If you’re looking for a breast pump online, chances are, you’ve probably read moms raving about the Spectra S2 Electric Breast Pump. It’s no surprise both first time and experienced mothers highly recommend this pump simply because it solves a lot of breastfeeding issues effectively and efficiently. Read our Spectra S2 review to know more what we and other moms think about this amazing breast pump.
The Spectra S2, while being one of the most popular brands in Asia, is still relatively new. Only available in the US since 2003, it’s already making a lot of waves on the breast pump market.
So why is it popular among breastfeeding mothers?
To answer that, we did our research and asked mothers from breastfeeding circles to find out the most common issues and problems they consider before buying a breast pump.
5 Most Common Problems Moms Are Trying To Avoid When Looking For Breast Pump
No one can stand the loud motor noise
This is especially true when it comes to electric breast pumps. Some would even say that the sound it makes is like a cross between a drilling oil rig and a speaking robot!
Moms that had just given birth need as much sleep as they can. Sleeping becomes a luxury not only for mommies but for their partners too. Waking up to the loud sound of the pump’s motor is going to be frustrating, especially if they are trying to catch some sleep. We won’t even mention the poor baby, who is finally sleeping soundly, startled by a “chugging” breast pump! Doing simple things like watching TV is a pain when you find the audio trying to wrestle against the weird noises coming from the breast pump.
If you are planning on taking your breast pump to work, this is a big issue too . Even if most people at the office understand the need of pumping milk, there will always be someone who will be raising their eyebrows at the sight of the pump, let alone the sound it will make once you start expressing.
It’s uncomfortable or worse, it hurts.
The most common cause of this problem is that the suction is hard or it just doesn’t fit. Most often reason for discomfort is the tugging and pulling action and the inability to control the their intensity.
Related reading: Does Breastfeeding Hurt? (7 Reasons Why)
Typical pumping session could last for longer periods especially if you are just starting out. Imagine how horrible it is if the feeling is already excruciating even in the first few minutes of use. The sensation, as how moms describe it, is total opposite of how breastfeeding feels like. The more time you spend using a pump that is unbearable, the less likely you would pump the next time.
A first time mom raised an interesting point during one of our interviews. Comfort becomes her priority, because moms like her, they have yet to experience using a pump so they have no idea of what pumping milk feels like. For mothers who are already looking for their second or third pump (and yes some are pump hoarders), this is no big deal as they have already experienced using a machine to express milk for them. But for new mothers, where breast pumping could be a necessity, the thought of using a breast pump is outright intimidating. This could potentially stir them away from using a breast pump entirely because of the bad experience they had using it the first time.
They are hard to clean and hard to keep the milk uncontaminated.
Contaminating newly expressed milk with molds, viruses and bacteria is that last thing you want to happen when it comes to breast milk. This usually happens when moisture builds up in the pump tubing due to air coming in. It is very problematic as condensation will not only allow molds to thrive inside the tubing, it will also make the pump’s motor a breeding ground for all sorts of nasty stuff.
These problems are most common in open system pumps because there are no ways of stopping both condensation and milk from entering the pump’s motor. Not only will it contaminate the pump, it can also cause irreparable damage to the motor. Dealing with backflow on some pumps that do not include a backflow protector or filter becomes a headache where milk goes right into the tubing and into the motor rendering the pump useless.
Related reading: CDC guide on keeping your breast pump kit clean.
Before and after using the pump, you need to thoroughly clean its parts, especially those that comes in contact with the milk, making sure that newly expressed milk will always be safe for the baby . If you have a breast pump with parts shaped in a way that cleaning them becomes a struggle (hard to reach corners, badly designed shields), chances are you are going to spend twice the time soaping and rinsing them. To make sure the parts are clean enough, some moms would still run them through the dishwasher.
Apart from this inconvenience, you might also find the need to use a sterilizer to make sure its super clean as opposed to just using dishwashing soap and warm water.
It’s not helping them produce more milk.
