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How to Clean Breast Pumps

Breast pumps have come to be a boon for mothers of this day and age. And while this fact stands true, one important factor that has to be given its full due is the cleaning of breast pumps. This is what ensures hygiene and works to keeping infections away. In this article, we will focus on some of the ways in which this can be carried out.
AptParenting Staff
That breast milk is the best choice that mothers can make for their newborns is not a novel concept. Breast milk allows for certain specialized nutrients to the baby, which are impossible to be provided by any external product. With so much importance being given to breast milk, the introduction of breast pumps has come forth as a boon for most mothers.

What are breast pumps and why are they used?

Breast pumps are devices which are used for the extraction of breast milk from a lactating woman. These can either be manual or electric. There are several reasons for why breast pumps are used and women take to learning how to use a breast pump. The most common being that a baby can continue to reap the benefits of the breast milk even after the woman is no longer physically available to breastfeed him. Other than that, breast pumps are also used for stimulation of the breasts of women who have low milk supply and is done in order to increase breast milk supply. Alternately, some women lactate so much that the breasts become engorged with milk and the baby cannot latch on to the breasts. When the excess milk is therefore expended, it helps for the baby to normally breastfeed or use the milk from the pump. Other than these reasons, expelling of the milk that has been rendered unfit for consumption due to medication usage can also be done with the help of a breast pump.

Cleaning a Breast Pump and its Importance

While breast pumps could be used for a number of reasons, the most important factor that has to be undertaken is that of maintaining the hygiene and sanitation of the pump by using proper means of cleaning it. How to clean breast pumps so that it eliminates all instances of the mother or the baby getting an infection is what needs to be highlighted. In the following section, we will be looking through some of the ways to clean breast pump parts and accessories.

How to Clean a Used Breast Pump - Methods

As we said earlier, breast pumps need to be thoroughly cleaned so that there is no risk of an infection coming through. How does an infection come through? This can happen when the milk dries in the pump and can develop fungal growth, which then leads to infections in the baby. Another reason for why an infection can come about is when the mother or the baby have oral thrush. That is why, the act of cleaning a breast pump should not be neglected. In the following section, we will go through the ways and methods of cleaning breast pumps effectively.

Step # 1 - Detaching the Parts
A breast pump contains several parts and it is needed that all of these be cleaned thoroughly. Look through the manual provided to check for all the parts and then detach them one by one.

Step # 2 - Cleaning with Soap and Warm Water
Washing of these parts should be undertaken as soon as the extraction is done. The faster you take it up, the lesser the chances of bacterial growth or mold are. If it is not possible to get to the washing soon, then one must at least soak the breast pump parts in warm soapy water. Ensure that the soap has no chemical residue that can produce a layer on the parts. When the parts have been soaked for some time, use a soft cloth to wash through each part thoroughly. This includes taking into consideration every nook and crevice of the pump. The usage of scrubbing too hard with an abrasive brush is discouraged because it can cause harm to the varied parts of the pump.

Step # 3 - Cleaning the Tubing
The tubing of the breast pump should also be cleaned thoroughly. The tubes are a little tricky to clean because one cannot manually reach them. How to clean a breast pump tubing? One can soak these tubes in warm soapy water (ensure that there are no harsh chemicals) and then flush these with plain warm water a couple of times to remove all traces of milk.

Step # 4 - Drying the Parts
It is extremely important that you allow all the breast pump parts to dry well enough. If you attach the parts while they are still laden with moisture, it could lead to fungal growth. Place all the parts on a hygienic and sanitized surface and let them air dry. Using a cloth is not encouraged because the cloth can contain bacteria, which will then get rubbed off on the pump parts. Only once they are dry should you attach the parts back. While attaching these parts, ensure that you do not touch anything that is going to come into direct contact with the milk (like the insides of the pump).

Step # 5 - Sterilizing the Parts
It is not only important to learn how to clean an electric breast pump, but is just as important to know how to sterilize it well. There are several methods that can be used for sterilizing.

Dishwasher Method - Take all the parts that are safe to be sterilized in a dishwasher and place them in the machine. Run these through a high cycle of hot water so that it does a thorough job.

Microwave Method - Determine the parts that are microwave safe and place them in the machine. Then, run them through a high temperature cycle so that all the germs and bacteria are killed. Most microwaves will sterilize the parts in hardly any time. The instruction manual will be able to guide you better in this area.

Over the Stove Method - Place all the parts in a vessel and fill with clean water. Bring to boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Then retrieve and dry.

Do not ever relegate the task of cleaning a breast pump to be anything less than what it should be - Perfect. The health of your baby, as well as yours largely depends on this very factor. Remember that. That is why learning how to clean breast pumps is just as important as learning how to use breast pumps in the first place.