Asked by Andrea, San Francisco, California
I'm eight months pregnant and plan to breastfeed. I will go back to work after a few months and am thinking about getting a heavy-duty double breast pump, but the new ones are very expensive. Is it safe to buy or rent a used one? I'm worried about the germs that might be inside the pump but can't really afford a new one.
Living Well Expert
Dr. Jennifer Shu
Children's Medical Group
Thanks for your question, and congratulations! Breast pumps are actually regulated by the FDA, and the party line is that personal pumps are designed for single users (kind of like a toothbrush), but hospital-grade ones may be used by multiple women.
Most breast pumps are made up of an "open system" where the breastmilk flows through the breast shields, tubing and collection containers, but milk particles may also come into contact with parts of the machine. Multi-user pumps are "closed systems," in which the milk cannot enter the machine itself, and the tubing and other pieces may simply be changed between users.
If you plan to rent a pump or buy or borrow a used one, it's best to be sure it is the closed-system kind. Although viruses such as HIV cannot survive on surfaces for more than a few hours, there are other germs that can live for several weeks or years, even on dry objects. While it is normal for a baby to be exposed to his own mother's germs, it's important to minimize any unnecessary contact with other viruses or bacteria.
For pricier items such as breast pumps, new parents may opt to put them on a gift registry or see if friends and family members can chip in donations toward the purchase. The pump may also be covered under certain insurance plans or if you have a health savings account or flexible spending account.
Your state health department or local WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program may provide assistance as well; income eligibility requirements may apply. You could also consider a more affordable single or manual pump, although they are often less efficient than double electric ones.
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed|
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.