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How To Clean Your Breast Pump - Complete Guide

How To Clean Your Breast Pump - Complete Guide

Apria Editorial |

Being a new mom means an overwhelming amount of new routines to adapt to. This is why ApriaHome understands the importance of helping you master the fundamentals of cleaning your breast pump and breast milk equipment.

Find out how to clean your breast pump safely, whether at home, at work, or on the go, with this in-depth breast pump cleaning guide!

Life gets busy and when you are unable to feed your baby personally, expressed breast milk is undeniably the best alternative. Breast milk provides all of the necessary nourishment needed for healthy infant development. However, knowing when and how to clean and sanitize breast pump components between usage is essential to ensure that your breastmilk is safe for storage and consumption.

By mastering the basics of cleaning breast pumps and breast milk equipment, you'll ensure you have an adequate breast milk supply that can be stored for up to 6 months if needed.

Being a new mom means an overwhelming amount of new routines to adapt to. This is why ApriaHome understands the importance of helping you master the fundamentals of cleaning your breast pump and breast milk equipment.

Find out how to clean your breast pump safely, whether at home, at work, or on the go, with this in-depth breast pump cleaning guide!

How To Clean Your Breast Pump Properly?

One of the most beneficial things for a baby's health and growth is breast milk, which is best achieved with a breast pump when you cannot feed baby directly. However, breast milk or milk residue left behind on the pump and its components will promote rapid bacterial growth. If you follow these instructions, you can prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and infections in your breast pump and, ultimately, to your baby. For preterm babies, there will usually be an extra set of guidelines to adhere to as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Before & After Use:

  • Always wash your hands before use. You should take a full 20 seconds to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Disassemble and inspect your equipment. Separate any components of the breast pump tubing that come into touch with the breast/breast milk, for example, connectors, flanges, valves, and collection bottles.
  • Inspect to see whether the pump kit or tubing has become moldy or dirty during storage. If your tubing is moldy, replace it right away.
  • Cap the milk collection bottle or seal the milk collection bag, mark it with the date and time, and place it in cold storage or refrigerator immediately. Remember to label appropriately if storing at daycare or in a public refrigeration space.
  • Keep the pumping area clean. Wipe down all dials, switches, and surfaces with disinfectant wipes.

Breast Pump Cleaning Guidelines:

You can clean the breast pump in two ways:

  • Dishwasher: Each component may be washed separately on the top rack of the dishwasher before being set aside to dry. NB: Discoloration from the dishwasher is not detrimental to the functionality of your breast pump components. A separate sanitizing step is not required if your dishwasher utilizes hot water or features a disinfection function or a heating drying.
  • Wash Basin: You can use a large bowl or wash basin in the sink to clean the components of your breast pump, but be careful to keep them from coming into direct contact with the sink itself. Use a mild fragrance-free soap and a clean dish towel or gentle brush to scrub each component, then rinse them all in clean water. Alternatively, you can use a fragrance-free sanitizing wipe.

Whichever way you choose to clean your breast pump and its disassembled components, ensure you are leaving them on a clean surface/towel to dry. Inspect equipment thoroughly to ensure there is no water residue left behind.

Cleaning Breast Pump Tubing And Components

Breast shields, breast milk bottles, valves, membranes, and connections should all be washed thoroughly after each usage, as well as any other parts of the breast pump that came into contact with your breast or the milk. Washing them eliminates the potential for bacterial development from any dried breast milk residue.

Unless the tube of your breast pump comes into direct contact with breastmilk, you don't need to clean it. When cleaning the tubing for your breast pump, remember to let it dry completely before reattaching it to the device. If you notice condensation forming in the tubing after you have pumped, you should run the pump for a few minutes to dry it off.

If you notice any residue or moisture within the tubing, it must be cleaned thoroughly.

  • Rinse the tubing thoroughly to remove any breast milk residue.
  • Then clean the tubing using warm soapy water.
  • Rinse the tubing once more using cold, clear water.
  • Ensure all water residue is thoroughly shaken out of the tubing.
  • Hang the tubing up to dry before reattaching it to the device.

If the tubing has not dried completely before you need to express milk again, attach it to the device and allow the pump to run dry for a few seconds.

How To Sanitize Breast Pump And Parts?

Should you sterilize breast pump parts? Any components that come into touch with breast or milk should be washed in cold water first, then soaked in warm, soapy water for 5 minutes.

Pump components should be disinfected at least once every day to prevent the spread of bacteria. The cleanliness of your home is particularly crucial if your infant is less than two months old, was born prematurely, or has a compromised immune system. Use one of the following methods to disinfect your equipment.

Pump components, cleaning equipment, and wash basins should only be sanitized after being cleaned. Check the manufacturer's directions to see whether items can be steamed or boiled.

  • Steam: Place a small amount of water in a sanitization steam bag, and use the microwave's steam setting.
  • Boil: Place breast pump components and cleaning equipment in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Remove equipment using tongs.

Allow all components to air dry thoroughly after sanitization.

How To Clean Breast Pump At Work?

It is always recommended to clean your breast pump and components after each use, but at work, this can be time-consuming and cumbersome if there are inadequate facilities.

