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Getting Rid of It All, Except One Thing

September 10th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  4 Comments

basic-breast-pumpOur broken-off trip last week meant that we had several days of staycation in our apartment, which in turn meant that we did some cycling of baby clothes and other gear. The change of seasons, plus passing the eighteen-month mark, has meant that we’ve turned over a lot of clothes and bedding, and it’s being sorted for handing-down, thrift-store donations, and the rag bin. We find ourselves being picky about what we offer to other people: nothing stained or chewed or otherwise well-thumbed. Most of our friends were similarly considerate when they gave stuff to us. The (very few) less-than-appealing items that showed up on our doorstep were either scrubbed or quietly disposed of, and that was that.

But there’s one awkward object that we cannot figure out: the breast pump. Used daily for nine months, from my wife’s first day back at work to the day she weaned our son* at one year. It was expensive when new; it looks fine; it works perfectly; she kept it spotless. And all the books and Websites tell you not to sell it or give it away, because the internal parts cannot be sterilized. It’s supposed to be used by just one mother.

There appear to be donate-your-pump-to-a-needy-mom sites that flout the rules and, I guess, take a calculated risk: that the potential benefits of breast milk mysteriously outweigh the potential risks of the lightly sourced hand-me-down pump. I also wonder just how infectious a pump could really be after it’s been sitting, bone-dry and unused, for months.

Anyone got any better ideas? We could use the closet space.

*Addendum, 4 p.m.: My wife asks that I tell the DadWagon audience that our son was not weaned immediately after she stopped pumping, and that she wants full credit for 15.5 months of hardcore nursing. Gladly given.


  1. beta dad says:

    September 10th, 2010at 1:40 pm(#)


    Which sites tell you not to re-use them? Medela.com?

    My wife (a family practice doc) rented one from the hospital for a year–presumably it has been used by many people and will be used by many more. Her back-up pump, which she hauled to work each day, was loaned to her by our friend, an OB-Gyn doc.

  2. Christopher says:

    September 10th, 2010at 1:47 pm(#)

    Rental pumps are apparently different–they’re built so that every part can be (and is) sterilized between users. The ones sold to consumers are the ones you’re not supposed to share.

  3. Erin G says:

    September 10th, 2010at 2:04 pm(#)

    Hi. New commenter (but not a new reader). Sell it, for sure. Yeah, some moms are uptight about using secondhand pumps (and to those moms I say: sure, go buy a new one, more power to you). But lots of moms (I count myself in this number) would be in the market for a secondhand pump. I bought a $250 pump for $60, and never looked back. You’ll find a buyer, just post it on craigslist or ebay (or if you really only care about the closet space, give it away on freecycle or freepeats).

  4. Didactic Pirate says:

    September 10th, 2010at 2:08 pm(#)

    Sterilize and donate. I’m sure it will be fine. You know what they say: good nipple funnel is hard to find.

    You could always ask your pediatrician what he or she thinks.

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