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Help! My breast pump is infected!!

(7 posts)
  1. mam1974

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 14 2010 21:42:53
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    I've been lurking ever someone mentioned I might have bed bugs a few weeks ago (we thought it was fleas initially). Just the other day I found bed bug fecal matter underneath the boxspring of my bed, and also the guest bed. A PCO came out and confirmed it.

    Sadly, the non-chemical people are not able to come out for ~2.5 weeks because of the high demand in the area. I've been reading up on my defenses, and preparing myself for the mental challenges of decontaminating my husband and my two small children before they leave for work/daycare in the morning. I have a job where I can work from home, and my boss is understanding.

    So I suppose that's the good news. I was just leaving complete and utter freak out mode and beginning to enter a mindset where I could start actually processing things again. And then, I pulled apart my breast pump. I found dead little bedbugs in there (or maybe they were castings?). (And yes, I saved one for good measure). In my freaking breast pump that I use to create food for my six month old baby every single day!!

    I am so disgusted right now. I haven't a clue how to clean it. I don't have a Packtite, and I don't think I should stick it in the oven.

    And then, there's the matter that I take this thing to work every day. Did I get the bedbugs from work??? Did **I** contaminate work?? I work at a very large company, so I know that they'll do the right thing. But I don't know if I'm going to have it in my to deal with the constant vigilence of worrying about whether or not they've dealt with the problem properly.

    AND THEN, my husband tells me that his boss's wife work up the other morning with three bites on her buttocks. So maybe his work is infested as well? He works at a car dealership, and it'll be a battle getting them to get someone to come in and do an inspection.

    I haven't slept in two days, I itch, I'm exhausted, and my house is overwhelming me with all the possible contamination spots.

    Does anyone have any advice for me on the breast pump? How about some calming words?

  2. agh

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 14 2010 21:59:32
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    my child just stopped nursing this summer, so i can imagine a little bit how you are feeling.
    maybe use alcohol to swab it down. i hear alcohol kills on contact. i don't know if there's a way to take it apart and examine the interior, but it might be worth an hour's time trying. meanwhile, do what you can about the exterior.
    take a deep breath.
    the professionals say that BBs cannot spread any diseases. so, keep pumping.
    if you can afford a new pump, and feel you want to do that, then buy one and keep it in a giant ziploc when you are not using it.
    if you don't want to, or can't buy a new pump, maybe talk with your exterminator and pediatrician about how else you might treat the pump.
    i understand why it's upsetting, because the pump is all about nutrition and health for your baby. if you can separate the emotional side of that from the practical business, try. i know it would be hard for me to do that, dealing with this issue with a baby has a different emotional edge, for sure.

  3. kannon_bosatsu

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 14 2010 22:19:56
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    Which part of the breast pump did you find them in? The bag? The tubes? Depending on what it is you might be able to replace it. I have twin toddlers (3yo) and went through many breast pumps in the early days. Some parts are easily interchangeable. Switch out what you can, swab down the machine with alcohol as Agh noted or Steri-fab.

    As for the concerns about work, I am right there with you. When I told my boss we might (before confirmation) have bed bugs, I literally said, "I don't know the protocol for telling you this." Meaning I didn't know if I should have told him, if he could do anything about it, etc. It's a mixed up world.

    I felt I had to tell because I work very closely, as in leaning over people and pointing on a screen, on a daily basis. I could have been infecting everyone near me and with all the stories about Google and law firms being infected I felt it was being closely watched in the media. Does your husband's company know? Can he subly imply or could that possibly lead to firing? Personally, it's good knowing that your job has your back too, so to speak.

    As for calming words, I have three things I say to myself to get me through: 1. This too shall pass. (It will, promise.) 2. Keep calm and carry on. (Cliche, but it helps. I even have a necklace that says that and it's what I wear during crunch time at work.) 3. Fear no darkness. (Partial quote from Tolkien, which was played nicely in the movies. It reminds me that I need to keep my fear in check.)

    Hope this helps!

    L in Brooklyn

  4. mam1974

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 15 2010 9:32:53
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    Thank you both for your kind words. I sterlized the carry bag last night (vacuumed it, disinfected it, and then chucked it in the dryer for a good long while). Any detachable parts I've also sterilized. I'm also going to call the manufacturer and see what they recommend as far as heat treatments for disinfection.

    In the meantime, keeping the pump (sans carry bag) it in a plastic bag is a good idea and will hopefully keep me from spreading anything all over the house. I just feel so horrified that this bag has been in pretty much every room in the house, my car, work, etc. I often pump in bed first thing in the AM, so if I contaminated it, that's how it happened. If it came from my work, that's how it got into my house.

    I'm going to call my HR person today and have a nice long discussion. I found the article (.pdf) posted elsewhere in this form regarding bed bugs in the workplace, and plan to sand that to my HR person. I am really hoping that they will be proactive and bring in the dogs. They are a Fortune 500 company and quite good about taking care of things.

    As far as my husband's work, I am not worried about him getting fired (he's one of their best salesmen in fact). I am more worried about the fact that they might have an infestation and that we won't be able to 1) confirm the infestation and 2) if it cannot be confirmed, that we'll keep re-infecting the house. My husband is going to try to talk to management today, so we'll see what they say.

    It is very exhausting being on full HazMat alert with a passive husband and two crawling children!

    Thanks for the support!

  5. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 15 2010 11:36:37
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    Mam, I'm not intimately familiar with breast pumps, but hope that I can help.

    It surely must feel gross to find "foreign" stuff on something you use to nourish your baby. It's possible that in the course of your infestation, BB took up in the pump or in the carrying bag. They might have also fled treatment and entered the bag, to die.

    That said, I would guess that whatever methods you use to keep the system sanitary for general use should purge any bug or insecticide residue from the "vital" surfaces.

    You could probably spot any insect or egg on the exterior of the pump and pick it off. You can also wipe down with a wet-wipe or wash with soap/detergent (these also kill bugs on contact). If your home is properly treated, then eventually any bugs that might (big "might") be deep inside the pump should come out to feed and cross poison.

    If infested, there is some risk in taking the pump (or any infested item) elsewhere (ie, you unpack your pump at Mom's and out crawl the bugs). If you feel uneasy, could you have "home" and "away" units? Hope this helps.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  6. Meeshteacher

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 15 2010 17:14:03
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    Can you be specific about which pump you have?

    If you are totally paniced - call a LC and rent a pump for a month until you can do something differently.

    Im so sorry

    Id loan you my pump if you were close -Im a low supply Momma and I have waaaay to many pumps

  7. mam1974

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Sep 19 2010 22:18:14
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    Hi Meeshteacher & cilecto-

    I have a Medela Pump in Style. Right now, I have disinfected the bag and thrown it in the dryer for a good long while. I have wiped down the entire pump surface area that I can reach, and disinfected all the parts that can be disinfected.

    I am going with the general premise that it is not a known health hazard, and just keeping the pump in a ziplock bag for now. I am scheduled for a thermal remediation treatment on the 28th, and I'll be leaving it in the house during that time. Until then, I am monitoring it for any activity (it doesn't look like there is anything living moving about in there), and trying not to think about it too much.

    If I think about it too much, all I want to do is vomit.

    I am hoping that the thermal treatment works, and won't hurt the unit. It cost me $300, and my daughter is already 7 months old. She won't be needing bottles from me for all that much longer...

    Best,
    Mary


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