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However, buying a brand-new electric breast pump can be expensive. If you’re considering buying a pump secondhand to cut down on cost or are looking to sell your old pump to recoup some of that cash back, we don’t blame you. In fact, we encourage it. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you go about it safely.
Here's how to best shop for, sell and maintain your breast pump so it can go the distance and service you, your baby and other families down the line.
Is Buying a Used Breast Pump Safe?
Yes, buying a used breast pump is safe if you’re buying from a trusted online marketplace or friend/family member. We recommend opting for a closed system pump (like a Spectra). Open system pumps are not able to be completely sterilized without completely disassembling them (i.e. non-hospital grade Medelas).
At GoodBuy Gear, we only accept secondhand breast pumps that are almost new. That means there are no stains, wear or large marks on any of the pumps, parts or bottles. We also double-check that the pumps are in working condition making sure the suction of the pumps are still effective and strong.
Here’s how we inspect breast pumps before listing them on our site:
- We power on the device to ensure it stays on and runs
- We check for any damages to the pump itself
- We check the tubing for any signs of use
- If any accessories are included, we check for dried milk or other issues
If we notice any missing parts, malfunctions, damages or signs of use in the tubing, we do not list the pump. Learn more about our safety standards here.
How to Buy A Used Breast Pump Safely
We get it. A breast pump is a personal thing that not only attaches to your body but also helps extract the breast milk that keeps your baby strong. It can get messy, but that doesn't mean these devices can't be reused.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a used breast pump:
- Make sure the pump was designed for multiple users: According to the FDA, you should only buy used breast pumps that are designed for multiple users. You should never buy a secondhand breast pump that is made for single users for safety reasons (multiple-user pumps are designed so that the milk supply never touches the pump parts that will be shared.) Manual breast pumps are typically designed for single use.
- Check the manufacturer's warranty: For single-use pumps, buying used will violate the warranty, so always check with the manufacturer beforehand.
- Opt for a closed system breast pump: It’s not possible to completely sterilize the inside of open system pumps without completely disassembling them. This poses a risk of the pump being contaminated, which is why you should only buy closed-system breast pumps when shopping secondhand.
- Run your pump through the dishwasher: Even though your breast pump is clean, it’s always a good idea to run collection bottles through the dishwasher with your own preferred soap just to be safe.
- Shop from a trusted marketplace: Lastly, it’s super important to shop from a trusted marketplace or friend. We only sell clean, safe, working breast pumps designed for multiple users.
It can be tempting to buy that cheap breast pump you see on Facebook groups or Craigslist, however, it’s not worth the risk. You should always do your own research and make sure to buy from a trusted source.At GoodBuy Gear, we check that the electronics work, but we don't actually test breast pumps out on ourselves, so we can not guarantee the effectiveness. We do ask sellers to only consign pumps that are still effective and strong.
We also recommend purchasing a closed system pump (e.g. Spectras) as it is not possible to completely sterilize the inside of open system pumps (e.g. non-hospital grade Medelas) without completely disassembling them. The risk that your baby could become sick from the contamination in your pump is low but a risk nonetheless.
Top Breast Pumps to Buy Used
Interested in buying a secondhand pump? Our resident gear expert and mother of two, Kristin Hood, gives her honest review on the top three breast pumps to buy used.
Elvie Breast Pump
Retail price: $549.99
Avg. GoodBuy Gear Price: $296
I love this used Elvie pump. It's made my pumping life so much easier and truly possible. I would never have been able to continue nursing as long as I have without it. It is a great pump for moms on the go, when having your second child or basically once you don't have time to be attached to a wall or giant pump anymore.
It's quiet, cordless, hands-free and fits right into your bra. I can pump while working, driving, walking the dog, doing dishes or giving the kids a bath. I've even dropped my son at school with it in! Plus, it's FSA and HSA-eligible and has great resale value.
