Sooner or later everyone's breastfeeding journey comes to an end, and when it does parents can often wonder what to do with breast pump equipment that's now surplus to requirements. If you find yourself in that situation then you came to the right place, as in this blog the Limerick team explores what to do with breast pump equipment that's not being used. Let's take a look.
Before we get started, let’s make a few things clear.
What are we talking about here?
In this article we'll be dealing with what to do with breast pump equipment - that is, the separate elements of a complete pumping system, such as:
- The pump itself (as a whole, unmodified, functioning unit)
- Tubing and connectors
- Breast shields (or cups)
- Bottles and bottle holders
- Connectors, gaskets, seals etc.
- Replacements for perishable parts
What AREN'T we talking about here?
The individual mechanical components of a breast pump. Disassembling a pump to access the parts inside will void your manufacturer warranty with Limerick, and most - if not all - other brands of pump too. Likewise, attempting to install these parts and effect your own repairs will also void your warranty.
Individual pump components should not be available to you as a private customer because they are not designed for home use or installation; if you purchase such items from an unauthorized source or install them, then you should be aware of the potential risks of doing so, and that you do so at your own risk.
A note on condition
When thinking about what to do with breast pump equipment you don't use, it's important to remember that some parts of a breast pump are designed for multi-user scenarios, and as long as they're clean and have been maintained properly, can be safely re-used. This is especially true of the pumps that you'll find in the Limerick shop. Both our manual and electric closed-system breast pumps were made with use in hospitals in mind, and are therefore designed to support a multi-user scenario.
However, most of the ancillary parts of a complete pumping system do not fall into this category, and should always be disposed of after use. If you're not sure whether or not something is safe to pass on, play it safe and dispose of it! To do otherwise might be risking the health of another mom or baby - spreading germs through contaminated equipment or milk - which could then lead to infection.
What to do with breast pump equipment you don't use - Your options
Dispose of it
If you want to dispose of your breast pump equipment, there are a few options available. You can simply throw it away and forget about it. This is the most straightforward way of disposing of your old equipment, but there may also be specific ways in which you need to do so - some items may be recyclable (for example).
However, some parts of your system may have been designed to accept multiple users, or may be in 'mint' condition - things like unopened spares that you never got around to using. If that is the case, then you don't have to throw these away, there are other options available instead!
One of your options when wondering what to do with breast pump equipment you don't use is to keep it in some form of long term storage - which could be anything from your attic to an off site storage unit. If you know (or think) that you'll want more babies in the future it may be a good idea for you to keep hold of your pumping equipment even if you're not using it. You'll save yourself needing to buy and learn a new set of equipment should you have another child, and there are other reasons to keep hold of your old pumping equipment too. For instance...
Gift It or donate it
Another of your options when it comes to what to do with breast pump equipment you're not using. If you have friends or relatives who are trying for a baby, then they might be happy to take your old pump off your hands and give it a new lease on life when their little one comes along. If you don't know anyone that's trying though, all is not lost. In such a situation you might also consider offering it to local parent's groups, hospitals or other medical facilities, churches, or other charitable organizations.
If you don't want to keep, gift or donate the equipment, but you don't want to throw it away for nothing, you might be able to sell it. This isn't possible everywhere though. For instance the US FDA does not support the practice, and its rules will not allow for the selling of breast pumps. However, this is permitted in other areas of the world, and so if you live in such an area selling it is another option for what to do with breast pump equipment you don't use. Limerick have already written about buying and selling second hand breast pumps on our website, so take a look at this page for further information.