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Breastfeeding/Extended use of automatic breast pumps


Hi, I have a couple questions about automatic breast pumps, if you would be so kind as to answer them if you could.  My wife was wondering how long she can leave an automatic breast pump on for even when not running.  Since she is bed-bound due to complications, and I have to work to pay the bills it makes it difficult for her to get up and move around to clean the machine.  We currently have our 8 year old put the milk in the refrigerator, but don't exactly trust what kind of job he would do cleaning it.  Would leaving the breast pump pressed against her nipple cause soreness or a rash like if she fell asleep with the baby?  And we're also a little confused as to what the recommended cleaning frequency of the breast pump and tubes should be.   Any advice would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

Hi there Daniel,

Thank you for the message, I will try me best to answer it.

Firstly I am sorry to hear about the complications with your wife.

The breast pump should actually be cleaned after every session to avoid problems!  Have you maybe considered getting a bowl of warm soapy water in the room where your wife is and letter your 8 year old clean the pump while your wife 'supervises'?  Kids are a lot cleverer and able than we give them credit for - give him a chance.  He can then just bring a jug of warm water and top up the soapy water for every wash.  Even a rinse in warm water and a good clean once a day would be better than nothing between expressing. Does any of this make sense?

As for leaving the pump on the breast for extended periods that too is not an option it will cause issues.

Can I ask something, why is your wife expressing and not nursing? As that is essentially the easiest most hygenic way to feed.

Leaving the pump on when not in use might also create problems that it could burn out as would any piece of equipment in that situation.

I hope this helps in some way ... please don't hesitate to contact me again should you require more information or clarification.

Good luck to you and your wife ....



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Mary van Ede


Anything related to Breastfeeding. Expressing when returning to work. Mastitis. Complications.


I have successfully breastfed all my 3 children. Even expressing with my children when I went back to work. I suffered the challenge of engorgement, mastitis, poor latching. Have done a lot of reading and research.

Matric. Business Administration. Was an active member of the La Leche League when I was breastfeeding every time. Was an All Expert member for a while - you will find my comments etc in this section - but had to stop my contributions due to work commitments.

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