Breast Pump Hygiene

Open and Closed Breast Pump systems infographic

Open System Breast Pumps

Open system pumps do not have a barrier between the parts where the milk is collected and the pump’s tubing and motor. Over time, small amounts of milk can be sucked into the tubing and even reach the pump’s motor. This makes it possible for mold, viruses and bacteria to breed and potentially contaminate breastmilk. Thoroughly cleaning the pump by removing the faceplate and regularly sterilizing the tubing can help prevent harmful substances from building up in open system pumps.

Closed System Breast Pumps

Closed system breast pumps have a barrier preventing any milk from getting into the pump’s tubing or motor. For this reason they are thought to be more hygienic and require less maintenance to keep clean.

Multiple-User Breast Pumps vs. Single-User Breast Pumps

Multiple-user pumps are designed with closed systems so they can be used by more than one person without fear of transmitting disease. A mom using a multiple-user pump will, however, need her own milk collection kit (flanges, bottles, valves and membranes, bottles, and tubing) to protect from any contamination from the previous user.

The FDA says it is not safe to borrow or buy a used single-user (open system) pump, even from a family member or close friend, because it might harbor dangerous viruses the user didn’t even know she had.

How Do You Clean a Breast Pump?

Understanding what goes into cleaning a breast pump will prepare you to help customers select the products they need to make the routine as easy as possible. Because proper sanitizing is essential for keeping baby safe, new moms should consult their owners manuals regarding cleaning instructions.



Quick Clean Products

No new mom has time to wait for boiling water and long dishwasher cycles. Medela Quick Clean products make it easy to sanitize breast pump parts in minutes. Quick Steam Bags make pump parts completely safe for baby by microwaving them with a little bit of water while Quick Clean Wipes sanitize with the simple swipe of a cloth. Recommend the bags for use at home and the disposable wipes for cleaning on the go.