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Ever since my Avent breast pump broken a few weeks ago, I realized that I must look for an alternative breast pump that I can trust. With the fact that Philips has discontinued Avent Isis product range, I could no longer purchase replacement spare parts easily. So once again I’m on the look for a new breast pump. That’s when I found Spectra S1 breast pump.
This so-called hospital grade pump receives raves reviews from exclusive pumpers and mother of preemies for helping them building and maintaining their milk supply.
But... is that really true?
I took my chance to get this breast pump, and boy, finally I found my DREAM BREAST PUMP.
Read further to find out why you should own Spectra S1 breast pump.
(this post contains affiliate links)
UPDATE: Since this post was published, I've written more detailed posts about other Spectra models, as well as how to use the breast pump. Do check out the following for other Spectra posts:
- How to Use Spectra S1 breast pump | The Beginner's Guide
- Spectra S1 vs Spectra S2 | What's The Difference?
- Spectra Breast Pump Parts & Accessories | Which one is Compatible?
- Which Breast Pump Bags Can Fit Spectra S1? Check out the top 5
- Spectra M1 Breast Pump Review (most affordable Spectra model)
- Spectra 9+ Breast Pump Review (most portable and sleek Spectra model)
- Spectra S2 vs Spectra 9+ | Which One Should You Choose
I hope this Spectra series helps you to determine which breast pump model suits your need the most plus allows you to understand how to use Spectra breast pump =).
Let's continue to the main article ...
Spectra S1 is a dual electric breast pump originated from Korea. It is rated as hospital grade due to its heavy duty motor and wide range of suction level. Here’s a few specification regarding Spectra S1.
- Breast pump type: electric (AC power and built-in rechargeable battery)
- Single /double: double
- Suction levels: 12 different levels
- Speed adjustment: yes (separated from suction adjustment)
- Breast flange diameter: 24 mm (other sizes, 20, 28 and 32 mm, are sold separately)
- Breast pump dimension: 20x20x17 cm
- Weight: 1.1 kg
- Best deal available at: Amazon (now it can ship to Singapore! Check it out!)
More specifications can be found here.
WHAT YOU GET OUT OF THE BOX
- Pump motor (with built-in battery)
- A pair of breast flanges + duck bill valves
- Two bottles with teats and sealing discs
- A pair of back flow protectors
- Two sets of tubing
- AC adaptor
THINGS I LOVE FROM SPECTRA S1
1. Hospital grade with max suction of 300 mmHg
Unlike other breast pumps which reach maximum typically at 250mmHg, Spectra offers much higher suction limit. While not all mothers will need this maximum suction level, this extra is definitely an added advantage. Different mothers have different suction preferences.
Wider range of suction means more mothers will benefit from this pump.
And there's a higher chance that you'll find your comfortable suction level with this pump.
2. Great for building up and maintaining milk supply
While I don’t have personal experience on building my milk supply since the beginning with this pump. I can easily see that it is powerful enough for establishing and maintaining a good milk supply.
I've read great reviews from exclusive pumpers and mothers of preemies and twins who need to build up their supply and they all LOVE this breast pump. This pump also one of the most favorite pumps for mothers with low milk supply issue.
I myself tested the efficiency of this breast pump by comparing the amount of milk expressed by Spectra S1 and the milk expressed with Avent Isis Manual Pump (being my gold standard of emptying breast most efficiently) right after pumping with Spectra S1.
I’m happy to report that Spectra is able to drain my breast thoroughly with up to 90% efficiency. I still get some milk out with my Avent Isis right after that, but the amount is typically less than 0.3 oz.
3. Unique suction with vibration, maximizing comfort
I can attest that Spectra S1 has a powerful suction.
I am used to Avent Isis breast pump which is famous for its strong suction. With Spectra S1, I found myself comfortable at suction level 10,which is comparable to my Avent Isis maximum suction. The surprising thing is, despite its strong suction, I barely feel any discomfort.
