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Comparison of two methods for cleaning breast pump milk collection kits in human milk banks

      SUMMARY

      Background

      Appropriate decontamination of breast pump milk collection kits (BPKs) is critical to obtain safe milk for infants and to avoid discarding donor human milk (DHM).

      Aim

      To evaluate two strategies for BPK decontamination by assessing microbial cultures and the proportion of discarded DHM, according to the criteria of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for pre-pasteurization cultures.

      Methods

      Prospective comparative study, allocation ratio 1:1, microbiologist-blind.

      Participants

      47 new donors in a human milk bank in Madrid.

      Interventions

      Study group (N=21): BPKs washed with water and detergent after each use and further steam decontamination within a microwavable bag. Control group (N=26): washing, rinsing and drying only. Five samples: first sample by hand expression and four samples (one per week) collected using the same pump and method.

      Outcomes

      Primary: proportion of DHM discarded due to contamination. Secondary: comparison of the microbiota between samples obtained by hand expression and breast pump in both groups.

      Findings

      In total, 217 milk samples were collected: 47 by hand expression and 170 by pump expression (78 from study group). Steam decontamination of BPKs using a microwavable bag after washing resulted in a lower proportion of discarded DHM samples (1.3% vs 18.5%, P<0.001) and samples contaminated with Enterobacteriaceae (1.3% vs 22.8%, P<0.001) and Candida spp. (1.3% vs 14.1%, P<0.05) compared with samples collected with BPKs that were washed but not steam decontaminated. There were no differences in bacterial contamination between samples obtained using steam decontaminated BPKs and those obtained by hand expression.

      Conclusions

      Steam decontamination of BPKs using a microwavable bag after washing decreases the amount of discarded DHM and the number of samples with potentially pathogenic bacteria.

      Keywords

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