As if breastfeeding and pumping weren't already a big enough change, most moms don't consider in advance all the cleanliness aspects that are crucial to the task of feeding your baby with breastmilk at hand. Although they're not too overwhelming, and the routine isn't difficult to get into, there are some breast pumping hygiene tips that no one probably ever taught you to keep in mind. So we're here to give it to you straight so that you're well prepared for your pumping journey and routine.
Although pumping seems like a lot to get down at first, like many things, it's really much better once you get used to it. Yes, it's tedious, but with practice you'll find a way to streamline it into motherhood. Especially for working moms or moms who are trying to up their supply, pumping is often an essential and frequent part of your day. If you want to avoid a hygiene disaster or potential germ spreading, it's important to note the CDC updated their breast pump cleaning guidelines this year, according to Parents. If you plan on pumping it's important to be aware of the potential hygiene-related mishaps sooner than later. Hopefully that will help you avoid experiencing them for yourself, but if you do find yourself face-to-face with any of these, don't worry, we're here to help.
If you're hoping to avoid any cleanliness or hygiene issues with your breast pump, you can prepare ahead of time and get in the habit of staying free and clear. Or if you just want a refresher to make sure the process you're been following is up to date, check out these breast pumping cleaning tips.
1. Avoid Scented Soaps Or Lotions
Luckily, you don't need to worry about washing breasts before or after each pump session, but Medela does recommend moms pay careful attention to washing their breasts in the shower. Don't use harsh or scented soaps and lotions, especially items that may contain alcohol on your nipples. They could wreak havoc on your nipples and make pumping more uncomfortable over time.
2. Don't Use Tanning Lotion Or Spray Tan On Your Breasts
Mom Gemma Colley made the mistake of getting a spray tan and then breastfeeding her baby, which resulted in a big tan spot around his mouth, according to ABC News. This mishap did have an upside, however: it was able to draw attention to why moms want to avoid spray tanning or tanning lotion on their breasts and nipples, as it's not something you want seeping into the milk you're pumping either.
3. Wash Your Hands Before Pumping
Even if you don't think this is necessary because you don't plan on coming into direct contact with the milk you've pumped, the CDC's updated guidelines urge moms to thoroughly wash their hands before handling pump supplies or pumping in general to prevent the spread of germs. Additionally, they stress that it's a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water for a full 20 seconds to maximize safety and cleanliness during a pump session — sing the happy birthday song in your head to keep you entertained. As an extra piece of precaution, you can also use disinfectant wipes to clean the outer part of your pump before and/or after use.
4. Air Dry Pump Pieces, Don't Wipe Them Down
It's also important to air dry pump pieces on a clean dish towel after washing them, not to rub the parts with a towel because it can spread germs, according to Parents. It may be instinctual to dry off the pieces after washing them, or a quick go-to in a hurry, but avoid it if possible and opt to air dry instead. A smart way to avoid needing pump pieces in a hurry is to have extra on hand. Purchasing duplicates can help you avoid getting in a pinch.
5. Take All Pieces Apart To Wash Immediately After Use
Another piece of the CDC's updated guidelines (from their aforementioned article) includes taking apart the pump pieces immediately after use and washing them. The previously shared Parents article stated that "after an infant contracted a dangerous infection from contaminated pump parts," the CDC issued new updates, and to avoid this happening to you, washing immediately after use is the safest route to go. This doesn't mean you need to wash pieces by hand either – the dishwasher is still a safe option – but do avoid placing pump pieces into the sink if you are washing them by hand because there are extra germs lurking there.
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