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Breast Pump Parts: How Often Should You Sterilise and Replace Them?

Sterilising and replacing your breast pump parts are essential in forging a healthy and safe experience for mother and child.

How often should these two activities be conducted? To expel any confusion and reassure you that you’re right on track, here are various advisories for sterilising and replacing your breast pump parts.

The Recommended Sterilisation Frequency for Your Breast Pump Parts

Sterilisation is an important step in maintaining the cleanliness of your breast pump parts. Babies can potentially contract life-threatening illnesses if you do not ensure the proper cleaning and sterilising of your breast pump parts.

There are various sterilisation methods: using a UV steriliser, steam steriliser, microwave steam bag, or simply boiling them in a large pot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends sterilising your breast pump parts at least once a day. This is especially necessitous if your baby is less than three months old, born prematurely, or has a compromised immune system.

For older and healthy babies, we also recommend cleaning and sterilising pump parts meticulously after every use. This is because we emphasise using clean and sterile parts for every pumping session to reduce the potential of bacterial infection.

The Rate of Replacement of Different Breast Pump Parts

As high-usage products, breast pump parts undergo wear and tear over time. Some signs include fraying, tears, or over-stretching. Routine replacement is needed to maintain optimal performance and milk production.  

Two key factors that affect replacement frequency include the type of breast pump part and how often you pump.

  • Breast Shields: Also called flanges, breast shields are the firm cones that connect directly to your breast. It is unavoidable for breast shields to accumulate residue in the areas that are difficult to reach.

Breast shields can also crack or become deformed as time passes, depending on how frequently you pump. Discolouration may also occur, but this does not affect its function. Ideally, they should be replaced every 6 months if you are exclusively pumping or pump over 4 times daily.

If you pump less frequently, check your breast shield regularly and replace as required.

Tubing: Cimilre’s tubing is attachable to our complete protection system, so you need not worry about stuck mould or milk.

It is unnecessary to wash the tubing since it does not come into contact with breast milk. If the exterior is soiled, simply wipe it with a damp cloth or disinfectant wipe. A replacement every 3 to 6 months is advised, or whenever needed.

  • Silicone Valve: A silicone valve is screwed on to the flanges, responsible for controlling your pump’s suction, and as its name suggests, is constructed from silicone.

If you pump over 4 times a day or sterilise it regularly, replace it every month. On the other hand, if you pump between one to three times daily, replace it every two to three months.

Remember to check periodically for decreased elasticity or deformity. Smaller breast pump parts may not always show visible damage, so it is important to check thoroughly.

  • Backflow Protector: The backflow protector is a soft piece of silicone that stops milk from the breast shield from backing up into the tubing. If you pump three or more times daily, replace it every three months.

If you pump less frequently, replace it every 6 months. Replace it when you notice any tears, stretching or loss of elasticity of the membranes. Inspect it regularly before you pump as a damaged backflow protector may result in increased moisture into the pump motor.

This causes irreparable damage and the possibility of bacteria and mould to grow.

Disinfecting and replacing your breast pump parts are vital in ensuring that your baby receives clean, sterile and untainted milk, and that you optimise milk expression to meet your baby’s growing needs.

While it can be tedious to perform these routines regularly, keep in mind that your actions today will go a long way in benefiting both mother and child.