Breast Pump Basics How to Clean and Care for Your Pump

By Doraine Bailey

Getting a breast pump is easier than ever. Most health insurance providers will cover rental fees for a larger pump in case of a medical need.

Many providers give their members the option of getting a smaller “single-user” pump designed with working mothers in mind.

Begin by calling Customer Service for your health care plan and ask what the company covers.

Be persistent. Ask the representative to check on the particulars of your health care plan and to give you exact instructions on how to get a pump.

Many companies have a certain brand of pump or a set dollar amount that they allow.

Moms make up the difference if they want something else.

Other plans have particular suppliers with whom they work. Call during your pregnancy so that things are ready once the baby comes.

If your health insurance doesn’t cover a breast pump, you may get a pump through the WIC Program.


Regardless of how you acquire a pump, it’s best to get a new one.

Used pumps may be contaminated with milk or insects and bugs, and will be out of warranty.

You can always put a breast pump on your baby registry, too.

Once you’ve got your pump, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use and care for your pump.

Only the parts that come in contact with milk need to be washed.

If your baby is in the hospital, is less than 3 months old or an illness is present in your family, you may also want to sterilize your pump parts in the dishwasher or a microwave steam-sterilizer bag.

Periodically, wipe down the pump motor, other parts and your carrybag.

If it is challenging to clean your pump parts during the day, get an extra set of bottles and flanges (the funnel-shaped piece on top) for each time you pump, and then wash everything at the end of the day.

For questions and information about  pumping or breastfeeding, please contact Doraine Bailey, MA, IBCLC, with Breastfeeding Support Services at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department: (859) -288-2348 or