31 answers

What to Do with Used Breastpump?

Does anyone know how to dispose of or recycle a used breastpump? I have the Medela Pump in Style. I used it slightly less than 1 year and was told it would last about 1 year. It says it is a single person pump, so others are technically not supposed to use it - for sanitary purposes I think. Is it worth saving in case of #2 or is there something do be done with it that doesn't leave it in a landfill???

What can I do next?

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I have a pump as well. I can tell you that I got mine from a friend. She used it for her 2 children ( at least for 4 years) and I used it for my first one. With my 2nd one I had to buy a new one. I think that it is safe to use because the milk is not passed through the tubes. I just bought the breast shelds and bottles. I felt ok with it. If you give it to a friend who knows you well I think it is a BIG gift.

I agree with the other moms, don't trash it! I tried the evenflo pump and didn't like it, so I got the Medela, which I loved. It worked great for both my kids and when I was done I gave it to a close friend and she used it for 2 of her kids. I think it might have even been passed on to another friend of hers after that. New tubing was bought each time and the rest was sterilized. Medela is a good quality pump. Save it for #2 or pass it on, but either way, don't trash it!

I did save mine for #2. I would contact a Breast feeding La Leche expert. I remember mine also took donations of clothes. You can sterilize the stuff by boiling it. Or they can buy the plastic pump cap for the bottle. Best of luck, so many low income women can't afford the pump.

More Answers

You don't have to dispose of the pump. Many women buy them used - you only have to buy new breast shields and bottles. Pumps cost hundreds of dollars and if yours is in good condition you can sell it on ebay or craigslist or your local paper.

I had one that lasted ten years and three kids...keep it for #2 or sell or donate it!

All of the responses here are correct, but here's the "deal"... Do YOU have a communicable disease? Have you had yeast issues while pumping? Do you have HIV or some other disease that could spread through bodily fluids? If the answer is "no", then your pump would be safe and fine to pass on to someone else, and it is CERTAINLY fine for you to keep for yourself. The "problem" with "personal use" pumps, as opposed to "hospital grade" pumps, is that the motor housings are not sealed. A hospital grade pump has a sealed motor, insuring that no moisture of any kind could ever enter the pump motor. That being said, the personal use pump, like you have, does run that risk, but the chances are incredibly low that could or would ever happen, and as I said, would depend on YOU being a carrier for a communicable disease.

If you do want to keep your pump to reuse for yourself, just sterilize the parts you would sterilize anyway (the shields, etc) and pack it away for next time. If you boil the tubes, they will turn cloudy, which will prevent you from being able to see if moisture has collected inside of them when you use them (this is not REALLY a problem, but it's best to keep the tubes clear and not boil them). You can always replace them if you need to, but remember that milk doesn't go into the tubes anyway--just sometimes condensed moisture from the process--so all you really need to do is run water through them, then shake them and let them hang dry. If you want to sell or give your pump to someone, they will probably buy all new "accessories" anyway, just for piece of mind.

I worked for a lactation consultant for years. We rented hospital grade pumps and sold the accessories for all types of pumps. Countless women reuse pumps... Even I did. As a matter of fact, my Medela Pump in Style was 5 years old when I got it (from a woman that I was comfortable with and knew was healthy), and I used it for two children of my own after that. It's still in my closet, just in case, waiting for #3.

I've heard you can buy new tubes/bottles and it is ok. People who can't afford it would love to have the option of buying one second hand. I would never sell it with the tubes though, incase they are too lazy or cheap to buy new ones. Craigslist is a great option, or try your local consignment store. Search online for new tubes. Maybe you could buy them first then sell it as a set with new tubes. I'd also suggest keeping it for the second child. We used ours for 2 kids and it was fine. I'm waiting to sell till we're SURE no more kids.
Liz

Definitely save it. Those things can last a lot longer than anyone guesses. With my first, I had an $11 hand pump from evenflo that I used for over a year and it was still in great shape, and I was working 12 hours shifts so it saw heavy use. Hold on to it and if you don't have another one, maybe you can sterilize it again and give it to a relative. I'm passing my Avent Isis pump on to my sister and she's glad to have it. I don't think the sanitary thing is of real concern if you're passing it to someone that know you well, like a relative.

