Deciding to breastfeed can be a tough choice. You have to think about the benefits that breast milk has for your baby and weigh up the pros and cons.
Obviously, breastfeeding can have its downsides, especially if you happen to work a lot of hours, as it’s not convenient to take your baby to work and feed them directly.
It also means that you’re completely tied to your baby for the first few months, so your social life is out of the question – unless – you have a sophisticated breast pump to help you express the milk and keep it for later.
This means that anyone can feed your baby while you’re not there. It’s convenient for you and means you get a bit of your social life back.
Selecting the right breast pump is essential. So, today we’ll be taking a closer look at two of the most well known names and compare the two.
A lot of research has gone into this comparison so hopefully you’ll find it helpful and make a wiser decision because of it!
What’s Good About Spectra?
Spectra is one of the best known and most widely used breast pumps, and for good reason.
The Spectra has 300mmHg of suction. This is one of the most powerful breast pumps out there, so it makes for a more productive expressing session. However, it also has other, lower suction settings if you find this uncomfortable.
It’s a closed system breast pump, which means it can keep the milk contained and uncontaminated. It’s one of the most hygienic breast pump systems.
The suction settings actually offer a vibration that’s remarkably close to the motion that you’ll experience from your baby nursing, so you won’t feel like the process is too unnatural.
Some breast pumps can make obnoxious noises, which can put some mothers off, as it doesn’t mimic the actual nursing process (and it could be quite embarrassing in public).
However, the Spectra allows you to express milk quietly, meaning it’s a solution that can be used anywhere with minimal disruption.
Despite all its extra features and benefits, the Spectra breast pump is actually one of the cheaper options on the market, so it’s the right option if you’re on a budget.
It will set you back around $150.
The Spectra is up there as one of the most comprehensive breast pumps when it comes to flexibility.
It has multiple modes, allowing for different levels of suction, and has a letdown mode to gradually reduce the milk expression over time.
This gives a much more realistic experience. It also has an automatic shutdown feature which gives you that extra backup if you happen to fall asleep on the job.
Some of your milk may need to be taken at night, for example, if you were unprepared earlier in the day and now your baby is insistent that they’re starving.
The Spectra offers a night light setting so you can gently express milk without having to wake everyone up.
What’s Bad About Spectra?
While the Spectra is a great choice, there are still some downsides that you’ll need to consider before making your final decision.
Though it’s great on its own, the lower price does mean that it doesn’t come with that many extra accessories, so you will most likely have to shop around for the extra carrier bag and bottles required.
It only comes with a standard-sized breast shield. This might mean that you have to shell out for an extra one if that doesn’t quite work for you.
Your breast will change sizes regularly throughout pregnancy and afterward, so depending on when you buy the pump, you might need a totally different size when it comes to actually using it.
The Spectra comes in a white and blue color palette only. It’s not the best fit if you have a baby girl and there aren’t any color variations to match your nursery color scheme.
Although these extra modes and features are listed as a positive, some people find the Spectra a little difficult to work and it can get confusing until you’re used to exactly what you need.
When it comes to size and weight, the Spectra is at the heavier end of the breast pump scale.
It’s 3.3lbs and is physically much larger than other breast pumps. This can make it more difficult for transportation.
What’s Good About Medela?
The Medela Freestyle is also an excellent choice for a breast pump, but it has some different features and qualities from the Spectra S1 setup.
Breast Shield Flexibility
The breast shield used needs to fit comfortably on your breast to allow for successful expressing.
For those new mothers who don’t fit with the standard breast shield size, you might end up waiting a few weeks while you order a suitable size from Amazon. This could delay your breastfeeding by a few days.
Your breasts are also likely to change size multiple times during pregnancy, so there’s no telling what size you’ll end up with when your baby is first born.
However, the Medela breast pump comes with multiple-sized shields so you can easily find one that fits in your original kit – no need to order anything else.
Carrying your breast pump around is something that new mothers will always need to get used to, but it doesn’t make it any less awkward or inconvenient.
The Medela comes with two bags to help you carry around the pump and all the bottles that come with it.
You’ll receive a cooler bag and a standard bag for any occasion, and they look great to match with any outfit.
When it comes to the best breast pump, you must find the right level of flexibility to give you more time for yourself.
The Medela comes with 5 ounce bottles which allow you to express as much or as little as you need.
This means that you’ll be able to keep a couple of bottles ready so your baby will always have milk on tap.
The Medela is also one of the few options in the breast pump world that offers a hands-free solution.
You can casually go about your business while pumping away to fill up those bottles for later. It’s an incredibly productive solution.
The Medela is a gender-neutral option that comes in white with yellow accents. This is perfect for a girl or a boy, meaning it’ll always match perfectly with your nursery and accessories.
Much like the Spectra, the Medela has a built-in safety feature to shut down the suction after 30-minutes just in case you fall asleep.
What’s Bad About Medela?
No product is absolutely perfect and there are some downsides to the Medela Freestyle too.
The Medela is quite expensive, costing around $250 for the set.
However, some extra accessories come with the set, for example, extra bottles and a carry bag, which otherwise, you may have to purchase separately.
The Medela doesn’t have a timer setting, so you can lose track of time while expressing, especially if you’re tired – which you probably will be.
Due to the lack of a timer, it’s difficult to speed up the process too, which can be crucial if you’re on a schedule.
The lack of flexible settings can mean that the suction power remains the same throughout. This will make it difficult to express enough milk on a tight schedule.
What Makes Spectra Better Than Medela?
Both the Spectra and Medela are great breast pump options. However, some points mean that the Spectra is just a few steps ahead.
It’s the most natural way to feel like you’re nursing, even when your baby isn’t there, so it won’t be more harmful to your breasts than a baby, whilst still maintaining a stronger suction power than the Medela.
There are also a lot of variable settings which cater to any type of mother and on any schedule.
You can select from a ‘massage’ mode which employs just a gentle suction to let your milk down and then a more intensive expression mode to remove milk from the breast.
You also have complete control over the suction speed and how intense that is. If you’re uncomfortable, you can always turn it down.
Because of its night light mode and quiet motor, it’s the best choice for night-time milk collection as it’s guaranteed not to wake everyone up.
The Spectra is also the cheaper of the two pumps, meaning it’s the best choice if you’re on a budget, or if you haven’t quite settled on breastfeeding just yet.
If you plan to switch to the bottle pretty quickly, this might be the way to go.
What Makes Medela Better Then Spectra?
Okay, the Medela is a little more expensive, however, it’s a one-stop-shop when it comes to a breast pump.
You know that the kit comes with a carry bag for storage, extra bottles, and flexible breast shields.
If you know that you’re going to need to use a breast pump while traveling, or during the day while you’re not at home, then this is probably the right choice.
The Medela is also much smaller, which again, is a great benefit for the ‘on the go’ lifestyle.
The hands-free setting is also a massive bonus as it means that you can multitask if needed.
Final Verdict Of Spectra VS Medela
Both breast pumps would be a great choice, but the main thing to consider is the environment where you’re going to need to use them.
If you plan to express at home as much as you can, then the Spectra is the right choice.
Design wise, it’s much larger, isn’t hands-free, and doesn’t come with the equipment that you’d require to transport it easily – although it can be purchased separately.
The Spectra does also have all those extra features, so it’s the right choice for new mothers who perhaps need to get used to the experience.
The Medela is well suited to those mothers with an extremely busy lifestyle.
If you’re planning to go back to work after maternity leave or if you happen to travel a lot and you’re an old hand at breastfeeding, then it’s worth shelling out a few extra dollars to get a more compact and convenient breast pump.