Following are tips that will help you troubleshoot any problem with your pump or pumping

-My Spectra pump is not turning on. What should I do?

Please try the following.

Unplug your power cord from the wall and from the pump and:

Take the AC Adapter off (slide it off) the power cord
Slide the AC adapter back on and press hard doing so until you hear a click or a snap
Plug your power cord back into an electrical outlet
If you have a Spectra S2 – Hold the power button for 40 seconds – it should work fine

If you have a Spectra S1, you should see a blinking battery icon on your LCD screen. Once you plug it in, it will then change to a steady icon with the cell showing that it is charging.

If it is still not working, try a second outlet in your house that you know is working. Hold the power button for 30 seconds and let go. Give it 15 seconds and see if your pump now turns on.

-I am experiencing issues with one port. What to do?

Take the accessories from the working side and use them on the port that is not providing strong suction. If this resolves the problem, this is an indication that your accessories must be replaced.

-Why is the suction not working properly?

If you have owned your pump for more than 3 months, have you changed your accessories since the purchase of the pump? It is recommended that you change your accessories every 3-6 months.

Please try the following:

Detach both “tubing” from the base of the pump and put 2 fingers on the ports where both tubings were attached.
Now, turn on the pump and use the vacuum function (on the right-hand side of the control panel) to monitor the suction level.
Change the vacuum level starting from the lowest level to the highest—can you feel the changes in the suction level as they occur?

  1. If you did not feel a change in suction level, are all your accessories Spectra?
  2. are your duckbill valves attached to the flanges properly and pushed all the way up? (If yes, check your duckbill valves to make sure they are not damaged)
  3. Does the valve opening (where your milk comes out) look closed when not in use?
  4. Does the valve have anything stuck in it? (for example brush particles)
  5. Are your backflow protectors put on correctly? (The membrane should be flushed against the shallow piece/lower cap (the piece that connects to the flange). Make sure the lip of the membrane goes over the rim of the lower cap. Fit the upper case (the piece that connects to the tubing) to it.)
  6. Is the silicone membrane moving (doesn’t overextend) when the pump is in use?
  7. Are all your accessories completely dry and have no moisture when attached? Many times breast milk is oily and can cause the accessories especially the valve and backflow protector to slip off.
  8. Are your flanges the right size?

-Why am I feeling a reduction in suction while double pumping?

If you’re noticing a reduction in suction while double pumping vs. when you single pump, this is completely normal. However, if it gradually gets worse, then it probably means it’s time to replace your parts. Worn down parts tend to fare better while single pumping, but when double pumping will deteriorate more.

But why is it normal to feel a difference?
It is normal to notice a consistent difference in vacuum pressure between single and double pumping, especially at higher vacuum settings. Here’s the science behind it: The pump motor is built so that air is sucked through a single tube on each cycle. When the breast shield is placed over the nipple, that sucking creates the vacuum effect which draws milk from the breast. When double pumping, this airflow is split into two channels, which both go to the same single tube at the motor. This causes a reduction in suction on both sides. When single pumping, the extra airport is covered by a cap making it so there’s only one path for air to travel between the breast and the motor. There’s no splitting therefore no reduction in suction. If you’re experiencing a reduction in suction at your usual settings while double pumping, try turning the suction level up – but remember, never pump higher than your comfort level 🙂

-There’s no suction when I’m pumping!

If you’ve ever noticed a sudden loss of suction while pumping most commonly it’s because the duck valve or valve + membrane set is not attached correctly to the breast shield, or has fallen off.

  • Are your backflow protectors still moving when your pump is on?
    If the backflow protectors are still moving back and forth with the sucking motion of the pump, then chances are the suction issue is because of the membranes. When they lose suction or fall off it’s usually because they have worn down and it’s time to replace them. Check to make sure your membranes are still properly assembled to your kit, and remember that to properly maintain the pump they do need to be replaced regularly.
  • Are the backflow protectors not moving?
    If the backflow protectors are not moving, it’s possible a part of the internal tubing has come loose. To verify this, remove the tubing and collection kits from the pump. Then, place your thumb over the airports and turn the pump on. If you feel a suction sensation, then it’s probably an issue with the pump kit assembly. Verify that the pump kit is assembled correctly and try again. If you don’t feel any suction, contact customer service.
  • Are the backflow protectors flopping around more than usual?
    If your backflow protectors are moving but flopping around more then usual or hitting the casing, this usually means the valves need to be replaced.
  • Are backflow protectors moving and valves assembled correctly? Check the tubing
    The second leading cause in no suction while pumping is that if while single pumping, the cap isn’t completely covering the unused airport; or, the tubing has come off altogether. If you notice your tubing sliding on and off easily, it may be time to replace it.

