Pumping breast milk is an excellent way for moms to provide their babies with optimal nutrition. However, sometimes pumping can become inconvenient, especially for working mothers or moms who need to be away from their babies for an extended period of time. Thankfully there are several different hacks moms can use to make breast pumping a bit easier. In this article, we’ll cover the pumping fridge hack.
Is the Pumping Fridge Hack Safe for Pumping?
According to the CDC, pumped breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to one year. Breast pumping and storage can be a hassle, especially if you are constantly on the move. However, some simple hacks can make the process a little easier and save you time. Enter the pumping fridge hack. The pumping fridge hack involves storing pump parts in the fridge, unwashed, after you pump breast milk.
You can put your breast pump parts in the refrigerator between uses if you plan to use them again within the same day. Storing your breast pump parts in the refrigerator keeps them clean (even if they have breast milk on them) and prevents the growth of bacteria. This pumping hack is especially beneficial if you do not have access to a clean water source or are in a hurry to get back to work.
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How to Reuse Pump Parts Without Washing
In order to do this pumping fridge hack, store your used breast pump parts in a wet bag (this two-pack on Amazon is my favorite) in the refrigerator until you need to use them again. At the end of the day, wash and/or sterilize your pump parts like normal and toss the wet bag in the laundry. Make sure to not leave your breast pump parts in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours as this can increase the risk of bacterial growth.
If you don’t have access to a refrigerator at work or if you are on the go, you can do this pumping fridge hack using a cooler instead. Make sure the cooler has adequate cold packs to keep the cooler cold for the entire time you will be away from home. The same logic still applies and allows you to reuse your pump parts without washing.
Related article: How to Store Breast Milk After Pumping
Pumping Fridge Hack Benefits
There are several benefits to storing pump parts in the fridge between uses. They include:
Storing breast pump parts in the refrigerator can be a convenient way to keep them clean and ready for the next use. This is especially beneficial to working moms who may be pumping on a break and/or have a limited amount of time to pump. Storing pump parts in the fridge cuts out the 5 minutes or so it takes to wash and dry the pump parts.
Related article: Daycare Gave Baby Wrong Breast Milk? Here’s What To Do.
2. Reduced Risk of Bacterial Growth
Additionally, storing breast pump parts in the refrigerator can help prevent the growth of bacteria that can contaminate the parts. This is particularly important if you are using the parts multiple times throughout the day. If you were to store your pump parts at your desk unwashed or partially washed (i.e. not in a cold environment), the chance of bacteria growth is much higher than storing them in the fridge. It’s similar to cow’s milk.
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3. Cost Savings
Due to time constraints, some moms buy multiple pump part sets so they don’t have to spend time washing their parts on their pump break. By simply storing breast pump parts in the fridge between uses, you can reuse your pump parts without washing and reduce the need to buy several different sets.
Related article: Shaking Breast Milk – Does It Really Damage It?
4. Time Savings (My favorite pumping fridge hack benefit!)
Finally, my favorite benefit for using this pumping fridge hack! Storing breast pump parts in the fridge can save you time by reducing the need to wash and sterilize the parts between each use. This allows you get back to work and on with your day quicker.
Related article: How to Scald Breast Milk After Pumping
What breast pump parts can go in the fridge?
Make sure to only put your pump flanges, bottles, breast milk collection containers, and valves/membranes, along with your pumped milk, in the fridge. If your breast pump has tubing, do not put that in the refrigerator. You only want to include parts that come into contact with breast milk. Placing breast pump tubing into the fridge can increase the chance of condensation and mold in the tubing.
Related article: Breast Pump Not Working? Here’s 5 Troubleshooting Tips to Try.
Ultimately, I’ve used this pumping fridge hack for a total of 48 months (4 years!) worth of pumping at work for my three children. I never once experienced any kind of mold growth or bacteria contamination. I used the pump parts 2-4 times a day, placed the breast pump parts in the fridge between each use, and cleaned them thoroughly in soapy water at the end of each day. It saved me countless cleaning hours, and I hope it will save you time, too!
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