Sunday, November 16, 2014

Used Breast Pumps: To Buy or To Borrow?

Image source here.
Borrowing or buying a used breastpump may seem like an affordable way to continue providing your child breastmilk; however, using a used breast pump poses several dangerous health risks for you and your baby.

The FDA considers all breastpumps that are available for consumer purchase as personal hygiene items intended for a single user. Because of this labeling, used breast pumps cannot be sold legally in the United States. Confusion of whether or not it is safe to share breastpumps generally occurs because mothers are aware that pumps can be purchased and rented. However, hospital rentals are safely used by multiple women because they are designed with special barriers that prevent cross contamination.

Although most breast pumps are protected from defects by a one year manufacturer’s warranty, these warranties are voided if the pump is used by anyone other than the original user.

Health Risks

In the event that certain viruses were present in the previous user’s breastmilk, those viruses could be passed on to your baby and cause him to become seriously ill. Some of the viruses that are passed through breastmilk include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and cytomegalovirus (CMV).

Image source here.
If the previous user experienced cracked or bleeding nipples then the pump may have been contaminated with blood, which increases the health risks associated with using a used pump.
Additionally, if the previous user had a fungal infection such as thrush it may possibly be transmitted through the pump. Contamination with thrush can pose such a problem that lactation consultants often recommend that mothers replace their own pump equipment after battling with a persistent yeast infection.

Many mothers often believe that it is safe to use a shared breast pump as long as all the washable components have been sterilized. It is important to note that home sterilization methods are unable to effectively eliminate all pathogens that may be present in the pump. For instance, it is possible for breastmilk to aerosolize and enter parts of the pump that cannot be cleaned or sterilized, like the pump motor.

Image source here.
When the risks of buying or borrowing a used pump are considered, it is clear that saving a few dollars does not out weigh the potential health dangers. Protect your child’s health and safety by only using a new, unused breast pump or an approved hospital grade rental to express your milk.

Thinking of donating? 

The Medela House is a responsible drop off point and milk sharing hub for breastmilk. In a Memorandum of Agreement with St. Luke’s Global City, a portion of your milk is pasteurized and returned to us for dispensing to those most in need – premature and sick babies as well as those deemed with true milk insufficiency by lactation specialists. In the country, you either pay for the cost of pasteurizing breastmilk, you take a chance on raw milk, or you get yourself confined in PGH for you to avail of pasteurized breastmilk. With your generous donation, breastmilk will be made more available for those who can’t afford or who are not confined in PGH. Your excess milk may just save another baby's life!


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  1. That's also why I didn't buy a second hand breastpump. I bought a more affordable one pero brand new. Hindi mo din kasi alam how it was used. Nakakatakot especially since it's for my baby.

  2. I actually bought a used breast pump because as a SAHM/WAHM, I wouldn't be using it often. I actually just bought one because I needed to be away for as night when my LO was still very young. I sterilized the heck out of it though!

  3. Oh my! I'm so glad I didn't contract any of those infections! A friend of mine just lent me her breast pump and it was so effective, I used it for two kids!

  4. Wow, I wasn't aware that borrowing used breast pumps could potentially be dangerous. I was one of those who thought that as long as they're sterilized, they'd be okay to use. Will remember this in case we have another baby in the future.

  5. I don't reckon using used breast pump. I bought a sturdy pump and was able to use it for my 4 kidsAlthough, I was open to donating my breast pump before, I just decided to throw it away as I don't want to be blamed for endangering the next user's life.

  6. So I heard that Medela is a very nice brand of breast pumps. Mine is not Medela tho. I bought another brand which is cheaper. Now thinking of giving my pumps to my SIL. Of course, will sterilize it before sending it to her. I just wonder if that's enough to kill the possible virus present in it.

  7. I've been thinking about selling my Avent pump or passing it on to another friend. The problem naman is that they don't sell the replaceable parts here anymore. As in sa UK na lang meron and they don't ship pa here. Nakakaloka! Hopefully another Mom can benefit from the pump when I stop pumping for my baby. My plan is when I get pregnant again in the future, hopefully mga 6 years from now pa, I'll get the latest na so no problem with parts.

  8. I got hand-me-down breastpumps from my sisters in law but I never used them since I got new ones from my friends. After reading this, I'm so relieved that I got new ones!

  9. Oooohh I never knew this. Good thing I never bought a second hand breast pump, and this is great that you are spreading the awareness.

  10. I have both manual and electric breast pumps which didn't work for me! Old fashioned manual as in manual pumping worked for me. LOL :)

  11. It would be better to have a new breast pump. I did not buy a used one or lend my old one as I didn't think it was sanitary.

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