Is It Safe to Share Breast Pumps?
Single user breast pumps or open system breast pumps are not meant to be re-used or shared by other moms.
While many moms may think that sterilization and changing of tubing and breast shields of used pump can protect them from infection, the truth is that, there is high chance of contamination risk.
That said there are pumps which are Hospital grade or closed system which can be sold, rented and shared among other moms if some precautions are taken.
In this article, I will share the reasons why you shouldn't share breast pumps which are open system pumps or meant for personal use.
Infection Risk: Open vs. Closed system
Pump with Open systems have a disadvantage when it comes to hygiene and contamination risk.
They are designed in such a way that there is a likelihood of milk from milk collection units (breast shields and tubing) getting in touch with the pump unit due to the absence of barrier. Long term neglect can also result in mold build up.
Another problem is that the breast milk comes in contact with air and hence can get contamination by dust particles, airborne microorganisms and other environmental pollutants.
Since, the pump cannot be cleaned or sterilized, milk can get deposited in and around the pump.
This poses a considerable infection risk for both mom and the child. So if you ask can an open system breast be reused, the answer is a NO.
With this mind, used open system electric breast pumps such as Medela Pump In Style Advanced and Freestyle cannot be reused or rented.
In fact companies like Medela specifically state that their breast pumps such as Medela PISA are single user products and should not be shared, resold or lent among multiple users. Read more here at Medela website
FDA also strongly suggests that if the breast pump cannot be properly sterilized then they should not be used by different mothers. This effectively rules out reuse of open system breast pumps.
Closed system pump has a protective barrier between the milk collection unit and the pump unit which prevents any risk of milk contamination or milk build-up in the pump unit.
Such pumps like Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump, Philips AVENT Double Electric Comfort Breast Pump and Spectra Baby USA S1 Hospital Grade Electric Breast Pump are safe to be reused provided all parts are properly sterilized, new tubings and breast shields are used.
Electric Breast Pump Performance: Personal use vs. Hospital grade/ Rental Pumps
Hospital grade electric breast pumps are meant to be used and shared among many mothers. Therefore, they are a workhorse.
Their pump is much more powerful and durable. The parts are meant to last longer.
Hospital grade or rental pumps run for years with minimal maintenance and replacements.
On the other hand, personal pumps are usually built to last almost 1 year of usage. A mom will typically use is 2-3 times per day over a year.
If someone shares with another mom, then it is obvious that the pumps life will be reduced accordingly.
If you intend to buy a used a pump, then there is a big probability that it may conk off very shortly and you will need to buy a brand new pump again.
There is a one year warranty on personal pumps so in all likelihood, your second hand pump is either out of warranty or will soon be.
The pump also loses its strength over a period of time, so that old pump that you may buy may not be as efficient as the new one thus compromising your baby’s milk supply and your health.
Less efficiency also means more pumping time and more distress on your breasts.
One point to remember is that all closed system pumps are not necessarily hospital grade or for multiple users. The performance of single user closed system pumps is neither powerful enough nor intended for heavy usage. The warranty may be void of resold or shared.
Commonsense dictates that it is better to buy a new breast pump for personal use rather than risk your money, health and time on a used breast pump.
Author: Marissa Claire
Hi, I am Marissa. I am a wife of a very supportive husband and mother 3 precious kids. Even though my life is not picture perfect, I have too many blessings to be counted. I am an ordinary mom who has been through some tough times.
I have tried to collate the best information available and write personal & real reviews for the benefits of parents who are confused with the plethora of breast pumps available. I have made an effort to steer clear of technical jargons and used layman language which is understood by people like us.
Tags: breast pumps, close system breast pump, hospital grade breast pump, Is It Safe to Share Breast Pumps, open system breast pump
Categorised in: Guide