My wife wanted me to post the following about her experience with the Ameda Purely Yours Ultra Breast Pump:
I have used this pump for 5 1/2 months. I exclusively pump which means on average, I've pumped 6 - 9 times per day for at least 30 minutes each time. I'm currently pumping 20oz - 23oz total per day. I've used both the 25mm flange and the Flexishield. Both are equally comfortable and worked well for me. (My supply is low because I got a poor start pumping - it doesn't reflect the effectiveness of the pump.)
I've been very happy with this pump. It's compact, all the parts have held up well (including the valves - I've read that people have had problems with them breaking in short periods of time, but I haven't. I'm still using the originals that came with the pump), and it's easy to clean (I just rinse off the parts with cool water after pumping, and once a week I wash the flanges with hot soapy water, then put all the parts through the sanitizing cycle of my dishwasher - without detergent). It's easy to get set up and put together. One person mentioned that she had to fiddle with the white caps to get the suction to be right, but I've never had that issue.
I've used the car power supply adapter several times and it works great. On batteries, my first pump worked just the same as it did on AC power. My second pump (see below) sometimes sounds weird during a cycle. It works, but the weird sound makes me nervous, so I avoid using it on battery power.
The sound the pump makes isn't an issue for me. Sure, I wish it were quieter and didn't sound like the Aflac duck, but it's not a big deal. You can always put a pillow or blanket on top of it to deaden the noise if it bothers you that much.
The one problem I did have was that after 4 months of using the pump, I noticed the suction was diminishing and I kept having to turn the suction dial up higher to maintain the same level of suction I had been getting. I started hand expressing after each session and got 1 - 2oz more each time, obviously indicating that the pump wasn't being totally effective. Unfortunately, I didn't call Ameda at that point. Instead, I waited until my pump lost suction completely...on a Friday afternoon at 4:30...mountain time. I called customer service right away, but since Ameda is on eastern time and they're closed on the weekends, I couldn't get a hold of them until Monday. When I did, customer service was great. They took me through a troubleshooting list, determined that something was wrong with the motor, and overnighted me a new pump (pump unit only). Over the weekend I had to use the manual pump that came with the Purely Yours Ultra. It was easy to use (yes, my hands got fatigued, but that's to be expected), and it did such a good job that I think it was a factor in my supply increasing.
During the three weeks that I've used it, the new pump seems to be working well (aside from the battery power issue mentioned above). I've tried hand expressing a few times after my pumping sessions, but I get very little which indicates this pump is doing a good job.
I'm really glad I bought the "Ultra" version. The Ultra comes with a car adapter (which I've used several times), a manual pump (which was invaluable as mentioned above), a little cooler to keep the pumped milk in (which I've also used), a small canvas drawstring bag (to store the adapter, manual pump, batteries, etc) and a tote bag to carry it all in. The only complaint I have is that I wish the tote bag were a little bigger - it's big enough for all the parts, but once I put in my pumping bra, big t-shirt to go over the bra while pumping, and water bottle, I can't zip it closed. Small complaint, however - not a deal breaker.
UPDATE 10-24-2015: I finished using the replacement pump in May 2014, and then started using it again in January 2015 when I had my second child. The pump worked great for one month, then started to lose its suction (it had worked for a total of 10 1/2 months). I called Ameda to see if they could do anything about replacing it, but because it had been over a year since I received it (July 2013), they couldn't. So I bought a new pump. I discovered the AC adapter that came with it didn't work, but not a problem - I called customer service and they mailed a replacement to me right away. This new pump worked great for 8 1/2 months, but then it started to have an issue where it lost the middle settings on the suction dial - so it had either a really short suction cycle or a really long one. And then on the really long cycle, it skipped randomly every now and then. I called Ameda and the person I talked to was super nice - very down-to-earth and personable. After listening carefully to my description of the issue, she said they'd mail me a replacement right away. I received it exactly 24 hours later! Apparently, these pumps have a short life-cycle if you use them as often as I do, but I still give it five stars because when it works, it works great and the customer service is fantastic. One thing to note - the rep asked if the pump had been dropped. I said it had at least once - a couple feet from the top of an end table to a carpeted floor. She said that may have caused the issue, but not to worry, that they'd replace my pump anyway.
One other thing to note - Ameda has a helpful guide on pumping on their website which I found after I had my first child. It says to start pumping within 6 hours of your child's birth. So I did that with my second child and ended up averaging 63 ounces a day pumping six times a day for 35 minutes for each session. Hope this helps!
