Why Searching for a Breast pump?
Even before the twins were born, I knew I needed a great breast pump because I was pumping for 2. So, for the next few months, I searched all over the Internet in hope of finding “the best breast pump”. A lot of hospitals use the Medela Symphony. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful double pump…. worth about $2000. You may be able to rent it from your local pharmacy or hospital. Remember, at the beginning, you will be pumping about every 2-3 hours. That doesn’t give you much time to do anything else. Then you start pumping less often (every 4-5 hours).
So I kept looking for something similar and much cheaper. Then I found it, the Spectra breast pump, I was in love!!!
First I didn’t know what was Spectra. So, I did a bit of research and found that it was used in many hospitals in Australia and other countries around the world. Spectra breast pumps are “hospital grade”.
Spectra S1 versus S2 How to Choose?
The first thing that strikes women when you look at either model is the aesthetic aspect. They look like cute bowling balls. The large handle makes is easy to carry around. While both are great breast pumps, which one will suit you the best? To begin with, there is not much difference between the two, besides the color, except the S1 had a built-in rechargeable battery. The S2 has an a/c adapter as sole source of power.
Here are the key features for both the S1 and S2:
- Very quiet so if you are pumping in the babies’ bedroom, you won’t wake them up
- Closed system so it is considered a hospital grade pump (I explain the meaning below)
- Night light and timer. It might sound like a gadget but when pumping at night, the light lets you see how long you have left and the level you are at while the timer gives you a countdown and will stop the pump (what if you fall asleep while pumping?)
- Double pumping so you will have the option of expressing milk from both breast at the same time or just one if needed
- Powerful and adjustable suction to allow you perfect comfort (5 speed settings)
- Letdown stimulated by the massage mode (I will explain below) and fully adjustable programs to suit your body
- Slow flow teat suitable for newborn feeding
Watch a video to learn more about the S1 and S2
What Makes a Hospital Grade Breast Pump?
There are 2 types of breast pumps: personal or single user and multiple users. A “hospital grade” pump can be used by multiple users by changing the accessory kit (milk bottles and lids, valves, membranes and breast shields). That means that if you buy one, you will be able to resell it or donate it.
Spectra breast pump, like other hospital grade pumps, are designed as a “closed system” which means there is no contact between the milk and tubing. That means it can be shared when you have more than one user. So why would that be an issue you may say? Because the breast milk may contain viruses that are passed on to the baby. Even if he was exposed to viruses before birth, the exposure to a virus from the milk of another mother has the potential to make your baby sick as his immune system is not yet fully developed. The hospital grade pump has a backflow protection technology that protects breast milk and baby from bacteria, mold and viruses while pumping.
They are of the highest quality and are designed with efficiency in mind. The motor is heavy-duty and will let you express more milk in a shorter period. It’s the perfect tool for mother of twins if you want to have the freedom of giving the bottle but with all the benefits of breast milk.
Furthermore, if you are planning on feeding breast milk exclusively, you will absolutely need a double pump!!!! You will spend more money but you will then save half the time by expressing milk from both breasts at the time. Trust me on this, Time IS Money!
If you have experienced lack of milk or other problems breastfeeding from a previous pregnancy, a hospital grade pump will make a world of difference. In my case, I didn’t know if I was going to have any issues but I certainly didn’t want to take any chances.
What is letdown or massage mode in comparison to expression mode?
Massage mode setting on your breast pump will mimic the fast suckling that a baby does to stimulate your milkflow (letdown) during breastfeeding. This means that your breast pump will suck and release faster than in expression mode. Many pumping mamas rely on this quick suckling speed to simulate letdown. For the S1 and S2, the cycle for massage mode is 70 cycles per minute. Don’t be afraid, faster doesn’t mean painful as the suction is less intense than the expression mode.
Once letdown is achieved, you can switch to expression mode where the cycles are lower but the suction is more intense. This mode will mimic the slower and steady sucking of your babies.
I would recommend you try to see what works best for you. I always did a massage followed by an expression mode. You might prefer to stay in massage mode the whole time or switch back and forth between the 2. Your needs may also change according to your babies. As they get older and require more milk, your body will produce more and you may need to adjust your settings.
My Personal Experience and why I Chose the S1
If you are planning on going back to work, traveling (or just visiting a friend) etc, you will soon discover that the S1 is a must.
At first I wasn’t sold on the battery part, until I stated to have my life back. At the beginning, I would pump at home but face it, if you pump for 30 mins 6 to 8 times a day, you don’t want to stare at the wall or be stuck to an extension cord. Of course, you know Murphy’s law…. As soon as you sit down and start pumping, you will need to get up for something. One of the babies will start crying or all of a sudden you will need to pee. The ability to carry your pump throughout the house is great. Let’s face it, you will not have time to spare at first so how about you use these few minutes to sit comfortably on your couch and read or watch your favorite sitcom.
How About the suction power while on battery? I tried the S1 both hooked up to a power outlet or using the built-in battery and I can assure you that there is absolutely no loss of suction. It’s great to have a powerful pump available with built-in battery.
The Joys of Hand-Free Pumping
Maybe you are reading this and wonder how can I use the double pump and carry it around the house while pumping. My secret weapon? The hands free pumping bra!!! This marvelous little invention will hold each bottle in place leaving you the freedom to walk around the house, answer the phone or just simply switching TV channel. It has been for me a real lifesaver.
In time, you might even develop a few tricks. For instance, when the bottles are getting heavier, you can sit at your dinning table and place the bottles straight up. That way it frees your hands to do something else. There are different style around and you can choose which one you are more comfortable with. I used the one shaped like a bustier and it worked really well.
Did you Know That Your Insurance may Cover the Cost of a Breast Pump?
It you live in the United States, it is possible to qualify for a free breast pump! Yes Yes, even a hospital grade pump may be covered in total or in part through your private insurance. If so, this is a great way to obtain a high quality pump are the fraction of the price. Spectra pumps are potentially eligible. Some insurance will cover 100% of the cost for the Spectra S2 while the Spectra S1 in considered an upgrade. Aeroflow Healthcare is able to help you obtain a breast pump through your insurance.
If you enjoyed reading this post or simply have a question, I invite you to leave a comment below.