65 answers

Sharing Breast Pump

Hi,

I have a Medela Pump In Style which I would love to lend to my pregnant cousin, who's due in September. I'm currently still using it now, but by the time she delivers, my daughter will be 1 and I'm assuming that I won't be pumping anymore.

I know the manufacturer says do not share the pump, but if she buys her own tubes, breast shields, etc, is it really still a no-no?

I would love to hear from moms that have actually share pumps and had no problems as well as moms who have had problems. Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all so much for replying. I personally felt that as long as I knew no milk ever backed up into my motor (which is hasn't) and my cousin gets all new equipment (tubing, shield, membranes, bottles, etc), there should be no reason she can't use my pump. I'm glad so many of you feel the same way and even some professionals as well. Now we can both feel better about her using my pump when she delivers. Thanks again!

Featured Answers

Hi M.. I've shared my pump with several other Moms who have bought their own accessories. My pump is 8 years old and still holding strong. I've used it for 4 of my own children in addition to the other Moms who have borrowed it. The pumps are expensive and I was happy to help others. Hope this helps!

E.

HI M. - I shared mine with my sister. She used it for 3 months and then gave it back to me after my second son was born and I was heading back to work. I told her she could get a new pack of tubes, etc - but she actually jst sterilized them a couple times. There doesn't seem to be any problems. I'd say you can do it - though I think it is safest to get the new materials. Someone told me it can be hard to get them. I was going to order the package set via the lactation consultant at the hospital where I delivered - but then never did. No problems so far. Good luck

My feeling is that that's pretty much their way of getting more people to buy pumps. I got one as a hand-me-down and really enjoyed using it (and had no problems).

You don't actually need to replace the tubes because nothing goes in them except for air. In fact, don't even wash them (the woman who gave me her pump tried to and it made them a little weird).

Simply wash and boil the other parts as you would a bottle and you're ready to go!

More Answers

You can definitely share a pump if you get all new accessories. I shared mine with both my cousin and sister. The pupmp is only the suction. It doesn't house any milk. Medela just wants you to buy a new one and spend the money.

I worked in a store that sold the pumps and many mothers would come in for the tubes and shields and said La Leche League approved reuse if parts are changed.

I have heard contradicting things-my Bradley instructor said not to share. She said something about germs/infections that could be in your milk storing in the motor? But that doesn't make sense to me because the milk never actually makes it to the machine. So when I was in the hospital I asked the Breast Feeding Consultants and they said they saw no issue with it as long as you got your own chords etc. So I went with their view!~

Hi M.,
My cousin gave me her evenflo breast pump without the attachments for sanitary reasons. I purchased my own attachments, and had absolutely no problems.
Good luck!

My sister in law and I have passed a pump to each other in just the same way w/o any problems. We just bought our own tubes, shields, etc.

i shared mine, lent it to a friend for her baby after i had my first; got it back, and then used it with my second; it was all fine -- i just sterilized all the pieces and got new breast shields (they make nicer flexible ones now anyway; they didnt have that kind with my first child a couple years ago. go ahead and lend it to your cousin and save her the $300!

Hi! I'm also a 36 first time mom to a 7 month old. My girlfriend lent me her Medela pump and I bought my own tubes, shields, bottles, etc and everything is going great! All is sanitary and there isn't a possibility of any contamination because we're not sharing tubes or any other equipment. My friend is happy that I can use her pump. I'm sure the manufacturer does not want people sharing pumps because then you can't spend the $350 for it. I would lend it to your cousin without any worries.

I can just speak for myself and say I used a friend's old Medela breast pump (bought new tubes, shields etc.) and had no problems what-so-ever. I spoke to the lactation consultant at my hospital and she explained that not all of the internal parts are sealed off (they are, however, sealed off in the industrial / hospital pumps, which can be rented) so bacteria etc. could potentially get into the pump and then into your milk... My friend used it for her two children, I used it (for a year) with my son and I finally had to throw it away... I think it served its purpose. If I'm lucky enough to have another child I'll spend the money for a new one because I couldn't have lived without it!

The reason manufacturers say that only one person can use the pump is because they want everyone to buy a brand new pump! Of course you can lend your pump out! I have used my friends pumps before with absolutely no problems and I have even sold two used pumps on ebay.

