Used Breast Pumps

Single and Multiple User Devices

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Is it safe to borrow your friend's breast pump?. Jaime Grill/Getty Images

Breast pumps can be expensive. It may be tempting to borrow or buy a used breast pump in order to save money, but is it safe? The safety of a used breast pump depends upon the specific type of device that it is.

Most breast pumps are designed to be used by only one person. While pumping, breast milk can get into the interior parts of the pump which cannot be cleaned. Even if you change the tubing or change the other disposable parts of the pump, bacteria and viruses can remain hidden inside.

This can put you and your baby at risk for contracting a serious bacterial or viral infection. You should avoid buying, borrowing or sharing any used breast pump that is meant for one single user.

There are some breast pumps that can safely be used by more than one person. These multiple user pumps are often found in hospitals or where pumps can be rented. The interior of this type of pump cannot be contaminated by breast milk, and any of parts that are exposed to another person's milk are disposable. These pumps are thoroughly sterilized between each individual user and therefore considered to be safe.

If you have any questions about the the purchase, use, or safety of breast pumps, talk to your doctor, a lactation consultant or a local La Leche group for assistance.

Sources:

Blenkharn, JI. Infection Risks From Electrically Operated Breast Pumps. Journal of Hospital Infection. 1989;13 (1): 27-31.

Mohrbacher, N. Are Used Breast Pumps a Good Option? Issues to Consider. LEAVEN. 2004; 40 (3): 54-55.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Medical Devices: Buying and Renting a Breast Pump. Department of Health and Human Services. 2012: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/HomeHealthandConsumer/ConsumerProducts/BreastPumps/ucm061952.htm

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