August is National Breastfeeding Month. While there are many topics to discuss surrounding breastfeeding, one has recently caught my attention that is rarely discussed… Pumping and properly cleaning pump parts. This topic won’t apply to everyone, but we do work closely with a lot of breastfeeding/pumping moms. So, if you are one or know one… this post is for you!
Tackling breastfeeding can feel like a real feat for moms and families. Add in the need to pump, whether at home or work, brings it to a whole new kind of feat! Breastfeeding, as most know, provides so many great benefits for moms and babies, but it is work no doubt.
As a pumping / working mom, I know all too well the effort you mommas put into making it work! In addition to the pumping you have the cleaning, storage, organization, etc. Whether you are new to pumping and storing breastmilk or you are multiple kids in, there are always things to be mindful of and of course, as with most things, areas for improvement. This is especially true when discussing pumping and properly cleaning pump parts.
**Please note, I am not writing this post to produce fear or anxiety related to pumping and breastmilk storage. These instances are RARE. I highly encourage breastfeeding and pumping if needed for all moms. This is strictly to serve as a reminder, resource and help!**
I always like to share where the inspiration for a certain post comes from. This one is fueled by a recent article headline that a friend shared with me…
Pump cleaning guidelines? As I thought about it, I realized that most of the education and guidance I received while nursing is primarily geared towards actual breastfeeding. Proper latch, cleaning and caring for the skin area, washing hands, etc. There are of course directions and care guidelines that came with my pump, as well as proper handling of milk, however, this information isn’t commonly talked about and discussed with the public.
The article (here) from Parents discusses how an infant contracted the very rare Cronobacter infection from contaminated pump parts. They do state that the infant was premature, which did make her more susceptible to infection. However, no matter if premature or full term, this is a great reminder for us to review proper pump cleaning and milk storage guidelines. As moms and caregivers of infants, we only want what is best for our children. Although we are usually doing what we think is best, it is always good to review our practices!
In this article, the pump parts were being cleaned by soaking the parts in warm/hot, soapy water in the home sink. That seems fine, right? However, it is thought that because they were left in the sink for an extended amount of time, bacteria was given the opportunity to grow and take up residence within the pump parts, ultimately transferring to the milk. As the CDC began investigating resources readily available to moms that discussed properly cleaning pump pieces, the information was limited. Thus, was born guidelines for “How to Keep Your Breast Pump Kit Clean.” Also in the Parents article, they talk several pump cleaning hacks and whether or not they are sufficient for cleaning.
You may feel that this is basic information, but I ask you to read through the guidelines and the dos and don’ts provided by the CDC. What practices can you refine? If passing along this information can help one momma keep their baby healthy, then it’s worth it!
Click here for a more extensive infographic published by the CDC for public use.
Since we are talking “food safety,” here is additional information regarding handling and storage of breastmilk.