HI M. - I shared mine with my sister. She used it for 3 months and then gave it back to me after my second son was born and I was heading back to work. I told her she could get a new pack of tubes, etc - but she actually jst sterilized them a couple times. There doesn't seem to be any problems. I'd say you can do it - though I think it is safest to get the new materials. Someone told me it can be hard to get them. I was going to order the package set via the lactation consultant at the hospital where I delivered - but then never did. No problems so far. Good luck

Hi i'm a 34 yr old mother of two. a 10 yr old and a 6 yr old.
i breastfeed both kids until age 1 also and with both my kids had "borrowed" or shared pumps. as long as you can "boil" or sterilize any parts or tubing and she gets new "shields" sharing should be fine. good luck.
G.

I was given a Pump in Style by a friend when I had my first baby, 2.5 years ago. I ordered new tubing and used new shields, etc. It was fine. I've read on other boards that Medela warns about sharing because there is a very small chance that milk can get sucked up in the pump motor (this shouldn't happen b/c it just pumps air) and it's hard to clean. There's a risk of HIV or Hepatitis infection. But if you know the person who is giving you the pump and they aren't infected with those things, it's not a problem.

I'm actually going to use the pump again for my next baby, due in April. I've had some trouble finding tubes, and am debating whether to get new tubes or just sterilize the ones I have. All of the other stuff is easy to find.

Of course share the pump!! Those manufacturers are only concerned with making money and those pumps are expensive! My sister bought one and has lent it to two of her friends and myself. Each of us bought our own kits to go with it and it was perfectly fine. I would think that your only concern would be with the care that other people would give it. Is it something that you will want back in good working order...Are you concerned with how other people "treat" your property and belongings...you know, those type of concerns. But with the pump itself, yes, it's fine to lend it.

T. nurse who sold me my breastpump told me to take T. yellow front cover off and just wash T. diaphram inside with rubbing alcohol, just in case milk or moisture got into this area.

They dont recommend sharing pumps for 2 reasons. #1, the warranty becomes null and void once it has multiple users. And #2, your milk can back up into the pump and get into the motor. This is rare, but it can happen. In a case where you were selling it to (or buying it from) a stranger, I wouldnt recommend it. But because you are family, as long as you are comfortable with it and are assured she doesnt have any communicable diseases, then feel free.

I have shared mine, I think if you sterilize the sheilds and tubes yous should be good, the milk doesn't touch those. Plus If it is a friend or relative you know it should be good, I would only be concerned if it was a complete stranger and then the pump is fine just buy all new sheilds and tubes. This is an expensive peice of equipment I have felt very good about being able to share it with others. Good luck to you all! H.

www.parklanegems.com/rep/H.

I used a pump given to me from my aunt. Medela has its own website which offers replacement parts CHEAP...so what I did was clean and sterilize what I could, and replace what I felt could not be sterilized (like the tubes). I am also thinking about lending again to my other aunt...this $300 machine is getting its usage!!!

Hi,

I shared a breast pump with someone else. She let me use her pump and I did buy my own tubes and things. I never had any problems and it did save me a lot of money.

I hope that this helps.

The Medela breast pumps that hospitals rent only require you to purchase new tubes/shields/etc. I don't know why these would be OK to share with multiple people (and strangers at that!) but the Pump in Style isn't OK. I bought my PIS from a colleague and am using it with my new tubes/shields without any issues, and I feel very comfortable doing it as my milk never touches anything her milk or body touched (though when properly sterilized, is it really a concern?). The company I work for bought a Medela Symphony Pump for employees to use, and the parts I bought for that also work with the PIS.

i got the same pump from a friend and bought new shields and tubes. then i passed it along to someone else who bought new shileds and tubes as well. it's fine!

Hi - as long as she buys all new tubing, etc., it's okay. I know several people who have done so with absolutely no problems. Good luck!

I shared my friends medela pump (5 kids between the 2 of us) & we never had any probems. You can replace parts if you feel concerned, otherwise, just steralize things will boiling water. Good luck!

My sister passed her Ameda on to me and I didn't even change the tubes, etc. I just boiled everything really well. Not the tubes, I guess. They wouldn't withstand the heat. But the flanges. In any case a new kit with tubes and flanges and filters is not expensive. I had no problems.

