Medela PISA Tips: Hacks for Comfortable, Efficient Pumping

I use a Medela PISA and a Spectra S2 breast pump and have lots of tips and tricks for both! Whether you are pumping at work, at home, or while traveling, these tips will come in handy! 

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Medela PISA Controls Overview

Medela PISA breast pump controls guide
  • On/ Off knob: This turns the pump on and off and also increases the vacuum level. While pumping, increase the vacuum until it’s slightly uncomfortable, then reduce. Pumping should not be painful.
  • Letdown button: The PISA starts in letdown mode, which is a fast speed to encourage your milk to flow. It will automatically go to expression mode after about 2 minutes. If your milk stops flowing, press the letdown button again to speed up the pump and encourage another letdown
  • Tubing ports: Connect the tubing to one of the ports for single pumping, or to both ports if you are double pumping
  • Port plug: If you are double pumping, put it on the middle post. If you are only pumping one side, plug one of the tubing ports

Making Pumping More Enjoyable 

  • Find a quiet place where you can relax. 
  • Look at pictures or videos of your baby. 
  • Or play a game, read, or something else relaxing while pumping

Cleaning Tips for Medela PISA

  • Wash the flanges, valves, and bottles after each use. Sanitize them once per day.
  • Instead of washing, Medela offers cleaning wipes (click to view on Amazon). I found them extraordinarily convenient while I was at work when there was no sink nearby to wash pump parts.
Click the image to see more details on Amazon

  • Tired of sanitizing the PISA parts? Try a microwaveable sanitizing bag (available on Amazon). Simply put the pump parts and some water in, and put it in the microwave! 
Click the image to see more details on Amazon

  • Create a station in your kitchen where you can clean your pump parts
Click the image to see more details on Amazon

  • I bought a second set of parts for my PISA so I didn’t have to wash the parts so frequently (spare tubing, valves, and flanges available from Medela on Amazon here)
  • There’s no need to wash the PISA tubing. However, Medela recommends running the pump for a few minutes after you finish pumping to remove any moisture
Moisture can accumulate in the PISA tubing during pumping. Medela recommends running the pump for a few minutes after you finish pumping to remove the moisture.
  • If you typically freeze your milk, consider pumping directly into bags so you don’t need to wash bottles. 

PISA Pump modes and settings

  • Did you know the PISA starts in letdown mode? It mimics the fast sucking of a baby to encourage letdown. Then it switches to regular expression mode after about 2 minutes. 
  • If milk flow slows, you may want to try pressing the letdown button to encourage another letdown 
  • Is the PISA too loud? Put it on something cushy while you pump, like carpet, folded blanket, pillow, or padded foot stool 
  • Use a hands-free pumping bra so you can multitask while you pump 

PISA pump maintenance 

  • Did you know breast parts wear out and get less effective over time? Replacing the tubing and valves around every 3 months ensures you are pumping efficiently 
  • Run the pump for about 2 minutes after you finish pumping to remove moisture from the tubing

Spare Parts for your PISA

  • Keep a set of spare parts handy. I kept an extra set at work and it worked out perfectly when I forgot one of my valves at home! 
  • Or keep a manual pump around just in case. I love this hand pump from Lansinoh, it’s very comfortable and even has a letdown mode. 
  • If you don’t like the yellow valves with the white flaps, try an alternate valve type from Amazon! Personally, I like Spectra’s better and they are easier to clean. And they fit on the PISA!

Select the right size breast shields

  • Check that your breast shields are the correct size

The PISA includes two 24mm breast flanges and 2 connectors to attach them to your bottles. The nurses or lactation consultants can help you determine while you are still at the hospital after your baby is born. 

Basically, take your nipple size in mm and add 3-4mm to determine your flange size.

  • Common sizes:
  • up to 16mm = 20mm flange
  • 17-20mm = 24mm flange
  • 21-24mm = 28mm flange
  • 25-28mm = 32mm flange

Once you’ve determined the correct flange size, you can purchase the different options on Amazon.

  • Medela PISA flanges from Amazon: 
  • Medela offers 21mm, and 24, 27, 30, and 36 mm flanges
  • Maymom offers PISA flanges in 17mm, 19, 21, 24, 27, 30, 34, and 36mm flanges. Some of these kits include valves, and a few also include tubing.
  • Nenesupply offers PISA flanges in 19, 21, 24, 27, and 30mm. Note that you also have the option of getting the white silicone duckbill valves that the Spectra uses, instead of the yellow hard plastic ones that are supplied by Medela. They will fit on your PISA.
  • Are the hard plastic breast shields uncomfortable? Try soft silicone breast shields instead

Travelling with your PISA

  • The Medela PISA comes with 3 power cords: 
    • One for plugging into the wall, 
    • One that can be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter 
    • One that can run off of batteries
    • Bring all 3 for flexibility while traveling. 
  • While traveling, consider breast pump cleaning spray or wipes for sanitizing on the go. Just wipe off all the parts and let them air dry for 10 minutes before using them again. No need to find a place to wash them! 
  • Need to squeeze in another pumping session during the day? Consider pumping during your drive to work. (Related post: breastfeeding and pumping schedules for working moms) 


What tips and ideas have you found handy for using the PISA? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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