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If you're a mom pumping breastmilk regularly, it is important to ensure your tubing is clean and in good condition every time you use it with your pump. While you don’t need to clean your tubing each time, it’s good to inspect and check your tubing after each pumping session.
What to look for
Moms who pump breastmilk may on occasion find moisture or drops of water in their tubing. It is perfectly normal for some moisture to accumulate in the tube. But you'll want to dry them to prevent mold before the next pumping session.
Check if any milk is inside the tubing. Milk should not go into the tubing because only air should be going through the tubing. To prevent issues check that your valves and membranes are fully attached and are in good condition. Also check that you are holding the bottles upright!
Inspect your tubing ports to make sure they are not loose or broken. Always remove tubing by pulling straight out of the tubing ports. Do not wiggle or pull tubing at an angle, which could cause damage to them. Replace tubing if the ports are loose or damaged.
You don’t need to wash your tubes unless you somehow got milk in them. If you do see milk, first rinse the tubing in cool water to remove the milk. Then wash them with warm soapy water. Finally rinse them again to remove all the soap and allow them to dry completely.
If you are unable to remove the milk in the tubing, it is best to replace them.
Drying tubing and keeping moisture out
Make sure your tubing is completely dry before using, especially if you have washed them. Let the tubing air dry between pumping sessions. You can also connect them to the pump without the flanges and just let the pump run for several minutes to help dry out the tubes. It’s a good idea to do this after a pumping session to ensure your tubing is dry.
Put a drop of alcohol on the end of the tube to help dry it out, then run the pump.
Be sure to keep your tubing dry and don’t store tubing wet otherwise mold could develop. Never use tubing if you find there is mold in it.
If you find you need to replace tubing, our Healthy Horizons Breastfeeding Centers carries pump tubing for many pump manufacturers including Medela and Ameda breastpumps. Stop by our centers if you have any additional questions or concerns about your tubing!