You could save it for your next child or you could sell it. As L. as the tubing and breastshields are replaced (the only parts that breastmilk actually touches) then it is safe to use it again for you or someone else.

I bought mine on ebay and then sold it on craigslist when I was finished with it.

If you are planning on having another baby, definetly keep it! No need to go purchase another one. And if a part does not work, you can always just purchase that part...not the entire pump.

Truth be told, for obvious reasons, it is not a good idea to donate a pump or give a pump away to a stranger...yet, my girlfriend borrowed my pump - we have a long history together - and were completely comfortable in sharing. All pieces were sterilized and I purchased new tubing...that is all it took. Perhaps you are also comfortable sharing with a close friend.

I actually used my sister's for my first 2 before it decided to stop working periodically so I bought a new one for #3. It was well used by my sister for her 2. I used it for travel and vacations only. She bought it in 97 and I used it from 04-06.
The hospital we used actual gave us new attachments when I asked about them.

As far as I know, most people sell them on Ebay or craigslist. They are too expensive and worth more than to just throw them in the trash. The next person to have it can buy all new tubes, plenty of people can't afford a brand new one and will not care if it's used or not. Don't throw it out, post it on Ebay or craigslist or freecycle it. Someone will want it!!!

Save for the just in case of #2!!! The parts of that pump (I have it too) that are not to be used again for sanitary purposes are replaceable and are at very low cost compared to buying it the whole unit again. Just go to Medela online for them. If you want to get rid of it completely, donate it to a hospital. They replace the used parts and rent them out to new moms who need them.

E.-Sell it on EBAY!!! Medela says it's a "single person pump" because they don't want to loose out on profits because people are re-selling their pumps! That's what a local lactation consultant told me. Just sell the actual pump. Not the hoses and the bottles and the breast shields that have actual come in contact with your milk.

I'm using my breast pump again for #2. It never would have occurred to me to buy a new one. I see lots of women recycling their breast pumps on craigslist and freecycle. I think there are plenty of women who can't afford a new one who would be thrilled to have your used pump. As long as you don't have any communicable diseases, it should be fine. They can boil or otherwise sterilize the parts.

I agree with the other people who posted - hold on to the pump in case you have another child. If not you can always pass it one to a friend. The only reason they say not to share a pump is in the event that when you are pumping the milk should some how get into the pumping device - otherwise it is not a health issue. You have to think they rent the hospital grade pumps at the hospital. If someone gets your pump (like a friend) that person will just purchase all new tubing, shields, etc.

The pump itself is fine. If you gave it to someone else, then they would have to replace the filter (should be done anyway), the tubing and the shields. The rest is just a motor and a bag. Also, if you bleached and then boiled all the remaining stuff (except the filters, they have to be replaced) then you could probably use that as well. Also, there is no reason you can boil the stuff and reuse it when you have another child.

The FDA warns against sharing pumps:
http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/breastpumps/choosing.html#4

Should I Buy a Used Breast Pump or Share a Breast Pump?

You should never buy a used breast pump or share a breast pump.

Only FDA cleared, hospital-grade pumps should be used by more than one person. With the exception of hospital-grade pumps, the FDA considers breast pumps single-use devices. That means that a breast pump should only be used by one woman because there is no way to guarantee the pump can be cleaned and disinfected between uses by different women.

The money you may save by buying a used pump is not worth the health risks to you or your baby. Breast pumps that are reused by different mothers can carry infectious diseases, such as HIV or hepatitis.

Buying a used breast pump or sharing a breast pump may be a violation of the manufacturer’s warranty and you may not be able to get help from the manufacturer if you have a problem with the pump.

****
Having shared that, I agree with the others. Save it for number 2, especially if you plan to keep the two close in age. You should try to keep your pump dust free and clean between pregnancies, or else you probably will end up having to rent a hospital pump. And definitely order replacement accessories, such as tubing and shields.

E.,
My hubby ebay ours!

I'd save it in case you have another child. You can always get the pump checked to make sure it is working properly and use it for another child.

I did save mine for #2. I would contact a Breast feeding La Leche expert. I remember mine also took donations of clothes. You can sterilize the stuff by boiling it. Or they can buy the plastic pump cap for the bottle. Best of luck, so many low income women can't afford the pump.

