The Health Risks of Sharing Breast Pumps
Smart moms look for bargains. Hand-me-downs are often as good as new and can save you a lot of money. When it comes to purchasing a breast pump, however, think twice about buying used or sharing with a friend.
I often hear, “My pump is used, but I bought a new pump kit so I know it’s safe.” Unfortunately, buying a new kit is not the answer. It’s possible for tiny droplets of milk or air-born pathogens to get into the motor and cause cross contamination. Even though there are no documented cases of mothers or babies being infected via a second-hand pump, why take a risk?
The FDA defines breast pumps as single-use devices. Most professional-grade pumps are “open systems.” This means that there is no barrier between the milk collection kit and the pump motor. If a mother uses the pump when she has cracked or bleeding nipples, or if she has an infection or an infectious disease, it’s possible that the motor can become contaminated. According to the FDA, …”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.” (Rental pumps are “closed systems” and shareable.)
Diseases such as hepatitis and cytomegalovirus (CMV) can be passed to others when the carrier isn’t even aware of being sick. So even if you know and trust the previous owner of the pump, there is a risk that it is unsafe. “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…” (FDA website)
Here’s the good news: All Hygeia breast pumps have FDA clearance as multi-user pumps. There is a filter between the pump kit and the motor that eliminates the risk of cross-contamination. Hygeia pumps are effective, affordable AND shareable! If you’re interested in purchasing a Hygeia pump, or have questions, contact our lactation consultant, Renee Beebe, via phone or email. Not in Seattle? No problem. Renee is available to mothers anywhere!