Other things to try

Lastly, it’s possible your breast shield has come loose from your breast. If you’re using a hands-free pumping bra, check to make sure that the breast shield is still attached properly and that there’s no fabric sliding under the shield. This is more common than you might think because as the breast is pumped, it decreases in size while at the same time the weight of the collection bottle increases. So many times the fabric on the hands-free pumping bra will stretch a little with this extra weight, causing a loss in suction around the breast shield area.

-What to do if my breasts aren’t draining / I’m not getting much milk?

We know this is so frustrating! There are a few reasons this could be happening, but the first thing to think about is shield fit and positioning. Spectra pumps come with 24mm size breast shields, but all women are different and so are our nipples! It’s very possible you need a different breast shield size. You can try gauging your breast shield size by measuring it by clicking on our blog here.

If you’ve read through our breast shield sizing guide and you’re still not sure, please just message us and we’ll try to help out.

Other than shield size, here are a few more things to consider if you’re not getting the milk output you’d like to be getting:

Have you experimented with your pump settings?

If your shield size is comfortable and seems to be correct, then this could be an issue of not using the settings that work best for you. Like determining shield size, working out the best pump program for you is largely trial and error, but it can make a huge difference. Finding that ‘sweet spot’ in the pump settings that your body responds to best will really help.

Start in massage mode at a low vacuum setting, and gradually increase vacuum to your maximum comfort level: determine your maximum comfort level by identifying the vacuum level at which you start feeling discomfort, then turning it down one level. This is your maximum comfort level (for example, if you feel discomfort at vacuum level 5, vacuum level 4 is your maximum comfort level). Do not pump higher than your comfort level.

Once your letdown happens, try switching to expression mode at the same vacuum level. Some mothers find success staying in massage mode the entire time, while others find success switching back and forth between massage and expression mode multiple times per session. Play around with the settings each time you pump to see if you get different results.

Breast compressions
It is a reality of breast pumping that most women will do better if they do breast compressions whilst pumping, and for some women, it’s non-negotiable. You may find that you are someone who needs to do breast compressions when you pump. Unfortunately, this is going to make the whole pumping thing even more laborious, but if you can make it work it will really help. Apply gentle pressure in a circular movement beginning and the top of your breast and working down toward your nipple. Don’t massage under the shield, and don’t forget the area in your armpits. Tip – look on YouTube for some tutorials on how to do breast compressions.

The age of your baby / how many babies have you had
As a general rule, the older your baby is before you try pumping, the harder it may be to get your body to respond to a breast pump. If your baby is older, or you breastfed for a long time before, then we really encourage you to think about getting the S2 or the S2. These pumps have a bigger motor that allows lots more different program options, so you’re more likely to find the settings that work well for you.

Did you just swap from another breast pump model?
It’s frustrating, but it’s really normal for it to take up to a week to get used to a new breast pump. The best way to do this (and we know this is hard) is to just give yourself some time. Persevere, try not to get anxious about reduced milk output / disappointing results, keep going and hopefully your body will adjust and you’ll be off and running with your new pump.

-Why am I hearing a squishy noise while pumping?

A squishing sound is usually caused by pump parts not being completely dry prior to assembly. Depending on where the moisture is, it can impact suction, or worse, get into the tubing. It’s important to allow enough time for pump parts to completely air dry prior to assembling. If you’re a frequent pumper, we recommend investing in a second accessory set to ensure that you always have clean, dry pump parts on hand.

-What can I do if there’s milk in my backflow protector?

That’s nothing to worry about. Just pop the backflow protector apart and wash it like you normally would with your other pumping kit accessories. Remember to make sure your backflow protector has enough time to completely air dry prior to assembling it again.

-There’s condensation in my backflow protector

Condensation in the backflow protector is also perfectly normal! It means the backflow protector is working as it should to prevent moisture from evaporated milk or condensation from entering the tubing. This is one thing you don’t have to worry about. Just be sure to inspect the backflow protector regularly to verify that none of the condensation is passing to the tubing side of the membrane. And of course, be sure to wash and air dry after pumping if you notice condensation.

-Why am I experiencing pain while pumping?

Try turning the suction level down. You shouldn’t experience pain while pumping.

Are your breast flanges/shields the right size? If you aren’t sure what size flange you should be using, please use the measuring guide to accurately measure your nipple.

If pain persists, consult a licensed lactation consultant.