Pumping isn’t fun. You have to sit there chained to a machine feeling a bit like a dairy cow and there are so many parts to clean. And so much can go wrong!
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I have a Medela Pump In Style, so I’ll be referencing that machine throughout this post!
One common problem that can happen when you pump is moldy tubing. I never had mold in my Medela pump tubing, but I tried to be careful to always keep it clean. It’s easy for condensation to collect within the tubing, so you really have to keep an eye on it!
READ: The Best Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
Do you have to clean Medela tubing after each use?
The first step in protecting your Medela tubing from mold is to check it thoroughly. It is a good idea to check the tubing before and after each time you use it. You’ll want to check for mold beforehand to make sure it’s good to go for that session, and also afterwards to check to see that no milk has gotten sucked up into the tubing.
If your tubing is still clean after use, there’s no need to clean it after you use it each time. As long as it doesn’t come into contact with milk, you’re good to go!
How to clean Medela tubing
If you find that your tubing is dirty at some point, then you’ll want to clean it and clean it well!
I’ve seen some people suggest that you toss it into the microwave in one of those steam bags that you can get from the manufacturer, but that is not recommended in the instruction manual!
The manufacturer’s method of cleaning the tubing is simple: just use soap and water! Rinse with cold water to wash out any breastmilk, and then run some warm, soapy water through the tubing again. Follow with a final rinse to get the soap out.
How do you get water out of breastpump tubing?
So you’ve just finished washing and now your tubing is nice and clean. But there’s all those water droplets stuck inside! Well, that won’t do. If it stays in there, it’s going to get moldy, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid by cleaning.
I always have trouble getting my tubing to dry out properly. The recommended way of getting it completely dry is to connect it to the pump while it’s running. Simple enough.
Here’s a trick I used to use to get my tubing to dry (this is NOT in the instruction manual): pour some isopropyl alcohol through the tubing. This helps to disinfect the tubing further, but the alcohol also evaporates more easily than water and it will dry faster.
Sometimes you’ll find that there are white spots left inside the tubing where the water left some residue inside. It’s so annoying! You could probably use distilled water to wash your tubing to avoid leaving any residue.
How do you get mold out of Medela tubing?
Despite your best efforts, one day you look down and notice mold growing in you tubing.
Ugh. How do you get rid of it?
Simple answer: you don’t!
If the tubes get moldy, they are trash, end of story. It’s sad and it can feel like a waste, but it’s not worth the risk of your breast milk getting contaminated with mold. Do your best to keep mold from growing in the tubing. But if it happens, just spend the $20 for a new set. Your baby will thank you.
You can even keep a spare set on hand so that you’re able to keep pumping without interruption if you find that you have moldy tubing.
Is mold in breast pump tubing really that dangerous?
I wouldn’t want to eat any food prepared with moldy equipment, and I don’t want my baby to either! While it would probably be fine to just clean the moldy Medela tubing, it’s just not worth the risk. Or the hassle, for that matter. Tubing is hard to clean, but easy to buy. Do yourself and your baby a favor and just order some new tubing.
However, if you do find mold, you may still be able to use the milk that you’ve pumped recently. Check with your pediatrician and ask them what they think, but they may tell you that you can give your baby the milk if you boil it first. That’s certainly an obnoxious process, but at least you don’t have to let it all go to waste!
How often should you replace Medela tubing?
You don’t really need to replace breastpump tubing very often! Medela doesn’t have a specific recommendation for the amount of time after which you should replace the tubing. The only real reason to get new tubing is if it becomes damaged or dirty in some way. As long as you’re keeping it clean and your pump is functioning well, carry on with the tubing that you have!As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Melinda worked with children for years in a professional setting before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. She currently has three young children, and enjoys sharing tips and ideas about parenting and how to manage a home with excellence. She’s been featured on Heathline and Her View From Home.