Tips on how to clean breast pump parts
Providing breast milk is one of the best things you can do for your baby’s health and development. But for breastfeeding moms who pump several times a day, having to clean pump parts and bottles after every session can feel like a legit part-time job.
It is however essential to regularly wash and sanitize your breast pump for a safe pumping experience as germs can grow quickly in breast milk and any breast milk residue that remains.
Here are some tips on how to properly clean your breast pump and how to make the process quicker for busy mamas.
What breast pump parts do I clean?
Every part of the breast pump that comes in contact with your breast or milk should be thoroughly cleaned after each use – including flanges, valves, membranes, connectors, breast milk bottles, and bottle lids. This helps you avoid dried breast milk residue and prevents the growth of bacteria.
When used correctly, the breast pump tubing does not touch the pumped milk and does not need to be cleaned regularly.
How do I clean pump parts?
You should always check the pump’s instruction manual for specific information on how to keep your pump clean. Soon after pumping, you should wash pump parts in one of the following ways:
Clean by hand:
Place pump parts in a clean wash basin used only for washing infant feeding equipment. Do not place pump parts directly in the sink because it is full of germs and could contaminate the pump.
1- Fill wash basin with hot water and safe baby dish soap.
2- Scrub all parts with a brush that is only used to clean infant feeding equipment.
3- Rinse parts thoroughly under hot water.
4- Place all pump parts, washbasin, and bottle brush on a clean dish towel or drying rack and allow them to air-dry.
Clean in a dishwasher:
1- Place disassembled pump parts in the dishwasher. Make sure to place small ones into a closed-top basket or mesh laundry bag so they don’t end up in the dishwasher filter.
2- Remove all parts from the dishwasher and store cleaned parts well. If items are not completely dry, place items on a clean dish towel or drying rack and allow them to air-dry thoroughly before storing.
Pro tip 1: When you don’t have time to clean your pump parts between pumping sessions, place your pump parts (rinsed or not, or wiped down with breast milk wipes) in a resealable ziplock plastic bag and put them in the fridge or a cooler filled with gel packs until your next pumping session. After four uses, wash pump parts and let everything air dry.
Pro tip 2: Get back-up pump parts. When you have a newborn, you don’t always have time to keep everything washed and ready. Having an extra set of parts will save you so much time and headache. Plus, you never know when a part could give out.
Pro tip 3: If the tubing has milk inside, wash it in warm water, and make sure you hang it to air dry before attaching it to your breast pump. If small water drops appear in the tubing after pumping, disconnect the tubing from the flanges but leave it connected to the battery, and turn the pump on for a few more minutes until the tubing is dry.
How to sterilize pump parts?
For extra germ removal, it is recommended to sanitize pump parts at least once daily. Sanitizing is especially necessary if your baby is less than three months old, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system. If your child is older and healthy, sanitizing weekly is fine, according to the CDC.
Sanitize all parts, bottles, bottle brush, and washbasin by using one of the following options:
1- Place disassembled parts that are safe to boil into a pot.
2- Cover with water and bring to a boil for at least 5 minutes to kill any pesky germs that made it through washing.
3- Remove items with clean tongs and let them air-dry.
1- Use a microwave or plug-in steam system and follow their instructions.
Pro tip: Many brands offer great quick-clean microwave steam bags. These are convenient when you’re in a hurry or if you go back to work early.
If your baby was born prematurely or has other health concerns, your baby’s health care provider may have more recommendations for cleaning your breast pump kit. Additionally, let’s keep in mind that in the era of COVID-19, everything requires a little extra care and cleaning, even more for babies who were not born full-term or have a fragile immune system!
Let us know if you try these cleaning tips, and share more with us! If you want to learn more about pumping for new moms, check out our other blog titled - Pumping 101 for new moms.