There are a lot of logistics involved in breastfeeding and pumping. You need time, you need space, you need equipment. Sometimes, after a pumping session, you just don’t feel like cleaning all those parts again. And sometimes, you don’t have the time because you’ve got a meeting that’s starting in three minutes or someone is knocking at the door or the baby is crying. In those cases, you can temporarily store the parts in the refrigerator.
Julia Pelly explains for Healthline:
If you’re going to be pumping throughout the day simply toss your parts in the fridge between sessions instead of washing and replacing them every time. I learned this one after 6 months and countless sinks full of dirty pump parts and never went back!
Although we’d love to endorse this hack for all mums all the time, you do need to consider the potential for germs, particularly for the littlest and most fragile babies, as CDC medical officer Anna Bowen tells Parents.com:
“Although refrigerating used pump parts between uses might be OK if the pump kit is not contaminated, cleaning the pump kit after each use is safest and is particularly important for babies who are younger than two to three months old, were born prematurely, or have weakened immune systems,” Dr. Bowen says.
The CDC also recommends washing your hands before handling pump parts or pumped milk, using a dedicated brush and wash basin for the parts (rather than in the kitchen sink with a sponge used for the family’s dishes), and air-drying the parts. For extra protection, you can boil or steam the parts to sanitise (or run a sanitise cycle in the dishwasher).
But in a pinch, between pumping sessions, storing the parts in the fridge is certainly better than leaving them out at room temperature or even letting them soak in water, which can be a breeding ground for germs.