Cindy Curtis,RN,IBCLC of BreastfeedingOnline.Com
The concern of
buying a used pump is something many breastfeeding moms encounter. Although a
used pump may be more affordable than a new one, there are real health
The practice of
re-using single user pumps may be dangerous because some disease organisms are
know to be present in the breast milk of infected women. Additionally, if a
woman has used the breast pump during an episode of cracked bleeding nipples,
blood contamination may have also occurred. Home sterilization methods are not
always reliable to ensure the safe destruction of all pathogens especially in
the rubber parts such as washers and diaphragms. Some pumps have internal
diaphragms that cannot be removed and cleaned or replaced. In addition, even if
you get a new collection kit (the part the touches your breast and collects the
milk) it may be possible for air-born pathogens or droplets of milk that are not
visible to the naked eye to get into a pump motor and cause contamination to the
next user. Most single user pumps are "open system" pumps and do not
have any protective barrier to prevent cross contamination to multiple users.
Many of the
diseases that can be found in the milk of infected women are very serious or
life threatening. Pathogens like Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis,
cytomegalovirus (CMV) and others can be found in the breastmilk of infected
women. (Lawrence 94) These diseases frequently go undetected for long periods of
time, so even if the former user of the pump is trustworthy and willing to share
this personal health information with you, she may not be aware she or her
partner are carriers. Though there have not been any documented cases of mothers
or babies being infected through the use of a second-hand pump, I don't believe
sharing single user pumps is worth even a very small or theoretical risk.
difficult to clear fungal infections like candidiasis, more commonly known as
yeast or thrush, may also be transmitted. Yeast organisms are very stubborn
pathogens that can live on surfaces for long periods. Some lactation consultants
will go as far as recommending replacing old pump equipment when working with a
mom who has an especially persistent yeast infection because of the difficult in
ensuring the complete destruction of the fungus even with careful cleaning.
In addition to the
health risks of borrowing a pump there are ethical ones as well. I have worked
with several moms who purchased or borrowed a used pump from a friend or
relative, only to have that pump break or stop operating while they were using
it. These moms then felt obligated to purchase a new pump,if it was a borrowed
pump, the new pump had to be returned and the mom had spent a lot of extra money
that she didn't need to. The approximate cost to formula feed a baby for one
year is $2,300.00 , a new breast pump is very reasonable compared to that price.
Most breast pumps
come with a one year warranty, but this only applies to the original owner, any
sharing of the pump negates the warranty.
called the FDA on June 1, 2001 to find out the specifics and here is the
statement issued by them at that time:
following statement is FDA's position on the matter of reuse of breast pumps
labeled for a single user. FDA does not regulate the sale of individual breast
pumps by individuals to other individuals. Rather, we regulate these medical
devices when they are in interstate commerce. We have not said that this
practice is legal or illegal. Instead, we have the following position, which
recommends that if the pump cannot be adequately disinfected between uses by
different mothers, that the pump not be used by different mothers."
"FDA advises that there are certain risks presented by breast pumps that
are reused by different mothers if they are not properly cleaned and sterilized.
These risks include the transmission of infectious diseases or the risk of
improper function. FDA believes that the proper cleaning and sterilization of
breast pumps requires the removal of any fluid that has entered the pumping
mechanism itself. If proper sterilization of the breast pump can not be
achieved, FDA recommends that it not be reused by different mothers."
If you are
considering buying a used breast pump, please determine whether or not the pump
is a "single user" pump before purchasing it.
Here is a list of the
pumps I have researched :
pumps have an open system. This means that the pump motor is "open" to
contact with the mother’s milk particles. The breastshield is open to the
tubing that attaches to the back of the shield, which is also open to the
diaphragm on the pump motor that creates the suction and release. This means
that an invisible mist of milk particles can travel from the shield into the
tubing and back onto the pump diaphragm. The diaphragm cannot be removed or
sterilized, so it cannot be cleaned mothers to insure safety. When there are
milk particles on the pump diaphragm, even with a brand new set of bottles,
tubing and breastshields, with every suction and release another mother’s milk
particles will be blown into your milk. Even if milk particles are not visible,
they can still be there.
The following pumps
are labeled as "single user" devices:
- Avent Isis®
- Evenflo Press and Pump®
- Evenflo Manual Breast Pump®
- Gentle Expressions Mini
- Gerber Precious Care®
- Hollister/Ameda® Purely
- MagMag Mini Electric®
- Medela Mini electric®
- Medela Pump In Style®
- Medela Pump In Style®
- Medela Pump In Style®
- Medela DoubleEase® Breast
The following pumps
are are designed to be used by multiple users:
These pumps operate on a
"closed system", meaning that it is impossible for milk reach the
motor, hence these are safe to be used my multiple mothers.
