Now that you're ready to wean from the pump, you might be wondering what to do with it once you are done. Tossing it into the trash is wasteful. Can you give it to a friend or donate it? We are covering your options so you find a safe, healthy solution for disposing of your old breast pump.
Can I donate my pump or give it to someone else?
Thanks to increased coverage under the Affordable Care Act and pump programs through WIC, breastfeeding families have improved access to breast pumps. If someone would prefer to say, borrow her sister's pump instead of obtaining a new one, it might be okay for her to do so safely, but there are a few guidelines to be aware of.
1. The pump is a closed-system.
Not all breast pumps are approved as "multi user" pumps. Breast pumps used in hospitals and available as rentals are safe for use by multiple parents, provided they use their own attachment kit and accessories. Some breast pumps available directly to consumers are also approved for multi users, as they use special barriers- usually filters- to prevent bacteria and viruses from travelling into the pump motor. Some examples of closed system pumps include Spectra, Hygeia, Ameda, and the Medela Freestyle.
2. A new personal accessory kit is purchased for each user.
This includes tubing, filters, flanges/breast shields, connectors, valves, membranes, and bottles. These are not suitable for sharing with someone else even after being sanitized.
My pump is a single user pump. Do I have to throw it away?
It seems pretty wasteful doesn't it? Fortunately recycling is an option depending on your brand of breast pump.
Medela Recycles accepts Medela breast pump motors and power cords.
Hygeia breast pumps have been touted as the eco-friendly option since they came onto the market. Approved as multi user pumps, they are also recyclable through the company.
These closed-system pumps and their power cords can be donated through Spectra Saves and distributed to moms and babies in need.
If your brand of breast pump isn't listed, it's worth a call to the manufacturer to see what options are available.
What about my pump kit and accessory pieces?
Check with your local recycling center, as many will accept these pieces. If you live in a rural area, you may need to check with a larger city as some smaller centers only accept #1 and #2 plastics.