So, looks like you’ve made up your mind to get rid of your once new, but now old and used breast pump?
Whether you’re doing this because you’ve decided to part ways with pumping breast milk altogether in favor of direct breastfeeding, you’ve just finished weaning what you’ve decided to be your final baby off, or it’s just that you’re looking to buy a new breast pump since this one is past its prime – you now need to figure out what to do with it so it doesn’t lay around the house doing nothing but taking extra space and collecting dust.
While throwing it in the trash and calling it a day is something you could easily do, that’s not exactly the best of ways to deal with this. After all, you did pay good money for it once and it kind of hurts to throw it in the trash like that.
What To Do With A Used Breast Pump When Done?
You’ve got three options when it comes to disposing of your old and used breast pump – reselling, recycling or donating.
But hold on for just a second there, it’s not that simple, especially if you’re planning to resell or donate.
How exactly? Let’s get to the details.
Re-selling old and used breast pumps is the thought that first comes to mind for the majority of mothers.
After all, buying all this different equipment and accessories to properly take care of babies and meet their different needs can get costly really fast, so we should take the opportunity to recoup some of our costs wherever we possible.
Unfortunately, though, this won’t be an option for all nursing mothers alike. You can re-sell your breast pump just fine if it’s a closed system pump, but can’t re-sell it if it’s an open system pump.
This is one of the reasons why it’s very important that you know what kind of pump you’re buying beforehand, so that you pre-plan for the future when the time comes.
Open system pumps are almost impossible for you to fully sterilize from the inside, because you have to take all the pieces apart to sterilize all the affected areas. And even if you were able to take apart all these pieces and then assemble them back together while keeping the pump normally functioning, some of these areas and parts that get affected are impossible to sanitize.
Milk often gets into the motor and causes contamination there, which renders it unsafe for baby until it can be sterilized (which can’t happen). Even if you buy new tubing and hygiene kits, these are places that are very hard to reach and you can’t get sterilized.
This is one of the reasons why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises against multiple mothers using the same breast pump throughout the pump’s lifespan.
This problem doesn’t exist in closed system pumps because they have built in barriers that completely separate the part where milk is collected and other parts, which is meant to stop any milk from entering any of these parts and leading to bacteria contamination or the formation of mold inside.
This means that closed system pumps are sanitary for multiple users and can be re-sold, while open system pumps are not and cannot be re-sold. Once an open system pump is bought and used, it can only be used by the same person throughout its entire lifespan.
The following is a list of some of the most popular closed system breast pumps that can be re-sold from one user to another. (Note: This is not an exhaustive list).
- Ameda Elite
- Ameda Purely Yours
- Avent ISIS iQ Duo
- Avent ISIS iQ Uno
- Avent ISIS iQ Uno Complete
- Ardo Calypso
- Ardo Carum
- Bailey Medical Nurture III
- Evenflo Comfort Select Dual
- First Years Natural Comfort Double
- First Years Natural Comfort Single
- Freemie Freedom
- Freemie Equality
- Hygeia EnDeare
- Hygeia EnJoye
- Lansinoh Signature Pro
- Lansinoh Smartpump
- Lucina Melodi One
- Medela Lactina
- Medela Symphony
- Medela Swing
- Playtex Embrace
- PJ’s Comfort
- PJ’s Bliss
- Rumble Tuff Serene Express Duo
- Spectra M1
- Spectra S1
- Spectra S2
- Spectra Dew 350
- Spectra 9
If your pump is any one of the aforementioned brands in the list and it’s still in good condition (i.e its motor still hasn’t died on you yet), then you’re in luck – there’s a bit of cash in there for you to recoup.
On the other hand, the following is a list of some of the most popular open system breast pumps that are only meant to be used by one user throughout their entire lifespan, and cannot be re-sold from one user to another. (Note: This is not an exhaustive list).
- Every Medela pump except Medela Lactina, Medela Symphony
- Hospital grade pumps manufactured by different brands and companies
If you can’t really sell your breast pump and recoup some of the costs you’ve spent on your baby throughout all these years, what’s the next thing that comes to mind? Donating it and being a charitable person!
You may know someone who’s struggling with their manual pump and all the hand fatigue that comes along with it, but is not financially able to spend money on an expensive electrical pump at the moment.
Unfortunately though, the same stuff we talked about above concerning re-selling your pump also apply to when you want to donate it.
The only pumps you’re able to donate are closed system pumps, while you can’t donate open system pumps because they’re limited to just one user throughout their entire lifespan.
Besides, and regardless of the fact that your gesture is a very kind and thoughtful one, some mothers will just not accept a used breast pump donation.
They may not be very knowledgeable on the limitations of sanitization, but the thought alone of using a breast pump after someone else may gross them out.
If you do have a closed system pump that you want to donate and you do find someone who needs (and wants) to use it after you, then that’s great!
If you don’t have anyone specific in mind, you can always ask your local women’s shelter or group(s) and see if they could put it to good use. Just make sure it’s still in good condition and its motor functions properly.
If you donate a pump with a weak motor to someone and they use it without knowing that it’s not operating in full swing, they’ll risk developing milk supply problems in no time.
Breast pumps with weak motors (and weak suction as a result) lead to the decrease of milk supply in a mother’s breasts because of weaker overall stimulation, and this is definitely not something you want to cause someone you were actually trying to do a favor for.
Don’t take it personally if many of these organizations decline your generous offer, because they have health concerns and liabilities to worry about in case anything goes wrong, even if what you’re donating is a closed system breast pump in many cases.
If you can’t sell the breastpump you’ve used throughout all this time and can’t donate it either, what’s left for you to do? Throw it in the trash? Of course not!
Be an eco-friendly individual and do your part in “going green” by recycling.
Depending on the brand of pump you have, some manufacturing companies make this a “done for you” process because of recycling programs they already have set up. By doing this, these companies take pride in participating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s innovative Waste Wise program.
All that’s required from you to do is to contact the company that manufactured your pump and tell them you want it recycled – they’ll ask you to send it over and will take care of the rest from there on.
This is, of course, on condition that they manufactured the pump. If you try contacting one company to make use of their recycling program for a pump they didn’t manufacture, they’re likely going to say “no” to that.
If your pump’s manufacturing company does not have a recycling program set in place, you’ll have to perform that task yourself.
So, knowing which company you’re buying from beforehand and whether or not they have a recycling program set is good practice.
You’ll be supporting environmentally responsible companies that are doing initiatives to take care of the earth we all live in, and will be avoiding the hassle of doing it yourself when the time comes and you want to recycle your breast pump.
As of this writing, there are two breast pump manufacturing companies that already have recycling programs set that you can make use of when the time comes.
If the company that manufactures your pump doesn’t have a recycling program set in place, then don’t worry about it too much, there are other parties that will gladly take it from you to recycle it.
Just look for local recycling groups and organizations around you, there are plenty of them and while some will not take on anything that has to do with electronics, others will be more than happy to.
However you end up recycling the pump, you’ll be doing the world a huge favor by not having it end up on some landfill.