MESMERIZED BY THE MYA
An Independent Board-Certified Lactation Consultant Reviews the Ameda Mya Breast Pump
After 12 years in the field of public health, maternal child health research, and family advocacy + 8 years of high risk pregnancies, fetal loss, and a mixed family structure full of biological and step children, it goes without saying that I have lots of experience and opinions about pumping and breastfeeding. Over the years I have personally owned 9 different brands of pumps, and have used as many as 11; now in my 6 and a half-year breastfeeding/pumping cumulatively, it’s very hard to impress or surprise me technologically when any new thing arrives on the market, claiming to assist function in the breast.
So when I was asked if I would be willing to test out the new Mya pump by Ameda, I said flippantly “Yeah why not. Are you sure you don’t have it already? I mean, how is it going to be any different from anything else?” Besides personal wireless pumps (which are both fascinating and frustrating, though that assessment is for a different blog) what could there possibly be that was “revolutionary” about another standard, multi-user, closed system hospital grade breast pump? But, never to turn down a challenge (and constantly consumed with curiosity), I impatiently awaited the pump’s arrival to see what, if anything, the fuss was about. I was sure it was nothing, but was awaiting the validation of being right.
The day that it arrived, I was told ahead of time to expect it that day, and make sure I would be home, so I rescheduled some of my patient load at the clinic so as not to have some heavy, bulk full package sitting enticing on my porch, especially with the epidemic of the so called “Amazon package thieves” in my area recently; I received the alert and emerged from my home frustrated; where was the box?! I looked around visually and thought “PLEASE tell me someone didn’t take it already; the alert said it arrived an hour ago, and it better not have gotten taken that fast!” I really didn’t see any package at all, much less the formidable boxes I had received from pump companies in the past; then a small brown square behind one of my potted plants caught my eye. Did my package of essential oils come instead?
I went to pick it up and saw the Ameda name- totally flabbergasted. “There’s NO way”, I thought” Absolutely no way that this tiny box, so light it feels like it’s full of air has any kind of pump in it- much less a hospital grade pump!” I thought to myself. Maybe they sent the accessories first? No matter, I immediately sought to find out. Inside this box I found the tubes and bottles and a small white square- small enough to fit in my hand. I was astonished. What kind of hospital grade pump is this?
Incredulously, I rushed to take the packaging off and assemble it, set myself up and turned it on to use it…and my amazement was expanded. So nuanced, so smooth, so complex- so quiet! Rather than the typical blunt push and pull motion, which combines the movement of a vacuum cleaner and a plunger, this was different; the cycles of vacuum alternating with function felt complex and rhythmic. My let down started and I smiled wryly to myself: “Well, I’ll be danged; this is actually pretty cool.” All in all, my pumping took 3-4 minutes less (10-11 minutes instead of 15) than it usually does with any pump.
The pump is small and mighty, boasting a suction capacity of 280Hg mm, however it delivers these with an understated and complex massage, let down, and extraction patterns that are smooth as silk. Alternating back and forth between them is no more than a push of the button. It was SO small, and so powerful, that I basically put it in my pocket while I tossed a salad for dinner, with the flanges in my pumping bra and was LITERALLY done before I knew it.
On top of all of that I woke up a few hours later WAY more full than I have been in YEARS, even though the pump emptied me to complete softness, along with hands on pump techniques while I was using this! I haven’t had a pump be efficient enough to stimulate that huge impact in such a short period of time in years! My youngest baby is 6 months old, so that truly was a surprise to me. Granted there has yet to be a one size fits all solution to pumping; breasts, underlying breast conditions, and individual challenges with breast function are as personal as each individual who has them.
I certainly couldn’t project to say that the Mya will perform better than any other pump on all or even most women. In my experience though, I would say that the signs that it could be a solid improvement for the majority of parents using their breasts to feed their children (and other people’s! Hooray for donor milk!), are indeed promising. I was totally wrong about the Ameda Mya: its simple, its strong, its smooth, and its versatile and it is indeed both surprising and impressive.
Sometimes it’s good to be wrong, and in this case I am happy that I am, because I now have hope and confidence that the innovation and simple changes of the Mya pump will be one of the technological improvements that is going to make a high quality pumping experience incredibly accessible, practical and easy for breastfeeding and pumping parents everywhere.