How can I sterilize a used breast pump? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 06-03-2007, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My MIL purchased a used breast pump for me off ebay (it's an electric Ameda Purely Yours). I have read somewhere it is not safe to reuse someone's breast pump. Is this true? Is there a way to sterilize the equipment? It looks very clean and like it was taken very good care of. Any suggestions? TIA

Married to my wonderful DH; Mama to DS born 6-07 and 4 in heaven brokenheart.gif1-06 (7 weeks) brokenheart.gif1-10 (6 weeks) and our twins 5-11, brokenheart.gifone sweet boy (17 weeks) and brokenheart.gifone precious baby girl (18 1/2 weeks).

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#2 of 18 Old 06-03-2007, 01:10 PM
 
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Boil it .

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#3 of 18 Old 06-03-2007, 01:23 PM
 
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I'll double check, but I don't think the PY is a closed system pump. That means that milk could have splashed in to the motor leading to mold and mildew in a best case sceneraio. There is also a possibility of diseases being passed on to your child from a used pump. Here is a bunch of info on pumps at kellymom http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/bf-links-pumps.html and a couple direct links on why a used pump probably isn't safe http://parenting.ivillage.com/newbor...,,9kdb,00.html and http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/pumps.shtml

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#4 of 18 Old 06-03-2007, 01:25 PM
 
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Or steam sterilize it. Is it a fully manual pump?

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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#5 of 18 Old 06-04-2007, 02:53 PM
 
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I have a PY and I don't see how milk could possibly back up into the motor. The instruction manual doesn't even have you sterilize the tubing because the milk is not supposed to be able to reach it.

I would order a new Hygienikit (That is what they call the tubing) and new horns, etc. I think it is the motor that is the expensive part, so use the old motor with new accessories.

Edited my post because I just checked online - PY *is* a closed system pump, so hygiene-wise the motor is safe to reuse.

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#6 of 18 Old 06-04-2007, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by s_kristina View Post
I checked the above link and it says the Ameda Purely Yours is classified by the FDA as a single user pump, meaning it is NOT a closed pump. I'm so confused! Just doing some quick research it looks like the danger is if any milk gets splashed onto the motor or if there are airborn pathogens that come to rest and set up shop inside the motor that is potentially dangerous. Although I still don't see how it could possibly get into my milk from the motor.

Pinksprklybarefoot (what a cute name ), where did you see online that the PY is a closed pump? Maybe the site I looked at was mistaken.

Married to my wonderful DH; Mama to DS born 6-07 and 4 in heaven brokenheart.gif1-06 (7 weeks) brokenheart.gif1-10 (6 weeks) and our twins 5-11, brokenheart.gifone sweet boy (17 weeks) and brokenheart.gifone precious baby girl (18 1/2 weeks).

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#7 of 18 Old 06-05-2007, 11:08 AM
 
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bstandlee,
I can't find a specific link for this but my understanding is that while all multiple user pumps are "closed systems", what determines their FDA multiple user status is the fact that their motors can be sterilized.

The Ameda Hollister "Purely Yours (PY)" is a closed system by virtue of its "Hygenikit" collection kit.

http://www.hollister.com/us/mbc/brea...g/default.html "The kit’s unique silicone diaphragm acts as a barrier, separating the user from the suction source. This helps ensure milk purity by preventing contaminants from coming in contact with collected breast milk and prevents milk back-up so tubing and pump require little to no maintenance."

So, the question is, why bother with a closed system for a single user product? The first thing that comes to mind is thrush (yeast infections) or any other sort of treatable infection that could possibly recur due to a contaminated pump. Also, unlike with the Medela pumps, you shouldn't have to dry the tubes out. Which saves precious time on the pumping routine. This is especially important for Moms pumping in the work place.

As stringent as the FDA's sterilization requirement for mulitple user pumps may seem, it makes sense to me because the silicone diaphragm probably isn't completely fool proof. Additionally, the diaphragm isn't going to do any good if milk gets spilled on the end of the tubing, or even on the motor itself where the tubing connects, during the disassembly process. That milk (and any pathogens) could get drawn into the motor and remain there until a subsequent Mom goes to use it.

Since the subsequent user should also be using a Hygenikit the chances may seem slim that the milk and any pathogens would back up into "Hygenikit" but they could back up into the tubing which the subsequent user would be handling just before pumping. So while the risk seems remote, there is a possiblity that a subsequent user, and her baby, could become infected with something potentially serious such as HIV, Hepatitis, etc.

I would use the same standard for used pumps and donor milk that I would an unscreened blood donation. If it didn't come from a close family member with a clean medical history I wouldn't use it.

