure that all pump parts are intact and securely in place. The ends of your tubing should fit securely into the back of your breastshield connectors and into the ports on the faceplate.
Make sure the faceplate on the front of the motor is properly in place.
Check that your membranes (white parts) lie completely flat on the valves (yellow parts).
Replace batteries on a regular basis
If pumping using the Battery Pack ensure you have replacements. Batteries give you approximately two hours of pumping time (and we know that’s not much for exclusive pumping mothers). For more consistent performance it’s recommended to use rechargeable batteries. If you do pump often in the car, then it’s cheaper and more reliable to use the in car charger.
If however you do run into any problems with suction, motor, tubing or general pump performance then your best bet is to contact the Medela customer service. They have a very good reputation for their customer care.
What it comes down to
Regular maintenance on your pump helps you build and maintain your milk supply. The return your get from the additional minute or two that you spend checking, cleaning and updating parts on your pump goes a long way.