Breast milk is still, as many mothers know, best for baby. If you want to keep a supply of milk for your baby, a breast pump will help you extract milk that can safely be stored for later use. Keeping a breast pump clean, however, is of utmost importance especially since the pump gets into direct contact with the milk. Here’s how you can clean and sterilize the breast pump.
Use an electric sterilizer. There are plenty of infant and maternity shops that sell electric sterilizers. The electric sterilizers are useful for mothers who want a quick way to clean not on the breast pump but the other equipment for the baby as well, such as the bottle, nipples, the teether, and other feeding equipment for the baby that needs sterilization. Simply add water into the electric sterilizer and place the breast pump.
Use a microwave. The microwave can also be used to clean the breast pump. Wash the pump with soap and rinse well, and then place in microwavable bags or small dishes. Most microwaves will have sterilization guides in the manual. Follow these to get the correct heat and timer settings for sterilizing the breast pump. Afterwards, remove the breast pump and allow to dry.
Using the dishwasher. Some dishwashers also come with sterilization functions. One of the advantages of the dishwasher is that these will not require you to wash, sterilize, and rinse the breast pump separately. Not all dishwashers, however, have sterilizing features. The sterilization features will run hot water over the breast pump while it is in the washer, and will kill the bacteria that might be growing in the breast pump. Keep in mind, however, that not all parts of the breast pump are dishwasher safe. Also, small parts should be placed in small net bags that will keep the pieces from getting lost in the dishwasher or clogging up the tubing in the dishwasher.
Using the stove. Sterilizing a breast pump can also be done using a small pot filled with water. Rinse the breast pump with soap and water and then place in the small pot and allow the water to boil for approximately fifteen minutes, which is the required time to kill the bacteria that may grow in the breast pump.
Clean after every use. Whatever type of cleaning and sterilization method you use, it is important that you clean the breast pump right after each use. Excess milk on the surface on the breast pump will quickly attract bacteria. Also, remember to dry the surface of the breast pump after cleaning, using soft and clean pieces of cloth, since bacteria also tends to develop on moist surfaces. Keep the breast pump in a cool and dry place, away from dirt and direct sunlight when not in use.
Also, be sure to read the manual for the breast pump. There are electronic and manual breast pumps. The manual will specify what parts of the breast pump should be cleaned and will usually advise you on the best cleaning method.