- Hollister Elite® Hollister
- Hollister SMB® Breast pump®
- Medela Classic® Breast pump
- Medela Lactina® Breast pump
- Medela Symphony® Breast
- Bailey Nurture III®
The following pumps
are still being researched by me :
If the pump you are planning to
purchase is not listed above, please consult the operating instructions or the
box that came with the breast pump when you purchased it.
mothers have asked if they can safely sell, purchase, or use a
previously owned breast pump Medela is concerned about the health and
welfare of breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Breastfeeding is
certainly the best way to feed your baby, and is the gold standard of
infant nutrition. There is some evidence, however, that certain serious
viruses* may be transmittable through breast milk. For this reason, it
is not advisable to use a previously owned breast pump Breast pumps are
single-user products, or personal care items, much like a toothbrush,
and are registered with the FDA as single user items.
safety, Breast pumps should never be shared, resold, or lent among
mothers. Medela strongly discourages mothers from re-using or re-selling
previously owned breast pump equipment. The Medela Pump In Style®
Breast pump has an internal diaphragm that cannot be removed, replaced,
or fully sterilized. Therefore, the risk of cross-contamination
associated with re-using a previously owned pump such as the Pump In
Style cannot be totally dismissed. Multiple use of single-user breast
pump automatically voids the warranty of the Medela product. Each mother
who wishes to express milk with a pump should use a clean,
uncontaminated breast pump This is the safest way to eliminate any risk
pumps such as the Classic™ and Lactina® pumps are made to be safely
used by repeated clients who each use their own clean personal rental
kit, therefore avoiding any possible cross-contamination. Rental pumps,
when used according to the Medela instructions, are safe to use by
multiple mothers who have their own personal kits.
aware that different mothers have different pumping needs, and economic
situations. For this reason, Medela pumps come in a variety of styles
and prices, to fit the needs of many breastfeeding mothers. There are
also grant programs available for mothers in need. For information on
this and Medela products, ask your local rental station. For product
information, availability and pricing, use our Breastfeeding National
Network at 1 800 TELL YOU for your rental/retail station. Customer
Service is available at 1 800 435-8316 for product questions. If you
have any other breastfeeding questions, ask Medela's lactation
invested in continuing health and safety of mothers and babies. Many
mothers who wish or need to express milk regularly find that using a
high quality breast pump can help avoid the costly alternative of using
artificial baby milk, which sometimes approaches or exceeds $1000 for
the first year of baby's life. Mothers who pump frequently may find that
the cost of a high quality breast pump, when compared to the price of
artificial baby milk is reasonable, and a wise investment in the present
and future health of their children and themselves.
1. *It is
believed by some physicians and researchers that human breast milk. can
possibly contain viruses if the mother is infected. Such viruses may
include CMV (Cytomegalovirus), HIV-Human Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS),
and HTLV-1 (Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1.)
1. Ruth A.
Lawrence, MD, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession
(St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby-Year Book, Inc., 1999), pp. 225.
Bailey Medical Engineering's Website
Medical Engineering is dedicated to supporting women in their decision
to breastfeed by providing high-quality products at reasonable prices.
Nurture III is our premiere product. It was designed by Barry Bailey,
engineer and father of two, to be an affordable, practical, durable,
hospital-quality breast pump.
market for the past decade, the Nurture III has been used, tested and
recommended by doctors, lactation consultants, breastfeeding educators,
behind our products with a 30-day customer satisfaction guarantee and a
two-year warranty on the Nurture III Double Electric Breast Pump. We
offer unsurpassed customer service and support. We'll issue full credit
for returned products accompanied by a return authorization number.
Medical itself is a close-knit work community, not unlike a family. We
all love working here. It is enjoyable to get calls from moms who have
used our pump for all their pregnancies and have then loaned the pump to
other moms to use. Meet all the folks who work here and see us in our
Avent America's Website
Avent America are always striving to provide mothers with quality
products at reasonable prices to help them breastfeed longer. Research
has shown that breast milk. can transmit many contagious viruses. It is
for this reason that we strongly recommend that you NEVER use a
previously owned breast pump. The Isis Breast Pump is considered to be a
personal care item and has been designed to be for single use only.
Mothers should never share breast pumps. Sharing or using a previously
owned breast pump could put you and your baby at a potential risk for
exposure to serious health risks.
the viruses that can be within breast milk are:
- HIV - Human
Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS)
- HTLV-1 Human T-Cell
Leukemia Virus Type I
- CMV -
are using a previously owned breast pump you create the risk of cross
contamination. It is for this reason that AVENT AMERICA STRONGLY
SUGGESTS NEVER USING, BORROWING, PURCHASING OR SELLING A PREVIOUSLY
USED/PRE-OWNED BREAST PUMP.
mother's breast milk is the most precious gifts of nutrition/health she
can give her baby, DON'T take the chance of sharing someone else's
viruses with your baby.
have any questions regarding this issue, please feel free to contact us
CIndy Curtis,RN,IBCLC www.breastfeedingonline.com
may be copied and distributed without further permission, on the condition that
it is not used in any context in which the WHO code on the marketing of
breastmilk substitutes is violated.