I realize that this is a gift and you don't want it to go to waste. If it's any consolation, the Hygenikit itself can be sterizilized. So if you wind up getting a PY you could keep the used Hygenikit for spare parts. However, I would get rid of the small silicone parts (valve/membrane and diaphragm) and the tubing. The small parts are susceptible to micro tears, it's probably more cost effective to simply replace those. I'm not sure the tubing is supposed to be sterilized. I think they melt or get discolored so you can't easily see if there is any moisture in them.

The bottles and the white plastic cap can be boiled for 20 minutes or so.

HTH, ~Cath
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#8 of 18 Old 06-05-2007, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok I understand it a bit better now. It sounds like it's a pretty slim chance of contamination but the risk is still there...the whole thought of reusing a stranger's pump kind of grosses me out anyway, even if I bought the hygenikit (which I would definitely do).

But I do have a manual pump from a very close friend. That seems like it coule be completely sterilized or new parts bought for, right? I think I'll just try that out and see what my pumping needs are. I don't work outside the home so pumping will mainly be for backup and for when I'm away from Baby (which I don't anticipate for several weeks at least). I would still much rather pay full price for a new pump that I choose (MIL didn't ask me, but her intentions were good!) than pay for formula if I don't have to

Married to my wonderful DH; Mama to DS born 6-07 and 4 in heaven brokenheart.gif1-06 (7 weeks) brokenheart.gif1-10 (6 weeks) and our twins 5-11, brokenheart.gifone sweet boy (17 weeks) and brokenheart.gifone precious baby girl (18 1/2 weeks).

In the middle of our adoption journey and are excitedly waiting to get matched with a birth mom

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#9 of 18 Old 06-05-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
I have a PY and I don't see how milk could possibly back up into the motor. The instruction manual doesn't even have you sterilize the tubing because the milk is not supposed to be able to reach it.

I would order a new Hygienikit (That is what they call the tubing) and new horns, etc. I think it is the motor that is the expensive part, so use the old motor with new accessories.

Edited my post because I just checked online - PY *is* a closed system pump, so hygiene-wise the motor is safe to reuse.
I have one also and can't see how milk could get anywhere past the horns it would also be next to impossible to get milk in the tubing and if you get it in the motor what exactly did you do, pour it in?

I would get the new Hygienikit, use the pump and thank my MIL for thinking of me.
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#10 of 18 Old 06-05-2007, 10:16 PM
 
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I had a PY and passed it to my SIL. With a new kit (tubes, hornes, valves, etc.) I don't see any chance of contamination. I think the single user things means it's not able to be a rental like a lactina. Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it, but it's your decision.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#11 of 18 Old 06-06-2007, 10:53 AM
 
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bstandlee,
It is also important to note that the motors for single user pumps are generally guaranteed for only one year. Because the suction and speed decrease over time they can compromise a Mom's milk supply especially for Working & Pumping Moms or Exclusively Pumping Moms.

shelbean91,
I agree that from the original user's perspective it makes perfect sense to give someone else the pump. After all, you wouldn't be nursing your own baby if you knew there was a problem with your milk. But then again the original user knows her own medical history and hopefully that of her partner.

However, you can't be so certain about the history of a pump you get on Ebay or Craig's List. Not to mention that it is possible that someone who has no reason to think their milk is unhealthy to be wrong.

As far as the unlikelihood of the infected milk getting into the motor (especially with the Ameda PY), I guess the question I would ask is whether you would be willing to use a pump from someone you knew had HIV or Hepatitis, or Thrush for that matter. (If you've ever battled Thrush with a newborn you'll know what I mean). To me the remote chance of catching something isn't worth saving $150.00 - $300.00.

I am about as frugal as they come and I did get a used pump from my sister. However, it was almost 10 years old at the time and aside from the fact that I completely trusted her "history" (medical and otherwise), I felt that after 10 years even if there were any pathogens they would have long since died.

Additionally, although it was a Medela DH rigged an Ameda Hygenikit to fit it.

I believe it did wind up costing me though since with the benefit of hindsight I now know the motor was tired and I'm pretty sure that it affected my supply as a Working and Pumping mom.

JMO, ~Cath
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#12 of 18 Old 06-06-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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Not to Hijack the thread, but has anyone had any personal experiences with a baby or mom getting sick due to a used breast pump?

I am personally skeptical of the actual dangers involved. I think it is convenient for the companies to have this safety information pressuring women to buy brand new breast pumps. I can definitely see a financial motivation to exaggerate the risk of buying a single user pump second hand.

The only information that I have every found just says that it is dangerous etc...but never have I read about a baby getting sick or anything.


I have been wondering a lot about this as I am probably going to buy one this winter. I normally buy just about everything used, but I don't want to put myself or my baby at risk.


