For thousands of working women around the world, breast pump has been a blessing in disguise. It provides them with a convenient way to continue providing their baby with breastmilk. However, it is important to clean the pump properly and maintain hygiene to safeguard maternal health, as well as that of the baby.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lays out several guidelines for cleaning breast pumps before and after every use. Here’s a look at them:
Before each Use
- Wash your hands well with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Assemble clean pump kit. Inspect whether the pump kit or tubing has become moldy or soiled during storage. If the tubing is moldy, discard and replace immediately.
- If you’re using a shared pump, ensure that you clean pump dials, power switch, and countertop with a disinfectant wipe.
After every Use
- Store milk safely in collection bottles or collection bag and ensure it is properly sealed. Label them with date and time, and immediately place in refrigerator, freezer, or cooler bag with ice packs. In case milk collection container is stored at hospital or childcare facility, add name to the label.
- Clean the pumping area. This becomes even more important when you’re using a shared pump.
- Take the breast pump apart, separating all the parts which come in contact with breast/breast milk and inspect the pump for mold or damage.
- Rinse pump kit, especially the parts that come into contact with breast/breast milk. Rinse them under running water to remove remaining milk.
- Clean the pump kit as soon as possible after pumping, while keeping in mind the following:
Use hot water and a mild soap or detergent to wash all pump parts that are exposed to breastmilk. Avoid using any abrasive products such a bottle brushes, chemicals or antibacterial soaps as they may scratch or crack the pump parts. Rinse all parts with hot water until soap residue is removed. Then air dry the parts on a clean towel or dish rack.
If you find it difficult to wash the parts immediately, try to rinse them thoroughly with hot water to remove any breastmilk residue.
Sterilize at least once a day
For additional protection, ensure you sterilize the breast pump regularly. This becomes even more important if your baby is less than 3 months old, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system due to any illness or medical treatments. Before you start with the sterilization or sanitization process, check manufacturer’s instructions about whether the pump parts may be steamed or boiled. You may use any of the following options for sterilizing:
- Boiling parts for 5 to 10 minutes
- Microwave Sterilizing Bags
- Microwave safe Sterilizers
- Electric Sterilizer
- Placing on the top rack of Dishwasher
Taking precautions and following simple cleaning and hygiene practices can prevent your baby from experiencing various health issues. For more information about breast pumps, meet our lactation experts at KIMS Cuddles.
*Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.