Ameda is one of the oldest manufacturers of breast pumps - and with good reason. In this guide, we'll answer some common questions about Ameda's products, then take a look at several of their top products to help you decide which pump (if any) to try.
Here are the most common questions people have about these products.
Begin by setting the suction to the highest comfortable level. Do not keep the suction at a level that bothers you. From there, start your pumping section at the highest speed. This encourages your let down (the release of milk), mimicking the strong suction of a baby. From there, the speed should be slowly adjusted to about half its maximum strength.
When your milk flow starts to slow, increase the speed again to try and encourage another let down. This follows the typical suckling pattern of babies and promotes maximum production. From there, repeat the process until you're finished.
Before the first use, follow the instructions in your pump's manual to clean and sanitize the parts. For most products, the diaphragms, flanges, valves, storage bottles, locking rings, and discs should be boiled for 20 minutes without being allowed to touch the bottom of the pan. From then, they should be air dried on a clean surface.
After use, the valves, flanges, bottles, locking rings, and discs can be cleaned with warm soapy water. Do not use steam sterilizers, and make sure to be gentle with the parts. The tubes do not need to be cleaned or sanitized.
Parts should be dried on a soft, clean surface. Do not stack parts on top of each other.
As noted in the cleaning section, several parts should be boiled before their first use. Do not boil any parts after the initial sanitizing.
Yes. You can travel on any plane with your breast pump(s), and you can even take more than 3 ounces of milk with you. However, you should declare the items at the security checkpoints, and airlines recommend that you don't pump or carry any more than you need during a flight. Remember, turbulence can knock things loose or cause spills.
Yes. Ameda uses 4-oz bottles for all of its pumps, and they include universal threads to make them compatible with most pumping kits. Extra bottles are available.
As with most manufacturers, the electric pumps are easier to use and have a variety of controls to make pumping easier and more effective. Ameda eschews fancy readouts in favor of simple and easy-to-adjust controls.
Yes. Ameda sells a variety of different breast shields - and replacements - to help ensure the best fit.
Prices vary widely, but note that insurance often covers either the purchase or rental of a pump, so you may be able to get an Ameda pump at no cost to yourself. Check with your insurance provider for more information.
Here are the best products Ameda currently offers.
As Ameda's main electric product, the Ameda Finesse offers a blend of simplicity and usefulness. Rather than complicating things with screens and controls, it simply offers two dials to manage the strength and speed of suction. This is more than many pumps offer.
Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks with this system. Users have reported issues like needing to press the pumps against the body for an entire session, only being allowed to double pump, and in one case, having so much trouble that they needed to take antibiotics. Ultimately, this isn't a very popular product, and it's a pretty big risk at the price Ameda is asking.
A superior version of the Ameda Purely Yours (below), the Purely Yours Ultra is... better in ways the company doesn't do much to describe. The main difference between the two versions is that the Purely Yours Ultra is sturdier and comes with a few more accessories to customize it.
Unfortunately, this pump can only be called average. There are far too many reports of weak suction and easily-damaged parts, making this product a poor choice for most mothers.
Ameda's Manual Breast Pump is another average product. The suction level is fine, it's easy to clean, and it's simple to put together. Unfortunately, some of the parts on this pump are made of cheap plastic, and it's easy for them to break after a single fall. Worse, the top-heavy nature of the pump means it probably will fall sooner or later. If there's one upside, it's that this pump is cheap enough to replace on a regular basis.
Even so, there are better manual pumps in the same price range, so it's hard to recommend something that frustrates so many users.
Ameda's most expensive product is - to nobody's surprise - also its best. The Ameda Platinum is a genuinely good product, designed to establish and maintain milk production for preterm and normal infants. Unlike Ameda's other products, this machine adds a timer so you can pre-determine when to stop pumping.
There's only one flaw with this pump - the price. If you want the best product money can buy, this is a strong contender (and a bit of a surprise, given the average-at-best quality of most of Ameda's line). However, most people will only be able to rent this through their insurance, so don't expect to have it long-term.
For normal pumps, the Ameda Purely Yours Ultra is clearly the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, "best" is relative - there are better pumps from other manufacturers in a similar price range. Ameda's Manual and Finesse pumps are average at best, while the non-Ultra version of the Purely Yours should be avoided at all costs.
If you're able to buy or rent Ameda's hospital grade pumps, the Platinum is easily the best choice. It's outright better than most pumps on the market, making it a worthy choice if you have access to it.
As mentioned in our reviews, the Ameda Platinum (a hospital grade pump that, unfortunately, is rarely available elsewhere) is the best of the lot.
Most people consider Ameda an average company at best. Positive statements include praise for the flexibility of its controls, the amount of milk that can be pumped, and the instructions given to maximize milk production.
Negative comments cite cheap parts on some of the models and a need to regularly exchange the pump. That's not a big deal for most products, but when you need to pump milk to feed your child, it's a serious issue. It's worth noting that there are far fewer complaints about Ameda's two hospital grade pumps - those are genuinely better products than the rest of their line.
Aside from its hospital grade pumps, Ameda is generally inferior to competitors like Medela and Spectra. You can usually get a better pump at a lower price - which does impact the pumps your insurance covers - making it hard to recommend this brand.
Aside from its pumps, Ameda has several other products worth considering.
If you need to pump on the go - or just carry milk outside your house - this insulated tote is a must. It holds up to six of Ameda's 4 oz bottles, as well as three freezer packs. The exterior is black and discreet, so it won't draw attention in most situations.
If you prefer bags to bottles for storage, Ameda has you covered. Notably, these one-use bags come with a special pour spout to reduce loss. The 20-count boxes are the most cost-effective.
This kit includes 20 bags, 10 disposable nursing pads, 2 flange adapters, 4 bottles, a reference guide, and a page of breast milk storage guidelines. It's an excellent choice if you want to have a little more storage, with a few freezer bags of milk just in case.
Most Ameda pumps only come with two bottles - out of a minimum of six you'll need if you plan to regularly bottle-feed your child. Fortunately, Ameda sells a 4-pack of bottles to make up the difference.
Overall, Ameda is an average company most of the time. Its hospital grade pumps are genuinely good products - and worth renting if you have the choice - but if you want to keep a pump in your home, it's better to consider your other options first.