For some mothers, another reason for them to use a breast pump is to help them increase their breast milk supply. The last thing they want is for their new pump, even after hours of pumping, not to produce the sufficient amount of milk. This could be due to a number of things. A pump with poor suction won’t be able to induce lactation. It is hard to get the desired result without a way to adjust the settings or a way to control the suction’s intensity.
Every person is different so customizing the way a breast pump function to match an individual can make or break the amount of milk one can produce. Some women prefer to massage their breasts before pumping to stimulate the let-down reflex (a way for the body to tell that it’s time to produce milk). Going straight to pumping without preparing the body is simply not effective. This is the case in some breast pumps where no let down mode is available and you would have to trigger this reflex yourself.
Related reading: 8 Things I Did To Increase My Breast Milk Supply
They are expensive.
A single battery-operated breast pump costs around $40 up to $200 while double pumps that usually run on electricity can cost around $70 to upwards of $2000. Most buyers opt for the cheapest option but those types often compromise a lot of quality and features. Because of this, they end up buying a replacement after all. If you want to go all-in, that is, get the best that money can get (can’t blame you), you are looking at hospital-grade pumps which are those used by hospitals and clinics. The high price compensates for its durability for extensive number of use. Still, even the most expensive pump, with all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean that it will work flawlessly on every person.
These considerations are just for the unit itself. You have to look at the cost of buying accessories too if the size of shields does not suit you or if they need replacement from regular wear and tear. If you’re going portable, you definitely need a proper carrying case or bag, not to mention a battery pack if the pump is battery-operated. There are options to buy these all in one set, but we know these do not come cheap.
Now that we have determined the common issues on electric breast pumps, here are the ways the Spectra S2 solved them.
Spectra S2 Standout Features And Why Mothers Are Raving About Them
Hospital grade pump which means it is of high quality and is intended for multiple uses. It can be used a single or double pump to express milk faster.
One of the issues, as mentioned on this article are prices of hospital-grade pumps. Well as it turns out, the Spectra S2 is one of the cheapest. Just look at the prices of other hospital-grade pumps with the same features and capabilities below and how they compare to the Spectra S2.
Hospital-grade also means that it’s durable enough for number of uses, that’s why, in most cases, they are rented or borrowed. It is also though enough that many mom were able to use it for their second baby.
When it comes to producing milk, these are the types of pumps that are best for the job. That is why hospitals have them. They help mothers who are struggling with breastfeeding after birth. For moms who are having trouble with milk production, the ability to control the suction to different levels can make a huge difference. The Spectra S2 has modes to adjust the strength and speed of the suction independently. This ensures the vacuum power aligns to whichever level milk flows best. Moms also testify that using the S2 feels extremely like a baby’s suckle, thus improving their milk flow significantly.
Closed System pump which means there is a physical barrier between the breast milk and the pump preventing bacteria and molds from contaminating the milk while pumping.
This has always been one of the best feature of the Spectra S2. For moms, having a closed system pump is a godsend. During pumping, it’s very common for moisture to build up on the shields. On the S2, there is no way for this to enter the tube and into the pump. Air getting into the tubes is one of the causes why molds and bacteria forms inside the pump on open system pumps.
Backflow is also prevented by the S2’s top-notch protector. It might seem like a small feature but many moms had the horrible experience of ruining their previous breast pumps due to milk getting into the motor. Having spilled milk into the tubes can also invite all sorts of nasty stuff to live inside the pump. Yuck!
Cleaning the S2’s accessories needs a mention too. Take the flanges for example, they are designed simple enough that washing them is a breeze. You might not think this is a big deal, but a lot have pointed that on other pumps, they have to thoroughly soap and wash each part because some areas are hard to reach. They will then run them through the dish dryer to make sure that they are properly sanitized.
Offers the quietest pumping experience perfect for moms going back to the workforce who wants to express milk discreetly.
Having a loud motor is a big issue as pointed out in this blog. Many mothers, who have used more than one pump agrees that the S2 is the quietest they have used. When pumping at work, they are very confident that it won’t be an issue for anyone around them. Although not super quiet, it significantly sound less distracting the most electric breast pumps. You don’t have to worry waking up the baby or anyone around you if you’re pumping during nap time or bedtime.
