Q&A: Is it safe to use a second hand breast pump?

There are a host of baby things you can buy secondhand – prams, clothing even cloth nappies. But should you buy a breast pump that’s already been used by someone else?

The short answer is no. And here’s why.

In the hospital, you may have used a large breast pump that has obviously been used by other mums before you. That’s because hospital-grade breast pumps are closed system pumps so there is a barrier that stops germs and bacteria from going into the motor and tubes of the pump. Hospital grade breast pumps are designed for multiuse.

Domestic pumps, however, have an open system. That means milk and moisture can get into the tube and motor. Even if you use new tubing, bottles and flanges, there is still the potential for germs and bacteria to enter your expressed milk. And there are some diseases that can be found in breastmilk that could be transferred, as well as thrush infections. Or if the mother who used the pump before you had cracked, bleeding nipples there’s also the chance of blood-borne infections being passed on.

If you fall in love with the efficiency of a hospital breast pump, many hospitals do have a hiring program.

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