It takes some time to get the hang of placing it correctly and getting the right amount of suction for your needs. This is not a pump for moms who pump over five ounces easily at each pumping session. You would need to pay close attention to make sure it doesn't overflow or use the app to keep track of how full it's getting.
Keep in mind it only holds a charge for about three, 20-to-30-minute pumping sessions, so you must re-charge each night.
This is not a pump you can come home from the hospital with and start using. I would recommend using it once your supply is established and you are on a solid pumping schedule. You pump into reusable bottles so you then need to transfer the milk to a freezer bag if you are storing milk.
Spectra S1 Plus Breast Pump
Retail Price: $216
Avg GoodBuy Gear Price: $42.50
When you first start pumping and come home from the hospital this is the pump you want by your side. It has strong suction and is rechargeable so you aren't tied to a wall. The charge lasts a long time. It has a timer on it, a night light and lots of other functions to help with getting the most out of your pumping. You can modify your settings and save them to fit your needs. I used this for the first three to four months at home with my new baby.
There aren't any big cons, but you do need to use an actual pumping bra when using this pump. If you can only afford one pump, I'd get this one.
I got this pump through my health insurance but still had to pay $80 out of pocket to get the S1 upgrade. According to the Affordable Care Act, your health insurance must cover a breast pump. However, whether a manual pump or electric pump is covered is based on your health care insurance.
Spectra offers free pumping support from a lactation consultant, they will talk you through how to pump, how long and different cycles to try to promote more milk at each session.
Medela Harmony Manual Hand Pump
Retail price: $60
Avg. GoodBuy Gear Price: $14
This is a great pump to just have for when you need to do a quick pump in the bathroom at a wedding or work event. It gets the job done. Plus, it’s inexpensive.
I would not recommend using this if you need to fully empty your breast. You have to manually pump yourself which can take some time. You can also only do one breast at a time.
I like to keep one on hand to throw in my purse if I'm headed out to a late dinner, wedding or event and need some relief. You can also use it in the middle of the night when baby starts sleeping longer and you need relief as the time between feeds lengthen.
What to Do With Your Old Breast Pump
If you are done breastfeeding and are looking to get rid of your old pump, you have a few options.
- Keep it: If you plan on having another little one in the future, you can keep your current breast pump and reuse it.
- Sell it: You can sell your breast pump if it is a multi-user, closed system pump in effective, clean, working condition. Bonus points if the warranty is still intact.
- Donate it: Similar to selling, you cannot donate open-system breast pumps. To learn more about how to donate your old pump, read our guide to where to donate baby items.
- Recycle it: If your pump does not work and cannot be easily fixed, you should recycle it. For example, pump motors that have slowed down should be recycled since they can't be easily fixed. Some pump manufacturers—like Medela—have pump recycling programs.
Tips to Keep Your Pump in Good Order
Whether you want to sell a breast pump after you're done nursing or want to keep it for the next baby, there are ways to make sure it can last.
- Wipe it down after each use: Grab a baby wipe, damp cloth or even tissue to make sure there's no milk spillage hardening on the surface. You will also want to clean the parts as soon as you are done, using warm to hot water and soap. Let them air dry. These methods not only will keep the pump and accessories clean, but sanitizes the baby gear for your own child.
- As for the machine itself, try not to overrun it: Keep your pumps to 30 minutes or less. This way you won't be overheating the device and it will maintain proper function.
- Replace faulty parts: If you notice the suction not working as well as before, look into replacing valves and tubes. There could be a pinprick hole or loss of elasticity in the silicone.
Where to Sell Your Old Breast Pump
Selling your breast pump is a great way to recoup some of the cash you spent on it. You can sell your gently used breast pump right here at GoodBuy Gear. Breast pumps are among the many used baby items we accept.
Whether you're buying or selling, you can shop or sell secondhand confidently knowing that we will do all of the heavy lifting for you. Whether that means listing your gently-used pump on our site to our nationwide network of parents or quality-checking each pump to ensure it is safe for the next home, we’re on a mission to keep good gear going ‘round.