3 Reasons why You should NOT Share your Breast Pump

Due to the exorbitant cost of an electronic breast pump, it might be quite tempting to borrow one from a friend or buy a used one. However, it is not worth the risks considering these three reasons stated below. In fact, any ONE reason is powerful enough to stop me from choosing a second-hand breast pump for my child.

1. Open system pump

Most breast pumps are design for personal use or “single user” and they are “open systems”. This means that the pump motor is “open” to contact with the mother’s milk particles. Sarah Eichler, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Childbirth Educator base in US posted on her social media, “After trying to explain to the many moms that I’ve worked with the difference between an open system pump and close system pump. I decided to start taking pictures of the inside of the open system pumps. Old milk, mold and dust was a common theme. An opened system pump should not be saved, reused, given away or borrowed. Please take care of your milk and baby.”

Some mothers might think that using a second-hand pump is fine as long as with a brand new set of bottles, tubing and breast shields. 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. Therefore it may be possible for air-borne 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.

2. Health and Hygiene Issues

Dangerous viruses such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), hepatitis and HIV (AIDS) can be transmitted through human milk*. A mother can be a carrier without even knowing because these diseases frequently go undetected for long periods of time. Therefore even if the former user of the pump is trustworthy and willing to share her personal health information with you, she may not be aware she or her partner are carriers. Other very difficult to clear fungal infections like candidiasis, more commonly known as yeast or thrush, may also be transmitted. Medela stated in its Website:

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. For 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.

3. Motor Lifespan

Most of the single-user electric breast pumps have a one-year warranty. They are designed to be used for about one year with one child. Manufacturers typically void a single-use breast pump's warranty if used by more than one person. It makes sense that when a pump has been used for three times a day for a year, eventually the motor is bound to lose its strength. When the pump has lost significant power, it is not going to be efficient and it will have a huge impact on a mother’s milk supply.

Source*: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=s002175572004000700010&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en