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

according to the manufacturer's directions. Women need to follow these safety guidelines even if they decide to use a pump considered "hospital grade."

"Sometimes these pumps are labeled 'hospital grade,' but that term is not one the FDA recognizes, and there is no consistent definition," Daws-Kopp said. "Consumers need to know it doesn't mean the pump is safe or hygienic."

Daws-Kopp pointed out that the definition of "hospital grade" may also vary between companies. The FDA encourages breast pump makers to instead use the terms "multiple user" and "single user" in their labeling.

"If you don't know for sure whether a pump is meant for a single user or multiple users, it's safer to just not get it," Daws-Kopp advised.

The FDA report also recommended that women seek the advice of a lactation consultant to determine what type of breast pump will fit their needs. Among the questions mothers should consider:

  • Do I plan to pump exclusively or pump in addition to breast-feeding?
  • Where will I pump?
  • Do I need to bring my pump to work or use it while I am traveling?
  • Will I have access to an electrical outlet while pumping?
  • What are the manufacturer's policies regarding accessories and how they fit?

"Human milk is recommended as the best and exclusive nutrient source for feeding infants for the first six months, and should be continued with the addition of solid foods after six months, ideally until the child is one year of age," Cummings said in the agency news release.

The FDA noted that babies given breast milk benefit from improved gastrointestinal function and development as well as fewer respiratory and urinary tract infections. Breast-fed babies also are less likely to be obese and are less likely to have heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and some cancers later in life.

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