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Important! New Guidelines for Cleaning Breast Pumps

2:00

When possible, breastfeeding is one of the best ways to give your newborn a healthy start in life. There are many reasons when breastfeeding may not be possible or simply inconvenient; that’s where a breast pump comes in handy.

Just about every mom knows how important it is to clean baby’s bottles, however, not everyone is aware that the same cleaning thoroughness should be applied to the breast pump.

After a baby developed severe complications last year from a rare infection she contracted from improperly cleaned breast pump parts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines to help moms care for their breast pumps.

In April 2016, a premature baby in Canada developed a rare but life-threatening infection from a bacteria contaminated breast pump. The results were devastating to the infant and family.

Health experts tracked down the cause of the baby’s illness. The infant’s mother cleaned her breast pump after using, but not properly. After each time the mom pumped, she soaked her equipment in warm water for about five hours without scrubbing or otherwise sanitizing it. She then rinsed it, air-dried it and stored it in a plastic zip-top bag.

Health experts found that the mom’s pump and her breast milk samples had been infected with C. sakazakii, a rare type of bacteria that can cause sepsis and meningitis in infants. 

The particular infection this baby developed is quite rare, but other types of bacterial infections can and do occur when breast pumps aren’t cleaned correctly.

The CDCs new guidelines for preparing and cleaning breast pumps are:

Before every use

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Inspect your pump as you assemble it; if you see any mold in the tubing, throw it away immediately and replace.
  • Use disinfectant wipes to clean your countertop along with the pump’s dials and power switch.
  • Store milk safely in a sealed container labeled with the date, and store it right away in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice packs.
  • Take apart the pump, including tubing and any separate parts that come into contact with your milk.
  • Rinse all parts under running water. Hold the parts in your hands — don’t place them in the sink, where they could come into contact with other bacteria. Then clean as soon as possible by hand or in a dishwasher.

After every use- If you’re cleaning by hand:

  • Place parts in a basin that’s specifically for cleaning your pump and baby’s bottles — never place gear in the sink! — and fill it with soapy hot water.
  • Scrub the parts using a brush designated for your baby’s feeding gear.
  • Rinse under running water.
  • Rinse the basin and scrub brush after each use and clean every few days in the dishwasher or by hand using hot water and soap.
  • Allow to air dry completely, placing the washbasin, brush and all feeding parts on a clean dry towel. Definitely do not use the towel you use with your family’s dishes, since it can be infected with bacteria.

If you’re using a dishwasher:

  • Check that your pump is dishwasher safe, then place pump parts inside, with small parts in a closed-top basket or mesh laundry bag.
  • Run the dishwasher on hot water/dry cycle or sanitize mode.
  • Wash your hands before removing the parts from the dishwasher.
  • If any parts are not dry, place on a clean dry towel (never your dish towel!) and allow to air dry.

Sanitizing and storing your breast pump:

At least once a week, sanitize the pump parts, wash basin and bottle brush using boiling water, steam or a dishwasher’s sanitize setting — especially if your baby is under 3 months old, was born prematurely or otherwise has a weakened immune system.

Once all of the pumping parts are dry, store in a dry, clean box. Remember the dry part. Any moisture allows bacteria to multiply!

While it might seem like a lot of work, it’s definitely worth the effort to help protect your baby from potentially dangerous infections.

Story source: Colleen de Bellefonds, https://www.whattoexpect.com/news/first-year/cdc-new-guidelines-cleaning-breast-pumps/

 

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