This review contains affiliate links. However, all products were purchased by me and all opinions remain my own. For more information see my full disclosure policy.
Before I went back to work in December of last year, I was really discouraged. My goal had been to continue to breastfeed my son for at least a year (and hopefully continue until he self-weans), but pumping was a nightmare. It would take 45 minutes for me to get a single ounce of breastmilk using the pump I had. I would pump after feeding him, and 2-3 hours after he would go to bed, and the results were always the same. It was so frustrating. I managed to build up a very small freezer stash, but I knew I would need to do something. I couldn’t pump that for 45 minutes every two hours when I returned to work.
At this point in time, I had used three pumps. One that was rented from the hospital, and 2 of the same consumer grade pumps; the first one I blew the motor after 2 weeks! I knew I had to get a new pump, but after going through 3 pumps, I knew I needed to be more diligent on what I purchased.
Spectra is a company that had been on my shortlist for a while. I’m not gonna lie… what first drew me to them was how cute their pumps are. Both the Spectra S1 and S2 are the cutest pumps are circular in shape with a white handle. The S1 is a light blue, and the S2 is a light pink (there’s even a bling option!). Besides color, the main difference is the S1 also includes a rechargeable for on the go. For this reason I chose the S1.
At around 3 pounds this pump is super portable. It’s light and easy to carry. The rechargeable battery is great. Most of my pumping is done at work, but there’s been times I’ve taken it with me and pumped in the car when I’m out on the go without my l’il bub. And a time or two at home when I’ve been too lazy to walk an extra 2 feet to an outlet. I find I’m able to get about an hour to an hour and a half of pumping done off of one charge, which is more than sufficient for me.
The spectra S1 is a closed system, meaning that milk never comes into contact with the motor. The backflow protector connects directly to the flanges, so milk should never enter the tubing. The backflow protectors easily come apart to wash as well, so cleaning them is a breeze. I find the flanges pretty comfortable, and the medium (which comes with the pump) fit me pretty well, but different size flanges are easily available on amazon (available as 21mm-30mm spectra replacement parts – affiliate link).
There are two modes for this pump, expression and let down mode with a button to easily switch between the two. I found this system to be much easier than other pumps I used which had a dial you would have to manually rotate. According to the description, the pump automatically starts in letdown mode, which is a faster, gentler cycle, and once you have a letdown you can switch to the slower, higher suction expression mode. One complain however, is my system seems to be switched. When I turn it on, it starts on the slower expression mode. At first I thought it might be user error, but expression mode doesn’t allow you to cycle as high as the letdown mode. So, when I power mine on, I have to set it back to the letdown mode. It’s not a deal breaker, but definitely annoying.
The spectra can be used as a single or double electric breastpump, just flip a cover over one of the pump openings to switch. The back of the spectra has a slot that can hold one of the bottles while you’re putting the other one away. I really wish there was two. There’s been countless times I’ve accidentally tipped a bottle over while trying to get my bra back up.
The spectra system uses a wide neck bottle for collection, so it is incompatible with bottles from other system. Before I was able to use both medella and ameda bottles on either pump, but this pump requires it’s own bottles (unless an adapter is used). I’m not a huge fan of the bottles. Twice, I’ve stored milk in the bottles on their sides, and the bottles leaked milk everywhere, which was a huge disappointment. I don’t normally keep the milk in my pump bottles anyways, but it would be nice to do it in a pinch and not worry about my liquid gold. The bottles don’t leak when I am pumping or when stored upright, but it is an annoying issue. I typically dump the milk into a milk bag or pump directly into the Kiinde system, so it’s not a huge issue for me, but it is there. Also, somehow, I managed to rub the numbers off one of the bottles which is annoying since I like knowing how much I pumped.
Unlike bottle compatibility, the pump is compatible with other flange parts. I have used tubing duckbill valves from Ameda in place of the one that came with the pump. The spectra valves are much sturdier but I find the duckbill variety to be easier to clean. Spare pump parts are available through Spectra’s website, or Amazon (affiliate link).
Another great feature is the nightlight on it. When I purchased it, I never thought I would use it, but I’ve pumped in the dark quite a few times. It’s very handy!
Overall, I absolutely love my spectra pump, despite the flaws with the bottles. Spectra does offer replacement bottles, which I will have to see if they fix my problem, before writing the bottles off completely. I am able to pump much quicker than any other pump I have used, and the easy switch from letdown to expression mode has helped me to achieve multiple letdowns. It’s light and portable which helps me transport it to and from work. Plus it’s super cute, much cute than the ones my coworkers use! 😉
The Spectra S1 Breast Pump is available on amazon (affiliate link).
Phillips Avent plastic bottles will fit the Spectra parts.
Thanks for sharing such a helpful post! I agree. I absolutely love the Spectra S1. If any mamas out there are having trouble getting a free Spectra pump from insurance, they can do that here – https://thebreastfeedingshop.com/breast-pump/spectra-s1-breast-pump/