Spectra S2 Breast Pump Review

by Donna Fogarty -

Whether you are a first time breastfeeding mom or a seasoned veteran, you will most likely need a pump. And a good pump is worth its weight in gold.  The Spectra S2 is a relatively new brand to the market but it’s winning the hearts of moms everywhere because of its quality and cost effectiveness.

Image of the Spectra Baby USA - S2 Hospital Grade Double/Single Electric Breast Pump 

The Spectra S2 touts what it calls “Natural Nursing Technology”. This means that the experience of pumping with a Spectra S2 pump will be almost like breastfeeding, or as close as possible.

Spectra S2 Features

Hospital Grade

This pump is recommended by lactation consultants and is widely used in hospitals.  Users also prefer it to other, more expensive Hospital Grade pumps such as the Medela Symphony.

Compact

The Spectra S2 has a convenient carrying handle, weights 2.5 lbs and is 7.9 x 7.9 x 6.7 inches.  This is very compact and makes it easy to transport to work, on vacation, or just around the house.

Cost Effective

The Spectra S2 pump is priced very reasonably for the quality and features it has.  In fact, the Medela Pump in Style is almost double the price of the Spectra S2.  Considering the quality of the pump and the impressive volume of milk most users are able to achieve, this is money very well spent.

Having read many many reviews, it was interesting to see that this is the pump many people chose to buy after their insurance issued pump died.  They did so because of recommendations from other moms, or their lactation consultant as well as highly rated reviews.  And most found the Spectra S2 to be superior to their prior pump.

Quiet as a mouse

At only 45 decibels, the Spectra S2 is a whisper quiet pump is sure to keep your pumping session discreet.  One mom said that she was able to pump with the Spectra S2 while siting next to her baby while she was sleeping, which I certainly cannot imagine doing with my Medela pump.  It’s loud and makes a mechanical noise with every suction.  Having a super quiet pump like this would definitely open up a lot of pumping options for me, such as next to my spouse in bed without waking everyone up.

Massage mode

Most pumps come with an automatic mode to imitate a baby’s rapid suckling before the letdown kicks in. In the Spectra S2, this is called massage mode. The pump gently massages instead of being more forceful like some other pumps.

It also does this without sacrificing any milk. In fact many many moms report getting more milk out with the Spectra S2 versus their competitors (these are moms that have tried both pumps and so they are able to compare apples to apples).  Which brings me to my next point…

It’s efficient at what it does

The Spectra S2 excels at getting more milk out than other brands of pumps.  Users report comparing it to Medela Pump in Style and Aveda Purely Yours and the Spectra S2 was the clear winner in volume.

In fact, there are moms that thought they were having a supply crisis (which very often is when a pump is purchased).  When their Spectra S2 arrived, they found out that there was no supply crisis after all – it was just the inability of their previous pump to get all the milk out.  I saw this story told in moms’ reviews over and over again.

Gentle

I remember those first few weeks of breastfeeding – baby is just learning to breastfeed and the latch oftentimes is not the greatest.  The last thing I needed at that point in time was a pump that would make me cringe and wince to use it (which was exactly what happened every time I used my Medela Pump in Style).

I was so excited to see many, many moms reporting the gentleness of the Spectra S2.  They say this pump is very gentle on sore parts versus other pumps which can be pretty brutal on sensitive tissues.  Many moms experience soreness for a variety of reasons, not just a bad latch – engorgement, or thrush could be to blame as well.  If I ever need a pump again, I will definitely be giving the Spectra S2 a try for this reason alone.

Backflow protector

The Spectra S2 uses a closed system. This means that the tubing will never come into contact with the milk and therefore does not need washed or disinfected.

This is a huge plus in my book. I remember pumping with my Medela pump and eventually needing to buy new tubing because the moisture accumulation inside the old tubing was turning into a bacteria growing situation. Nuisance at its best and not safe at its worst.

BPA free

All parts of the Spectra S2 pump and bottles that come into contact with the milk are BPA-free and DEHP-free.

Digital screen

This is very cool. The Spectra S2‘s digital screen shows the elapsed pump time, cycle and level of suction.  This is a very helpful feature for pumping moms who have a set time that they pump (like 15, 20 or 30 minutes).  Even better when you’re pumping in the middle of the night while half asleep and forget to keep track of your time – the Spectra S2 does it for you.

Night Light

Speaking of middle of the night pumping, this nifty feature on the Spectra S2 makes that all the easier.  The night light negates the need for room lights and with the whisper quiet operation, it is very friendly for night pumping.  I really appreciate how the designers of this pump went the extra mile to put these user friendly features in.

Adaptable

For people that are switching to a Spectra S2 from a different pump, there are adapters available for purchase so that moms can use their existing Medela parts (flanges, etc) with the Spectra S2 pump.  This eliminates the need for re-buying parts and saves moms money.  Also some moms like other bottles or flanges better so they would be able to keep using them with this pump.

Dishwasher safe

The Spectra S2 parts are washable in the dishwasher on the top rack for ease of use.  Anything that is easy to clean during those hazy baby days is a giant plus in my book.

Warranty

The Spectra S2 comes with a 2 year warranty on the motor and 90 day warranty on accessories.

Potential Downsides

Not rechargeable

One of the biggest downsides of the Spectra S2 (although not that uncommon among pumps) is that it’s not rechargeable.  So you are stuck lugging a plug and cord around and you are at the mercy of an outlet somewhere.  It does, however, seem to work well with a car charger adapter.

The trade off of having a battery operated pump is that there is usually a loss of pumping strength versus the AC plugged versions.

If you need a pump that is rechargeable or battery operated, be sure to check out the other Spectra pumps. See the comparison chart below for details:

May not be great for double pumping

Some moms reported a loss of suction when attempting to pump both sides at the same time.  This did not happen to everyone though, so it may be a hit or miss happenstance.

But wait, why do I need a pump?

Many new moms assume that because they’re planning on breastfeeding the baby, they won’t need a pump. (Versus moms who exclusively pump, who definitely need a good pump in their corner).  However, this isn’t always the case.

A breastfeeding mom may need a pump for many reasons:

Engorgement

In the early days of breastfeeding, when the supply and demand is not quite regulated yet, engorgement often comes into play.

In this case, it’s important to help relieve it with pumping some milk out. Otherwise, milk that is not moving can start causing plugged ducts or worse yet, mastitis.

Supply issues

A pump is also really helpful when supply issues are present.  A mom can feed the baby, then pump either right afterwards or a short time later.  This will tell the body to make more milk as it’s simulating a baby’s suckling.  Usually after a few days of increasing the demand in this way will also increase the supply.

At Work or away from baby

A breastfeeding mom that works will need to have a pump that is easily transported to and from work. Many moms pump at lunch or other breaks at work to replenish the milk supply for baby.

Milk stash

Many moms like to make a stash of freezer milk for use at a later date, such as date night, etc.  Having a milk stash is helpful for any unintended  (or intended) time away from the baby when a mom is not able to nurse.

Exclusive Pumping

Some moms are not able to breastfeed or choose not to, and as such they will need a pump to express the milk and then feed to the baby.  Exclusive pumping takes a lot of dedication and having an excellent pump that is comfortable and effective will help ensure success.

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Donna Fogarty
I'm a mom of three boys and enjoy researching just about everything, especially when it comes to picking the best anything to buy for my babies.

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