Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A tale of two pumps: Spectra S2 & Evenflo Dual Electric

Can I start by confessing that I thoroughly hate pumping.😧 I really hate pumping. I feel like I need to get that out there loud and clear. Every single thing about pumping and storing breastmilk grates my nerves, and yet I "suffer" through it because its so totally worth it.πŸ˜πŸ’™
When I had my daughter in 2012, Obamacare had not been implemented yet, so I narrowly missed out on getting a free breast pump.  At the time I didn't want to spend too much on a pump especially since pumps aren't returnable and I didn't even know if I would be successful at breastfeeding. I ultimately decided to go for the Lansinoh pump and posted about my experience with it here. The pump worked well for me although it did break down at about the 9 month mark and I had to get into a fight with the company to get a replacement. Nevertheless I was happy with the pump until I stopped pumping once my daughter turned a year old.

This time around I had every intention of benefiting from the free pump. I was excited to get to choose a pump without worrying about the costπŸ’°. My insurance company provided me with a list of medical equipment suppliers that I could get the pump from in order for it to be covered. All of them seemed to offer the same options; with one pump from each major brand such as Medela, Ameda, Lansinoh and Spectra. I was 100% certain I would go for the Medela but then I remembered realized it has an open system; meaning there is no barrier between the milk and the tubing. This can potentially allow milk and condensation to build up inside the tubes. For me this was a total no-no.  I decided Medela just wasn't right for me. During my hospital stay I used a Medela pump provided by the hospital and it seemed like a decent pump however I didn't like how delicate the membrane pieces were. After doing a lot of research I decided the best choice for me was the Spectra S2.

Based on all the reviews I gathered that it featured a closed system, a quiet pump and "hospital grade" suction. So I went ahead and ordered it.


As you can see from the photo above it features a convenient carry handle and bottle stand in the back. I'm really not sure why there is only room for one bottle considering that this is a double pumpπŸ˜’Once I started using the Spectra pump I noticed a few things that I did not like:

  • Firstly it doesn't have a battery option. Not that I've ever had to pump using a battery but its nice to know that if there is no power the pump would still work
  • The screen doesn't light up, so if you are pumping in a dark room you can barely see the screen. Instead there is an independent light that shines down on the screen that just seems out of place and doesn't help you read off the screen.
  • The pump always starts out in the expression phase and not the let down phase. This.makes.no.sense. πŸ˜’πŸ˜’ Let down always comes first and with my Lansinoh pump it was set to always run the let down phase for 2 minutes and then automatically switch over to the expression phase. The Spectra pump always starts in the expression phase so you have to manually switch it over to the let down mode. Then you have to manually switch it back to the expression mode in a minute or two. Keep in mind that you only have two hands and you are already using both your hands to hold up the pump bottles. I     just   don't      get    it. πŸ˜’
  • The pump comes with two different size flanges but its just not comfortable regardless what size you use. There is something about the shape and angle of these flanges that makes them no fun to use. The lansinoh flanges had a silicone comfort ring that made it a lot more comfortable than the Spectra.
The main things that I like about this pump is how super quiet it is. It is quieter than a phone vibrating in your pocket.  With the tv on I can't even hear if the pump is on without looking at the screen to see that its working.

Five weeks into using this pump it shorted out and failed to power on. It happened late at night when I was about to pump before going to bed. There was no way I could just not pump until I could get a replacement so my husband rushed out to Walmart and got me the first pump he could find there. It happened to be a discontinued EvenFlo pump

Can I just say that this pump looks like its from the stone ages. There are no tubes because the pump connects to the bottle directly. Yes that's right. No tubes πŸ˜• πŸ˜’.  So that means instead of having one pump that connects to two bottles using tubes, the Evenflo pump is actually two independent pumps that each connect directly on top of the bottles. Let that sink in. πŸ˜• 
So every time you go to pump you have to carry not just the bottle but the entire pump for the whole duration of the pumping session! Who thought of this?  Mind you, the pumps are quite heavy.
To make matters worse there is no screen because this isn't a digital pump, there is just an on off switch and a dial on the top of each pump so there is no let down phase and no option for  different pump speeds. The dial on top allows you to control the suction strength only, but how on earth they expect you to be able to reach the dial while pumping is beyond me. πŸ˜’πŸ˜ž
This pump is also insanely loud, and keep in mind there are actually two pumps going at the same time so no one can even hear the tv if this pump is on in the same room!
Aside from all that, the main negative about this pump is that milk can get inside the pump unit itself if you don't hold it perfectly upright which is just bizarre. Since pumps can't be returned I used this for the few days it took to get a replacement pump sent to me from Spectra and I now have this as an emergency back up pump.

Having said all that, there were some surprisingly good things about the Evenflo pump. Firstly the price is less than half of what most double electric pumps cost. It retails at Walmart for $62 which is nothing compared to most pumps out there. The low price is most probably because it has been discontinued. Another awesome thing is that it comes loaded with accessories😍. There is a tote bag to carry everything, a cooler bag, two ice packs, bottle stands and spare parts. I was definitely impressed with that because the Spectra pump came with none of these accessories.

 Additionally the suction on this pump is ridiculously strong, I guess because there is no tubing? Even on the lowest setting it seemed really high suction which meant I was done pumping in under 10 minutes.  Additionally the flanges on this pump come with a silicone insert for extra comfort.

After pumping with the Evenflo for a few days it felt weird pumping with my replacement Spectra. The suction seemed very weak in comparison and it seemed to take forever to pump. However I'm glad I don't have to use the Evenflo pump everyday because it clearly isn't designed for regular use. Here's hoping I don't ever have to use it again!

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