View Full Version : sterilizing/reusing breast pump kit

05-06-2002, 08:40 AM
A friend of my sisters is giving me her Pump In Style breast pump to use with my baby (due end of June) and is also sending along the "collecting kit."

Is it okay to use her kit? How about if I autoclave it at work? My mom is concerned about the fact that the pump itself is used, but I have heard from others that this is not a problem. Can anyone help me out?

05-06-2002, 10:28 AM
Medela and most lactation consultants will tell you to NOT use a used pump unless it's a rental. Their pumps are not closed systems and body fluids CAN get into the pump housing. Basically as one LC put it to me..it is like using someone elses toothbrush.

The rental pumps ARE closed systems...I'm guessing the price difference (the rentals sell for over $800) is for that reason.

For the prices you can get the PIS at lately....I would just buy one.


05-06-2002, 01:50 PM
I was planning on using my sister's PIS until I read about the dangers of sharing. I then decided to buy my own PIS. Then I learned the PIS is labeled by the FDA as "single use". Additionally, I emailed Medela regarding the matter and the their answer was that the diaphragm could not be cleaned or replaced. In the end I decided I would not feel comfortable sharing a PIS or using my own PIS for more than one child. After all, it is labeled single use.

My research led me to the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump.
The PY, by Hollister, has a patented "HygieniKit" feature. The Ameda Web site says the HygieniKit is a silicone diaphragm that protects collected breast milk from contaminents that may be present in the pump and tubing. On the flip-side, the diaphragm protects the pump and tubing from contaminents that may be present in the breast milk. This means the pump can be safely shared. The diaphragm protects milk from bacteria and viruses. Ameda's claims passed muster with the FDA.

That makes me feel more comfortable about reusing the pump when baby #2 arrives. Baby #1's due date is still a week away.

BTW, I ordered the PY from www.conceptionstore.com. I received it in a few days, no problem. I am still waiting for the ISIS I ordered the same day. It's on backorder. Once I start pumping I'll let you know what I think of the PY.

For more info on breast feeding check out the bulletin boards at www.breastfeeding.com

Ann Marie

05-18-2002, 01:59 PM
I found the same to be true when researching whether or not it was safe to borrow my friend's Pump In Style. I decided to go with the Ameda Purely Yours, which has the closed system that prevents contaminants. If you don't have access to a used one, you can buy the new PY pump for $149 with the tote bag & accessories.

If you're lucky enough to be able to borrow one, you can get the new personal parts (the HygieniKit) from www.bargainbreastpumps.com for $38.50. They were very good - sent me two emails and my order arrived quickly.

Good Luck!

06-04-2002, 11:24 AM
Hi. I am no expert, but I have a counter opinion. I confess that I borrowed a PIS from a friend and bought my own kit to go with it (it cost me about $30 to buy brand new tubes, valves, and breast shields, which was well worth it). I know Medela says the Pump in Style is a single use product, but let's fact it - their incentive is to sell you a pump. A lactation consultant told me that it would be fine to reuse the machine, as did the Baby Bargains Book, so I did. I have been pumping for almost 5 months now without a problem.

- Laura

06-04-2002, 08:39 PM
As I understand, part of the "problem" for electric pumps is the motor that generates the suction. Unless the motor is fully sealed (and that's an expensive bit of engineering), microbial particles from the milk might get in there, and potentially set up housekeeping, and couldn't be sterilized out due to the construction of the motor.

This is why so many pumps are labelled "single-use". If they can't GUARANTEE that the item is COMPLETELY sterile for a second user, then it is considered to be contaminated. This is standard philosophy in infection control (my sister is an IC nurse).

However, this is where the voice of common sense should step in.

For starters, the risk posed by the un-sterilizable motors is largely theoretical. I don't know of any infants who have become ill this way. Your baby is WAY more likely to become ill from other, everyday objects that we take for granted.

Besides, if you are getting the pump from a known source (ie. a friend or relative), you can also probably trust them to know whether they have hepatitis, AIDS, syphilis, or any of the other biggies, and not to pass their pump to your baby if they do. The lower-grade, more ordinary organisms that everyone carries... well, your baby will get lots of exposure to them no matter what kind of pump you use.

And the baby themselves contributes a factor. Certainly a newborn who is very ill, or dangerously premature, or immuno-compromised, may require the degree of perfect sterilization used in operating rooms. However, for a healthy, normal infant this might be a bit excessive.
And for a baby who is at the age of rolling around on the rug sucking on toys, fingers, and the front of Dad's shirt, it's definitely of questionable value.

I got my pump second-hand from a friend too. Did the same as you. No problems. Of course, folks have to do what they're comfortable with, but that's what I did.



06-04-2002, 09:24 PM
I agree that babies are going to pick up germs from everyday objects, but I was recently told that using someone else's pump is like borrowing their toothbrush! Especially for a newborn, I don't want to compromise their fragile immune system when I can avoid it by renting a hospital grade pump, or buying one with a closed system.

The following is from the Ameda web site:

"New Study Proves--Ameda HygieniKit Protects Breast Milk From Bacteria and Viruses*

"Libertyville, IL, September 2001—There is good news for mothers who rely on electric breast pumps to provide breast milk to their babies. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed and cleared the claim that the patented silicone diaphragm used in the Ameda HygieniKit milk collection system creates a barrier that protects both:

1. collected breast milk from potential contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria that may be present in the pump and or kit tubing AND

2. pump and kit tubing from potential contaminants, such as virus and bacteria, that may be present in collected milk.
"The Ameda HygieniKit is the only breast milk collection system with FDA clearance to make this strong protective claim."

The closed system means the milk never goes through the tubing or the pump itself. It just goes through the breast cups directly into the bottles, and all that goes through the pump & tubing is air (unlike the Medela pump).

I'm really happy with my Ameda pump and would have no problem loaning it to a friend afterward because it's a closed system. I bought it at www.bargainbreastpumps.com for $149.95.

I agree that it's a personal choice, and it's probably a rare occurrence that a baby picks up something from a used pump, so it's really a matter of how much of a risk you want your baby to take.

07-25-2007, 10:31 PM
My insurance company covers breast pumps. I have to meet my deductible and then after that they pay at whatever my policy dictates 80/20, 90/10... whatever it is set up as. Now it seems that insurance companies will not cover something if they can possibly get away with it. However if the cost/ risk works out in their favor, then of course it will be covered. So anyway, as it turns out they will cover a breast pump for every child you have. So they will actually allow you to buy and they will cover a separate breast pump so that you don't share with yourself! That seems a bit extreme for an insurance company unless of course they know something I don't.
I know a breast pump company wants to sell you a breast pump, so of course they are going to recommend you buy a new one. But an insurance company?
What do most doctors and midwives get out of it? And most lactation consultants? I was once at a hospital ready for an exam and the doctor noticed the metal speculum was dirty. It had been disinfected in a hospital and it was DIRTY!!! So of course now I don't trust hospital grade disinfection (is that a word?) why would I trust anyone else's or my own to be superior?
I say err on the side of caution.