In the hustle and bustle of mom life, it can be easy to neglect one of the most important pieces of equipment in your #momlife arsenal — the breast pump. And with great pumps comes great responsibility. (That's how the saying goes right?) If your pump is seeing a lot of action, chances are you're probably not cleaning it as often as you should be. It's easy to pump, cross it off your to-do list, and rush off to the next thing, but not cleaning your pump can have some unpleasant and unhealthy consequences. Don't feel bad if you have no idea how to clean your breast pump. Luckily for you, cleaning these babies isn't as tricky as you may think, whether you have a manual pump or a more fancy one.
A word of warning before we get to the good stuff though. According to Medela's FAQ section, not cleaning your breast pump right after use can result in milk build up and the growth of mold or bacteria. That's definitely not ideal for you or your baby. That crisis, however, can be easily averted by following a few simple steps to ensure your pump is squeaky clean and ready each time you need it and can help you avoid feeling like this:
The first thing you'll have to do is finish pumping, obviously. Once you've finished a session, leave your pump running for a few extra minutes. In an interview with Parents, Medela's clinical specialists Irene Zoppi said allowing your pump to run after you're finished can clear out any extra condensation. While it's running, disassemble all of the pieces. Yes, all of them. Even those tiny rubber flaps ("membranes" is the technical term).
Next, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends rinsing all of the pieces with cool water to wash off any left over milk residue, followed by a soak in warm soapy water for around 15 minutes. There is even special soap specially designed to remove breastmilk. While you wait, quench your ravenous breastfeeding appetite and appreciate the fact that you're no longer hooked up to a machine.
If you're using your dishwasher, simply put the pieces on the top rack. If you're using your sink, rinse them after the soak and allow them to air dry. Reassemble your pump and you're ready to go again.
That's all there is to it. Pump on mamas, pump on.