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Can I Buy or Borrow a Used Breast Pump?

Having a baby can be expensive. So many new things that need to be purchased prior to the arrival of your little one, but thankfully friends and family are there to hand down their slightly used baby items.

While many second hand items can be welcomed with open arms, a previously used breast pump isn’t always the best way to save money because it could expose both you and your baby to several health risks. All breast pumps that are sold to consumers are labeled as personal hygiene products that are intended to be used by a single user only. The FDA upholds this labeling and does not allow for the sale of used breast pumps.


Health Risks

Since breast pumps are personal hygiene products any of the pump parts that are exposed to the previous user’s milk may harbor viruses that were present in the mother’s system. Your baby could become ill if these viruses are passed to him. Cytomegalovirus (CMV), hepatitis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) are some of the most common viruses that are transferred through breastmilk.

The potential health risks may be increased if the previous user experienced fungal infection (thrush), cracked nipples or bleeding nipples. Thrush contamination poses such a serious problem that a lactation consultant will often recommend that a mother replace her own pump after a reoccurring bout with the infection.


Voided Warranty

Most personal use breast pumps include a one year manufacturer’s warranty, but this warranty is voided if the pump is used by anyone other than the first user. Many manufacturers will not even sell additional pump tubing and collection parts to anyone other than the original owner.


What if I buy my own bottles and tubing?

A common misconception is that a used pump is safe to reuse as long as all the washable parts of a breast pump are thoroughly washed and sterilized. However, home sterilization methods are unable to eliminate viruses and other pathogens that may be present in parts of the pump that cannot be cleaned, such as the pump motor.

If a pump has been approved by the FDA as safe for multiple users, then it is safe to buy or borrow a used model as long as a new pumping kit (breast shields, tubing, collection bottles and valves) is used. Currently two personal use pumps have been approved as safe for multiple users - the Bailey Medical Nurture III and the Hygeia EnJoye. It is important to note that although the pumps are safe for multiple users, the manufacturer's warranty does not transfer to the secondary or any other subsequent users.

The health risks involved out weigh the small amount of savings that come with buying or borrowing a used pump. Safeguard the health of you and your baby by only using new, unused personal breast pumps or a multiple user approved hospital rental pump for expressing your breastmilk. To determine which breast pump will be best for your situation, read the articles under Choosing A Breast Pump and view our side-by-side Breast Pump Comparisons.

Return to: Choosing a Breast Pump