If you’re using a breast pump on a routine basis then you’ve probably spent a lot of time getting comfortable with your breast pump and the settings that work for you. As your pumping journey comes to an end, you might be wondering if you can reuse a breast pump for a second child. The answer is yes! Here’s what you need to know about cleaning and long term storage to prepare to reuse a breast pump for a second child.
How do I safely store my breast pump long term?
Your breast pump is just like any other electronic device. You should take care to store it in a cool, dry location that doesn’t see a lot of temperature flux. Moisture can ruin electronics by causing corrosion on the battery or circuit board. Try to avoid areas of higher humidity, like bathrooms and basements. You should store it in its own container to protect it from the elements, and consider including a dehumidifying sachet or dry pack. Store your power adapter with your breast pump to protect it and keep it from getting misplaced.
Storing breast pump accessories long term
You can store your breast pump accessories long-term in a clean, sterile and air tight food grade container or snaplock bag. You should clean your breast pump parts as you normally do, and allow them to completely air dry prior to storing them.
Which accessories can I reuse with a second child?
You can reuse any hard plastic breast pump accessory for a second child, such as breastshields and bottles. Just make sure they’ve been cleaned thoroughly. Inspect them for cracks, warping and buildup of milk residue – and replace as necessary.
A note on tubing: depending on how long it’s been you might need to replace it. Soft plastics can harden and crack over time.
Which parts do I need to replace?
You’ll need to replace all silicone and soft plastic parts before you reuse a breast pump with a second child. This includes valves, valve membranes, backflow protector membranes, and teats. It’s very difficult to clean these parts thoroughly of dirt and grime and you don’t want this in a dark, confined spaces for months or years. These parts are also prone to lose elasticity and harden over time. In a closed system your tubing should be clean and reusable; but you should inspect tubing for stiffness and cracks, replacing if necessary.
Preparing to use your breast pump for a second time
If you’re pulling your breast pump out of storage to reuse with a second child, congratulations! As you probably remember, getting situated with breastfeeding and pumping can take some time. You should pull your breast pump out of storage a few weeks before your due date to give yourself enough time to make sure everything’s in working order and purchase any accessories you may need. Here’s what to check for:
- Does your pump power on / charge?
- Check for suction: When you turn your pump on, completely cover the air ports with your finger and make sure you feel suction. Check the seal on the single-pump air stopper.
- Do you have everything you need to pump? Make sure you have a complete milk collection kits for double pumping (breastshields, collection bottles, valves, tubing, etc.). Also consider milk storage freezer bags, breast pads, or a hands-free pumping bra.
- Check that tubing is soft and flexible. See if it stays on the air ports and backflow protectors; if it seems stretched out at the ends, try trimming a centimeter off the length.
- Order new duck valves or valve + membrane sets and backflow protectors.
You should treat your used breast pump as though it were a new breast pump: Wash and sterilize all parts that come in contact with breastmilk, and allow to completely air dry prior to assembly. Give yourself time to get used to the settings and find what works best for you. Make sure you’re still using the correct sized breastshield. All this can change a bit between your first and second child!
Open system pumps should not be reused for a second child
Open system breast pumps – breast pumps that do not have backflow protectors or backflow filters are not suitable for long-term use. There’s no barrier between your breastmilk and the pump motor, meaning moisture, condensation, and milk can easily get into the interior of the pump. There’s no way to clean and sterilize the interior components of a breast pump. Storing something long-term that could have moisture and residue buildup inside of it – especially in a dark, confined space – could become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Open system pumps are not suitable for long-term use, or use by multiple users.
Will your pump be under warranty?
Pumpables offers a 2 year guarantee on our Milk Genie breast pump. If you’re going to reuse a breast pump for a second child, it’s possible your breast pump may still fall within that warranty period when you start using your pump again. You should take care to check that everything is still in working order before that period expires. If you’re not sure when you’ll be using your breast pump again, you should check that it works correctly prior to putting into storage – just in case you need to make a warranty claim 🙂