Mold in pump parts — The Bump
May 2013 Moms

Mold in pump parts

I'm freaking out a little. I'm calling the pedi but wanted to see if anyone here had experience/advice too. 

I use a Medela pump and pump 3 times a day since I went back to work about two months ago. Prior to that, I pumped maybe once a day for my stash but otherwise EBF. I *knew* I was supposed to remove the yellow valves from the clear connector pieces to clean but could never get them off. Yesterday my LC showed me how they pop right off and when I looked inside the yellow valves, there was a bit of greenish mold in them!  I'm really worried that V and E have been consuming mold in their bottles for up to 2 months!

I have 4 sets of valves/membranes/connectors and keep 2 sets at home (I pump maybe 2 or 3 times a week at home, tops) and the other 2 at work. Two of the sets were purchased right before I went back to work but I'm not 100% certain that I brought both of the new sets to work (I might have brought one old set and one new set). 

I've been really lax at regularly sanitizing the parts, I just wash them out after each use with dish soap and hot water (or as hot as the work faucet gets) - flame away. I'm so mad at myself for not being more diligent. :(

A quick google search told me that this is common enough, but not much info on the effects on baby. Except for the scary google results about extreme mold consumption. Any thoughts while I wait for the pedi to call back?

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Re: Mold in pump parts

  • Do your babies seem sick? If not, I'd see what the doc says, but don't fret. I would think there would be some very obvious signs if they were adversely affected. Mold is everywhere (esp food based mold) and I imagine all our LOs will come in contact at some point.
    She is here! 5-29-13

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  • ^^ No, they don't seem sick. I just wasn't sure what symptoms to look for. Thanks, @AllieAGame.
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  • I am so sorry! Don't be too hard on yourself, you are doing a great job pumping! And those yellow suckers are hard to get off! What did the LC do to make them come off easy?
     

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    mylovelyll
  • @JoJo716 - thank you.  I was trying to screw the yellow pieces off - instead, they just pop off. You just kind of wiggle them back and forth to loosen them and they kind of pop off. I was always worried about yanking too hard and tearing the white membranes, but those just come off too and "snap" back in. Who knew.

    And my pedi just called back - he said to look out for signs of thrush (rashes near the mouth, fussiness, not wanting to eat) or stomachaches but didn't seem to worried about any long term effects. Whew. At least now I know.

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    JoJo716
  • Pro-tip from an EPer: Pop the membrane off first and then use a towel or your shirt to get a good grip on the yellow thingy and pull/twist it off. For whatever reason the cloth really helps.
    She is here! 5-29-13

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    PumpkinAndThePeanutmommatotwo2sarajim06[Deleted User]
  • wait, we're supposed to remove the yellow pieces?! shite!!! I've never cleaned out the tubes...I was told as long as I run the pump for a couple minutes after i stop pumping, that "airs" them out and gets rid of the condensation. dammit...
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  • ^^ the tubes are different from the yellow pieces. I never clean out the tubes either (as you do, I just let the pump keep pumping for a few minutes after I disconnect to "air" them out and I make sure there's no condensation in them).  The yellow pieces I'm referring to are the ones that the milk goes through before dripping into the bottle? They go onto the clear connectors that connect the bottles to the breast flanges. They get nasty inside if you don't wash/dry them out properly. :(

    Follow tips above (in my 2nd post and @AllieAGame's most recent post) for getting the yellow things off...

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  • Revelle99Revelle99
    100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    edited November 2013
    I'm sure this will make you feel better:  I just recently replaced my tubes- after using my PISA with DD for 9 months and DS for the last 5. I probably washed them a handful of time.  Both kids are alive and well 

    Edit- Ignore my Reply- I misread your post
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  • edited November 2013

    Thanks, @linegirl313 - your GIF made my day. :) 

    It is hard! We had to supplement with a small amount of formula from the day after they were born (due to weight loss) until about 10 or 11 weeks old. Around that time, something sort of clicked and we were able to drop the 2-4 oz /day of formula they were getting and I slowly built a small stash.  Because I couldn't tandem nurse well until only recently, the only way I've been able to keep nursing is by having lots of help (from DH and my parents). Honestly, I couldn't have done it without a second pair of hands around all the time to soothe the baby I wasn't nursing.

    ETA - That said, 100% formula is better than moldy breast milk. :(

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  • oooooooh okay those yellow pieces. phew! I thought you were talking about the yellow pieces that are on the end of the tubes. 
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  • I can get the yellow parts off of all but one set of flanges. I might have to try @AllieAGame's method to get them off.

    I can not for the life of me get rid of the condensation in my tubes.  I tried leaving them on for a few minutes, running rubbing alcohol through the tubes, even whipping them around like a crazy person (or Whiplash from Iron Man). Any more suggestions?

