32 answers

Cleaning Wipes for Breast/nipple and for Medela Pump Parts and Storage Bags

I'm stocking up for breastfeeding supplies and wanted to know...
Do I have to use the cleansing pads specifically sold to clean your breast before breastfeeding or can I use baby wipes or other natural wipes instead?

What about cleaning the Medela breast pump parts? They sell a specific wipe just for that too. Can I use something else?

Does anyone have a recommendation for something I can use for all of these purposes?

Lastly, I'm looking for recommendations on breast storage bags. I heard about Gerber, Lansinoh and Medela bags. Lansinoh have double zipper seal, but I read mixed reviews about all of them leaking for some people. Any tips for preventing leaks or recommendations on bags?

I plan to use them to store milk, but want to warm them in the First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer, then pour into the Playtex bottles with disposable bags. I'm only using these bags b/c a breastfeeding consultant recommended them for the nipple shape and least air. If anyone has better tips, I'd love some!! Thanks!

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So What Happened?™

Boy, do I like this site! Thanks everyone for all the great advice! As one responder reminded me, I am a teacher... so I guess that's why I'm doing all this planning. It's in my bones! I'm home from work now, so my mind is a bit restless. Great tips! Thanks for taking the time to write it all down.

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I would use the medela bags. I used them and loved them. They never leaked, they held up in the freezer and even when my clumsy husband would knock them over in the fridge they wouldn't leak. I didn't use any of the wipes I would just wash the pump pieces after I would pump.

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I used the Medela bags for the first few months, and then switched to the Lansinoh because they held more. Both were exactly the same, functionally. Technically, you can attach the Medela bags to the pump, but I never did that. I rarely got 5 full oz out of one breast, so it just seemed like a waste!

Good luck with your pregnancy, and be patient with yourself as you and your baby learn the whole breastfeeding business. I was one of the unlucky ones who found it quite painful for the first 8 weeks. But I pushed through, and felt very blessed (and lucky!) to absolutely love nursing after that. It's a special time!

Oh, and skip all those wipes. And make your husband clean the pump parts for at least the first 2 weeks! :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hello third grade teacher!
I too am a teacher. We are trained to keep a smooth running ship with our classes, so it's only natural to plan ahead. I did the same thing. Believe me, I had no idea how much my baby would control my daily activity until he came. Listen to what these other ladies have written about that. 'nuff about that...

Use the Lanahsol (sp?) cream. Start before delivery. Apply morning and night. When you start breastfeeding, use it after every feeding to prevent your nipples from drying out. Before each feeding, wipe off your nipples with a wet wash cloth -- just water, no soap. The lotion is not toxic for the baby, but it is slippery and it makes it hard to remain latched. I never had cracked nipples and this method was recommended to me by my doula (birthing coach).

For the breast pumps -- wash with warm soapy water after every use. If you can't wash them right a way, soak them in soapy water until you can get to them. You can sterilize once a week (and before your first use) in boiling water. I think that I did 5 minutes. Check your box's directions.

Bags -- If you follow the directions and don't over fill them, then you won't have a problem with leakage. Store them upright in the freezer until solid.

That's it. I tried to be brief since you have gotten so many replies already. We are a helpful bunch, huh? :-)

I happily nursed my daughter for 15 months and never once "cleaned my breast" before feeding. Totally unnecessary if you have any kind of normal hygiene habits. In fact, it's better to leave the natural oils on your skin/nipples.

All these wipes for specific purposes sounds like a racket to me. Don't waste your money!

I would also second the advice not to stress too much about all this ahead of time. New babies throw you all kinds of curve balls. It's best to go with the flow, use trial and error, and use what works best for you.

Congratulations and good luck!

Hello NB,

I would skip the wipes! I wash my Medela pump parts in warm water and soap and then I put them in my bottle sterilizer that goes in the microwave for 3 minutes. I just started back to work after 3 months so I won't be able to wash and sterilize the parts so I plan on just rinsing well with HOT water.

As far as the bags go.. when my husband bought me the medela pump in advance system it came with a few sample bags from medela. I hated them!! They were the ones that had the tape that you put onto the horn and pump the milk directly into them. I could never get them to work right and lost a lot of milk. A friend of my mine gave me some Lansinoh bags and I love them!!! I have never had a problem with them leaking. I also like the fact that you write the date of the milk on a tab not directly onto where the milk is stored. So I can pour the milk into the bags and then write the date. I have about 50 bags of frozen milk stored up right now. Some is 4oz and the others are in 6oz.

I also use Avent bottels and nipples. If you are into the bag thing they have the Tempo system with disposable liners. I have not had a problem with nipple confusion.

I am not sure that I would put the bags into the warmer if that is what you are saying. I would pour the milk into the bottle 1st and then warm.

If you have the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Pump you will be very happy. The pump is wonderful!!! With my 1st baby I did it manually using the Avent pump. After giving birth to baby #2 we invested in the Medla pump and it was worth every penny!

One more thing I was using Gerber breast pads but now I love the Lansinoh brand. They are excellent!!!


