How to Clean a Breast Pump July 31, 2015 17:24

A breast pump is a valuable tool for any nursing mom because it ensures she can pump and store milk for later use when she is unavailable to nurse the baby herself. However, a pump is only effective for providing healthy milk for your child when the pump is properly cleaned and maintained. Otherwise, your child will receive dangerous contaminants along with the milk. Many mothers are unsure of the best way to clean an electric breast pump, so here are some things to know.

Cleaning Frequency

Every time a breast pump is used there is an opportunity for bacteria to grow. That’s why it’s imperative that every part of the pump that comes into contact with the breast milk is washed after each use. This may be difficult if you use the pump at work and have a limited amount of time to express milk and clean the pump. Fortunately, there are products made specifically for cleaning breast pumps that can make this process quicker. There are even steaming bags that allow you to quickly disinfect pump accessories in the microwave.

Parts to Clean

As previously mentioned, every part of the pump that touches the breast milk should be cleaned. These parts include the shield, bottles, valves, and sometimes the tubing. The electrical unit should be cleaned periodically, but should not be immersed in water or placed in a steaming bag. The best way is to simply wipe off the unit with a cloth.

Cleaning Solution

Breast pump parts don’t need to be washed in any solution other than warm, soapy water. Many pumps can be placed in the dishwasher, which can help sanitize the pump completely after a full day’s use.

Cleaning Process

When using an electric pump, it’s a good idea to leave the pump running for a couple minutes after pumping once the tubing has been disconnected. Next, turn off the machine, disassemble the pump, and rinse the parts to remove remaining milk. Then, wash each part in soapy water, and if desired, sanitize using boiling water or steam bags. If possible, allow the parts to air dry before reassembling.