a review: spectra vs. medela

this is not your typical brady post, but it’s all thanks to brady that i am writing this post. finally, after 3.5 months of exclusively pumping and numerous texts from friends asking, i am writing my personal review of both the spectra S1 and medela pump in style advanced. i am actually writing this post while pumping (TMI). if you don’t have any interest in pumping, you can skip this post and wait for the next (likely an update on early intervention services).

so, here we go. i have been using both pumps daily – the medela stays plugged in to the wall by the bed for early morning, late night and middle of the night pumps. my spectra travels around the house and in the car with me.

which do i like better? which one would you recommend? these are the questions i get asked the most from my expectant friends. truthfully, i don’t have true winner. here is why:

  • i get the same output from both (sometimes i might think the medela gets a little more, but we would be splitting hairs)
  • i have the same level of comfort with both

in my opinion, i believe the above holds true for me because i naturally have a good supply AND i am using the correct size shields with both pumps. i believe a lot of women don’t pay attention to the size shield/flange and that is where a lot of discomfort comes into play. if you experiencing discomfort or don’t feel your pump is very effective, i recommend looking at the manufacturer website for sizing guidelines. this solves a lot of issues very easily.

here is my pros and cons list for each:

medela pump in style advanced

pros

  • compact size
  • effective
  • parts are easily cleaned and sterilized
  • easy to find parts and accessories at most retailers

cons

  • not portable without the purchase of a battery pack accessory
  • does not have a timer
  • LOUD

IMG_5269-3

spectra s1

pros

  • portable (the battery is rechargeable)
  • effective
  • quiet
  • closed system (meaning you can share the pump without worrying about cross contamination)
  • varying speeds of suck and varying levels of vacuum power
  • display with timer, speed, vacuum setting and light (if needed)

cons

  • parts must be boiled to sanitize (they are not recommended to be sanitized by steam bag, sanitizer, dishwasher)
  • parts are difficult to find in stores

IMG_5272-3

the reason there is not a clear winner for me is because while the spectra offers more options and portability, it’s not as convenient when it comes to needing to buy replacement parts and cleaning/sanitizing.

if i were a first time mom reading this and needing to make a decision, i would probably choose a spectra s1. if i am a second time mom and i had great luck with the medela the first go around, i don’t know i would say you should get one or the other. i know, not much help. BUT you have to look at your lifestyle and what matters most to you!

other helpful tips for pumping:

  1. EAT: now is not the time to try some diet if you want to maintain a good supply. i can tell on days where i am better nourished, my supply is better
  2. HYDRATE: without a doubt the most important thing you can do for your body while pumping
  3. RELAX: it’s easier said than done, but try your best.
  4. PREPARE: buy the extra pieces you need. the best money spent, for me, was on more flanges and bottles. so that i was not washing everything after every pump.

may i also recommend buying a hands free pump bra? seriously, life changing. do yourself a favor and buy one (or TWO) to make your life easier!

feel free to shoot me an email or comment with questions. i am happy to help in any way i can. be sure to check out my instagram story highlight on pumping – it shows all my favorite products and supplies!

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