You may have heard that it is recommended to wash certain foods, such as fruits and veggies, as they can come into contact with germs. Just like with any food product, to avoid contamination, it is important that you regularly wash and sterilise products that come into contact with breast milk to ensure a healthy and safe pumping experience for both mum and baby.
However, you may have also heard that breastmilk is full of antibacterial and germ-killing substances. Does this mean that you need to sterilise your breast pump and accessories every time you use them? And, if so, how do you know that your breast pump is clean and safe to use?
Read on to find out the how’s and why’s behind the importance of keeping your breast pump and accessories clean.
How Do I Get Started with Cleaning my Breast Pump and Breast Pump Accessories?
Like with any situation where you are handling food, it is important to always wash your hands before starting. Wash your hands before touching your breasts, handling your breast pump, and cleaning parts and accessories.
Your hands come into contact with germs constantly throughout the day and cleaning them regularly is an easy way to reduce passing on any bad bacteria to your breasts or breast pump and accessories.
So, wash your hands in warm soapy water and then dry them on a clean towel. It’s that easy!
Do I Need to Clean My Breast Pump Parts Before the First Use?
Yes! After opening your products, make sure to wash and sanitise your breast pump parts and bottles before you use them for the first time.
How Often Should I Clean My Breast Pump Parts?
Unlike other breastmilk substitutes that can harbour and grow bacteria, breastmilk is alive and full of components that actually help to fight off bad bacteria. This means that you don’t need to sterilise your products every time you use them, YAY! You do, however, need to wash your breast pump parts and bottles after each use.
After disassembling the pump set into individual parts, use drinking quality, warm soapy water to rinse off any breast milk, then rinse off the suds and dry with a clean cloth or leave to air dry. By following these simple steps, you are ready to go in no time!
Once in a 24-hour period, to be on the safe side, it is recommended that you sterilise your breast pump and accessories.
What Parts of My Breast Pump Do I Need to Clean?
The quick answer is – almost everything! Every part of the breast pump that touches your breast or the milk, should be thoroughly cleaned after each use – including breast shields, breast milk bottles, bottle lids, valves, membranes, and connectors.
Wash all parts of your breast pump that come into contact with breastmilk immediately after use to avoid a build-up of milk residue and to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Wipe the motor unit with a clean, damp cloth and only wash the tubing if you see residue or condensation in it.
How Do I Wash My Breast Pump Parts?
There are two ways you can wash your breast pump parts: in the dishwasher, or your sink.
When using your dishwasher, you can clean all disassembled parts on the top rack or cutlery section of your dishwasher and allow them to air dry in a clean area. Using the dishwasher may cause your parts to become discoloured, but don’t worry – this won’t impact how they function.
You can also wash your breast pump parts in the sink – as long as you use a large bowl or washbasin reserved only for your breastfeeding supplies, and make sure never to let them directly touch the sink.
To simplify your daily cleaning routine, use Quick Clean Breast Milk Removal Soap, which helps to dissolve leftover milk residue. It’s also hypoallergenic with no added fragrance or taste so it doesn’t discourage baby from breastfeeding. Wash each part with a clean dishcloth or soft brush and rinse all separated parts with clear water.
Additionally, our Quick Clean Breast Pump and Accessory Wipes offer another easy way to clean on the go! You can wipe down the body of your breast pump with the quick clean wipes or a damp cloth- no need for soap or water!
Whether you choose to clean your pump parts in the dishwasher or sink, make sure to dry them with a clean towel or place them on a clean surface or towel and allow them to air dry. Store dry parts in a clean, cool place when not in use.
How Do I Sterilise My Breast Pump?
Every 24 hours, we recommend sterilising your parts and accessories once a day after they’ve been washed.
Using the Boiling Method to Clean Your Breast Pump
First, separate all parts that come in contact with breasts and milk. Fill a pot with enough water to cover all parts and bring water to a boil. Once the water’s boiling, boil the parts for 5 minutes. Allow water to cool and gently remove parts from water with tongs.
Place sterilised parts on a clean surface or towel to allow them to air dry. As always, store your pump parts in a clean and cool place when not in use.
Using the Steam Method to Clean Your Breast Pump and Breast Pump Accessories
Follow the instructions printed on the Quick clean Microwave bags. Quick Clean microwave bags can help ensure that whoever cleans them always does a thorough job. Simply place a small amount of water in one of the Medela Quick Clean bags, along with the equipment, and place it in the microwave.
The steam cleaning that takes place inside the Medela Quick Clean microwave bag kills 99.9 percent of the most harmful bacteria and germs, so the bottles, teats, dummies and breast pump shields are clean and safe to use again.
These convenient bags can be used twenty times each and you can track how many times you have used the bag on the back of the packet so you don’t forget!
Do you find it easy to keep your breast pump and its accessories clean? What do you wish someone had told you about using a breast pump before you got started? Let’s have a chat here or on the Medela Australia Facebook page.