My lactation consultant told me the only concern with sharing the pumps is if moisture somehow got into the pumping mechanism and mold built up. I genuinely would not worry about it. Pump companies are there to get you to buy pumps and worry about being sued. Use your common sense.

I think it's fine, just change the tubing. I used my best friends pump. I had no problems.
M.

I personally don't see a problem with it, as long as all the washable parts are replaced. Personally I used a pump that had belonged to my friend. I bought my own pumping kit, which included the tubing, breast shields and valves. No problems. Now - I don't know that I would have bought it from a stranger, because you never know - but from a friend or relative, I would say go ahead, your cousin will be perfectly fine using yours as long as you have kept it clean and in good condition. By the way, my friend used hers for 2 kids, after which I have used it for three kids and it is still going STRONG (Medela pump in style). Good luck!

the only reason i wouldn't share is that the motor can burn out if you plan on using it again. if you were totally done having kids and pumping, share. if you think you'll need it again, don't. a friend offered hers to me, but i know she's planning on another. i have portable pumps for when i go away and they burn out and need to be replaced. if you've paid a lot for you pump, it would stink to have to buy a new one because you loaned it. if your friend can't afford a pump, many places rent them. it is safe if you buy your own shields, etc.

I know a group of very close friends who have shared the pump. Just as long as she buys the new parts, it is no problem.

Hi M.,

Technically there is no way to completely sterilize since there is aerosol action into the pump. I shared with my sister, no problem. I think as long as you know the person and know that they do not have an infectious disease that can be passed through body fluids, you are ok. I guess you might be able to share thrush, but since it is really everywhere, avoiding it is more a matter of your own immune system and keeping your nipples dry.

The parts you mention replacing are the parts that can be sterilized, I see no reason to replace then unless something is leaking air. Those little white flaps must be really cheap.

Cheers,
C.

Hi - I had this pump. Yes, I'd say you can reuse. Just get new Tubes. They do rentals all the time, so I'm sure it's fine.

I borrowed a pump from a friend who had borrowed it from another. Unless they come up with a good reason, it's like lending your vacuum! I got all new attachments and it was fine.

I returned to edit my email once I saw that I was the 32nd response. I would really like to see if others have responded before I add the same two cents that everyone else has. Is there any way to do that?

I shared a pump with my cousin and my sister shared with her sister in-law - NO PROBLEMS... I looked at it this way, when my oldest son was hospitalized after birth I had to share the hospital grade pump with MANY MANY other moms. We all had our own tubing and accessories but the main pump was shared. Just as in a medela...you buy all your own accessories and your fine. I honestly think they say this just so that people spend more money on their products!

Of course the manufacturer says not to share b/c they want the sales! I shared and so has my girl friend. As long as the parts are all sterlized there should be no problems. You can buy bags to put the pump parts in then put in the microwave for 3 min, and they are sterlized! You can have your cousin by the tubes and sheids if you both feel better about it but my feeling is why spend the money on an expensive piece(s) of equipment for a short time in your life? Just think in the hospital the brest pumps are shared (I had to use one) and I think you can purchase used one at a lower cost. Good Luck

Well, first of all, be sure that you really will not be pumping when your child is only one...mine nursed till he was nearly 3. Next, I think it will be wonderful for you to share this with your cousin - as you know they are quite an expense and that is by far the best one to buy. If you stearalize everything I don't even think getting other parts would be an issue but surely with new tubes and shields what could the issue be? People sell them on Ebay used all the time...the secondary market is very big for it...and besides...Medela pumps are rented at the hospital so more than one person obviously uses those with new shields and tubes...definitely share it if you are sure you will not be needing it anymore...

My feeling is that that's pretty much their way of getting more people to buy pumps. I got one as a hand-me-down and really enjoyed using it (and had no problems).

You don't actually need to replace the tubes because nothing goes in them except for air. In fact, don't even wash them (the woman who gave me her pump tried to and it made them a little weird).

Simply wash and boil the other parts as you would a bottle and you're ready to go!

At the last base my family was stationed at they provided Medela Pumps for families to borrow. All the user needed to do was purchase the kit with the tubing, etc. Afterall, that's all that touches the breastmilk! I had no problems - and it was a definite cost saver for our family. I'm sure the manufacturer covers themselves by using such a disclaimer to protect them from those individuals who share tubing, etc.

