If you experience little or reduced suction when you switch on your breast pump, don't panic! It's a common issue that many new moms face. To help you troubleshoot the problem, Limerick has put together a checklist of potential reasons why your pump may not be suctioning as usual. By going through the list and making the necessary adjustments, you can get your pump back to working efficiently and successfully support your breastfeeding journey.
Checklist: identifying why my pump isn't suctioning
- Check the valve. The first thing to check is the valve. If the valve isn't properly in place, there will be no suction. It's possible that the valve has a tear; even a small tear can lead to suction loss. It's generally recommended to replace valves every three to six months for this reason.
- Before reassembling and using your breast pump, it's important to check for any water inside. Since the CDC recommends washing pump parts after each use, it's common for water to remain on individual components. Make sure that each part is thoroughly dried before assembling the pump. To avoid any inconvenience, you may want to consider having a spare set of parts to use while the first set dries.
- Check the breast pump’s filter. If the filter gets wet you will need to replace it. Fluid in our filter will also lead to no vacuum. Limerick has a drying mode that can be used to dry the condensation in the tubing.
- Check whether the tubing is punctured. The tubing can get pinched or punctured. Be careful when handling the tubing of your breast pump, as any tear or hole can cause a reduction or complete loss of suction. Make sure to inspect the tubing carefully and avoid any potential damage that could affect its functionality. If your breast pump isn't suctioning, check the tubing by slowly running your hands along it to look for any issues.
- Check whether the tubing is attached. When single pumping with the Limerick pump it is important to make sure the white clamp is clamped on the tubing that is not being used. If there is an air leak the Limerick pump will not cycle properly and there will be no vacuum.
- It's worth checking that there is no liquid or condensation in the tubes, as this will affect suctioning. If there is any liquid in the tube, ensure you thoroughly clean the pump, or replace it if necessary, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Check that you have assembled the pump correctly. If you can't find an obvious issue with any one of the single parts, disassemble the entire pump, and switch on the pump. Put your thumb over the air port and see whether you can feel suction; if you can, the problem will likely be with one of the components..
- Check the flange. Clothing can sometimes get in the way of pumping. Make sure that the flange sits firmly against your skin, and that there is nothing between the shield and your breast. With some brands, you will need to change the flange if your flange size changes over time. With Limerick pumps, the silicone cups are adaptable, meaning they hug the shape and size of your breast.
- Ensure the battery is working. Your power source might also affect the suction. If your pump is rechargeable, the battery may be running low. If the batteries are standard, it may be time to replace them.
Contact the manufacturer
If you've checked all the components of your breast pump and can't identify any issues, remember that most manufacturers offer a warranty. If you're experiencing any issues within the warranty period, you can contact the manufacturer and explain the problem. They may replace your pump under warranty terms. Most warranties last up to a year, but Limerick offers an extended three-year warranty.
If you're having trouble assembling or using the pump, the manufacturer can offer additional guidance beyond the user manual. Your lactation consultant can also provide guidance if needed.
You may also be able to use your health care flexible spending account to purchase or receive reimbursement for pump parts. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to see if they cover the cost of replacement parts.