Pre-Owned Breast Pumps
Many mothers have asked if they can safely sell, purchase, or use a previously owned breast pump. Medela is concerned about the health and welfare of breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Medela personal-use breast pumps, such as the Pump In Style® and Freestyle® pumps are designed as single-user products and are registered as such with the FDA. However, Medela does make hospital-grade breast pumps that are designed for multiple users and available to rent so moms can use the same pump at home that she utilized in the hospital, such as Medela’s Symphony or Lactina pumps.
The difference between personal use pumps and rental pumps is as follows:
Personal Use Breast Pumps Personal use pumps that you buy at the store are personal care items, much like a toothbrush. Personal use pumps should never be resold or shared among mothers. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced has an internal diaphragm that cannot be removed, replaced, or fully sterilized. Therefore, the risk of cross-contamination associated with re-using a previously owned pump such as the Pump In Style cannot be dismissed, even when using a new kit or tubing. Another consideration when deciding to borrow or even lend a previously owned electric pump is the pump’s motor life. A high quality electric double pump might last through the breastfeeding of your second child, or even several children. However, like computers or other electronic products, an electric breast pump has a limited lifetime. Medela guarantees its pump motors with a one year warranty. If you use an electronic pump that has been used for more than one year, there is no guarantee that it will generate as much speed and vacuum as it did earlier in it’s life. By using your own pump, you can compare the pump’s performance with each child. However if you borrow a pump, you cannot gauge its performance to ensure it is operating at full capacity.
Rental pumps such as Medela’s Symphony, and Lactina are designed for multiple users. These pumps have special barriers and filters to prohibit milk from entering the pump motor, which prevent cross-contamination. In addition, each renter uses her own personal set of breast shields, containers and tubing, to ensure the safe use of these pumps.
Different mothers have different pumping needs and economic means. For this reason, Medela pumps come in a variety of styles and prices. There are also grant programs available for mothers in need. For information on this and Medela products, ask your local rental station. For product information, availability and pricing, visit Breastfeeding National Network (BNN) or call 1- 800 TELL YOU to find a local rental/retail location. Customer Service is available at 1 800 435-8316 for product questions.
Contributions made by: Kathleen B. Bruce, BSN, IBCLC, Barbara Wilson-Clay BS, IBCLC; Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC, and Mary Bibb, BA, IBCLC.
1 American Academy of Pediatrics: Report of the Committee on Infectious Disease, ed 24, Elk Grove Village, Ill, 1997.
Blenkharn J: Infection risks from electrically operated breast pumps, J. Hospt Infection 1989; 13:27-31
Lawrence R and Lawrence R: Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical
Profession 5th ed, Mosby, St Louis, 1999. Pg. 224-225.
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