Tracy Pugh, an event planner based in Oakland, Calif., had a hard time breastfeeding her second child. So, when her third baby was just a few weeks old, she decided to invest about $1,000 into a "smart" breast pump from a Silicon Valley-backed start-up called Naya Health.
Pugh ordered the Naya device in time for her to return to work, expecting it to arrive within two weeks as advertised. But she told CNBC in a phone interview that she kept getting notices of shipping delays, which concerned her as she had some international travel coming up. (Her old pump required regular charging and converters, while the Naya did not, which was the major reason why she bought it.)
Once it did arrive, it took Pugh about a week to figure out how to use it, as it used a water-based flange rather than an air-based one like most mass-market pumps. When she got the hang of it, it worked pretty well. But that all changed when water started to leak into her breast milk, contaminating it. Pugh realized that she needed a replacement part called a Breast Shield Assembly or BSA while she was abroad so she could continue pumping. Otherwise, she might not be able to nurse her baby when she returned from traveling.
So Pugh reached out to the company and offered to pay any amount of money to get an expedited shipment of the part. "I didn't have my other pump with me, as I was reliant on that point on my Naya," she told CNBC. She asked it to be rushed, and shot customer service a desperate note saying that she had "no pump and no baby."
Pugh never received the part. She ended up weaning her daughter much sooner than she expected.