Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Used Breastpumps aren’t Worth the Risk!

According to Medela, it has been estimated that 1 in 3 breastpumping moms are sharing or borrowing a pre-owned pump that they received from their sister or friend, or that they bought at a garage sale or online. Moms are simply not aware of the real risks associated with using a pre-owned pump for both mom and baby.

When you bring your new baby home, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your breastpump is sanitary and can do its job: maintain your ability to produce breastmilk when you're away from your baby, so you can keep breastfeeding for as long as you like.

Some moms try to save money by buying or borrowing a used pump - but, a used pump might not be such a bargain.

Did you know . . .

  • There's an FDA guideline - that single-user breastpumps (all brands) should only be used by one person because there's no way to guarantee the pump can be cleaned and disinfected between uses.

  • Improperly cleaned pumps could harbor bacteria or be contaminated with someone else's breastmilk.

  • A used pump motor may be worn down, and seem to work properly - but could jeopardize your milk production.

  • Warranty coverage, top-of-line customer service, and the latest and greatest research-based pumping technology are guaranteed only with new pumps.

The following Hospital Grade Pumps are designed and FDA approved as multiple use devices:

>> Hollister Elite*
>> Hollister Lact-e*
>> Hollister SMB Breastpump*
>> Medela Classic Breastpump*
>> Medela Lactina Breastpump*
>> Medela Symphony Breastpump*

*These are not pumps that would typically be found at a retail store.

The Pump Station Rents Hospital Grade Pumps at both of our Retail Locations and can also special order them for you.

Pump Exchange Program

In an effort to educate moms of these risks, Medela has created the Pump Exchange Program

  1. Come in to The Pump Station and Nurtury

  2. Give them your old or used pump & get an instant in-store discount towards the purchase of a new pump.

Bring in your Old or Used Pump in Style and get $30 of the purchase price of a new Pump In Style or $40 off the purchase price of a new FreeStyle Handsfree Electric Double Breastpump


Anonymous said...

What about those used in hospitals?? There is no way that you can tell me that the pump that I used for my child in the NICU was a mistake or a risk. No milk goes inside the pump, and each user should have their own tubing, this is the way we do it ladies.... in the real world!

Anonymous said...

This seems a little scary-Mary to me (and basically an effort to sell more pumps). If you buy new tubing and sterilize your equipment first, hygiene shouldn't be a concern. And if the motor has been checked out (which The Pump Station does), what's the problem?

The Pump Station said...

The following Hospital Grade Pumps are designed and FDA approved as multiple use devices:

>> Hollister Elite
>> Hollister Lact-e
>> Hollister SMB Breastpump
>> Medela Classic Breastpump
>> Medela Lactina Breastpump
>> Medela Symphony Breastpump

*These are not pumps that would be typically found at a retail store.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about why it would be okay for one woman to use a pump for more than one baby (possibly with years in between) and not okay for two women to use a pump when each uses their own tubing? What would be the difference in "harbored bacteria"?

I've been using a used Pump In Style with new tubing and plastic parts for four months and haven't had any problems.

Anonymous said...

me too! sounds like someone wants to sell more pumps at $300 a pop. As long as you have new parts the motor should be fine.

Anonymous said...

this really seems to go against common sense when considering how a pump works.....

Anonymous said...

this is a really sad thing. A used breastpump is fine if you buy new flanges and tubes - it's just a motor. For people who can't afford the $300 - it is so much better that they have one. It's seems like such misinformation.

Anonymous said...

I too have used a used Pump In Style which I got from my sister-in-law over four years ago. The only things I bought new were the tubings and the plastic parts. I used the same used pump four years ago and again last year for my two girls, with no problems whatsoever. I pumped at work with the same used pump for a 1-year duration for each daughter, and we haven't had any problems.

Anonymous said...

Glad I'm not alone here - my first thought was that this is a scare tactic aimed at new moms. I'm using a Pump In Style that was handed down TWICE and it works great. There is no way I can afford a brand new pump even with the $40 incentive.

Anonymous said...

Same sentiment here. I'm embarrassed for the Pump Station for putting this out. Shameless tactic to scare new moms into buying a product and creating more needless waste. We're the third user of our pump and it's great. If it sucked nipples any stronger they'd likely come right off. Shame on Pump Station for posting this. Especially in these economic times.

Anonymous said...

I was skeptical too. However, I'll say that I suffered through 3 breast infections and wonder now if it was from the used pump? The first infection I got when baby was only 8 days old, then 5 weeks, then 4 months. Although I have an over productive milk supply and sensitive tissue. The pump in style I got for free from a friend's sister out of state. It was unused for for over a year. I got new tubing, etc. I just find it hard to believe that there was bacteria able to infect. My baby is now 8 months and so far no more infections!

Anonymous said...

This is easy to understand: I was told 26 years ago by a Medela VP that the reason they chose not to get FDA multiple user approval is that it would have added about $50 to the price of the pump at that time (probably $150 now!)

They simply did not think anyone would buy such an item.

And, it's true, the best in pumps come from the simple fact that because Medela has sold so many pumps (and other good products) they also have pioneered excellent research on behalf of breastfeeding, where very little financial gain can be realized (after all, breastmilk, though it does have a cost in time and mom's energy - food intake - is free).

