Breast milk is the best food for your baby, so it’s important for women to have the best tools available to them for expressing that milk for their baby. However, it’s also extremely important that breast milk isn’t contaminated in the process by a less-than-clean breast pump. To keep that from happening, we’ve written this guide on the subject. A guide that we sincerely hope will help people keep their breast pumps in the most immaculate condition possible.

Before Each Breast Pump Use

We’re going to start this guide off by going through the steps that need to be taken before even using the breast pump. Once we’ve gone through that, we’ll then have sections on what to do after use, how to sanitize the breast pump, and more information on the whole process.

Before handling the breast pump, it’s important to thoroughly wash your hands. You don’t have to use an antibacterial soap of course, but you should use a quality soap and make sure to scrub your hands with that soap for approximately 20-25 seconds.

After washing your hands, assemble the clean breast pump kit. As you’re putting it together, make sure to inspect every individual piece to make sure that mold hasn’t accumulated in the tubing while it was being stored. If there is grime or mold in the tube, then replace the tube immediately with a new one and throw the soiled one away.

If more than one person is using the same pump (with different tubing, of course), it’s important for each person to wipe down the exterior of the pump before use. This entails using a disinfectant wipe on the power switch, the exterior housing, and the pump dials. After wiping it, make sure to re-wash your hands to prevent contamination.

After Each Breast Pump Use

The next step in our process of properly using a breast pump is the steps you should take after using the pump to prevent the milk from being contaminated. The following steps are recommended by the CDC to protect children from getting ill from milk contaminated by incorrect breast pump procedures or a dirty pump.

Properly Store The Milk

The first step is to make sure that the milk gets properly stored. After expressing the milk, seal the collection bag or cap the milk collection bottle and immediately label it with the date and time. Once that’s done, immediately place it into the freezer, the refrigerator, or pack it into a cooler with sufficient ice packs to keep it cold. If the milk is going to be stored someplace where other people are also storing milk, such as a childcare facility or a hospital, then it’s important to label the milk with the child’s name as well as the date and time.

Wipe Down The Pumping Area

This is especially important if you’re pumping in a shared pumping area. Using a disinfectant wipe, carefully wipe down the exterior of the machine, the dials, the powers witch, and the countertop on which the pump sits.

Take The Pump Kit Apart

After wiping down the pump, remove all of the parts that come into contact with either your breast and/or the breast milk. This includes all of the membranes, flanges, tubing, and connectors. As those parts are removed, carefully inspect them for signs of damage or wear.

Clean The Pump Kit Immediately

As soon as possible after pumping, the pump kit should be cleaned. This should be done either by washing it in a sink with soap and water or by washing it in a dishwasher according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If cleaning the pump kit by hand, make sure to afterward clean the sink and the bottle brush that was used to clean it.

Sanitize Daily For Added Safety

To ensure that the pump kit is as clean as possible, it’s important to make sure to sanitize the pump kit at least once per day. This is especially important if the baby is under 4-months of age, has a weakened immune system due to an illness or certain medical treatments, or if the child was born prematurely. However, if the child is older, is of a healthy weight, and isn’t suffering from any preexisting conditions, then it might not be necessary to sanitize the pump kit on a daily basis. With that said, below are the steps for properly sanitizing your breast pump kit.

Step One: Clean Everything First

Before sanitizing everything, it’s important to clean all of the brushes, washbasins, bottle brushes, and pump parts with soapy water. They can only be sanitized once they have been fully cleaned.

Step Two: Sanitize The Pump Kit

The bottle brushes, washbasin, and pump kit should be sanitized using one of two different methods. The two approved methods for sanitizing these pieces is by either using a steam sanitizing method or a boiling sanitizing method. Let’s examine each of these methods below.

Steam Sanitizing 

This method uses a plug-in steam system. Make sure that you follow the directions of that steamer fully to make sure that you properly sanitize the pump parts and pump cleaning tools.

Boil Sanitizing

This method is simple but quite effective. All you have to do is to place the parts of the pump and tools that are safe to boil in a pot and cover it with sufficient water to cover them. Then bring the pot of water to a boil and once it has reached a boil, allow it to boil for at least 5-minutes but no longer than 7-minutes. Then using a pair of clean tongs, remove the items from the boiling water and place it on a sanitized surface. Allow the items to air-dry.

Do not dry the items off with a towel because you’ll only transfer bacteria from the towel to the items you just sanitized. Once the items are completely dry, wash your hands again and then reassemble all of the pump parts. When that’s done, place the breast pump kit in a safe, clean area.