CDC offers new breast pump cleaning guidelines
A devastating loss for one mother has become a warning for others: Whether it’s a breast pump or a bottle, it needs to be washed after every use to protect the baby.
A baby died recently from bacteria that’s known to build up on a breast pump.
Following the baby’s death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at its guidelines for breast pump cleaning and realized they were outdated.
Cleaning has to be a consistent and thorough habit in order to protect your baby, said Dr. Vadana Bhide, a pediatrician and an assistant professor at Mayo Clinic.
“Breast milk is very healthy (and) prevents infections in infants, but like any other fluid, it is very prone to get infections,” Bhide said.
Before mothers use a breast pump, the CDC recommends that they wash their hands with soap and water, inspect and assemble the clean pump kit and even clean the pump dials, including the power switch.
After every use, store the milk safely, clean the pump area, take the pump apart and clean every part of it.
Any part of the pump, regardless of whether it’s electric or manual, or any bottles that come into contact with the milk should be cleaned and air-dried.
“The Food and Drug Administration is recommending this and they have always (recommended it),” Bhide said. “I think that we have not gotten the word out as well.”
Drying the parts with a dish towel could transfer germs to the pump kit; moisture is also likely to remain in some of the nooks and crannies of the pump kit, which can help germs and mold grow, CDC spokeswoman Brittany Behm said.
Additionally, infants and premature infants are at a higher risk for infections.
“Breast milk, like any other fluid, can certainly get infected,” Bhide said. “And it’s a medium that bacteria loves to grow (in).”