When I was in search of the “perfect pump” to assist me on my journey into re-lactation, I found myself faced with the same dilemma as many other nursing women: oh, the options! So many pumps, and all of them promised to be the “best”. I knew that a breast pump I selected would need to fit some very specific criteria:
- Economical, so I could induce without breaking the bank.
- Efficient, so I could induce as quickly as my schedule allowed.
- Effective in both the re-lactation and milk removal process.
And I wasn’t sure that one hospital-grade pump would be able to fill such a tall order.
But after doing quite a bit of research, reading through dozens of positive reviews, and receiving three glowing recommendations from fellow nursing women, I found exactly what I was looking for in my Spectra S2, and I could not be happier!
Over the past 18 months, my Spectra (which is privately known as Glinda, an homage to my favorite quote from The Wizard of Oz…you know the one: You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself. ;)) and I have become very well acquainted! (As a matter of fact, Mr. S calls her my “breast friend”…haha) It’s all good. She’s everything you’d want in a BFF: dependable and reliable with the uncanny ability to make you feel good all over. My Spectra S2 has been an invaluable part of my daily inducing routine, and is the first pump I’ve ever really enjoyed using.
I know how strange it must seem to read about one woman’s unabashed love for a motorized piece of medical equipment, but until you’ve spent hours of your life working diligently to produce breast milk, you really can’t understand the importance or value of a high-quality pump. The Spectra S2 has even been featured in some of my past Favorite Things giveaways, and because I truly believe that it is just about as close to perfect as a pump can be, I decided to review it for you today!
My Thoughts on the Spectra Baby USA Brand:
“Our pumps don’t suck, they suckle!”
–Spectra Baby USA
How adorable is that for a Twitter tagline?
Spectra Baby USA is one of the top leading breast pump companies run by Registered Nurses and Board Certified Lactation Consultants, and the number one source for innovative, stylish, affordable, and extremely efficient pumps and accessories. They offer five breast pump options, including the “Handy Manual” (want to try!), a beautiful Bling Collection (Hello! Yes, please!), an assortment of accessories (including a tote bag and cute little pink cooler bag kit), and offer breast shield sets and flanges in four convenient sizes: S (20 mm), M (24 mm), L (28 mm), and XL (32 mm), so you’ll be sure to find your perfect fit!
The company’s website is easy to navigate and user-friendly. I’ve shopped online with Spectra several times, and have always been completely satisfied with my experience and purchases. (You can visit the site by clicking HERE.)
The breast pump industry is a big world, and companies are vying for your business; each brand strategically markets their products to their target audience…and why wouldn’t they? After all, they have something they want to sell, and they hope it’s something you’ll want to buy. We’re all looking for the best. So, how do I think Spectra Baby USA measures up to all they claim to offer?
Very, very well.
- Their S2 is innovative and very sophisticated. I’ve used other pumps in the past (as a breastfeeding mother rather than a nursing wife), and, to be honest, I always felt as if I were hooked up to some sort of milking machine. It was a noisy (and sometimes completely uncomfortable) experience. Until the Spectra S2 came into my life, I was a very indifferent pumper. Now, I can honestly say that I love to pump with a purpose.
- Yes, their products are affordable. (The Bling Collection is a bit pricier, of course, but what can we expect from a custom made pump absolutely covered with genuine Swarovski crystals? *Adding to wish list*) Because of this pump’s all-in-one features and functions, you get a lot of value for your money!
- As for efficiency? 10/10. (You can read more about this below! :))
- And finally…here is a pump that doesn’t suck. 🙂 The suckling feature is fabulous, and as you’re allowing the S2 to perform its milk making magic, it feels as if it’s really getting the job done! Love it!
The bottom line?
I feel that the people at Spectra Baby USA not only recognize and understand the needs of the breastfeeding woman, but actually care about them, too.
12 Reasons Why I Love My Spectra S2:
This pump is sleek, lightweight, and very compact. It provides a lot of mobility (which means you can pump anywhere, as long as there is an electrical outlet in close proximity), and the slim, curved handle makes it very easy to transport. While perhaps not considered a true on-the-go-travel-friendly pump, I’ve found that, when necessary, the Spectra S2 can be used as such, and is very easy to travel with! Glinda has now been on several family vacations, and she takes up very little room. Because I typically pump and dump when out and about, I did not invest in an insulated carry bag; my Spectra S2 fits comfortably in a sturdy average-sized tote bag, which provides a lot of discretion, and is easy to store. Aside from being practical, this pump is super-cute and pink! (Not that this really matters when it comes to efficiency and effectiveness, but I happen to like things that are aesthetically pleasing and pink :), so it’s a nice bonus, and if you’re going to spend a lot of time with something, it might as well look nice, right?)
