So you received your free breast pump through insurance in the mail. What's next? It's okay if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed when you open the box — there are so many small parts, tubing, bottles... and what are these odd cone-shaped plastic pieces?! It can definitely be intimidating when you first unbox your pump. In fact, one of the more popular questions the Breastpump Specialists at Aeroflow Breastpumps get asked is, “How do I set up my breast pump?” It's a valid question, but thankfully, setting up your new pump is actually pretty easy!

Don't wait until baby arrives to set up your breast pump!

For starters, set up your breast pump before your little one arrives. The last thing you want to be doing after delivery is trying to put your pump together. Take an hour out of your day (before your due date), put the pump together, and get familiar with how to use it. You may want to begin the setup process by sterilizing your parts.

Sterilizing breast pump parts

Many parts are dishwasher safe, but you will want to check with the manufacturer (or check the packaging on your pump) before you toss any parts of the breast pump in the dishwasher. It is usually recommended that you do not leave the parts in the dishwasher for the drying cycle as it can warp the plastic. Some people opt to boil their parts, while others simply use warm water and soap. Medela makes useful steam bags that allow you to sterilize your pump parts in a matter of minutes using the microwave. After your pump parts are clean, let them air dry.

If you have chosen a pump with a closed system, no need to worry about regularly washing the tubing. It is recommended to wash the tubing for a breast pump with an open system.

Open up that instruction manual

Many women find that putting their pump parts together is easiest by following the instruction manual. Yes, that pamphlet you were about to throw away... save it! Not only can your manual be helpful in setting up your pump, but many include directions on how to troubleshoot when different issues arrive. YouTube is another great resource for instructing you on how to put your pump parts together. Being able to watch another person do it is so easy to follow. Many breast pump brands also have their own videos that will help you through the whole process. Check out our Video Resources page to find the instructional video for your pump!

Take your time

When setting up your new breast pump, remember to be patient. Learning takes time and that is why it is so important to become familiar with your pump well before your bundle of joy arrives. Most breast pumps have different pumping cycles and suction settings. While it is not recommended to try your pump out before the baby is born, there is nothing wrong with trying it on, especially to make sure your breast shields fit properly.

Plan ahead with breast pump accessories

Also, don’t forget to purchase additional pumping accessories not included with your pump kit. Lanolin, nursing pads and a tote bag to store your pump will be needed. You will find out quickly that a hands-free bra is key for a relaxing pumping experience too. You may also want to add a Boppy nursing pillow to your registry. While you can never truly prepare for a baby, it is smart (and fun) to try!