I did not like the medela breast pump cleaning wipes. I got an itchy red rash on my breasts from them. You can just wash your parts in warm soapy water. I wash them every night and during the day in between pumps I just rinse the parts with hot water.
I did not like putting milk in the medela storage bags either. They had a funny smell. I just freeze milk in the medela bottles.
As long as you shower and keep yourself clean, you don't need to "wipe/clean" your breasts before each feeding.

You don't need to clean your breasts before or after breastfeeding. You need the natural oils on your breasts in order to protect them from irritation and breast milk is naturally antibacterial. A lot of those wipes will strip away those natural oils and they contain chemicals that you don't want in your baby's mouth. What you can use to protect your nipples in the first few weeks when then are still very sensitive is Lansinoh brand lanolin. It's medical grade and it's very soothing for the soreness that happens in the first few weeks. And you don't have to wipe it off before breastfeeding (unless you really slathered it on). It's also good protection in the shower. You should not wash your nipples with soap.
You also don't need any special wipes for the breast pump parts. Just wash them in hot soapy water as soon as you are finished pumping. I guess you may need them if you are at work or something and you are pumping but if you have access to a sink it's not necessary. Also Medela makes these reusable microwave steam sterilizing bags that I use every now and again to sterilize the parts. You can also sterilize bottle parts in them too, but again that's not necessary.
I would also just invest in the medela milk storage containers or bottles to store the milk in the freezer. Those bags tend to tear and also studies have shown that the vitamins tend to cling to the sides of the bags when you pour them into the bottles. Why waste money on something disposable when you can reuse these storage containers? For bottles, I recommend the Born Free bottles. They have a valve to reduce gas and they are BPA free and the nipple is a better shape than the playtex.
You also don't need a bottle warmer- they take a while and don't work that well. Waste of money. I just get a coffee mug and place the bottle in it and pour the hottest water I can get from the faucet and let it sit. It takes about 5-10 minutes to warm up. If the water cools off you can just add new water a few times. The milk doesn't need to be hot, just warm. Just shake the bottle to make sure the fat layer reincorporates.
For some good breastfeeding advice, I would buy The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears. It's great and it saved me a lot of times. They believe in the family bed and breastfeeding until toddler ages, but even if you don't plan to do this, (I'm not) the rest of the advice in the book is spot on!
A great website is http://www.kellymom.com.
I would also get a lactation consultant to come to your house the week you bring the baby home. It's pretty overwhelming at first so you need all the help you can get. Also, I would not introduce a bottle until the baby is latching well and your milk supply is well established- say a month to 6 weeks, maybe even 2 months. The sucking technique needed for breastfeeding is much different than for a bottle. If the baby has not learned how to suck properly and is given bottles too early, the baby will not be able to get out the milk efficiently.
If you are interested, I have a baby blog with a posting especially for expectant moms who are wondering what to buy for the baby. http://edenhamilton.blogspot.com/2008/08/newborn-essentia...

i believe the gerber bags can be used in bottles with drop in bags which saves a pouring step.
I never cleaned my breasts before b'feeding or pumping unless there was a need. Make sure you don't use soaps that will wash away the oils on your skin.
Stay away from the first years bags, I had too many leaks. I liked the gerber or lasinoh ones. The gerber ones were cheaper. I usually froze my bags laying down on a piece of cardboard in the freezer and once they were frozen flat, it was much easier to "file" them in date order. No need for those milk storage bag holders, they never worked well.

I had the medela wipes but never really used them. I just washed the parts after using them or put the whole assembly in the fridge for the next pumping session.
I really liked the Sassy MAM Ultivent bottles. I thought the nipples were great and my sons had no problem. THey were also BPA free.
***Another great tip, look into the easy expressions pumping bra. This pumping bra was so wonderful, It allows you to have your hands free when needed. I've bought it for friends and they have said that it totally changed their pumping.

good luck. please let me know if you have questions. I've been an exclusive pumper for my first and a then an exclusive breastfeeder with my 2nd.

I tried both the Gerber and Lansinoh breast milk storage bags and settled on the Lansinoh bags. I had leakage with both, although very infrequently, Gerber one or two more times than Lansinoh. The Lansinoh bags are thicker and have a double zipper seal. I felt that if both leak, it would/could be less likely with the thicker bag and double zipper seal. I used the Lansinoh for just under a year with very few unfortunate accidents, some of which were due to user error. I did not bother with Medela bags because of the cost (about 2x the others), esp since the reviews were pretty equal for all.

Both Gerber and Lansinoh bags will fit into the Playtex bottles and over their rims. I found that the Lansinoh ones fit a little more easily over the rims than Gerber bags. This reduced the need for additional disposable bags. You can squeeze as much air out of the storage bags as possible prior to feeding. I warm the storage bag, then slide the bag into the Playtex bottle, open the bag, and flip the zipper over the bottle rim. Make sure to pull the zipper pass the bottle treads (otherwise, leakage during feeding).

My ultimate recommendation would be to buy a small box of each and try them to see which you like/prefer.

Good luck!

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