Are your parts are completely dry before assembling?Make sure you've given your parts plenty of time to completely air dry prior to assembly. If you assemble them wet, they will dry and get stuck together. This is also risky because moisture trapped in the milk collection kit can encourage mould growth. If timing is making it difficult to leave enough time for the parts to air dry, consider investing in a second set of breast pump parts so you can use one while the other is drying. Or, wash your parts before bed and leave them to air dry overnight.
Are you cleaning your valves well?Duck valves are difficult to clean. If not cleaned properly fatty residue from the milk builds up and causes the valves to stick to the breastshields. Carefully hand wash the valves using warm soapy water. A small bottle brush or cotton swab can help you clean out the inside of the valve, preventing fatty buildup. Avoid cleaning them in the dishwasher because they're small and won't be effectively cleaned inside. Make sure you're replacing them regularly, too.
Are you replacing your valves regularly?Valves need to be replaced regularly to maintain the performance of your breast pump. Depending on how often you pump, you'll need to replace your valve anywhere from every 4 weeks to every 3 months. Over time, the elasticity of the valves wear down, causing a decrease in suction. A worn-out valve might fall from the breastshield more easily or get stuck to the breastshield if has a lot of residue build up.
What to do if your valve is stuck to the breastshieldValves stuck to breastshield? The valve is very fragile, and very important for your breast pump to maintain suction. You don't want to risk tearing it if it's stuck, but it's important to remove the valve to clean it. Here are some tips on how to safely remove your valve:
- Remove valve from the base and avoid touching or pulling on the end of the valve.
- Use your fingertip to gently lift a small portion of the valve at the base.
- If that doesn't work, try pinching with your thumb and forefinger on opposite sides of the base. Pinch together and rock it from side to side in a back and forth motion.
- Pinch with your fingers but not your fingernails. If you attempt to lift the valve with a fingernail you risk tearing it!