What do I need to know about buying or renting a breast pump?

Buying, renting or selling a breast pump:

The issue of buying or selling used pumps is something some breastfeeding moms encounter. Although a used pump may be more affordable than a new one, there are possible legal and health implications involved. Below you will find more on the legality of selling used breast pumps, what some pump manufacturers say about used pumps.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a used pump, we urge you to read over this information before making your decision.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Position on used breast pumps:
According to the FDA, if a breast pump is labeled a "single user" or "single patient" device, that pump is only intended for one user and cannot legally be resold. By selling a pump that has been designated "single user" by the FDA, the pump is not being used in accordance with the FDA and is being "mis-branded," which is against the law, and the FDA could take action.

The reason the FDA designates many breast pumps as "single user" devices, is that there is no complete way to clean certain pumps to ensure that the breast milk of the original user is not still within the pump system. Because some diseases have been shown to exist in breast milk, the possibility of transmitting diseases through a used breast pump does exist, although it appears that no such cases have been documented.

To find out if your breast pump has been designated "single user" by the FDA, please consult the operating instructions that came with the breast pump when you purchased it.

Here are some common breast pumps that are labeled "single user" devices:
Isis Breast Pump by Avent,
The Ameda Purely Yours Breast pump,
WhisperWear Breast pump,
The Medela Pump In Style Breast pump

Some breast pumps that are not labeled "single user" devices: (Hospital grade pumps that are safe to rent)
Medela Classic Breast pump
Medela Lactina Breast pump
Ameda Lact-E Breast pump
Ameda Elite Breast pump

Breast pumps purchased at department stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Babies R Us, Baby Depot, etc.) baby stores and maternity stores are often "single user" breast pumps. Pumps that are designated by the FDA to be safe for multiple users are generally hospital grade breast pumps and often used specifically as rental pumps.

If you have a breast pump you are considering selling, please consult the product information first, to be sure the pump is not labeled "single user." And, if you are considering buying a used breast pump, please determine whether or not the pump is a "single user" pump before purchasing it. You could ask the seller to check the product information to be sure.

Medela's Position:
Many mothers have asked if they can safely sell, purchase, or use a previously owned breast pump. Medela is concerned about the health and welfare of breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Breastfeeding is certainly the best way to feed your baby, and is the gold standard of infant nutrition. There is some evidence, however, that certain serious viruses* may be transmittable through breast milk. For this reason, it is not advisable to use a previously owned breast pump. Breast pumps are single-user products, or personal care items, much like a toothbrush, and are registered with the FDA as single user items.

For safety, breast pumps should never be shared, resold, or lent among mothers. Medela strongly discourages mothers from re-using or re-selling previously owned breast pump equipment. The Medela Pump In Style Breast pump has an internal diaphragm that cannot be removed, replaced, or fully sterilized. Therefore, the risk of cross-contamination associated with re-using a previously owned pump such as the Pump In Style cannot be totally dismissed. Multiple use of single-user breast pump automatically voids the warranty of the Medela product. Each mother who wishes to express milk with a pump should use a clean, uncontaminated breast pump. This is the safest way to eliminate any risk of cross-contamination.

Rental pumps such as the Ameda Lact-E and Elite as well as the Medela Classic and Lactina pumps are made to be safely used by repeated clients who each use their own clean personal rental kit, therefore avoiding any possible cross-contamination. Rental pumps, when used according to the instructions, are safe to use by multiple mothers who have their own personal kits. Ameda has the only personal pump kit approved by the FDA.

We are invested in continuing health and safety of mothers and babies. Many mothers who wish or need to express milk regularly find that using a high quality breast pump can help avoid the costly alternative of using artificial baby milk, which sometimes approaches or exceeds $1000 for the first year of baby's life. Mothers who pump frequently may find that the cost of a high quality breast pump, when compared to the price of artificial baby milk is reasonable, and a wise investment in the present and future health of their children and themselves.

1. *It is believed by some physicians and researchers that human breast milk can possibly contain viruses if the mother is infected. Such viruses may include CMV (Cytomegalovirus), HIV-Human Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS), and HTLV-1 (Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1.)

1. Ruth A. Lawrence, MD, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession
(St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby-Year Book, Inc., 1999), pp. 225.

Avent America's Position: We at Avent America are always striving to provide mothers with quality products at reasonable prices to help them breastfeed longer. Research has shown that breast milk can transmit many contagious viruses. It is for this reason that we strongly recommend that you NEVER use a previously owned breast pump. The Isis Breast Pump is considered to be a personal care item and has been designed to be for single use only. Mothers should never share breast pumps. Sharing or using a previously owned breast pump could put you and your baby at a potential risk for exposure to serious health risks.

Some of the viruses that can be within breast milk are:
HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS)
HTLV-1 Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type I
CMV - Cytomegalovirus

When you are using a previously owned breast pump you create the risk of cross contamination. It is for this reason that AVENT AMERICA STRONGLY SUGGESTS NEVER USING, BORROWING, PURCHASING OR SELLING A PREVIOUSLY USED/PRE-OWNED BREAST PUMP.

Since a mother's breast milk is the most precious gifts of nutrition/health she can give her baby, DON'T take the chance of sharing someone else's viruses with your baby. Quality affordable breast pumps can be purchased for less than the cost of two months worth of formula.

If you have any questions, give us a call at (801) 281-1881.