But I also don't want to spend a bunch of extra money just because their is a .001 in bazillion chance that my baby might get sick from it.


What are the chances of actually contracting an illness from a used breast pump?


I would imagine much much smaller than your chances of contracting something from a public toilet...kwim?
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#13 of 18 Old 06-06-2007, 01:21 PM
 
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Do not use a used breast pump unless it was a closed system pump which only the rental or hospital grade pumps are. There could be God knows what in the milk mist. It's like using some stranger's toothbrush on your baby.
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#14 of 18 Old 06-06-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamaboobaAES View Post
Do not use a used breast pump unless it was a closed system pump which only the rental or hospital grade pumps are. There could be God knows what in the milk mist. It's like using some stranger's toothbrush on your baby.
Thanks for being so succinct, I know that important info can sometimes get drowned out by detail. But for the sake of clarity, I don't think it's enough that the pump have a "closed system". As discussed in some of the earlier posts, you need to be able to sterilize the motor.

Dubfam,
I very much doubt there is a **documented** case of anyone catching something from a used pump. But however theoretical the chance might seem it can't be worth the one in one hundred thousand or one in a million chance that it could happen.

Decent people catch diseases through no fault of their own every day. Sometimes all it takes is a significant other that strays once or twice. Some of these "decent" people are nursing Moms. It takes time to realize they are infected. In the meanwhile they continue to nurse and pump. Some are sloppier than others when collecting their milk and some of it must get in the tubes &/or in the motors directly.

Some of these Moms with contaminated motors give away or sell their pumps. After all they spent $150.00 to $300.00 and they would like to recoup part of their money or at least see a friend put it to good use. For a friend of theirs taking the pump is a no-brainer, after all their friend is a "decent" person with a "decent" significant other. And for someone buying a pump from stranger the risk still seems remote, after all they wouldn't have nursed their own baby if their milk was unhealthy.

But as this scenario illustrates, not everyone knows that they are infected.

To put this in perspective I'll pose an extreme hypothetical. You give a used pump to a friend. Shortly after you are diagnosed with hepatitis. Not that it matters for the sake of this hypothetical, but you have no idea how you got it. The question becomes would you feel obligated to tell the friend so that she can discontinue using the pump and possibly so that she and her baby can get tested just to make sure they aren't infected? If the answer is yes, or maybe, then you realize that no matter how remote the chance is that it is at least theoretically possible to get a blood born disease from a used pump. If that's the case you have to ask how much you would be willing to pay to avoid that possibility. I'm thinking $150.00 to $300.00 is about right.

Not that I'm a great defender of big business in general or pump manufacturers in particular, but I believe it is the FDA that determines the criteria for single or multiple use pumps. Certainly they could stop making single user pumps but then every mom would be paying much more for hospital grade, multiple user pumps; or going through the hassle of trying to find a good used one and still be paying more than they would for a single user pump. I'm not even sure how portable multiple user pumps are so they may be impractical for working moms.

I myself had a used pump from my sister and I am as certain as I can be that her milk was healthy, but knowing what I now know I'm not sure I would do it again.

Anywho, JMO.
~Cath
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#15 of 18 Old 06-07-2007, 03:28 PM
 
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I went to a training on pumps last night and the LC was very clear that she would recommend against a used pump. Not only are (almost all) intended for single users most are not meant to last over the time period a single user would need. I guess many mamas who have older/used pumps have problems with like not having correct/good suction?
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#16 of 18 Old 06-08-2007, 11:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by quirkylayne View Post
...I guess many mamas who have older/used pumps have problems with like not having correct/good suction?
Quirkylane,
Yes. In the short term this means the mother may struggle to produce enough milk. In the long term this means reduced "demand" on the Mom and ultimately reduced "supply". As I mentioned earlier, this is especially problematic for Working and Pumping moms and Exclusively Pumping Moms but even for stay at home moms it can undermine the perception of how much milk she has, even if she understands that a pump is less effective than a baby at milk removal.
~Cath
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#17 of 18 Old 06-08-2007, 11:43 AM
 
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Just out of curiosity - If you have a second baby, then do you have to go buy another breast pump? Because they are made so crappily that they only work for a year? Those suckers are not cheap. :

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#18 of 18 Old 06-08-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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If you go on Ebay, they have replacement tubing, breastshields and other stuff for the Ameda pump, so you can get new stuff, but still use the pump motor/base.

In the meantime, I guess you could boil it a couple of times to try and kill any germs that might be on the breastshield and bottles.

Jessie
(single mommy to Emma, 3 years and Angela, 2 years and Daisy, our 7 year old

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