We know you want the best for your baby, which is why you’re working hard to provide him or her with nourishing breast milk, even when you’re away. In order to ensure that your milk is sanitary and safe and to reduce any risk of illness, we’re sharing an in-depth guide on how to keep your breast pump clean.
Keeping Clean Before You Pump
Before you start pumping, you want to make sure you are introducing as few germs as possible. The CDC recommends washing your hands before you pump and using disinfecting wipes to clean the outside of the pump machine. Inspect tubing for any signs of moisture or mold, and make sure the pump parts are clean and dry from a previous use.
Observe Your Breast Pump Parts As They Are Working
As you pump, you may be playing with your baby, reading an article, or watching television (or all three!), but you do want to periodically check as you pump to make sure things are working correctly. If you have a closed system pump, such as the Spectra S1 Plus, the Backflow Protection prevents air and milk from entering the tubing. If you see any milk in the tubes or the tubing has moisture in it, do not use it until the tubing is replaced. This is a sign your Backflow Protection isn’t working and your pump can get damaged.
However, if you have an open system, like the Medela Pump In Style Advanced, milk may be pulled into the tubing, and it’s nothing to worry about. Simply make sure you carefully clean the tubing after you pump.
Cleaning Your Breast Pump Parts
After you pump, it’s important to immediately clean and dry your breast pump parts. We know there are some “hacks” that recommend storing parts in the refrigerator in between pumping sessions to avoid cleaning them or simply letting them soak in warm, soapy water for extended periods of time, but those can both lead to bacteria and go against recommendations from the CDC. Similarly, there are breast pump part wipes that seem convenient, but should only be used for parts that don’t come in contact with breast milk.
Instead, follow these steps:
- Rinse pieces that came in contact with breast milk in cool water immediately after pumping.
- Wash the Backflow protector (closed system), valves, and membranes by hand in warm, soapy water and wash tubing (open system and came in contact with milk). Do not use a bottle cleaner or other tool to wash valves or silicone accessories.
- Wash breast shields or flanges in warm soapy water or wash in the dishwasher on the top rack.
- Rinse each piece in hot, running water for 10 seconds.
- Place your breast pump parts on a clean drying rack or set a fresh paper towel on a clean surface to air dry (hang tubing for thorough drying).
- Wipe down the electrical unit with a clean paper towel.
- Once the parts are dry, you can put the pieces back together before storing or using. Do not store wet or damp parts or put together while damp.
These are general cleaning guidelines. Check your breast pump’s user manual or instruction guide for specific cleaning and care recommendations.
Sterilizing Your Breast Pump Parts
Sterilizing your breast pump parts kills germs and is recommended before the first use, and your doctor may recommend sterilization more often if your baby was born premature or has a weakened immune system. To safely sterilize your breast pump parts without damaging, follow these recommendations:
- Never boil or sterilize tubing as this can damage it.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and carefully lower the flanges, backflow protectors, and bottles into water and make sure they are submerged. Put a lid on the pot, turn off the heat, and let the parts stay in the boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Silicone parts, including valves, bottle nipples, and membranes should only be in boiling water for 1-2 minutes as they can become damaged.
- Remove all parts from water, air dry on paper towels completely before storing.
Contact Our Charlotte Breast Pump Part Supply Store for Replacements
If you notice your breast pump isn’t functioning effectively or it’s time to replace some of your parts, we can help. We have a wide selection of replacement parts for the Medela Pump In Style and Spectra S1 Plus, many of which are covered by your FSA or HSA. Contact our customer service team today at (704) 846-7503 to place an order!