As a new mom returning to work, one of the most important parts of my day is the opportunity to pump breast milk. Frequent readers of my blog will know that I’ve been through a few breast pump options from electrical, the Medela Pump in Style that I received free from insurance and a few manual pump options that I bought on my own. Last week I spent a lot of time talking with a fellow pumping mom at work and on her recommendation decided to buy a pump from a different manufacturer, Spectra.
My coworker’s pumping experience is somewhat like mine. She also started with a Medela and had the same complaints that I did: that you have to turn the suction way up to get the best results and at maximum suction the pain is excruciating. Her sister in law recommended she buy the Spectra S2 as she had had great luck with it being much more effective and comfortable.
As this was a rather large out of pocket expense I did a lot of research on this. I went to multiple review websites and discovered that the S2 was a great product, yet the S1 model was identical with one extra feature – it featured a rechargeable battery for portability. I’ve found having to find and be tethered to an outlet to be an issue, so I bought the S1.
The S1 is available in one of several kits depending on the budget and needs of the purchaser. For those who want a deluxe kit, a large traveling purse and separate cooler with extra collection bottles (which double as feeding bottles) is available. Depending on the year of manufacture, the more modest kits include either four breast shields (two in an industry standard size, 24 mm and two in 28 mm), or a cooler bag. As the Medela I’d used came with 24 and these had worked well for me, I purchased a kit with the extra cooler bag. As I already have a cooling bag, this would be an extra bag for me to keep the removable parts of the breast pump (including breast shields, tubing, etc.) clean, dry and separate.
The attaching pieces of the pump are very intuitive to put together. I was able to put the breast shields and filter with a quick glance at the instructions.
The bottles included are great in that they can be used to collect and store the breastmilk (by adding the discs to seal the lid) or can be used to feed the baby directly. As I currently have William using two different bottle types, Doctor Brown and Avent, I probably wouldn’t introduce a third with its different nipple to him, yet it’s great that that option is there for other mothers to use.
One of my favorite parts of the system is that the filters have no backflow. This makes it a closed system, the milk never goes though the tubing and is instead pumped directly into the bottles. This is a very clean system as a result and means the tubes themselves do not have to be cleaned after every use.
Some kits feature the oz markings directly printed onto the bottle and some have them etched in directly. Reviews have suggested that the printed ones wear off faster. I do hope they will not wear off over time and with frequent washings, yet it is too soon to tell if this will happen.
One of the best parts of the pump is the amount of control the user has. The massage mode feels amazing and very similar to what breastfeeding suckling feels like. When its on the wavy lines appear on the device. The other mode is expression and uses more suction to get the milk to flow.
Massage mode has just one frequency – 70. Expression mode has several frequency options from 40 to 54. I do wish it was possible to have higher frequency modes such as maybe 60 or 62 with the expression mode. The vacuum suction can be selected on either mode and ranges from level 1 to level 12. Level 1 is very comfortable and Level 12 is very powerful, too much so in my opinion, yet many in between are great to use.
The pump also has two different nightlight functions to help pump in the dark.
My coworker gave me a lot of great suggestions on how to use this, including toggling back and forth from the massage mode to expression. There is so much that I love about this system from portability to comfort of the massage mode to how strong the suction can be. It’s a hospital grade pump and I’ve noticed that it is is effective enough that I pump a more consistent amount of milk, at least one and a half ounces of milk each session. It’s inspired me to use it more often than I would the Medela (which I’ve stopped using entirely). If I had had this pump all along I probably would have pumped more and had more milk ready to freeze.
Rating – five baby booties out of five