2. Digital Display with Timer
This is a very nice feature! The display is crisp, clear, and easy to read, showing the mode icon, cycle, and vacuum as you pump, and the built-in timer means no more clock-watching! The Spectra S2 keeps track of time for you!
3. Night Light
This is another one of those thoughtful little extras, courtesy of Spectra. The 2-level night light is bright without being overpowering, and easily allows you to pump under the cover of darkness.
4. 2 Phase Pumping
The Spectra S2 provides both massage (let-down) and expression mode, which means you’ll be able to effectively induce and remove milk with one versatile pump! Massage mode is automatically set to a cycle of 70, which perfectly mimics the suckling performed during let-down that triggers milk ejection, and the vacuum can be adjusted from L1-L5. In this mode, you’ll feel a gentle, but effective, fluttering against your breast. In expression mode, you can set your cycle speed to 38, 42, 46, 50, or 54, and choose from 12 levels of suction (L1-L12).
5. Fully Customizable
This is a fabulous feature because every woman is unique, and inducing works differently for all of us! The Spectra S2 allows you to customize the settings that work perfectly for you, in a combination of modes, cycles, and vacuum. This means you have complete control over your personal inducing and/or milk removal process!
This is a closed system with backflow protectors, which prevents milk and moisture from becoming trapped in the tubing (which can cause a build up of mold, bacteria, and other creepy-crawlies) and motor, which can ruin your unit.
Unless you’re using a manual model, no breast pump is completely soundproof–and some are super-noisy. The Spectra S2 is very quiet for an electric unit, and the motor runs very smoothly. It’s provided me with hours of discreet pumping. (Very important to the adult nursing lifestyle!)
8. Easy to Assemble
When I first received my Spectra S2, I was concerned about putting it together, particularly the backflow protectors, but I soon realized that there wasn’t anything to worry about! I was able to assemble everything (including the backflow membranes) in minutes. The included user manual is a big help: it’s very straightforward and includes plenty of “how-to” diagrams.
9. Easy to Clean
Some of the parts are dishwasher safe, others need to be hand-washed in warm, soapy water. To clean the motor, all you have to do is wipe it down with a damp cloth.
10. Effective and Efficient
The Spectra S2 is a completely versatile pump, one I feel is effective for all nursing women, regardless of her state of lactation; it’s perfect for aiding in establishing breast milk, and does a wonderful job of removing it, too, which helps to build and maintain supply. As a woman with large breasts, I’ve found that proper milk removal has been an issue in the past with other pumps, but I don’t have this problem with my S2. The double pump feature makes this a very efficient way to induce and express when time is an issue, and using the Spectra S2 as a single pump kit allows you to be semi-hands free.
For a small and compact system that weighs just a little more than 3 pounds, this high-quality pump has substance! I’ve been using mine for a minimum of once a day for the past year and a half, and have now spent numerous hours power pumping with it, and my Spectra S2 is still going strong!
When using a breast pump as frequently as many inducing women do, comfort is a big issue. The S2 really is a “feel good” kind of pump. The breast shields are just flexible enough to mold comfortably to my breasts, creating a firm, but pain-free seal, that ensures optimum suction. When drawing milk from my breasts with other pumps, the pull was sometimes forceful and harsh, but with my Spectra S2, both the massage and expression modes provide deep, but extremely comfy, stimulation. (Yes, there are tingly feels involved, but they are really good feels! Trust me! :))
The following are images of my Spectra S2 (and my cushy leopard nursing blanket. I like to be comfy when I pump :)) They don’t do her justice, but I think you’ll get a general idea of what she can do!
In the first photo, you’ll see my Spectra S2 as a single pumping kit. It comes with everything you need (bottle, flange, tubing, valve, backflow protector) to convert it into a double pump kit. See the little oval at the bottom of the motor? That’s where you attach the tubing. One port has an attached cap that you’ll open to connect the second tube during double pumping. When using the Spectra S2 as a single pump, you’ll want to be sure the cap is tightly in place.