Option 1- The Fridge Hack:

The pump’s components should be kept in the refrigerator between uses and washed at the end of the day. With these breast pump cleaning hacks, bear in mind that even though this is the least complicated solution, it isn't the one that's medically advised. Breast pump components should be cleaned after each usage, as per the recommendations issued in CDC guidelines.

If using the fridge hack, you'll need a gallon-sized ziplock bag to store the pump and pump components in. Remember that your pump will feel cold to the touch when it is time to express milk again.

Option 2 - Come Prepared:

Another alternative is to prepare clean sets of breast pump components to use throughout the day. For example, 3 sterile ziplocked bags for three breast milk expression sessions throughout the workday, to sanitize them once you get home. The drawback of this method is that you will have to invest in replacement parts. It's always a good idea to keep a complete set at work so you're prepared for anything.

Cleaning Breast Milk Equipment For Pumping On The Go

Moms are always on the go, fitting breast milk expression sessions between meetings, playgroups, errands, and other obligations. There's no guarantee there will be access to the dishwasher or wash basin for cleaning breast-pumping equipment. Making sure you have a suitable portable solution with you is the best method to keep your pump components and bottles clean when on the road. Consider carrying cleaning wipes, a mild but effective cleanser, and a steam sterilization bag to store and wipe down equipment on the go.

Cleaning Breast Pump Parts While Traveling

What about expressing breastmilk in a crowded airport or an aircraft seat with limited space? While it is expected that mothers would be allowed to breastfeed or pump at airports, it is not always obvious "where" they will be able to do so. The vast majority of states safeguard a mother's freedom to breastfeed/pump anywhere, and you will be able to determine which areas offer the most convenience by enquiring at an information desk or researching beforehand.

Having a suitable portable solution with you is the best way to keep your pump components and bottles clean when traveling. When taking a trip, you may want to carry some cleaning wipes, a mild but effective cleanser, and a steam sterilization bag to store and wipe down equipment. You should aim to do a complete cleaning once a day, preferably in the evening when you have access to a wash basin and some space to dry your components.

Wash the pieces in hot water with dish soap, and then put them in the microwave for a few minutes with a small amount of water in a sterilization bag.

Breast Pump Cleaning FAQ

Do I need to clean the breast pump parts before the first use?

Before using your breast pump for the first time, make sure to wash and sterilize the components and containers to clean off any dust or residue it may have collected.

Can you use baby wipes to clean breast pump parts?

If you're a new mother, you might wonder if you can clean the components of the pump using baby wipes. To put it simply: No, you can't. Although baby wipes are wonderful and effective for various uses, they are not intended for cleaning a breast pump. These wipes contain fragrances and chemicals not suitable for infants to consume. In addition, baby wipes are designed to clean, not eliminate, bacteria.

Breast pumps must be carefully cleaned with something more powerful than a baby wipe because they come into contact with milk which can form mold and bacteria if left exposed.

How often do you need to replace breast pump parts?

Breast pump components deteriorate with use. The suction of your pump may be compromised as a result, which might lead to less milk being expressed. This is how often you should change your breast pump's components to keep your milk supply steady:

  • Duck valves: Every two to three months
  • Valve membranes: Every two to three months
  • Backflow protectors: Every three to six months
  • Breast shields: Every six months
  • Tubing: Replace if it does not fit correctly or if there is milk or moisture residue within the tubing

Give Your Baby The Best With Premium Breast Milk Items & Cleaning Equipment From ApriaHome

Pumping breast milk for your baby is a wonderful experience and an effective strategy to guarantee your infant receives enough nutrients. In addition, it's an excellent choice for ensuring your baby's healthy development.

Of course, pumping breast milk requires effort, and part of that labor, perhaps the least exciting part, is correctly, thoroughly, and consistently cleaning your breast pump and breast pump components. Proper cleaning and sanitization are essential for your and your baby's safety and well-being. However, by following these breast pump cleaning tips, it can be a breeze.

If you are new to the world of breast milk expression, you can consult our guide on how to choose a breast pump suitable for your lifestyle requirements.

Looking for the easiest breast pump to clean? In terms of affordability, convenience, portability, and functionality, our top 3 recommendations are:

ApriaHome brings convenience to the forefront with our comprehensive online medical equipment portal. We stock a range of breast pumps, breast pump components, breast pump cleaning supplies, and replacement parts. This means you can order your breast pumps and adhere to your replacement schedules all from the convenience of your home, office, or while you're on the go.

Looking for something specific? Our helpful agents are on call at (800) 780-1508 between 8:00 am - 10:00 pm EST daily. Get in touch today.


LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Material in this newsletter is only: (1) provided for general health education and informational purposes, and to provide references to other resources; it may not apply to you as an individual. While Apria believes that the information provided through this communication is accurate and reliable, Apria cannot and does not make any such guarantee. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, evaluation, diagnosis, services or treatment (collectively, "medical treatment"). Please see your healthcare provider for medical treatment related to you and your specific health condition(s). Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on or accessed through this website. Reading this newsletter should not be construed to mean that you have a healthcare provider/patient relationship with Apria.