Breast pump cleanliness is really important to prevent bacteria growing in areas which can mix with your expressed milk. Cleaning your breast pump after each use will prevent your baby coming into contact with these bugs and becoming poorly.
How to Clean a Breast Pump
Before cleaning remember to read the manual thoroughly to know which parts need to be cleaned after each use. Each pump will vary although the most common components to be washed are: breast shields, valves, membranes, bottles and tubing.
1. Dissemble all the suitable parts of your breast pump. You will need to wash and rinse any parts which came into contact with the milk.
2. It’s best to use warm soapy water, soak for 5 minutes.
3. Use a soft brush or a dish cloth to remove any milk and thoroughly clean all the parts.
4. If you are using an electric breast pump you will not be able to wash the pump motor or power supply. You should however give these a daily wipe down with a wet cloth or paper towel.
5. Leave to air dry on a designated drying rack or a clean towel, covering all parts until next use. Don’t use paper towels or a dishcloth to dry the parts as this will introduce bacteria to the clean surface.
6. If the pump won’t be used again the same day, store in a clean dry container.
How to Sterilize a Breast Pump
Some moms will sterilize the breast pump only once a day even if using frequently. To ensure maximum hygiene we recommend sterilizing after each use.
- Minimum sterilization recommendations from the FDA state to heat to 272° F (133°C) for at 3 minutes 272° F.
- You can achieve this with a microwave sterilizer, which makes the process really quick. If you don’t want to buy any extra equipment then you can boil the parts in a pan at this temperature for 10 minutes.
- You can use sterilizer tablets to soak the breast pump parts until next use. These prevent any risk of damaging your breast pump equipment with heat.
- If sterilized with heat, there is a risk of damage some equipment. To avoid this ensure each part has plenty of space in the sterilizer and not squashed together. Once finished give each part time to cool significantly before handling.
- Remember to wash your hands before next use and avoid touch inside of the teats or bottles. This ensures the expressing equipment is as clean as possible for baby.
Breast Milk Cleaning Products
Medela Quick Clean Wipes
These Medela wipes are the perfect solution for working and travelling moms. A great substitute if you don’t have the means the wash your pump or accessories in a sink. A basic wet wipe which is specially designed by Medela to clean breast milk. They are also ideal for those with sensitive skin as they a unscented, alcohol and bleach free. You can also use these to clean up other baby areas including toys, changing mats and high chairs.
Dapple Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid
This Dapple Baby soap is a favorite of moms for cleaning any baby feeding equipment. It’s specifically designed to remove the odor left behind by breast milk. Plus it removes the annoying milk film stains which are a pain to remove. It comes in both lavender scent and fragrance free. It’s hypoallergenic and free from lots of nasty chemicals such as parabens, sls, sles and formaldehyde. It’s pretty much all sing and dancing, so you won’t be surprised to find it’s paediatrician recommended.
Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags
What we love about these sterilizer bags is how portable and adaptable they are. Clean your breast pump parts and place them into the bag with a small measure of water. Place the bag into the microwave for 3 minutes and the steam clean will kill 99.9% of all the bacteria. Not only can each bag be re-used up to 20 times, but it can also be used as a sterile bag to store your pump parts until you need them. Working mums love these for convenience as they sterilize, take to work and then have a bag to store the pump in while at work.
How to Clean Breast Pump Tubing
If you have an electric breast pump you will need to regularly inspect the tubing for signs of breast milk or condensation. If this happens it may affect the suction of the pump, or damage the internal motor.
Run the pump without placing it onto the breast, for around 2 minutes. This should dry out the tubing and rid it of condensation.
Milk in Tubing
Dissemble the pump and wash all possible parts in soapy water, then finish with a cold water rinse. Shake out all the water droplets from the tubing and hang vertically to air dry. You can also dry out the tubing by running for two minutes (as above) or pouring a small amount of isopropyl alcohol into the tubing.
Used Breast Pumps
A breast pump is considered as a personal hygiene item. Borrowing or buying a second hand breast pump is not recommended. In particular an open pump system can leave you and baby vulnerable to viruses such a HIV, cytomegalovirus (CMV), HTLV-I or herpes due to contaminated parts. Consider this advice if you are planning on purchasing a pump from Ebay, Craigslist or even at a yard sale. If you don’t know the sellers health history then don’t risk it.
If you do purchase a second hand breast pump you will be able to clean and sterlize the outer parts. You will not be able to clean the inner motor or tubing which may come into contact with each users breast milk. The only way to avoid taking the risk is to buy a new unused pump. Only hospital grade pumps are suitable for multi-user use, however each mother must use her own personal milk collection kit.