Breast milk is one of many options for parents to feed their babies, and learning the essentials of maintaining a breast pump will make things easier. A breast pump is one of the best ways to keep a consistent source of breast milk for your baby.
However, improper pump maintenance can allow residue and potential germ buildup on the different pump parts, ruining the parts, the pump as a whole, and potentially making your child sick. Here are some tips to keep your breast pump clean so your baby can enjoy a safer feeding.
- Before Each Use
It’s crucial that you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before using or maintaining a breast pump. Once you’ve washed up, you can begin assembling your pump for use.
- After Every Use
The first thing you should do after every use is to store the milk safely. Make sure to cap or seal milk collection bottles and bags. You may also want to label them with the date, then place them in a fridge or freezer immediately so that they don’t spoil.
When it comes time to clean your breast pump, you should do so thoroughly after every use, disassembling it so that you can clean every part — this is especially important if you’re using a shared pump. Make sure to clean the following components:
- Power switch
- Backflow protectors
- Cleaning the Pump
Taking Apart and Inspecting the Pump: Take apart the breast pump and separate all parts that come into contact with the breast and breast milk. These include the flange, valves, membranes, connectors, and collection bottles.
Rinse the Pump Kit: Rinse all breast pump parts that come into contact with the breast and breast milk under running water to remove the remaining milk.
Clean the Pump Kit: Soon after pumping, clean the pump parts that come into contact with the breast and breast milk. You can use the following methods to clean your pump:
- Use a wash basin: Place the pump parts in a clean wash basin dedicated to your feeding equipment. Don’t place the pump parts directly in the sink since germs in the sink or drain could contaminate the pump.
- Add soap and water: Fill the wash basin with hot water and soap.
- Scrub the parts according to the pump manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re using a brush, use a dedicated one for your breast pump.
- Rinse the parts by holding them under running water or by submerging them in fresh water in your dedicated wash basin.
- Dry the parts: Allow the pump parts to air-dry. Place the pump parts, wash basin, and bottle brush on a clean dish towel or paper towel in an area protected from dust.
Don’t use a dish towel to rub or pat items down; this could transfer germs to the parts.
- Use a dishwasher (if recommended in care instructions):
- Place the disassembled pump parts in a dishwasher, keeping the smaller items in a closed-top basket or mesh so they don’t end up in the filter.
If possible, run your dishwasher on hot water and a heated drying cycle to kill more germs.
- Wash your hands before removing any parts from the dishwasher. If the parts aren’t completely dry after removing them, place them on a clean, unused dish towel or paper towel until they’re dried thoroughly before storing them.
As mentioned before, don’t use a dish towel to rub them dry; this could spread bacteria.
- Things to Know About Tubing Maintenance
Breast pump tubing shouldn’t need a routine cleaning, since it doesn’t come into contact with the pumped milk when used correctly. However, it’s always a good idea to keep a spare set of tubing on hand just in case your primary set is damaged.
If you notice water droplets in your tubing at the end of a pumping session, disconnect the tubing from the flange, but keep it attached to the pump. Run the pump for a few minutes until the tubing is dry.
If you notice that your tubing has mold in it, it’s best to get rid of it. Cleaning mold out of tubing can be difficult, and if you don’t get it all cleared out, your child could get sick. Use your backup set of tubing or order new ones if needed.
There are a couple of reasons you could experience mold in your tubing. It could happen if:
- You need to replace the valves or membranes.
- The tubing was attached to the pump incorrectly.
If there is mold or other debris on the outside of the tubing, you can wipe it down with a damp cloth or disinfectant wipe.
- Maintaining the Electrical Unit
A breast pump contains a ton of electrical components that help it run, so it’s important to know how to care for these parts. You should never use water or other liquids to clean a pump’s electrical components. Instead, it’s recommended that you use a clean paper towel or soft cloth after each use.
These parts shouldn’t come into contact with any breast milk, but if they do, just make sure that you clean them with caution — replacing the electrical components can be costly, and you may end up needing to replace the pump entirely if the damage is irreparable.
Invest in a High-Quality Breast Pump from Allied USA
If you’re looking for a high-quality breast pump, look no further than Allied USA. Aside from reliable medical supplies, we offer durable and effective nutritional and feeding supplies for your needs.
For many, maintaining a breast pump is an intimidating process. But clear instructions will walk you through the entire process to ensure the safety of mother and child as well as continued proper function. Know the equipment we offer comes from proven manufacturers of high-quality medical equipment, and we’re always a phone call away if you have any questions about your new equipment.
Get in touch with us today for a free quote and find the right equipment to support your child at every stage of development.