Ok, so I agonized over which breast pump to buy. Seriously. I made a decision on a crib, a stroller, a carseat, etc. etc. within a day, but spent weeks researching breast pumps. For one, you can't return these puppies, and they are really expensive. You spend a lot of time with your breast pump, and there are conflicting ideas about them and devotees to every brand.
My disclaimer: I have been using the Ameda Purely Yours Ultra for a month, so I can't speak to the longevity of the pump--I use it every day - but usually just once. I breastfeed and supplement with formula, and I work part-time in an office and part-time at home (hence only pumping once).
I love this pump. I may update my review later if I remember and am so inclined, but as of now--I love it. I have not used the Medela pumps, but unless something goes horribly wrong with the Ameda, I am in the Ameda camp indefinitely. Here's what I like:
- The pump isn't loud. I have read reviews that say it is, but it's barely louder than my baby's swing and certainly not so loud that people outside my office can hear me pump.
- The Ultra comes with a few sizes of breast flanges - the part that actually goes on your boob. This is important, since the size of flange you need depends on the size of your nipple, not the size of your boob. The size of your nipple can change after your milk comes in, so estimating what size you'll need beforehand is kind of pointless. I actually bought extra flanges in different sizes because I was concerned about the flange issue, but I was good with what the kit came with. I'd just start with what's included.
- The milk storage system is great. Bottles are great, cooler bag works really well - no complaints.
- The speed and suction dials are awesome. Some days I can handle more suction than others, and I love being able to control the pump that way. I have no complaints with the strength of the suction.
- The deciding factor for me in choosing Ameda (and something I LOVE now) is that it is a closed system. Most Medela pumps (not the hospital grade) are open system - meaning the milk gets into the machinery more. (I don't know, I forget the details - I'm operating on little sleep, people.) Closed system means you have fewer parts to clean after every use and (big plus) that you can use the pump with another baby. We plan on having more kids, and I didn't want to buy a new pump for each one. Technically, manufacturers recommend not reusing an open system pump--even if you buy new tubing, etc. for it. Something to keep in mind. Oh, and if you are lazy like me, having fewer parts to clean after every use is a bonus.
What I'd recommend doing if you spring for the Ameda:
- Get the Purely Yours Ultra, not just the pump alone. I loved the extra gear and have found it useful.
- Order accessories now - valves, tubing, adapters, etc. Have an extra set of everything on-hand in case something gets broken or torn. Several sellers here on Amazon have accessory packs for the Purely Yours - grab one now and keep it in your pumping bag.
UPDATE 4/14: Still using this 1-2x per day. I was away from baby for 24 hours 2 different times and used the pump a bunch those days. Working perfectly and I LOVE that you don't need to clean so many parts after each use! Can't recommend highly enough.
UPDATE 6/15: Still using this 1-2x per day and loving it. Suction is still fantastic. One thing I think could be a problem for some is that you are doing minor assembly each time you use the pump. There is a valve that goes in the bottom of the flange, a plastic diaphragm that goes in the top, and tubing that is plugged into the side and capped on the top of the flange. If any one of these parts is not on properly, your suction will be crappy. Assembling the pump for use has taken me less than 60 seconds each time I use it, but you need to double check your work if you suddenly have suction issues.
I cannot recommend this pump enough, though. I have used it in my car in a parking garage when I had no place to pump and was at an all-day work conference. It worked great wonderfully with the car adapter. The cooler bag works like a champ so I have never needed a fridge for pumped milk, and the accessories that the Purely Yours Plus come with are absolute necessities if you are a working mom. If you had a hands free pumping bra, you could literally plug this thing in and use it hands free while in your car. I am so glad I went with this instead of one of the Medelas.
Best breast pump on the market. Love that you can control the speed and suction, because I can always get a seond let down while pumping to help me pump more. This is super important for working moms. Also, the tubing is a closed system, so you don't get the mold issue you get with the Medela.
Definately get the Ultra, it comes with the alternate flange sizes. Battery or AC plug in option, I also bought the car adapter for hands free pumping while driving if needed. Good quality and I love the features. Milk does not go in the tubes, less to clean and sanitize, better value for pumping. Independant suction and speed dials for optimal milk flow throughout pumping. also includes hand pumping action for if you need to prime with a fussy baby.