Breast pumps can be a big help to new mothers, but women who use them need to keep safety in mind, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
Unless breast pumps are designed for multiple users, renting or sharing them can be dangerous — even with family and friends, the agency warns.
“Contaminated breast pumps could cause you and your baby to develop an infection,” H. Paige Lewter said in an FDA news release. Lewter is an electrical engineer and device reviewer in the FDA’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices branch.
Even if a used pump looks clean, it may still be unsafe. According to Dr. Michael Cummings, an FDA obstetrician-gynecologist, “Potentially infectious particles may survive in the breast pump and/or its accessories for a surprisingly long time.”
If you do rent or share a multiple-user pump, you must have your own accessories kit — usually including a milk container, breast-shield and tubing — to avoid contamination, the FDA news release said.
Lewter explained that “multiple-user pumps are designed so that the breast milk can never touch the working parts of the pump that are shared. The only part of a multiple-user breast pump that you can safely share is the pump itself.”
Never buy a used breast pump designed for single users. If you’re not sure which pump or accessories to get, the FDA suggests talking to a health care professional with expertise in breast-feeding.
The agency also recommends cleaning and disinfecting your breast pump between uses. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific details on keeping it clean.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on breast pumps.