I suspect this is due to Spectra S1's unique vibration. No wonder they have a slogan: "our pumps don't suck, they SUCKLE."
This is how Spectra pump works: at the beginning of sucking phase, it vibrates the nipple, then followed by a long deep suction.
To me personally, the vibration mimics the way a baby suckles the nipple in direct nursing. Hence, creating a comfortable feeling.
This is a totally different feeling compared to when I use the highest suction in Medela system, in which the strong suction comes with nipple discomfort.
4. Super quiet (nearly silent!)
Before using Spectra S1, I always thought that my Medela Swing is considered a quiet pump.
But what a difference with Spectra. It is super quiet!!! Even my family member noticed this right from the beginning.
This makes Spectra S1 perfect for those wee-hour pumping (when you don't want to wake up anyone else -especially your little one) and at-desk pumping once you go back to work. Yes, your colleagues won't even notice that you are actually pumping unless they are staring at you.
5. Closed-system pump
Spectra breast pump has a pair of
This fact makes Spectra breast pump more hygienic, more durable pump motor, and suitable for sharing between multiple users. Each user just needs to have her individual collection kit.
6. Highly customizable (suction strength and cycle speed can be adjusted independently)
The massage (let-down) mode has 5 different suction levels and cycling speed up to 70 cycles per minute. For comparison, Medela pump only has a single cycling speed for massage mode (112 cycles per minute).
I found the massage mode quite effective in stimulating let-down reflex. Typically I achieve my first let-down after 1 minute, and the second let-down after 3-4 minutes (note: the second let-down was initiated after the milk flow slows down after expressing with the first let-down).
The expression mode is even more powerful with 12 different suction levels (the highest at 300 mmHg) and cycle speed between 38-54 cycles per minute.
The breast pump automatically saves your last used setting , so that you can use exactly the same setting every time you pump.
Other features which are NICE:
- Dual or single pumping. Spectra S1 breast pump allows easy switching between dual and single pumping by unplugging one of the suction tube and cover one of the tube connector.
- LED display, which allows you to see how long you have been pumping, which mode are you currently in (massage or expression mode), and which suction level /speed you use.
- Night light. This is a pretty cool feature if you pump in the middle of night. Currently, I don’t need this, but I can relate how useful it is for exclusive pumping mamas who need to express at regular interval including at wee hours. The are 2 levels of brightness as shown in the photo.
- Auto shut-off after 30 minutes. The pump will automatically turns off after running for a continuous 30 minutes. This is a safety feature, just in case you fall asleep during wee hour pumping session and lets the pump running all the time.
1. Bulky (compared to other personal breast pumps)
With size of 20x20x17 cm and weigh around 1.1 kg, this breast pump is rather bulky. I tote it every day to my office and I need a separate bag to house the pump alone.
PS: If you are looking for a pump bag that will fit your Spectra S1 and all your pumping accessories (bottles included), plus all your laptop, purse, etc, I strongly recommend you to check out my latest post about the top 5 breast pump bags for Spectra S1. So many choices available now!
And did I mention that these bags are very stylish? No one will expect thatthey are breast pump bags.
2. Marking in bottles disappear pretty quickly
Spectra breast pump now comes with wide-neck bottles
. While they are more stable compared to its previous version (the one pictured above is the old version), I've noticed that the oz marking easily disappears after a few months. If you plan to use Spectra long-term, I'd suggest you to invest in better quality bottles. I myself prefer to use Avent natural/classic bottles.
Which bottles compatible with Spectra spectra breast pump (other than Spectra bottles, of course):
- Avent natural / classic bottles (holds 4 oz)
- Nene Supply breast milk bottles (holds ~ 4.5 oz)
- Maymom wide-mouth collection bottles (holds 4.7 oz).
- Kiinde breast milk storage pouch (this is a breast milk bag, but you can pump directly to it, it has various adapters to fit major breast pump models, including Spectra).
