Recently there has been a lot of discussion over whether closed system breast pumps are really better than open system breast pumps. The basic difference between the two types of pump is that closed system pumps have a diaphragm that separates the pump’s tubing from the collection bottle and breast flange.
A closed system’s diaphragm acts as a barrier, which protects expressed milk from outside air that is being drawn through the pump’s tubes, and it prevents milk from leaking into the tubing. Since this barrier is in place, closed system pumps are considered more hygienic because expressed milk is never exposed to the pump tubing or motor, and the tubing never requires washing or sterilizing.
If you use an open system pump, there is no barrier in between the tubes and milk collection so there is a chance that milk will leak into the pump’s tubing. Most moms see this an more of an inconvenience than anything since you have to then wash, sterilize and air dry the tubes before pumping again. However, some moms say small amounts of milk can get into the pump tubing without you noticing because mold was found in their tubes, but they had not had a milk leak.
If mold is in the tubes then you may have other problems because that means the air going through the pump has been exposed to the mold – the same air that is exposed to the pump motor and your expressed milk. Most pump manufacturers are now switching to a closed system design to prevent these potential problems.
Once you have determined which type of breast pump will be best suited for your pumping needs, you can begin to compare the different models that you are interested in by reading Breast Pump Reviews written by other pumping moms.