7 Steps On How To Clean The Medela Tubing
We do speak a lot about the importance of breastfeeding your baby since breast milk contains all the essential nutrients and hormones that your little bundle will need.
Due to the priceless value of this wonder food to the baby, breast pumps and milk storage bags were invented so that mothers could still be able to give their breast milk to their babies even if they have to be away from home. One of such breast pumps is the Medela breast pump.
The Medela breast milk pump consists of several parts which include the breast shield, the connector that links the breast shield to the breast milk bottle through the tubing and the rechargeable battery. When handling your breast milk, hygiene is something that should be paramount.
You should, therefore, ensure that you work with a clean breast pump at all times. One special pump part that should always be kept clean is the tubing. So I’m going to show you how to clean the Medela tubing.
Why you need to clean the Medela tubing
Cleaning the Medela tubing is very important since it is the part that allows the breast milk to flow from the breast shield to the breast milk bottles. Since the tubing comes in contact with the breast milk, you should always ensure that it is clean before you pump. This is because during pumping, some milk will remain stuck in the tubing and if not cleaned, bacteria may build up which may make your baby sick.
The tubing plays a very important part in the suction process of the breast pump. If moisture and milk residues collect and block the tubing, the breast pump will not work properly. The buildup of moisture can also make the tubing to be mouldy which will cause it to tear. Cleaning it on a regular basis and leaving it to dry properly will ensure that the tubing lasts longer.
Let me take you through on how you can clean the Medela tubing
Medela recommends that you should always clean your Medela breast pump tubing at least once a day if you do pump several times in a day. If you are not a regular user, maybe you just pump a couple of times in a week, Medela recommends that you should always clean your tubing immediately after every use. Here is how you can go about cleaning your Medela tubing.
- Turn off the breast pump.
- Unplug the breast pump from the power source.
- Detach the tubing from the breast pump. Ensure that you pull out straight out of the ports. Avoid wiggling the tubing when you are pulling out the tubing.
- Also, detach the tubing from the breast shield.
- Hold the tubing upright in your sink and allow cold water to flow through the tubes. You can also use warm soapy water. You can use the Quick Clean Breastmilk Removal Soap which removes stubborn breastmilk residues up to 3 days old. Hot water should not be flown through the tubing as it might melt the tubing.
- Rinse the tubing with clear water.
- You can then hang the tubing out to dry.
You can dry the tubing effectively by attaching it to the breast pump without the breast shield and the connectors. You can then turn on the pump for about 5 to 10 minutes to get out any condensation or water that may collect in the tubing. Do not store the tubing when it is still wet.
The Medela breast pump tubing can also be cleaned by sterilising it. This can be done by using the Medela Quick Clean microwave bags.
You can do this by placing the Medela tubing inside the micro-steam bags with a small measure of water. The bag is then placed inside a microwave for about 3 minutes. This method is very effective since the steam kills 99% of the bacteria.
If the Medela tubing becomes mouldy, you should replace it with a new one immediately.
What about the rest of the pump?
All the other remaining parts of the Medela breast pump should also be cleaned since they come into contact with the breast milk. These parts include the breast shields, breast shield connectors, yellow valves, white membranes and the breastmilk bottles and lids.
These parts should be taken apart and washed immediately after use to avoid dry up of the milk residues that will lead to the growth of bacteria.
Here is how you can wash the rest of the breast pump
- Separate the breast shield from the breast shield connectors.
- Separate the yellow valves from the breast shield connectors by twisting them and pulling them.
- Remove the white membranes from the yellow valves.
- Soak all the separated parts in warm soapy water for about 5 minutes. It is recommended that you use the Quick Clean Breastmilk Removal Soap since it is clinically tested and has no added taste that might discourage your baby from feeding.
- You can then rinse all the parts with clean water after which you can now allow them to air in a clean environment.
- If you are using a dishwasher, wash the separated parts in the top rack of the dishwashing machine.
You can also sterilise the pump after every use by using Medela micro-steam bags. This method is very effective since it kills 99% of the germs. However, care should be taken not to damage the parts of the breast pump as a result of excessive heating. FDA recommends that when sterilising your breast pump, the temperature should not be more than 130° C and you should not sterilise it for more than 3 minutes.
This method, though not preferred by most mothers, ensures maximum hygiene and is less time consuming since all you need is a micro-steam bag and a microwave and voila, you will be done in 3 minutes.
If you are travelling with your baby and you need to pump while you are on the move, the perfect solution for a clean medela breast pump is by using Medela quick clean wipes. These Medela wipes allow you to clean your breast pump without having to wash in a sink. They are specially designed by Medela to clean breastmilk residues.
Replacing worn out Medela tubing
If the tubing of your Medela breast pump is worn out, you can get a replacement by either ordering directly through the Medela’s online store or from Amazon. Remember that breast pumps and all the accessories are considered single-use devices by the FDA. You should, therefore, avoid buying used Medela tubing or borrowing one from another mother. This is because of the health risks since used breast pump accessories like tubing can carry infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis. The money you may save by doing that is not worth the health risk that you will be putting yourself and your baby too.
Buying a second-hand breast pump part or sharing is also a violation of the manufacturer’s warranty hence in case of any issue with the pump, no manufacturer will be willing to offer you help.
In conclusion, using a breast pump enables any breastfeeding mother to overcome any inconvenience of being away from home since you can just sit down and pump your breast milk and store it so that your baby can continue enjoying your breast milk while you are away. However, using these breast pumps comes with a challenge of ensuring the highest level of cleanliness when handling any part of the pump.
One such part that should always be clean is the tubing. All the other parts too should also be cleaned since they too come into contact with the breast milk. Here is a video by Medela which you can watch to see how you can clean all the parts of a Medela breast pump including the Medela tubing. Remember, Medela is committed to helping mums breastfeed for as long as they choose!