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What to Do With Old Breast Pump

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So, you have decided to get rid of your old breast pump? You might be done with pumping breast milk altogether, or simply want to replace your old unit with a better product. Be as it may – throwing away an old breast pump would be a shame, but you still don’t want it laying around the house taking up the extra room and collecting dust.

Throwing it straight into the garbage can seems tempting, but that’s not really the best way to go with this. After all, you did spend good money on it once? But, what can you do with it?

Three sound options come to mind when it comes to disposing of your older breast pump – donating, recycling, or reselling. But hold on for a moment, if you would like to sell or donate breast pump, it might not be as simple as it sounds. Let’s see how you can go through with it.

Re-Selling

Majority of savvy mommies first think of reselling their old breast pumps. Getting new baby gear and accessories needed for the care of your child can amount to a lot of money. So who wouldn’t want to take the opportunity to make a few bucks off the old equipment?

It’s not as straightforward as it seems, as not all nursing mommies have the same option in this regard. If your model has a closed system, you shouldn’t come across any problems re-selling it. However, open system pumps cannot be resold.

That’s why it is crucial to know what type of pump you are getting beforehand because it allows you to plan ahead. An open system pump is nearly impossible to entirely sterilize on the inside. The reason being, one has to take apart all of the parts and bits to clean all the areas. Even if one manages to put back together the whole thing after disassembly, whether the pump will be working properly or not is still a mystery.

And even if it works again, some of the areas and parts are just not possible to sanitize.

Breastmilk often reaches the motor and contaminates it, rendering the pump unsafe for infants. Unless you can sterilize it (as we have established, you can’t). Buying new tubes and hygiene equipment might come across as a possible solution, but there are still some places that are almost impossible to reach, and that cannot be sterilized.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is pretty clear on this. They advise against more mommies using the same breast pump. One of the reasons being the aforementioned open system.

On the other hand, closed systems do not have such issues because such pumps have embedded barriers that entirely separate the working mechanism from the milk collection section. That prevents the milk from getting into the rest of the parts of the pump and contaminating them with bacteria. It also stops mold from forming inside.

In other words, closed-system models are sanitary and safe for multiple mommies and their precious ones and therefore can be resold. So, once you’re done using an open-system model, it should be the end of its lifespan.

Being that most parents are not engineers and are not closely familiar with the inner workings of breast pumps, here is a list of some of the most prominent closed-system models that can be resold:

  • PJ’s Comfort
  • PJ’s Bliss
  • Rumble Tuff Serene Express Duo
  • Ameda Elite
  • Ameda Purely Yours
  • Avent ISIS iQ Duo
  • Avent ISIS iQ Uno
  • Avent ISIS iQ Uno Complete
  • Hygeia EnDeare
  • Hygeia EnJoye
  • Ardo Calypso
  • Ardo Carum
  • Bailey Medical Nurture III
  • Evenflo Comfort Select Dual
  • First Years Natural Comfort Double
  • First Years Natural Comfort Single
  • Lansinoh Signature Pro
  • Lansinoh Smartpump
  • Lucina Melodi One
  • Medela Lactina
  • Medela Symphony
  • Medela Swing
  • Playtex Embrace
  • Spectra M1
  • Spectra S1
  • Spectra S2
  • Spectra Dew 350
  • Spectra 9
  • Freemie Freedom
  • Freemie Equality

If yours is one of the listed models and still works properly (i.e., the motor’s functional), then you are lucky! You can earn a couple of bucks for you to recoup.

On the other hand, here is a list of some of the most common open-system breast system pumps that are intended only for one mother for the entirety of their work-life. Keep in mind, this is not a comprehensive list.

  • All Medela pumps except Medela Symphony and Medela Lactina
  • Hospital grade pumps – they go by different labels and companies
Manual breast pump and milk at background

Donating

So, if you cannot sell your unit and get back some of the money you’ve spent along the way, what else is there? Donating it is probably the next thing that comes to mind, as it is the most charitable thing you can do.

Perhaps you know a mother who has struggles with their manual pump. All the manual work that comes with such models can be quite exhausting. But some mommies are limited to those as they cannot afford an electrical pump.

Unfortunately, when it comes to open-system pumps, the same rules apply when you want to donate them as if you were trying to sell them. The only pumps that can be donated are closed-system pumps.

Update - 2019.01.17Besides, even though it’s quite a nice and thoughtful gesture, some women are not willing to accept a used breast pump as a donation.

Most people aren’t really experts on sanitizations and the limits it imposes on us for the sake of our health, but the sheer notion of using a pump after another mother grosses them out.

If you do have a closed-system model and are willing to donate it, and have found someone who is happy to take it, then that’s great news! But if you do not have a particular person in mind, your next best thing is to go down to the women’s shelter or some similar organization. They ought to be able to put it to good use.

Before donating it, make sure it is in good condition and that its motor works well. A proper working motor is of the essence as a unit with a weaker motor poses a risk as the person using it might not know its suction power is in full swing. That puts them at risk of developing milk supply problems in the future.

Such pumps lead to a decrease in milk supply because of their generally weaker stimulation. It’s certainly something you’d want to avoid causing to someone whom you are actually trying to help.

If such shelters or groups do not accept your donation, do not take it personally. Such organizations have liabilities to be cautious of, aside from health concerns. They have to worry about everything that might go wrong, even if it’s just a plain old breast pump.

expressing-and-storing-breastmilk

Recycling

So, it has come to this – you can’t sell it, and you can’t donate it either. What else can you do? Throw it away? Maybe not just yet.

Being an eco-friendly mommy and doing your part to make the world “green” could be the way to go. It depends on the manufacturer, but some brands have set up recycling programs. Just like people, companies take great pride in doing their part in “going green.”

Taking part in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Wise programs helps companies build a good reputation. All you have to do on your part is contact the manufacturer and tell them that you want to recycle your old breast pump. After that, send it over and leave the rest to them.

Of course, you can only do that if the company you’re calling is the manufacturer of your particular unit. Chances are if they aren’t, they are not going to accept it. If your pump’s manufacturer doesn’t have a recycling program, the burden is back on you.

Knowing such information is very useful to mommies who are yet to buy a breast pump. It’s always better to go with an environmentally responsible brand, as it is not only the ethical thing to do, but also convenient as they’ll take up the hassle on themselves.  For now, there are two companies with recycling programs:

  • Medela
  • Hygeia

But, if your particular brand doesn’t have a recycling program, don’t despair, there are still other parties that are ready to accept it. Be on the lookout for recycling organizations in your area. There are sure to be plenty of them.

Some don’t accept any electronic products, but others are more than happy to. No matter how you decide to recycle it, you are doing the world a great favor by not throwing it out into a dumpster.

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