Hygiene before, during and after pumping is very important to keep the pumped breast milk safe for your baby. That's why we think it's important to explain to you step by step how to best clean and disinfect your breast pump. Once you have mastered the art of cleaning the breast pump, it will become automatic. After all, this is about the health of your little one. Do you still need tips & tricks to clean your breast pump? Then we have good news, because you can read them in this blog.
In addition to the importance of cleaning and drying the parts of the breast pump before you start and when you are done pumping, it is also important to be strict about your own hygiene. Therefore, wash your hands before each pumping session. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap for 20 seconds and then dry them well with a clean towel. You do not need to wash your breasts, unless they are smeared with something of a cream or cosmetic that is not suitable when you are breastfeeding or pumping. In that case, we do recommend that you clean your breasts briefly before you start pumping (FDA, 2018).
Make sure you are in a room where you can pump in peace, have enough privacy and that has a pleasant temperature. Make yourself comfortable by sitting comfortably in a nice chair or sofa. To monitor the quality of the breast milk, a refrigerator should be present to keep the pumped milk at the correct temperature. Also, a tap to wash your hands and clean the breast pump after use is not a luxury (FNV, s.d.)
Cleaning the breast pump
Preferably, immediately after pumping, wash off the pump and all accessories - such as bottles, vacuum valves, diaphragms and breast shields - that have come into contact with your breast or the milk. We've put together a cleaning step-by-step plan below to make it simple and straightforward for you:
- Rinse the pump and accessories with tap water (about 20°C). This will remove any milk residue left behind.
- Then wash the flask and its parts thoroughly with warm water (about 30°C), also use dishwashing soap.
- Rinse the flask and parts again. Do this for about 15 to 20 seconds. Take great care to remove all soap residue.
- Dry the flask and parts with a clean tea towel, or leave them in the dish rack to dry.
- Do you have a dishwasher? Lucky you, then you can skip steps 1 through 3. Because the hard plastic parts can also be placed in the dishwasher. Tip: Put the small parts in the cutlery basket. Note: Do still rinse the flask and let it dry thoroughly.
Notice: the hoses of the flask should not be cleaned with soap only with water and should only be connected to the flask when they are dry. In this way, the flask maintains its quality; moisture can cause the flask to break down (FDA, 2018).
Disinfecting the breast pump
Don't fret, but you're not done yet. It is important to disinfect the parts daily in addition to washing them. Every pump is different, so read the instruction manual carefully so that you follow the way recommended by the manufacturer of the breast pump you are using. Chances are you will be using one of the following ways:
- Cooking - Place all the parts in a large saucepan with enough water. Bring to a boil and cook the parts for up to five minutes. Notice: All parts must be submerged in the water. Also, the parts should not be jammed against the wall of the pan and stand by them at all times.
- Microwave - often you need to place the parts in a special disinfection bag or mane roller serilizer.
- Steaming - do you have an electric steam sterilizer? Place the parts face down in the steam sterilizer.
- Sterilizing fluid or tablets - you must dilute these agents with water and then immerse the parts in the solution for at least 30 minutes. Discard the solution after use.
Let the parts wash out for about five minutes. After cooling, you can store the parts in a clean and dry place or under a clean tea towel. Make sure the parts are completely dry before using the pump, this can cause damage to the breast pump. Again: read the instructions for use to determine which method of disinfection works best for your breast pump.
How often should you clean the breast pump?
You should clean the breast pump at least once a day. Therefore, sterilize all pump parts that come into contact with milk daily until your baby is six months old. After those six months, once a week is sufficient. If you put the parts wet in the fridge between pumping during the day, you will not have to wash the parts in between. Preheat the parts under the tap when using (La Leche League, 2009)
This is the only way to ensure the quality of your breast pump and that the breast milk is safe and it can also be stored safely for your baby. Do you have any handy tips for cleaning your breast pump that you would like to share with our NutureGoods community? Let us know in the comments.
FDA. (2018, February 4). Using a Breast Pump. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed April 9, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/breast-pumps/using-breast-pump
FNV. (s.d.). Breastfeeding and pumping at work - FNV. Accessed April 9, 2022, from https://www.fnv.nl/werk-inkomen/zwanger-ouderschap/borstvoeding-en-kolven-op-je-werk
Handbook of Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding organization. Veltman Publishers 2009. Accessed April 9, 2022.