Whether you have an electric breast pump or a manual breast pump, it is crucial to keep it absolutely clean and sterilise it regularly. If washed improperly, harmful bacteria could develop in the dried breast milk.
The breast pump should be washed thoroughly after each use and left to air dry. In some cases, a health professional may recommend that the breast pump also be sterilised after each use. It is best not to take any risk with pre-term babies or sick babies. In most cases, sterilising your breast pump once a day is sufficient.
Sterilising a breast pump is quick and easy, and you can find the method that suits you best.
- Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Some parts should only be wiped clean while others should be washed and sterilised. Not all parts can be sterilised by all methods so make sure that the method you are about to use is suitable for your breast pump.
- Take apart all the components of the breast pump. Make sure that you are not missing any. The small valve in particular is easily lost. The components should not be left attached when sterilised.
- Using an electric steam steriliser: Once the parts of your breast pump are washed, place them in the steriliser. Add water. Plug. Wait. When the light goes off, your breast pump is ready.
- Using a microwave steriliser. The microwave steriliser is a container or a bag into which the parts can be placed, along with a specified amount of water, and then microwaved. Before using this method, read the instructions carefully, as some breast pumps are not suitable for microwave sterilising.
- You can also place the parts of your breast pump in the top drawer of the dishwasher. You need to check the dishwasher manufacturer’s manual to make sure that the hot water cycle will reach 140C.
- A breast pump can also be easily sterilised in a large pot of boiling water. It should be left to boil on high heat for ten minutes.
Whichever method you use, be extremely careful when removing the breast pump. It is likely to be extremely hot. You can let it cool down to room temperature before removing it from the steriliser or the boiling water. Let the parts air dry on a clean kitchen towel.
Reassemble your breast pump … et voilà! Your breast pump is ready to use for the next time you need it. It can be stored in its carry case, on a tray covered with a clean cloth, or in a large food container.