Life Cycle of a Breast Pump

Last week, I wrote about what happened with my nursing bras once they passed their usefulness.  This week, I finally got sick of looking at my breast pump sitting around by the futon. So, I started investigating options to reuse or recycle my pump.

Of course, I could use the same Earth911 directory to find a small-appliances recycler for the pump motor itself, but what of the flanges and tubes and flappy-things and bottles? I checked, and many of my spare parts have the #5 recycling sign on them, which is great because I can recycle plastic up through #6 where I live. But before tossing them in the blue bin, I got a flash of inspiration from a brilliant mama friend.

Heather put all her old pump parts in the playroom at her house, where they found new life in the doctor bag and play kitchen. I immediately copied her, to great success.

My little dude uses the flanges as trumpets. My big guy uses the bottles to serve me water, which he calls, “egg milk.” Both kids hold the pump parts to their own wee nipples and kick back on the sofa “pumping.”

My older son even shushed me once while he was pumping: “Mommy! I need to relax while I pump my boobs!”

As for the pump motor, another friend suggested letting a curious older child dismantle it to see what’s inside. The motor is currently sitting on my porch waiting for such a young man to investigate at will. Hopefully he (or his grownups) will take it to the small appliances recycling when he’s done with it.

I should note that some breast pump manufacturers will take back used pumps for recycling and others will take used pumps for trade. If you’re looking to recycle your specific pump, check with the manufacturer.

What did you do with your breastpump after it heaved its last sigh of suction? Leave us a comment to share your reuse/recycling ideas.

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