For more compatible bottles and breast pump accessories, check out my latest post on Compatible Spectra breast pump parts and accessories.
3. Start on expression mode
This is a small thing, but I find it not so intuitive.
But this breast pump starts in expression mode. So you need to press the massage button every time you turn on the pump, to stimulate let-down.
That being said, if you end your last pumping at suction level 11, then it will start at level 11 again, which can be a ‘shock’ if you are not aware.
The best practice is to always lower down your suction level right at the end of your pumping session, so that next time it will start on low again.
4. Limited breast flange size
To date, Spectra offers 24-mm size flange (this is the standard size which comes with every new pump), 28-mm, 32-mm, and 20-mm breast flange.
I secretly wish that they support a broader range of flange size (especially smaller size) just like what Medela has, or Maymom.
However, I found a simple solution on how to use Medela / Maymom flange with Spectra breast pump, while keeping its backflow protector attached. Click here to learn how to connect Medela shield to Spectra breast pump.
Update: Maymom releases a special adapter that can connect Medela / Maymom breast shield to Spectra breast pump directly. Or, alternatively, you can use a long-stem back flow protector to connect Medela breast shield directly to the backflow protector, no extra piece required. Genius!
Watch it in action!
Here’s a video review about Spectra S1 breast pump by BabyScoops (special thanks to Ellie for letting me putting her video in this review).
A few notes about things mentioned in the video:
- All prices mentioned are in SGD (Singapore dollar).
- Avent VIA cup system (can be bought from Amazon) allows you to pump, store and feed from the same container. No milk transfer, so less wastage. These cups come in 2 different sizes: 6 oz (180 ml) and 8 oz (240 ml), and they are stackable (thus, easy to store)
WHO IS THIS BREAST PUMP FOR?
This is a heavy-duty breast pump. It is suitable for mothers looking to
- Build their milk supply
- Maintaining their supply (especially when they cannot latch the baby directly).
- Exclusive pumpers, and
- Working moms
- For power pumping (due to its heavy duty nature)
SPECTRA S1 Vs SPECTRA S2
Spectra has two models of hospital-grade pump, S1 and S2. They have exactly the same size, shape, and features and functionalities, except that Spectra S1 has a built-in battery while Spectra S2 does not.
Spectra S1 breast pump is a great pump to have for mothers looking to establishing, building, and maintaining their milk supply.
If you are a mother who has difficulty in building up your supply, exclusive pumper wanting to maintain steady milk supply, mothers of preemies, and working moms looking for a heavy-duty breast pump, then I strongly recommend Spectra S1.
Again, this breast pump receives a lot of great reviews. I’m just one of them.
To recap, here's the benefit you'll get with Spectra S1:
- Strong suction (up to 300 mmHg), with 12 different suction strength levels.
- So much comfort (this breast pump suckles, not just 'pulling' your nipple)
- Ability to adjust cycle speed and suction strength independently (this is WOW)
- No need to depend on power outlet due to its built-in battery that lasts up to 3 hours! (You can pump in your kitchen table, car, cubicle, tiny store room, literally any where)
- Digital display (know exactly which level you are in, how long you have been pumping, night light)
- Super quiet (no more waking up your hubby or baby in the middle of night)
- Hospital grade (heavy-duty motor, long lasting)
- Closed system (more hygienic, more durable)
I'm totally in love with this breast pump and a lot of mothers too. I believe you will love this breast pump too and it will be the best buddy in your breastfeeding journey.
Here's another rave review for a mom who bought it:
I bought Spectra S1 for my second baby and carefully measured my correct breast shield. Guess what? My pumping yield is 150% up !! (compared to what I used to get with my first baby). Woohoo...
Want to get great results just like Linda has? Try Spectra S1, you won't be disappointed.
I hope this review helps you to determine if Spectra S1 is suitable for your need. Feel free to ask me questions about this breast pump if you are in doubt.