Recycling My Breast Pump

Like many of my friends, I have a love/hate relationship with my double electric breast pumps. As a breastfeeding Mom who had to return to work when both of my kids were 8 weeks old, it was definitely a life saver and allowed both of my kids be exclusively fed by breastmilk for their first year of life (by that I mean EBF until 6 months and then solids + breastmilk from 6-12 months). I know there are plenty of reasons that this isn’t for everyone, but for me it was a hugely important health goal, and I’m so thankful that I was able to do that for both of them.

On the flip side, I had to pump for 11 months with Stella and for 9.5 months with Harvey, and UGH.

To be honest, there were parts of pumping that weren’t so bad. At work it was hard to step away from my desk sometimes, but most of the time I welcomed those 20 minute breaks when I could be in a quiet room pumping while I read blogs and checked social media on my phone.

Okay, that was about the only positive. Ha!

But really, I’m thankful I work in a job where I was able to pump, and I’m immeasurably thankful to be done with it as well!

At this point, I own two pumps. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced and the Medela Freestyle. The PIS my Mom bought me when Stella was born (Dec 2011) for about $300 at a local medical supply store. The Freestyle I bought on Amazon (Dec 2013) with an entire accessory kit for $377 (it now retails for $340), and it was all paid for by insurance!

Everyone’s policies are different, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the vast majority of insurance policies now cover breast pumps. Did you know that?

To save a few hundred dollars, it’s definitely worth a call! My HORRIBLE super high deductible plan’s one redeeming feature was that it covered up to $500 of breastfeeding supplies, no questions asked, so I simply filled out their form and submitted it with my receipt, and bam, within two weeks I had a reimbursement check from them in hand.

At any rate, I really liked them both for different reasons. The Pump In Style was slightly more efficient, but the Freestyle was more portable & convenient (since it’s tiny and doesn’t need to be plugged into the wall). With Harvey, I kept my PIS at work and I used my Freestyle in the car or while walking around the house getting ready/etc. I have a pretty hysterical selfie I took while hands free pumping and getting ready for that wedding in STL, but it’s definitely not for internet sharing. Basically, I’m only wearing underwear, I have the hands free strap around my neck supporting the flanges and bottles, and the pump is clipped to my underwear. That thing was seriously portable – I highly recommend it. 🙂


So now that I’m done pumping, I’ve been debating about what to do with my pumps. A friend of mine is actually using my Freestyle right now (no, you’re not supposed to share pumps when they’re open systems, but she and I are really not worried about any sort of diseases or issues between us!). However, the PIS is on its last legs after using it for two kids and roughly 20,000 hours of pumping (holy shit!), so I was excited when I found out that Medela has a recycling program for their electric pumps!

Each pump we receive through Medela Recycles supports the donation of new hospital-grade, multi-use breastpumps and supplies to Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). The goal is to provide moms with the same high-quality equipment they use at the hospital during their stay at a Ronald McDonald House. This consistency will ease the transition from the hospital to a Ronald McDonald House and give families caring for a baby in the NICU one less thing to worry about.

The simple act of recycling your trusted pump through Medela Recycles provides you with both the peace of mind that your pump will be recycled properly with the added benefit of knowing you are supporting another mom on her breastfeeding journey during a challenging time.

Next week I plan to get my act together and send my pump back for recycling. In the meantime, I am headed to Denver with Stella this weekend to hang out with my sister who is flying into town for work (and I get to meet up with a couple of blog friends!), so I’m going to bring my Freestyle with, just to pump 1-2x/day to keep my supply from totally drying up. Nursing Harvey has been SUCH a different experience from nursing Stella, and he would probably wean without issue over the weekend, but with everyone being so dang sick this winter, I really want to try to get through until spring with him. After this weekend though, I intend to never pump again… well, unless we have a 3rd baby someday. Ha!


  1. This is awesome news! I have been thinking I needed a new breast pump for when the twins are born. The one I used for Blakely was from my SIL and it is 10 years old (Medela PIS). It worked fine with Blakely but I don’t have anything to compare it to and I feel like it has to be run down with her pumping for twins 10 years ago, and then 3 other moms using it after that! I didn’t really need to pump with her so it wasn’t a big deal how much I pumped. Now for the twins I am thinking pumping is going to be a little more important. So I can drink wine and not go insane. 🙂 Checking with my insurance pronto. And sending that old thing back next week! Thanks!

  2. I loved my pumps but as a SAHM I didn’t use them as much as I should have!

    Do you think if you have 3 you will want 4? That’s what happened to me HA😜

    1. I’ve wondered this for sure. We shall see. 😉

  3. This is great! I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the pump I had for G. I’m definitely looking into recycling it!!!!

    I was so excited to be able to get a pump through insurance when L was born. And since it was a Medela, I didn’t need to get new accessories 🙂

  4. Bummer I missed out on the meet up! Have fun!!!

    1. Oh shoot – I totally should have emailed you! Next time I make it up that way with the kids I’ll definitely do that. It’d be so fun to meet IRL some day!

  5. With Andrea, I had to nurse much more ‘on the go’ so I nursed from the left side all the time because I needed my right hand free to live my life. As a result, I got SUPER lopsided. Like, my right boob was like, oh you don’t need me anymore? Cool. Peace OUT and she shriveled up and is only producing drops of milk.

    They said I should pump the right side to bring her back to life, but I hate pumping ALMOST as much as I hate being lopsided. Maybe if I had one of those portable ones, I might try to bring my right boob back? Although, they *also* say that I’ll probably only be able to bring my supply back, not the size of my boob.

    I hate being vain, especially since I did it to myself, but I’m counting the seconds till Andrea weans so my boobs will go back to being symmetrical or if they don’t, I can schedule surgery.

    I may try pumping though; I suppose it can’t hurt…

    1. I was lopsided with Stella, and I tried REALLY hard to encourage lefty to do something with Harvey, but it’s always sucked in comparison, so a few months ago I gave up on lefty completely and only nurse from righty. I was already lopsided even while nursing both sides, so I don’t notice much of a difference anyway. I sure hope I even out afterwards. We shall see.

  6. […] reading Josey’s post about recycling her Medela pumps, I dug a little deeper into Medela’s recycle program. I was feeling a little silly that I had […]

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