Keep Calm and Pump On

New mothers are under a lot of pressure.  The large amount of research expounds on the superiority of breastmilk, so when the call of your career or the bills start piling up you head back to work with the reassurance that you can pump and provide your baby with your milk via pumping.  Then the CDC publishes their new guidelines for caring for your pump parts and you begin to wonder if it’s all worth it. 

Well it is worth it!  But it may take some creative time management to prepare to pump, clean and ready your pumping parts for the next session.  Of course, you may not be at work but are needing to pump your breast for a baby unable or un-willing to breastfeed.  So, everyone listen up!  Breastmilk has many properties that help to decrease bacteria load BUT the further you go from the main production factory (your breasts) can increase the chance of contamination that can end in disease.  This is what the CDC is concerned about. 

Factors that protect your baby:

  • Consuming breastmilk
  • Baby that was term
  • Baby that is older (especially greater than 2-3 months)
  • Baby that is healthy (no underlying diseases that might cause a weak immune system)
  • Milk that is handled carefully with attention to detail in cleanliness

What disease?  The main concern is over the bacteria Cronobacter sakazakii although contamination can occur with other bacteria.  The Cronobacter is a bacterium that can be found in other food products and in the environment. It has also been implicated in contamination of infant formula with dire consequences.  The CDC reported in their Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report (July 21, 2017) of a premature infant that suffered from an infection of the Cronobacter that caused sepsis (infection) and meningitis (infection in the brain).  Although this baby lived it had life altering damage to its brain.  It was determined that the contamination was found in the mother’s personal use breast pump kit and her kitchen sink.  It was also determined that the mother would place her pump parts in a soapy basin in her sink for up to 5 hours before rinsing and air-drying the parts.

So, you can see how important hygiene can be to mitigate the risk to your baby.  I feel that the CDC has done a great job in identifying the lack of instructions given to parents about how to clean breast pump parts.  Please read the attached handouts and tell me how you will change your routine?  Your baby may not have risk factors, may be older, does this effect how you plan to pump? 

Want to see how it can be done?  Look at our pictorial of how to treat your parts.  We appreciate your comments!!

-Barbara Kalmen

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How to clean your pump.

Pumping is hard work.  And cleaning your pump can be just as hard.  But providing milk for your baby is worth it.  Follow these steps to help keep reduce the chance of breast milk contamination.

Always have your instructions handy to refer back to.  Printing a copy maybe better than using your phone.  Phones have lots of germs.  Always wash your hands after using your phone while pumping.  If you need a copy click here.

Always wash your hands before doing anything with your pump, pumping parts or your milk.

Put your pump together and make sure everything is clean.  (It should be clean from the last time you used it)

Start with clean pumping parts, a clean pump, and a clean place to put your pump.  This is very important if your using a shared pump or you are using your pump in a shared area.

After pumping store your milk then clean your pumping area and your pump.

Take your pumping parts apart and rinse any pieces that came into contact with your milk.  Place rinsed pumping parts in a clean place.  I put mine in a clean bowl.  Don’t put any of these pieces in the sink.

Hand Washing Pump Parts

Don’t use the sink.  Instead use a wash basin or large bowl.  This wash basin or bowl should be for cleaning of pump parts only.  This will help to make sure you don’t get germs from other places.

Add soap and hot water.

Scrub each piece with a clean brush.  For the little parts make sure to use a small brush that can reach the small parts.  Most bottle brushes come with a small brush but if this smaller brush doesn’t reach all the parts very small brushes can bought.  

These brushes should be used only for cleaning pump parts, bottle, and other baby feeding items.  Don’t use your regular brush that you use with other dishes.

Rinse the soap off your pumping parts.

Place clean pumping parts on clean unused towel.Wash bowl or wash basin and brush as well.  These can be washed in the dishwasher as well.


Place small pumping pieces in a mesh bag or a dishwasher basket.  Place mesh bag or a dishwasher basket on the top rack.  Run dishwasher with hot water and heated dry.

Wash your hands again before taking the pumping parts out the dishwasher.

If your pumping parts are still wet after washing place on a clean dish towel.


When your pumping parts are all dry place in a clean storage container with a lid until you need them again.

These instructions are great for pumping at home and for cleaning your parts when you get home from being away from your baby.  If you need to clean your pumping parts at work or on the go try a steamer that is make for infant feed parts (pumping parts, bottles, pacifiers, etc) that goes in the microwave or plugs in.

We would love to hear how pumping fit into your day.  Do you make time to clean your pumping parts?  If you are still confused about how to clean your pumping parts or how to make pump cleaning work on the go please leave a comment.

-Emily Garrison


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