E.R. asks from Silver Spring, MD on March 21, 2009
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???
T.K. answers from Washington DC on March 22, 2009
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.
J.F. answers from Richmond on March 22, 2009
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!
H.M. answers from Washington DC on March 22, 2009
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.
M.R. answers from Washington DC on March 22, 2009
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.
D.K. answers from Washington DC on March 21, 2009
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.
A.S. answers from Washington DC on March 22, 2009
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.
S.B. answers from Washington DC on March 21, 2009
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!!!
T.S. answers from Dover on March 22, 2009
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.
K.L. answers from Washington DC on March 22, 2009
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.
V.M. answers from Norfolk on March 22, 2009
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.
L.G. answers from Washington DC on March 22, 2009
The FDA warns against sharing pumps:
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.