Breast pumping is a rewarding yet challenging task to feed your babe the best milk there is, your milk. More importantly, sanitizing your pump parts keeps your milk safe and free from dangerous germs! So here is how to sterilize pump parts step-by-step.
I learned this simple method from my twin’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). The items I share throughout this post I personally used and found to be helpful. I am not endorsed by any of the brands I talk about. This is my experience to help you, too, hopefully!
1. First, Get Your Supplies Ready!
You’ll need seven things to get started…
Drying Mat or Towel
Whatever your preference is! I use a drying mat to air dry my cleaned and sterilized pump parts.
Plastic Washing Basin
Clean your pump parts separately from the other dishes in your sink to keep them sanitary.
To do this, wash them in a plastic wash basin.
I used this one. I always had two on hand. One for washing and the other to put my pump parts in to dry. These basins also make awesome sensory bins when your kiddo gets bigger!
Baby Bottle Cleaning Brush
Use a bottle-cleaning brush to scrub down each pump part thoroughly.
I believe this is the best brush for cleaning breast pump parts! Plus, you can pop it in the dishwasher to sanitize it.
Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag
To quickly and easily sterilize breast pump parts, use a micro-steam bag.
Mild Dish Soap
No need to explain this one. 🙂
You’ll need a measuring cup for 60 milliliters of sterile water (or two fluid ounces) to pour into your mico-steam bag.
Sterile Water or Distilled Water
Use ultra-clean water for optimal sterilization. This water is used to steam your pump pieces.
Now that your items are ready, here are the steps to sterilize breast pump parts.
2. Rinse off your pump parts to remove any and all milk.
After you’re finished pumping, it’s time to clean and sterilize each piece.
I do this right in my kitchen sink. Run warm tap water to rinse off each of your pump parts to remove any and all milk.
3. Place your rinsed pump parts into a washing basin (or plastic bowl) with mild dish soap.
Squirt several large droplets of dish soap into a washing basin and mix them with warm water to create suds.
Then, place your rinsed breast pump parts into this bowl.
4. Clean your pump parts with a baby bottle cleaning brush.
This is the tedious part…cleaning breast pump parts!
Cleaning each pump piece feels like a new job if you’re pumping like a madhouse daily. Am I right, or am I right?!
Nonetheless, be sure to scrub down each piece to remove any and all milk.
5. Rinse your cleaned pump parts under warm water.
For each pump piece you clean, run it under warm water. Then, place it right into a micro-steam bag.
6. Place pump parts into the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag and seal it up.
A little trick I learned is to place your smaller pump pieces FIRST into the bag, followed by your larger pieces.
When you dump the water from your bag, the smaller parts tend to fall out and may go down your sink drain! To avoid this, keep your smaller pieces on the bottom and larger pieces on top.
Make sure to seal up the bag!
7: Pour 60 milliliters (2 ounces) of sterile or distilled water into the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag.
Use a measuring cup or bottle to pour 60ml (2 ounces) of sterile or distilled water into your steam bag.
8: Microwave for 90 seconds to sterilize breast pump parts.
Steaming your pump parts for this long kills 99.9% of nasty germs and bacteria.
Place the bag in the center of the turntable. If your microwave does not have a turntable, turn the bag halfway through the steaming process.
9: Remove water by pouring it out through the steam vent.
CAUTION: When you remove the steam bag from your microwave, grab it on the top right where it says “Hold here,” Do NOT grab it on the top left where it says “Hot.”
I know this sounds self-explanatory…I mindlessly touched the bag where it says “Hot” (because I wasn’t paying attention) and burned my hand! It’s easy to do. Just grab the bag correctly when you pour the water out.
You may also wear oven mitts or hot pads to remove the bag from the microwave for added protection.
10: Dump out your pump parts on a towel or drying mat to air dry.
Since the pump parts are piping hot, they air dry quickly.
If you’re on a time crunch, you may wipe down each piece with a paper towel.
Voila, that’s how you sterilize breast pump parts step-by-step!
Do I really need to sterilize pump parts?
The answer is yes! Sterilizing your pump parts helps kill off harmful bacteria that could make your baby sick. While washing your pump parts with soap and water is a good start, it doesn’t necessarily rid them of all bacteria.
How often should you sterilize pump parts?
The general rule of thumb is to sterilize them once a day, but it never hurts to err on the side of caution and sterilize more frequently if you feel more comfortable. If you have a dishwasher, most parts are dishwasher-safe and can easily be sterilized in just a few minutes.
The CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) states, “For extra germ removal, sanitize pump parts at least once daily.”
What happens if you don’t clean your pump parts?
If you don’t clean your pump parts, bacteria can accumulate and contaminate your milk. Not only could this cause your baby to become sick. Additionally, neglecting to clean your pump could damage your equipment, causing it to break down and require you to buy a new pump machine or pay to fix it.
Can I sterilize pump parts after each use?
You can do so if that makes you feel more comfortable. But again, as mentioned above, the general rule of thumb is to sterilize your pump parts once a day.
I would sterilize my pump parts once a day and clean them the rest of the day with hot soapy water after each use. Then, I would air dry the pieces on a drying mat.
To Wrap It Up
Let me first say, you are a CHAMP mama!
Breast pumping is not easy, but the reward is worth knowing your babe gets the best nutrition in your milk.
In case you need a quick summary of how to sterilize breast pump parts, here are the ten steps to do it:
- To Sterilize Pump Parts, Get Your Supplies Ready To Go!…(1) Baby bottle cleaning brush (2) Drying mat or towel (3) Measuring cup (4) Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag (5) Mild dish soap (6) Sterile water or distilled water (7) Washing basin
- Rinse off your breast pump parts to remove any and all milk.
- Place your rinsed pump parts into a washing basin (or plastic bowl) with mild dish soap.
- Clean each of your pump parts with a baby bottle cleaning brush.
- Rinse your cleaned pump parts under warm water.
- Place pump parts into the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag and seal it up.
- Pour 60 milliliters (2 ounces) of sterile or distilled water into the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag.
- Microwave for 90 seconds to sterilize breast pump parts.
- Remove water by pouring it out through the steam vent.
- Dump out your pump parts on a towel or mat to air dry.
So keep up the AMAZING work, mama! I’m in your corner. 🙂
Do you have anything to add or share on sterilizing pump parts? Let me know in the comments below!
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About The Author
Linds is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older brother! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation, a 510c3 that helps children across the United States with cerebral palsy receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive. ♥
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