Expressing breast milk: Is sterilization necessary for breast pump parts?

Is it necessary to sterilize my pumping paraphernalia each time I pump, or is a good washing enough?


Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

If your baby is healthy (and full-term), it is not necessary to sterilize pump parts following each use. Before you first use your breastpump, be sure to take time to read the manufacturer's instructions. Instructions for your pump will tell you which parts can be safely washed/sterilized. If the pump is in a sterile pack, it does not need to be sterilized. Otherwise, sterilize prior to using the first time.

Following each use, wash all pump parts that come in contact with your milk, using the dishwasher, or hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. (The Human Milk Banking Association of North America, 1993)

If you have a fungal infection of the breast or mastitis I would recommend boiling pump parts that come in contact with your milk for five minutes, once each day. Best wishes!

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