Hi there! I shared my breast pump with two other friends. They just bought the connective tubing at a local pharmacy (Medela will tell you not to share and they don't sell the tubing), however, if they buy their own tubing it is fine. No milk goes through the pump, just to the bottles that you are pumping in. By the way, I am an RN on a post partum floor and we share pumps in the hospital, just use different tubing!!!! Good luck!!

I gave my Medela Pump In Style to my friend when she had her baby. She may have used my accessories (boiling them first, of course), and as far as I know there was no problem. And it certainly saved her a pretty penny. I've heard of others passing them on as well. When you think of the ones that are used in the hospital - I mean, I'm sure they don't replace them everytime a new mother uses them.

Electric breast pumps can actually be RENTED, or borrowed from someone through the La Leche League, so I'm sure if yours is properly washed and sanitized, it's not a problem. Think about it - the manufacturer has a vested interest in SELLING MORE PUMPS -

M.

It is most certainly okay for you to share your pump with your cousin. Breast pumps can be extremely expesive and I wish that I had someone who was willing to lend me theirs. You can go to any Babies R' Us and purchase the replacement shields, tubes, etc. This would be a huge financial burden off of your cousin. One of my friends who delivered her daughter around the same time as I delivered my son was given a Medela Pump, and she was so grateful for the loaner. She never had any problems with the equipment and had purchased her own parts to make it her own. My advise, go ahead, it is ridiculous to pay so much for an item and only use it for a short period of time. Let others get some use out of it as well!!!!!!!!!!

S. D.

HI M.,
My daughter shared a breast pump and bought all new tubing and supplies. She had no problem. I guess the reason they do not recommend sharing is the risk of breast milk being a body fluid that diseases can be transmitte through. However, if you are disease free then passing it on to another disease free person who will use new tubing etc. is not really an issue.
M.

I borrowed a pump and just bought all new tubing and equipment. No problems!

Hi M.,
I started using my sister-in-law's pump when my daughter was about 2 weeks old. I didn't buy new tubes or anything, I just sterilized everything before I used it. I sterilized the stuff regularly, and then again before I returned it.

She's using it now for her third.

Hope that helps!

Hi M.,
I let a friend use my pump and she did exactly that. She got her own tubing and sheilds etc. and she used the pump. Its really just using the "motor" part of the pump. Its perfectly safe. I work at a hospital and because I was a nurse there they would allow me to use the hospital pumps in labor and delivery if i used my own accessories. Its the same thing. So not to worry it is safe and no contamination is possible.

One of my friends gave me her Pump In Style when I was pregnant and she was done. I bought new tubes and shields and some new bottles and had no problems using it with both my kids. I have since passed it to a friend who has passed it to a friend.

As long as she thoroughly cleans it and I would definitely get new tubes it should be fine.

i'm using a 10 year old medela that has gone through 2 sisters and a sister-in-law and none of us have had any problems. i think it's totally fine.

Share the pump! They are so expensive; my friend and I have traded my Medela pump in style back and forth. It still works great (my third baby now)!

Just to clarify to the person who rented the pump - you can only rent hospital-grade pumps, which have a firewall to keep the milk from getting into the motor and thus getting cross-contaminated between mothers. A Pump in Style has no firewall, which is one of the reasons the manufacturer recommends not sharing. The milk shouldn't get into the motor, but that doesn't mean it can't. Correspondingly, it shouldn't but could somehow get back out. Not likely, but something you want to think about - personally, I don't think I'd share a pump with a stranger but wouldn't care about family.

Good luck!

I don't see a problem with it at all. I offered mine to a friend. My only concern would be if you wanted to use it again in the future, and so much use at the beginning made the battery die out or something.

New tubes, flanges, etc. it fine. it is whatever touches the breast. The pump itself can be shared. That is how it works when you rent a pump.

Go right ahead nothing is wrong once she buy the parts you mentioned

My girlfriend gave me her Medela pump when I had my daughter and had no problem with the fact that it was someone elses. I also lent it to my sister when she had my niece and she had no problems with it either.
I sterilized all the pieces after each use anyway so it was clean. It saved both of us the expense of having to purchase one of our own. In my case my daughter wouldn't take a bottle at all until 6 months and I had problems producing so I had to stop nursing at 7 months.

