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Cleaning your breast pump parts without losing your mind (work edition)

If you're going back to work after having your baby, it is almost surely a mixed bag of emotions.  You may be terrified of leaving your baby with someone who doesn't know how to interpret their every muscle twitch (even if that someone is your partner or mother or exceptionally well rated day care).  You may be thrilled about the prospect of taking as much time to go to the bathroom as you damn well please.  You may be devastated about the fact that you won't be able to cuddle your baby for hours as you have him or her fall asleep on your chest.  You may be feeling all of these things and a million others, all within a matter of seconds.  And yet, one thing I can almost guarantee you is that you are NOT relishing having to trudge to the company kitchen 18 times a week to scrub down your breast pump parts while looking over your shoulder to make sure the overly friendly guy from PR hasn't followed you in there... again.

Some people deal with this conundrum by bringing their pump parts home every night.  This to me seems like extremely risky business.  What if you forget them at work one day?  What if you forget them at home?  You may be slightly more absent minded these days than you're used to.  So play it safe and follow this step by step guide for how you can quickly sanitize your pump parts at work.

  1. 1. You only have to wash the parts once a day if you keep them in the fridge between pumping sessions.  I recommend getting a storage container or disposable bowl you can pop in the fridge  until you've pumped for the final time that day (hopefully you have a dedicated fridge at your job for pumping mothers).

  2. 2. Once you're ready to clean the parts, grab your Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag  and your Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump and Accessory Wipes and head to the kitchen.  You want to wipe down each part with a wipe, rinse under running water and place in the steam bag.  If you truly want to minimize the time you spend in the kitchen, you can even wipe the parts down in your pumping room (then all you have to do is rinse and place in the bag once you're out in public).  I know some people online say that they use Munchkin Pacifier Wipes to wipe down the parts but honestly, I don't know how they do it.  The Munchkin wipes are much smaller, thinner and less wet than the Medela ones.  One Medela wipe is enough for me to clean the full set of parts I use in a day, whereas when I tried to do the same with the Munckins I was using approximately 5 to do it.  This method of using wipes and the steam bag (each steam bag can be used 20 times, i.e. for a whole month of an average work schedule) allows you to clean the parts at work without needing brushes, a bowl of soapy water, or 20 minutes.  Everything comes out sterile in approximately 5.  They can also be used with almost any commercial personal breast pump (a couple of the Freemie parts are the only exception to this that I've seen - some of them are not rated to be steam cleaned).

  3. 3.  Once the steam bag is done in the microwave, simply dump the water into the sink and the parts back into the now rinsed container you had been keeping the parts in while in the fridge.  Store the container open to the air overnight (hopefully in the pumping room) to give them a chance to dry out.

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