In this photo, the night light has been adjusted to the second level of brightness, which allows you to easily read the digital display. The little wave in the upper left-hand corner shows that my Spectra is in massage (let-down) mode with a cycle of 70 and vacuum (suction) of L3. According to the timer, Glinda has been in action for a little over a minute. 🙂
This is a picture of the Spectra S2’s “control panel”. The +/- Cycle buttons allow you to easily increase or decrease the Spectra S2’s suckling speed. The center button, top row, allows you to move between massage and expression mode in a snap! With the +/- Vacuum button, you can adjust the suction from L1-L12. The little pink button to the far right operates the light, and the pink button, bottom center, powers the Spectra S2 off and on.
The final image shows my Spectra in massage mode, with night light, and suction set to L1, after 2 minutes of pumping.
What Others Have Said:
With every drop of sunshine there comes a little rain, and nothing is perfect, so to offer a fair and honest assessment of the Spectra S2, I’m going to address some of the “cons” commonly associated with this pump. (Note: these issues probably won’t factor in quite as much for an adult nursing woman as they would for a breastfeeding mama.)
- No battery
Spectra Baby USA offers the S1 model, which does include a built-in rechargeable battery. For a few extra dollars, you can experience the luxurious freedom of going sans power cord. 🙂 (The S1 seems to provide the same fabulous features and functions as the S2; as well as having the built-in battery, it’s cute and blue.)
2. Suction Issues
Some women feel that the S2’s suction leaves a bit to be desired when the pump is used as a single kit. Personally, because of my daily schedule, I’m a double pumper, but I wanted to test this for myself. I didn’t notice a difference in suction when I used the S2 as a single kit with my preferred settings. As long as the port cap is securely in place, I don’t think this will be much of an issue. However, this may depend on personal suction preferences, and it may be helpful to adjust your settings when using the single pumping function.
3. No pump or carry-all bag
Spectra Baby USA offers a very stylish black tote for about $30, which can be used to store and transport your S2, but you won’t be able to pump from inside of it, and it isn’t roomy enough for a cooler kit. Because discretion is so important to me, the inability to be able to pump from a bag isn’t a top concern, but if a pump bag is on your personal nursing checklist, this might be something to consider.
4. Finding the Sweet Spot
I feel that being fully customizable is a “pro” when it comes to the “perfect” pump, but some women think it’s a little difficult to find their pumping sweet spot right away with the Spectra S2. This is probably because the pump offers an almost limitless number of adjustable mix-and-match variants to make the pumping experience ideal for every woman’s individual needs. It can take some time to find the settings that work best for you, so just practice with them! Eventually (and probably sooner than you think), you’ll find the sweet spot, and when you do…ah! Bliss! 🙂
If I Could Change One Thing About the Spectra S2, it Would Be…
The power cord. It’s short. I found this out really early on. I was all set up in my cozy little pumping space and ready for action. Glinda began doing her thing, and I was really getting into the rhythm when I shifted slightly to the left, and, suddenly, everything just stopped. Was this a malfunction? I went into brief panic mode until I realized that I’d pulled the power cord from the outlet. I’ve had to make a few adjustments, and because I pump in the privacy of my bedroom, I have plenty of power source options. The short cord makes it more difficult when traveling because I have to determine the best areas to pump in more unfamiliar settings, but so far, everything’s worked out pretty well. With that being said, a longer power cord is definitely on my Spectra S2 pump wish list.
My Final Thoughts:
The Spectra S2 is definitely an all-in-one pump, practical, affordable, and versatile enough to easily accommodate all nursing women’s breasts and lifestyles!
I hope you enjoyed this review and find it helpful! I plan to post a couple of videos showing the S2 working in both massage and expression modes very soon, and because I’ve had some requests for this, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite setting and function tips with others.
Spectra Baby USA S2 Double/Single Electric Breast Pump$120.00-$170.00
Inducing and Expressing Effectiveness10.0/10
Easy to Assemble10.0/10
Easy to Clean10.0/10
Storage and Mobility10.0/10
Sleek and streamlined Design10.0/10
- Hospital Grade
- Digital display with timer and nightlight
- Fully customizable
- Sleek and streamlined design
- Lightweight and compact
- 2 phase pumping
- No battery
- No travel adapter
- Suction seems to be a bit less powerful when used as a single pump
- Power cord is short
- No carry/pump bag