I shared my pump with absolutely NO problems! Those suckers are so expensive that I think it is a great thing to share and friends/family are very grateful for it!!
S.

Hey M.,
Congratulations on becoming a mom!! I rented my pump from a pharmacy. If that's not sharing, I don't know what is. If they can be rented to many different people, why can't you share it with a family member? You are only sharing the motor. They tubing is all brand new, and I think that is the main concern. It's like sharing a nebulizer. All the tubing needs to be individual, but the motor can be shared. I hope this helps. A.

When My son was born, my friend gave me her medela pump. I washed it and put it in boiling water for 15 min.(I did the same after every use) and I never had a problem. I think they just want you to buy a new one.

Well, the company says that you can't use someone else's pump, but in reality all the parts that come anywhere near the breast are replaced for the 2nd user.

I borrowed a pump from my SIL and had no problems. You can get the tubes, and shields at whatever baby store you go to. (Buy Buy Baby, etc.)

I have a now 2.5 year old and I have a Medela double breast pump, that was a great help during my breast feeding days. I lent it to my friend who is now using it for her 3 month old. It is a waste to pay all the money and only use it once. I sterilized all the pieces and tubing and she is very happy with it now. I am not sure (other than wanting to sell more pumps) why you should not share it as long as it has been properly cleaned before lending it...good luck!

As long as your cousin buys new tubes, shields etc... (any part that comes in contact with thebody/milk) she will be fine!

A little about me: I am the mother of 2 beautiful teenagers 15 anf 17. I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and work with breast feeding mothers.

Hi M.,
I spoke to my pediatrician about this and he told me that the wisespread message not to share pumps is really to prevent people from getting a contaminated pump in case any of the breastmilk went into the pump itself. If you buy it from a complete stranger, you have no idea how she took care of her pump. My pediatrician said if it was a close friend or relative, whom you know closely, and you know how well they took care of their pump, using new tubes and parts shouldn't be an issue. If you know that your pump is working great and no breastmilk ever got backed up into the motor, you should be fine. Definitely make sure your cousin buys all brand new tubing, bottles and breast shields.
Hope this helps!

Hi M.. I've shared my pump with several other Moms who have bought their own accessories. My pump is 8 years old and still holding strong. I've used it for 4 of my own children in addition to the other Moms who have borrowed it. The pumps are expensive and I was happy to help others. Hope this helps!

E.

I borrowed my sister-in-law's pump (medela - in style) after I had my son and had no problems at all. Just make sure to sterilize (or replace) all attachments. You can find replacements for most of the parts (membranes, valves, bottles, etc.) at babies r us, or target or someplace like that. You can also order replacement parts that they don't carry in the stores (tubing, transformer, etc.) online.

My sister-in-law used my Medela Pump...she boiled everything and no problems what so ever. It's way too expensive not to share!

Hi M.!
I don't know why it would be a problem if she buys all of the attachments. I borrowed a friend's pump and had no problem at all. Sometimes I think we get too carried away with the "germ" thing and I know of kids who weren't exposed to anything because their moms were so careful, and now they are sick all the time because their immune systems never got a work out. Especially when you are breast feeding and your baby is getting some immunity from your system I think it's a good idea to expose them to some germs, ie, colds and whatever they mouth while exploring the world in your home as they get bigger. Good luck!

I think the warning is a way for them to make more money. I got a medela pump from a friend and used it until it died, luckily she didn't want it back (it had been used for 3 people and was old). Then I got another one from my sister and used it for 5 months, now my sister-in-law is using it and loves it.

I have the same pump. A friend at work offered it to me. I bought all the tubes, shields and bottles new which was about $30 vs the $300+ cost of the pump so I took it. I also took a breast feeding class (waste of time) but the instructor said if you had someone that could loan you a pump then buy all the attachments new and take it. I also have a network of friends and they all have pretty much shared the same pump doing the same thing, buying all the attachments new but re-using the pump, we also have shared a lot of baby gear from strollers, to bouncers, to entertainers. I say she is lucky to have you there and offer it to her; let her make that decision to use it or not. Having a baby is $$$ so any money you can save is always welcomed. You can also rent pumps at the hospital, which are used so go for it.

O.

I used a medela pump from a friend and have passed it along to another mom. No problems whatsoever.

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