I have the no-frills pump only version that retails for around $160. You can also buy the pump with a backpack or carryall; both come with lots of accessories. A One-Hand Breast Pump adapter (around $20) lets you turn the pump into a hand pump.
The Ameda Purely Yours pump runs on AC power and does not have battery backup. You can adjust both the suction and the cycle frequency. The cycle frequency can be set at 30, 40, 50, or 60 cycles per minute. (Cycle frequency, or how many times the machine pumps per minute, turns out to be crucial in expressing milk efficiently. More on this later.)
The Ameda breast pump has a sealed system. It has a silicone diaphragm that slips inside the top of the flange part. This means that no liquids, mold spores, or bacteria can get from the pump into the tubing/motor or vice-versa.
You can unplug one of the tubes and pump just one breast at a time. I sometimes did this during morning pumping sessions when Ivy is nursing on the other side. I now double pump right before I go to bed.
The Ameda pump has very few parts and is easy to clean: silicone diphraghm, pump flange, valve, and bottle. You can machine wash the flange and bottle. I usually hand wash the valves.
One of the pump flanges started to crack last month. Not bad considering many, many years of use.
Pros of the Ameda Purely Yours:
- Reliable design that lasts for many years (my own anecdotal experience and from talking with other women who've used it)
- Easy to clean with few parts
- Sealed, hygenic design to prevent contamination
- Could be a multi-user pump (not FDA-approved for this purpose, but I would be comfortable doing so)
- Cycle frequency, even at the highest setting, is fairly low
After Ivy was born, I took advantage of the new health insurance regulations that mandate breast pump coverage. I had no choice about which model or brand I received. I tried to get a Hygeia EnJoye ($239 and up), since I've heard such good things about them (very durable, FDA-approved for multiple users) but had no luck despite many phone calls to my insurance company.
I ended up receiving a Medela Personal Double Pump. It's similar to the Medela Pump In Style Advanced ($239 and up), except you can adjust the suction but not the cycle frequency. (FYI, you can't find the Personal Double Pump on the Medela website. It's sold only through medical supply companies, usually via health insurance plans. There's also an "Advanced" model of this pump that lets you select the cycle frequency.)
I tried to find a retail price for this specific pump, but had no luck. It's only available through medical supply companies and not sold directly to consumers. I've seen some listed on Ebay for around $150.
The Medela pump has slightly more parts than the Ameda, but it's still fairly simple to clean (unlike the Avent Isis manual pump, which I tried once. It had about 200* different small parts and was its own jigsaw puzzle.)
When I started using the Medela Personal Double Pump, I immediately noticed that I could pump super quickly and express a lot more volume during each session. Was it the vacuum pressure? The cycle frequency? The way a Medela pumps compared to an Ameda? I did some experimentation and concluded that it boiled down to cycle frequency.
The Medela Personal Double Pump comes pre-set at approximately 75 cycles/minute (by my highly scientific method of counting while watching a clock!). I called Medela to confirm cycle frequency, but they were unable to quote me an exact number. Ameda's customer service confirmed that cycle frequencies are 30, 40, 50, and 60 cycles/minute. I'd been pumping at 50 cycles/minute with the Ameda and hadn't thought of adjusting cycle frequency.
FYI: the Pump In Style Advance model offers a two-stage pumping action. The first stage has a range of 50-200 mmHg and 120 cycles/minute, then the second stage has 100-250 mmHg and 54-78 cycles/minute.
The Medela pumps are not sealed systems, so any number of fluids or bacteria can travel through the tubing and into the motor...and then back out into your breastmilk. This is the biggest drawback to any Medela pump. I'm still using it more than the Ameda because the higher cycle frequency is so much more effective at getting my milk to let down. But if I had a pump that offered both a sealed system AND higher cycle frequency, I'd jump on it.
Pros of the Medela Personal Double Pump:
- Motor and plug come in a carrying case
- Higher cycle frequency than the Ameda (75 cycles/minute); more efficient at expressing milk
- Not a sealed system; potential for contamination via tubing and motor
- Not suitable for mulitple users
- Cannot adjust cycle frequency, only vacuum pressure
Overall, I don't have a clear preference for one over the other. I definitely like a faster cycle frequency and wish the Ameda offered a higher range. On the other hand, I really dislike that Medela's pumps are not sealed. Either of these will do the job, so if your insurance only provides one or the other, you will be fine. But I'm still on the search for a pump that gives me both higher cycle frequencies AND the assurance that my milk will not be contaminated. Any recommendations?
* slight exaggeration
Disclosure: I was not paid to write this review, and I did not receive either of these pumps as review items. The Ameda was a hand-me-down and the Medela was provide through my insurance company.