Closed System Breast Pumps vs. Open System Breast PumpsTo cut to the chase, if every drop of milk is important to you, closed system breast pumps are also important to you.
Mothers, like you, know the value of breast milk. That is why it is handled with utmost care and why expressed human milk is stored in special containers and has certain storage and handling guidelines to protect your baby’s “most precious food”. Because every drop of breast milk is important to the health of your baby, mothers who decide to pump their breast for milk storage spend a lot of time deciding the best way to collect their milk. That means you have to decide between two different types of systems: an open system and a closed system.

Open System Breast Pumps

In an open system, the pump’s motor can be exposed to your milk. This is important because the milk that is unintentionally drawn into the pump can often go unnoticed. This can result in mold growth and transmission of viruses. In fact, the FDA says this type of breast pump should only be used by one woman because there is no way to guarantee the pump can be cleaned and disinfected(1). In addition, some lactation consultants will go as far as recommending replacing an open system breastpump when working with a mom who has a lingering yeast(aka thrush) infection because of the complexity in safeguarding the complete destruction of the fungus even with thorough cleaning(2).

Even if a used pump looks really clean, says Michael Cummings, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist at FDA, potentially infectious particles may survive in the breast pump and/or its accessories for a surprisingly long time and cause disease in the next baby(3).

Closed System Breast Pumps

A closed system breast pump is designed to keep every drop of your expressed milk away from the pump’s motor and into your collection container. This decreases the possibility of mold growth and infectious particles. Closed system pumps are considered more hygienic because they have a barrier, such as a filter, which catches any milk before it reaches the pumps working parts. As a result, the pump can be safely used for many years – which is good for baby AND you.