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Buy Breast Pumps With Caution, FDA Says
Date:1/17/2013

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are breast-feeding should take precautions when deciding what type of breast pump to use, particularly if they are considering buying or renting a used or second-hand pump, according to a new report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Although breast pumps can range from single, manual pumps to double, electric-powered models, all have a few basic parts, including a breast shield that fits over the nipple, a pump that creates a vacuum to express the milk and a detachable container for collecting the milk, Kathryn Daws-Kopp, an FDA electrical engineer, said in the report, which was released Jan. 15.

The FDA oversees the safety and effectiveness of these devices.

Although women can buy breast pumps, many hospitals, medical supply stores and lactation consultants rent breast pumps that can be used by multiple women. The FDA advised all women who use rented or second-hand pumps to buy an accessory kit with new breast shields and tubing -- even if the existing kit looks clean.

Potentially infectious particles may linger in a breast pump or its accessories for a long time after a woman finishes using it. These germs can infect the baby or the next woman who uses that pump, said Dr. Michael Cummings, an obstetrician and gynecologist with the FDA.

The report, published on the Consumer Updates page of the FDA's website, offers the following tips to ensure that a breast pump is clean:

  • Rinse each accessory that comes into contact with breast milk in cool water immediately after pumping.
  • Wash each accessory separately using liquid dishwashing soap and warm water, and rinse each piece in hot water for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Allow each accessory to air-dry completely on a clean towel or drying rack.

The FDA noted that women who rent breast pumps should request that all parts of their pump be cleaned, disinfected and sterilized
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