Truthfully, there is a peddle pump, which works on the principle of the old sewing machines, that costs about $30 and works great if the mom wants to tap her foot for 20 minutes! (yeah sure)

But seriously, we who help moms in the trenches know that the probability of something getting into that "non-removable" membrane, which can in fact be removed and cleaned as well as the Symphony, is quite small.

With that said, I feel it is important to ask breastfeeding mothers to invest, yes, invest in a new pump.

It is an investment for Medela and their research.

Sadly, the few organizations that have tirelessly been helping mother's with breastfeeding are finding the times difficult.

What with internet (computer upgrades, etc) really sapping capitol for I don't know what advantage in real information, it's most likely whatever gains breastfeeding advocates have made will slide away.

What ever happened to breastfeeding, I mean feeding a baby at the breast, anyway!!!! ?

I know it's hard to believe, but you can actually breastfeed. The price may indeed be very high, I mean very high indeed.

But it is worth pondering.

Good luck sisters.

Anonymous said...

I am grateful that I was able to borrow a pump.

what is the difference from "borrowing" and renting a pump from the pump station or hospital?

In that situation many more people use the rented pump then one that is borrowed.

I think it is important for new moms to be able to see if they are able to pump and to see if they will be able to keep breast feeding.
Since you usually don't pump at first and need to acclamitate why invest if you need to.

If your lucky enough to have someone loan you a pump go for it.

Anonymous said...

Cut and Pasted Directly From the Fda website:

Should I Buy a Used Breast Pump or Share a Breast Pump?
You should never buy a used breast pump or share a breast pump.

Only FDA cleared, hospital-grade pumps should be used by more than one person. With the exception of hospital-grade pumps, the FDA considers breast pumps single-use devices. That means that a breast pump should only be used by one woman because there is no way to guarantee the pump can be cleaned and disinfected between uses by different women.

The money you may save by buying a used pump is not worth the health risks to you or your baby. Breast pumps that are reused by different mothers can carry infectious diseases, such as HIV or hepatitis.

Buying a used breast pump or sharing a breast pump may be a violation of the manufacturer’s warranty and you may not be able to get help from the manufacturer if you have a problem with the pump.

For more information, visit:

Are Used Breast Pumps A Good Option?

Anonymous said...

I bought a new pump for my son - I work full time so I HAVE to pump but only breastfeed when I am with him. I was 100% sure I would be able to breastfeed and have been successful. However I know several other women who did not breastfeed for very long. A co-worker I have known for several years offered a barely used pump (less than a dozen times) to me for a friend on her 5th child. She had a cheap pump with the last 2 and it conked out. There is NO reason she can't use the almost new pump - it comes from a reliable source and she bought all new tubing, flanges etc.
If you can afford to get your own - great. If not, then a used one is better than formula! Just be sure you know where it came from and you should be fine.

Anonymous said...

I bought the Medela Freestyle and love it. It was very expensive but I was able to afford it. As I have been using it I honestly cannot figure out how the milk can really get sucked back into the motor. One time some water from the back caps got sucked into the tubing. But it was some residual from washing them and it never made it to the motor. I've never seen milk get sucked back in. But I am very susceptible to these types of warnings because when it comes to my baby the "what if" makes me worried, especially if I have some control over preventing it.

Anonymous said...

re: "What ever happened to breastfeeding, I mean feeding a baby at the breast, anyway!!!!?"

What an ignorant statement. Some of us pump because we have no other choice. I'd love to be able to breastfeed my child whenever she needs food, but alas, two difference IBCLCs couldn't get her to breastfeed. So I have two choice: pump, or give her formula. I always want to BF so my option is to pump.

I rented a hospital grade pump before buying a Pump In Style once my baby turned 6 months old. I considered buying used but felt it was safer to go with a new one. I searched around and got a great deal.

I do think you should buy used unless you have no other options, but not everyone can afford to do so. I think it's funny that one of the selling points of the Medela pumps is that you can use them for multiple children/pregnancies, yet at the same time, they tell you not to get a used one because of bacteria. Other than cleaning the tubes and getting new flanges (which you'd do if you bought one used), I don't clean anything on my pump, so I'm not sure that it really matters in the long run.

Anonymous said...

I actually had such an abundant supply that I had milk get into the tubing. Although I cleaned out the tubing, some of the milk made it all the way to the motor. Not realizing this I continued to use the pump. A few weeks later I was using it on battery rather than on electric and the batteries died. When I went to open up the back and replace the batteries there was black mold in there. I kinda freaked out and cleaned it as best I could but I wound up having to call Medela and get them to send me the piece of foam because I couldn't get that clean enough. I later gave it a serious cleaning.

Although, I agree that part of this is a way to sell more and make more money, I would advise anyone using a previously used pump (even thier own) to make sure to clean it VERY VERY well.

The Pump Station said...

Thank you all for the great feedback! Corky has responded to your questions with another Blog post entitled “Confused about Sharing Breastpumps”

Ameda Ultra said...

I heard that as well, even then I would recommend everyone to purchase a new one, I don't think it's much expensive.