This post has been long awaited, so here it is – FINALLY!
I will preface this by saying that I am not an expert in breastfeeding, breast pumping or ANYTHING that has to do with being a parent. What you are reading is simply and only my opinions on my experiences, which may differ from woman to woman (and baby to baby). If you are struggling with anything that pertains to lactation, I would highly recommend doing your own research from credited sources and seeking help from any of the following: Lactation Consultant, Pediatrician, OB/GYN and other Moms who have been successful.
At the time of writing this, I am 10 Weeks Postpartum, and have been doing a combination of things to current. Nothing is “exclusive” or “only” in this house, and I’ve been through the ringer of it all.
I received the Medela Pump In Style Advanced from my Insurance Company, and my Lactation Consultant who came to my house, helped me set it up on PP Day 3. We had come back from the Pediatrician with a 12% weight loss after Jack’s Birth, so we implemented bottles very early.
It’s no secret that I’ve experienced numerous feeding-related issues, including two tongue tie revisions (from an ENT and then a Pediatric Dentist), seeing a total of 4 Lactation Consultants (3 from the hospital and 1 at home), numerous weight checks, poor latching, shield weaning, immense pain, clogged ducts… pretty much everything EXCEPT mastitis (hopefully I didn’t jinx myself).
A friend of mine offered to give me her Spectra Baby S2 Pump, to see if that would help things, since I was mostly pumping and my supply wasn’t stellar.
I’ve been using BOTH pumps for 2-3 weeks now and wanted to share my thoughts on both in case you are deciding between either.
Let’s Review The Medela:
- Incredibly SIMPLE to set up. You literally just hook up and GO. Watch this Youtube video to ensure you are using the right size, because the standard Flange Size (24mm) didn’t fit me, and it took me weeks until I realized. (I was literally watching videos in the middle of the night and had a really angry realization that I was unknowingly using the wrong size).
- When you turn the pump on, it is automatically in stimulation mode, which is what you want. You can switch to expression mode once your milk starts to flow and control the strength of suction.
- You can control the strength of the suction. BUT IT’S POWERFUL. My LC recommended the suction in the 10 or 12 position, but I honestly never go past 10. I honestly feel anything stronger would rip my nipples off, like bird going through a jet engine.
- There’s the ability to pump single or double. I usually only pump double, but this is convenient if you need to only pump one side.
- There’s a lot of accessories that are available almost anywhere. This is helpful if you have to pump on the go so you’re not having to search for an outlet!
- It’s an open system. The only thing I don’t love about this pump is there’s no barrier between the milk collection kit and the pump mechanism to prevent contamination.
- Portability is better. The design is pretty small and sleek and it’s easy to throw in any bag and take with you in the car or to work! The shape is also a small square, so it can fit discreetly inside most bags.
- IT’S LOUD. Really loud. And after 2 months, it’s starting to squeak. You would honestly think I used it for years the way that it sounds. We still have Jack in our bedroom, and now that he’s more sensitive to noise, pumping in our room has become tricky and if you are in public, everyone will know that you are pumping!
Let’s Review The Spectra:
- It’s a hospital grade pump, which means high performance with great suction (that isn’t aggressive). I was eager to try this because my supply with pumping wasn’t awesome.
- It is very adjustable and customizable in both stimulation and expression modes, and multiple cycle rates unlike the the Medela. We are all different and respond differently to different therapies, so it’s nice to have options. The Medela only offers one suction strength in stimulation mode.
- You have to manually put it in stimulation mode – not sure why this is? But a new mom would NEED to know this!
- It will save your settings!
- It shuts off after 30 minutes, in case you fall asleep – although, I’m not sure how you could?
- The breast shield and flange are one piece and there are more pieces in general, which is kind of annoying. They don’t fit with my Medela hands-free pumping bra and I’ve candidly been to lazy and cheap to purchase a new one – so when I use this pump, I am stuck!
- Not as portable. It’s a weird shape and bulky. I also don’t like how the bottles don’t stand well on their own. The expression, “don’t cry over spilt milk” certainly comes from someone who lost breast milk.
- Parts aren’t available in stores – not by me anyway. Amazon Prime (in my opinion) is necessary if you are a new parent for all things – and anything you need can be found and purchased here.
- It’s VERY quiet. You almost don’t even know that it’s on. AND it has a cute nightlight that has 2 different brightness options.
- It keeps track of time. I had been using an App (Baby Connect) to track everything I did by the minute with the Medela, and thankfully this pump does it for you for when you are oblivious in the middle of the night.
- It’s a closed system, which protects the breastmilk from any bacteria and it also allows you to resell or borrow the pump as well.
So Which Do I Prefer?
Generally, I would prefer the Spectra for a few reasons. The most important reason to me is that I have seen an increase in breast milk expressed in shorter durations, which I feel is due to the effective suction and customizable settings.
It is also 100x more comfortable then the Medela. I remember the first few days of pumping with the Medela and I was often sobbing in tears on my couch half naked. Maybe I’m sensitive? Who knows? But it was horrible. It doesn’t hurt anymore, but now using both pumps concurrently – there is an obvious difference. I almost feel that the Spectra is more of a sucking vibration as opposed to plain old suck the chrome off a bumper sucking.
Sure, the Spectra is bulky and you can’t run to target for parts, but for me comfort and milk expressed were my priorities and in my experience – the Spectra wins.
I hope this helps any soon-to-be-mom or any new mom! Feel free to comment below with your questions or experiences! I’m always open to ideas, suggestions and meeting other Moms!