Take a look at the videos below. Although videos can’t accurately mimic how different breast pumps sound like, you can have a better idea on how the S2 compares to others.
The most comfortable pump you will ever use.
This reaction comes from moms who have tried different breast pumps and experienced a lot of pain using them. Once they tried the Spectra S2, they were blown away on how comfortable it was. The S2’s suction is strong enough to express milk continuously and yet it still feels comfortable. The Spectra S2 has silicone insert for their flanges that acts like a cushion that massages the breast.
It benefits new mothers who have yet to experience pumping milk. It relieves them of the anxiety as they may heard from other moms that it can hurt. On the Spectra S2, the pumping action, it is not really different from nursing.
Unlike other brands where you are stuck with low, medium and high settings, there are ways to adjust the suction strength of the S2 to the level the best suits you. You can find highly customizable settings that can be easily configured to fit each individual body’s response in this pump.
Suction and cycling are completely adjustable for both let-down and expression modes so you can find the right suction speed.
Let’s talk about these modes on the Spectra S2. The letdown mode or massage mode mimics how the baby naturally triggers your milk flow. What it does is it pumps at a high suck and release cycles per minute that when using it in expression mode. These are beneficial to moms who rely on this feeling to tell their body to produce milk. The massage mode on the S2 runs at 70 cycles per minute but the power of the suction does not get as strong as the one in expression mode.
There are many advantages of this mode. If you decided to try pumping when your baby is older, your body might have gotten used to the way your baby sucks milk. It is very hard to introduce a different type of expression such as the one from the pump, so you definitely need to use the letdown mode first. Because the suction strength is adjustable on the Spectra S2 in massage mode, you can change it to match to your body’s letdown reflex.
Once you feel that your milk starts flowing, you can easily change to expression mode. On this mode you can independently adjust the cycle speed and suction strength to the level that works for you. This is a major plus on the S2, unlike other breast pump models where the speed is tied up to how strong the vacuum power is. Some mothers produce milk at different strength and different speed settings so this feature is a must-have for them.
Things moms didn’t like about the Spectra S2
There is no doubt you get excellent value for a pump like the Spectra S2 but we would also like to point out some things that mom’s didn’t like about the product.
There are no battery options.
Using the AC-Adapter is the only power option available to the S2. This limits its portability as carrying the S2 around means you need to carry the power adapter too, not to mention you need to find a spot next to the plug in order to pump.
Included teats are a bit hard for baby.
Some moms mentioned that their baby can sometimes have difficulty sucking milk from the teats included in the bottles.
You may have to spend extra on accessories like flanges.
If the flanges that come with the unit fits you, then you are in luck. Unfortunately some moms had to buy extra flanges with sizes that match them.
Final thoughts and buyer’s guide
We have both pointed out the pros and cons of this amazing product. If you are a first time mom who is worried about what pumping feels like, consider this pump as many moms suggest. This is also a pump to look for if you are struggling to produce sufficient amount of milk, such as in the case of twins. The Spectra S2 offers one of the quietest breast pump motors out there so you can pump quietly at home or at work without worrying of disturbing someone.
However, if you are always on the go and loves to travel a lot, this may not be the right pump for you as the lack of battery option means you need this pump plugged to the wall during pumping. The power adapter also adds an extra weight when carrying it around. You might want to consider checking out another Spectra pump, the Spectra S1 which offers a rechargeable battery.
Hopefully the information above will help you decide if the Spectra S2 breast pump is right for you. We listed the best offer available on Amazon below so check it out in case you decided to buy one.
- INCLUDES: Spectra S2 Hospital Grade Double/Single Breast Pump, 12 Volt AC Power Adapter, Detachable Power Cord Prong, (2) Spectra Wide Neck Bottle, (2) Spectra Backflow Protector, (2) Spectra Duckbill Valve, (2) Spectra Tubing, (4) Flange (2-24mm & 2-28mm)
|Price history for Spectra Baby USA - S2 Hospital Grade Double/Single Electric Breast Pump|