There are endless new things to learn when you become a parent, and in case breastfeeding hasn’t been the biggest learning curve for you so far…you soon discover that pumping is a whole new world! First you need to decide on a pump, learn how to use it, find out how to store breastmilk, and then try to actually find time between nappy changes, naps, and feeds to squeeze in a pumping session or two.
The next important thing you’ll need to know about expressing is how to properly clean breast pump equipment. This is vital to get right because it ensures that your milk is safe for your baby to drink. It’s a little daunting at first, but if you follow these steps, it will become part of your routine. You’ll almost be able to do it in your sleep—now, if only you could get some!
All parts of the breast pump equipment that come into contact with your breasts and your milk must be completely clean and dry before use. That includes bottles, valves, bottle lids, and breast shields. Here is the best way to clean everything:
Is sanitising the same as sterilising? You may have heard people talk about sterilising breast pump equipment, or you’ve seen products marketed as ‘sterilisers’, but sanitising is the more accurate term. Our homes aren’t sterile environments so it’s impossible to sterilise something, but sanitising means that something has been thoroughly cleaned of bacteria and germs.
Before using the breast pump for the first time (or it’s been awhile since you used it last), you’ll need to sanitise the parts after washing them. Then, you will need to do so at least once a day. Again, read the instructions recommended by your pump’s manufacturer, but the following methods will probably be what you use:
Wash your hands thoroughly before and after you clean and sterilise breast pump equipment. Once your breast pump equipment has been sanitised, leave it to air-dry on a clean sanitised surface, or use a clean towel. Once dry, store parts in a clean, cool place when not in use.