I have a pump as well. I can tell you that I got mine from a friend. She used it for her 2 children ( at least for 4 years) and I used it for my first one. With my 2nd one I had to buy a new one. I think that it is safe to use because the milk is not passed through the tubes. I just bought the breast shelds and bottles. I felt ok with it. If you give it to a friend who knows you well I think it is a BIG gift.

Yes, you can keep it for #2. I have a Medela Pump In Style, used it with my first for about a year (pumping three times a day five days a week), and am 6 months into using it with #2 (again, three times a day, five days a week). I talked with a lactation consultant (who originally sold me the pump) and she said it should be fine for multiple children. Note: the manufacturer will tell you otherwise... probably to sell more pumps. But, in my experience, the pump is just a good on the second go-round.

I like some moms, used mine for my first child for about 13 months and then bought new attachments and used it for my son about 18 months later and it worked great.

I used mine for 18 months for each child and I had 3 kids! Then I posted it on freecycle. The next mom bought all new attatchments for it, so I think it was good, or at least it satisfied her.
K.

I would definitely save it in case of #2. I am using my Medela PISA for my second child now, and I pumped for my first up until a year old when she could take regular milk while I was away. It definitely can last more than a year. It is still as good as the day I bought it almost 3 years ago. Medela even sent me new tubing for free when I called about replacement tubing (just to have extra set).

I would look into how to sanitize it. The plastic stuff that your milk touches like the plastic tubing and the bottles can most likely be recycled. First I would find out what is safe to run through it... Call the lactation specialists from your hospital or your local LaLeche leader.

From there, you can sell cheap, donate, freecycle the pump, and whomever gets it can buy all the new fittings for it. Or you can try saving... Im not sure how well thay save.

Sometimes things like that do better with occasional use at least.

I would rather see it get put to use if it were me. (I rented one the couple of times I needed one, but they were industrial hospital ones...but they definately can be cleaned up for another person to use... I still had to have my own personal fittings.)

PS sorry for any repitition. I didn't see all the other answers.... :)

I agree with the other moms, don't trash it! I tried the evenflo pump and didn't like it, so I got the Medela, which I loved. It worked great for both my kids and when I was done I gave it to a close friend and she used it for 2 of her kids. I think it might have even been passed on to another friend of hers after that. New tubing was bought each time and the rest was sterilized. Medela is a good quality pump. Save it for #2 or pass it on, but either way, don't trash it!

Yes, new tubing can be purchased online and you can sterilize the rest. The pump iteslf is not a problem to reuse.

E....I have a friend that is a "breastfeeding" guru / nurse! I wanted to borrow a pump from my friend instead of buying/renting one...so I simply replaced the tubes and the pumping accessories. Don't trash it! save it/ freecycle it/craigslist it! anything but throw away!
have a great day

Hi,

I had the same pump. I hardly used mine, and it was kept clean like brand new. I sold it. The next mom most likely bought new attachments, they sell them in the stores so that makes it easy to buy a used pump and not worry about it being unsanitary!
Good Luck!

I and my husband are very particular along these lines, but he has an electric motor business and know the ends and outs and was satisfied that we were doing the right thing by giving it to a friend. Those things are expensive, and a women's shelter or lady in need would be thrilled to receive it. They can replace the parts that came in contact with milk, but I am sure the motor is safe. We also used it with 2 kids. I didn't go back to work, so it didn't get the use someone who needed it day in and day out would have, so I felt it has plenty of life left in it.

You might want to hold onto it if you plan to have another child. I am still using mine and it is still going strong.
If you decide to get rid of it you can donate it to a pregnancy center or charity that helps mothers. You can buy new tubing to go with it when you donate it. A friend of mine works for Le Leche and she recommends this. This helps other mothers who have to go back to work but cannot breastfeed because they can't afford a pump.

I'd keep it and sell it. It says single person for sanitary purposes, but I got all new hosing from the hospital when I gave birth (it was apparently standard for the hospital), so I got a used one. Everything but the hose and little gummy caps can be boiled to sanitize, and the things that can't be boiled can be easily purchased online.

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