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  • Pro-tip from an EPer: Pop the membrane off first and then use a towel or your shirt to get a good grip on the yellow thingy and pull/twist it off. For whatever reason the cloth really helps.
    Yes, this is exactly what I do!
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  • So to get the yellow thingy off, we wiggle it. if you kind of rock it back and forth it starts to loosen up...at least mine does.
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  • gnatters said:

    I can get the yellow parts off of all but one set of flanges. I might have to try @AllieAGame's method to get them off.

    I can not for the life of me get rid of the condensation in my tubes.  I tried leaving them on for a few minutes, running rubbing alcohol through the tubes, even whipping them around like a crazy person (or Whiplash from Iron Man). Any more suggestions?

    I was foiled by the condensation in my tubes to the point where they just always had some mildew in them (even after sanitizing in the Medela bags). I gave up and used a new set of tubing that I didn't know we had. It's crazy that the tubing is the ONLY PIECE of the pump you can't just buy in stores.
    She is here! 5-29-13

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  • Holy poop! I didn't even know they came off!!!! I'm kinda like a man sometimes and don't read directions... I just checked them though and there wasn't mold, just really gross build-up.
  • kmcd23kmcd23
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
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    edited November 2013
    I bet you have just been helping build their immune systems! ;)

    There is always something we realize we were/weren't doing. Glad the pedi could make you feel better!

    I bet it wasn't there long either. Mold spreads fast. It wouldn't have stayed contained in that area for long! I left a clean dr. Browns bottle in a ziploc bag while traveling. I noticed it had mold in it, and decided to deal with it when I got home. Holy cannoli did it spread in one week!
    PumpkinAndThePeanut
  • I EP and I never removed the clear tubes but always remove the yellow part with the membrane. It never Occurred to me not to remove it but I can see how easy it would be to just leave it on because they can be a pain to get off. I find pumping parts and bottles take a long time to dry out which sucks.
  • Oh, I just thought of another cleaning tip for the pump parts. You know how milk residue builds up inside the connectors (like in the part where a nipple brush won't reach)? I've found that pipe cleaners work like a charm and are about the only thing that fits through the tiny opening. Who knew those little crafty suckers were good for something other than kindergarten art class!
    She is here! 5-29-13

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    PumpkinAndThePeanut
  • Thanks, @kmcd23, for making me feel better!

    For those of you with tubing condensation, you can buy spare tubes from Amazon for around $10 - I bought an extra set to keep at work a while back.

    Also, I checked my valves at home last night and they were fine. I could NOT get the valves off for the longest time and I think I know why - DH must have put them on. Every time he puts a lid on a jar or something like that, he screws /pushes it on as tight as it will go and I can never re-open it.

    I think the mold built up in my valves kept at work because they get used so frequently that they don't get a chance to dry properly between uses. I think I'll bring another set or two to the office and rotate between 3 or 4 sets to try to let them dry better.

     

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  • Hey everyone,

    Hope it's ok I throw out a concern/question here (to avoid creating a somewhat duplicate thread)

    I noticed some dark spots in one of my hoses today that I think might be mildew. (brownish black, but still translucent - had to compare to the other hose to be sure) I've already called Medela and have new ones coming tomrrow, and can use my manual in the mean time, but my question is, would you or have you used the milk pumped with this hose?

    I pumped 11 oz today and am having a hard time thinking I should throw it all out, especially since the milk doesn't come in contact with that part.  And if I assume the spots were there for a few days, that would mean tossing everything from those days.  (for all i know baby has already had milk with this issue).  Anyone had this situation?
  • engrgrl said:
    Hey everyone,

    Hope it's ok I throw out a concern/question here (to avoid creating a somewhat duplicate thread)

    I noticed some dark spots in one of my hoses today that I think might be mildew. (brownish black, but still translucent - had to compare to the other hose to be sure) I've already called Medela and have new ones coming tomrrow, and can use my manual in the mean time, but my question is, would you or have you used the milk pumped with this hose?

    I pumped 11 oz today and am having a hard time thinking I should throw it all out, especially since the milk doesn't come in contact with that part.  And if I assume the spots were there for a few days, that would mean tossing everything from those days.  (for all i know baby has already had milk with this issue).  Anyone had this situation?

    I noticed one black dot in one of my hoses awhile back and I still kept the milk. I had the same thoughts as you, it's a part that doesn't come in contact with the milk so I didn't worry about it and LO didn't have any issues at all. Now when I pump, I run the pump for a few minutes on high to let the hoses dry out before I put them away and I haven't noticed anymore spots. Hope this helps!
  • Yeah, If the spot is in a place where the milk doesn't come into contact with it, I'd probably keep the milk!
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  • Thanks ladies, that helped a lot!
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