Your Toughest Baby Product Questions—Answered!
Is it OK to buy a used breast pump?
Buying a pre-owned electric pump or borrowing a friend’s can put your baby’s health at risk because breast milk can carry bacteria and viruses. These potential contaminants can travel through the tubing and lodge into the pump’s internal mechanism, which can’t be removed, replaced, or fully sterilized, to possibly infect your baby, says Katy Lebbing, an internationally board-certified lactation consultant and manager for Breastfeeding Information at La Leche League (LLL), in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Hospital-grade rental pumps, on the other hand, are durable and designed for multiple users. They have special filters that prohibit milk from entering the internal diaphragm, preventing cross contamination.
To save on a pump, (mid-weight, professional pumps can retail for as much as $320), “I rented one from a medical supplies store near my home,” says Elisabeth Elman Feldman, who breastfed for three months for a total cost of $150.
If you plan to breastfeed longer, however, buying is the way to go, so shop around. You can find deals on new breast pumps online, at hospital birthing centers, and through the LLL. You can also consult a LLL leader or lactation consultant in your area for guidance on which type of pump to buy. Small, electric, and battery-operated and manual pumps are less expensive and may suffice if you won’t be pumping often.
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