Breastfeeding blog offering breastfeeding tips and advice for the nursing mother written by Tanya Roberts, retired IBCLC lactation consultant and owner of Lactation Connection & Amamante Nursingwear. If you have breastfeeding questions, contact us through our websites or facebook pages:
Friday, June 1, 2018
Replacement Parts for Ameda Breast Pumps: Finesse, Purely Yours, Platinum & Elite
Need to troubleshoot your Ameda Breast Pump? When you rely on your breast pump for exclusive pumping or working and breastfeeding, you need to know how to start with the correct flange size, maintain and troubleshoot any issues that may come up while you are using your breast pump. These issues can often be solved with maintaining your breast pump with genuine replacement parts.
Let's start with breast flange size. First you need to assess your nipple size at rest. Most women fall between the XS and XL size for their breast flange so although there is no way to know for sure without trying out the flange while you are pumping, the rule of thumb (pun intented) is to compare your nipple size to the size of your fingers. This works particularly well if you wear the average size 6 ring finger for a woman. If you nipple is the diameter of your pinky, start with a smaller 21-22 mm flange. If your nipple is the diameter of your ring finger then the Ameda standard 25 mm breast flange should work for you. Are you closer to the diameter of your middle finger, then go 28-30 mm large breast flange and if your nipple diameter is akin to your thumb, try 32-36 mm breast flange. The chart below shows the different sizes you can purchase in Ameda flanges. One think I really love about Ameda is that all of their parts fit all of their pumps. That way if you were using an Ameda Platinum in the hospital, you can switch to the Ameda Finesse when you go home and the milk collection system is interchangeable.
Next last talk about maintaining your breast pump. With each pumping, the Ameda valves should be removed from the breast flange and all parts that come into contact with the milk should be rinsed with warm water. Once a day, those same parts should be sterilized in top rack of the dishwasher, pre-boiling water for 5 minutes, sterilizer, or microwave steam sterilizer bag. The instructions say boil for 20 minutes, but that often leaves a film on your plastic parts making them difficult to see through when you are pumping. As long as the water is already at a boiling temperature, 5 minutes is adequate. Set your phone timer to keep you from melting your parts if you are using the boiling method.
In addition to maintaining pump parts by clearing, drying is also a factor. Breast pump parts should be allowed to air dry if you are not using the dishwasher to dry your parts. You can use an air dry bag or two clean dish towels. One towel is placed on the counter and the other covers the parts to prevent dust or insect contamination. If you are using a drying rack, make sure it is being routinely cleaned once a week as well. If you take the adapter cap and diaphragm off before removing the bottle and laying down the flange, you can save yourself a lot of time in having to clean and replace the diaphragms as ofter. If you take your bottle off first, and lay your breast shield down with the adapter cap still attached, milk dribbles onto the Ameda diaphragm causing it to need cleaning each time. Some women have a heavy spray so anytime you get milk on the diaphragm clean it along with the other sterilizable parts. You should never boil your Ameda tubing, tubing adapter or adapter caps. There is no need to sterilize these as they do not come into contact with the milk as per Ameda's superior closed system design.
What about troubleshooting? Quality pumps like the Ameda Finesse breast pump, Ameda Platinum and Ameda Purely Yours work on a vacuum regulated system which means any breach of that system will cause loss of suction. If your duckbill valves have a tear, do not close properly or are worn out, you will loose suction. If your diaphragm does not seat properly or inflate and deflate without sticking together when you pump, it will cause your pump to loose suction as well. Replacing the valves every 4-6 weeks and Ameda diaphgrams every 8-12 weeks is a good schedule to help maintain your breast pump's performance at optimal level. Why is that important? Loss of suction = diminished milk supply if you rely on your pump for working or exclusive pumping. A poor performing pump will also slow down your pumping time. Your double breast pump should be able to empty both breasts in just 10-15 minutes. However, you should not pump for less than 10 minutes even if the milk stops flowing because not demanding more than you are producing also lowers milk supply.
Here is to trouble-free pumping and a healthy milk supply!