Yes, this is a post about breast pumps. I apologize for that if you are a man who is 1) unmarried without children, or 2) related to me. You might want to just stop reading now if you are related to me and this is grossing you out already.
When we first became pregnant I acquired the Ameda Purely Yours breast pump secondhand. Our childbirth instructor and lactation consultant was horrified and said that we should never use a secondhand pump because there could be bacteria in the tubing or the motor, coming from the tubing. However, the Ameda is a closed-tube system. Moisture never enters the tubing. There are little silicone diaphragms that allow the suction of air through the tubes but prevent moisture from entering. Since I had never seen another pump, I assumed all pumps were like this and that there must be some magical way the lactation consultant knew about that bacteria could get in which I didn’t know about. But we also didn’t have $300 for a brand new pump so I wanted to use this one. I read on the Ameda site (somewhere) that theirs is the only pump which is certified hygenic for reuse if the special HYGIENIKIT is purchased, replacing all the parts that come in contact with moisture with new, sterilized parts. I searched and searched the internets until I actually found the FDA certification PDF that granted this certification to Ameda specifically. I would link to it, but it took me so long to find it that I can’t find it again. Just believe me, it is there if you have 2-3 hours to search.
It wasn’t until I had some breastmilk supply issues last week and rented a Medela Symphony hospital-grade pump that I realized the difference between Ameda and the ever-popular Medela, and understood what the lactation consultant was talking about when she said things about moisture and bacteria in the pump and tubing. Did you know that apparently most pumps don’t have a diaphragm keeping the moisture and milk from the pump flanges and storage container from getting into the tubing? Gross! I had no idea! This is a $1,000+ pump I have rented here, and I spend half my time trying to “fling” the moisture out of the tubing! There is no way to clean it out! That does not seem sanitary to me. Don’t get me wrong, this pump is super quiet and efficient. And the two-phase system for triggering letdown is very nice. The Ameda does not have that two-phase system. So I do think the Medela has helped restore my supply in that way. But the tubing is ridiculous.
Then there is the fact that you HAVE to use both flanges with the Medela at all times, even if you only want to pump one side. I always have one side that produces more than the other, so with the Ameda I always disconnected the more productive side and devoted a little extra time to the lower producing side so that I get the full amount from each side. You can’t do that with Medela! You have to keep pumping on both even when one side is finished, so it just hurts.
So, I am probably going to be pretty glad to go back to my Ameda. It may be old and the engine may be a little slow, but at least the tubing never gets drippy, and I can do one-sided pumping!
*NOTE: I was not paid or given any consideration by Ameda or Medela for this review – these are products I tried on my own and this is what I think about them.