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Buying and Borrowing Used Breast Pumps

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Borrowing or buying a used breastpump may seem like an affordable way to continue providing your child breastmilk; however, using a used breast pump poses several dangerous health risks for you and your baby.

The FDA considers all breastpumps that are available for consumer purchase as personal hygiene items intended for a single user. Because of this labeling, used breast pumps cannot be sold legally in the United States. Confusion of whether or not it is safe to share breastpumps generally occurs because mothers are aware that pumps can be purchased and rented. However, hospital rentals are safely used by multiple women because they are designed with special barriers that prevent cross contamination.

Although most breast pumps are protected from defects by a one year manufacturer’s warranty, these warranties are voided if the pump is used by anyone other than the original user.

Health Risks

In the event that certain viruses were present in the previous user’s breastmilk, those viruses could be passed on to your baby and cause him to become seriously ill. Some of the viruses that are passed through breastmilk include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and cytomegalovirus (CMV).

If the previous user experienced cracked or bleeding nipples then the pump may have been contaminated with blood, which increases the health risks associated with using a used pump.

Additionally, if the previous user had a fungal infection such as thrush it may possibly be transmitted through the pump. Contamination with thrush can pose such a problem that lactation consultants often recommend that mothers replace their own pump equipment after battling with a persistent yeast infection.

Many mothers often believe that it is safe to use a shared breast pump as long as all the washable components have been sterilized. It is important to note that home sterilization methods are unable to effectively eliminate all pathogens that may be present in the pump. For instance, it is possible for breastmilk to aerosolize and enter parts of the pump that cannot be cleaned or sterilized, like the pump motor.

When the risks of buying or borrowing a used pump are considered, it is clear that saving a few dollars does not out weigh the potential health dangers. Protect your child’s health and safety by only using a new, unused breast pump or an approved hospital grade rental to express your milk. Find the best breast pump for your needs with our Breast Pump Comparisons.