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- Why I Bought -
I purchased the Spectra 3 Electric Breast Pump before I had my son. I knew that I wanted to breast feed but I thought it would be useful to be able to express milk into a bottle so that other people could feed the baby, and more importantly give me a break once in a while! My main reason for choosing this pump was that it was significantly cheaper than leading brands such as Philips Avent and Medela. I also knew a pregnant friend who had bought one and I thought it would be handy to know someone who was using the same pump. The final thing that convinced me to go for the Spectra was that it could be ordered on Amazon and delivered for free, a huge plus when heavily pregnant!
- The Pump -
When you open the box all the equipment is packaged neatly inside. You get the electric pump itself which is quite heavy and covered with thick white plastic that makes it look quite neat and sleek. This has a wire and plug that plugs into a socket when you want to use it. The box also has an on/off switch and a pressure dial. This means that rather than having five or so different options for the pumping pressure you can turn the dial to exactly the right pressure for you. There is a hollow transparent tube which attaches onto the pump box at one end and at the other end onto the cup that you put onto your breast. The cup is made from hard transparent plastic and looks a bit like a funnel. The pump also comes with one spectra bottle which can screw directly onto the cup. There is an additional attachment which can be put onto the cup which means that other bottles can be attached instead of the spectra one. Our Philips Avent bottles fit perfectly. The whole set looks like it is of a good quality and it is quite simple to put together.
- Pump It Up -
Once you have got everything assembled the pump is very easy to use. You turn the pump on and make sure it is on a low setting (otherwise ouch!), put the cup to your breast with one hand and with the other hand slowly turn the dial so that you are getting an effective pumping pressure that is also comfortable. It is advisable to start on a lower pressure and slowly increase it as this will effectively stimulate the breast to produce milk without causing any injury. It is then a matter of watching and waiting. The milk should start to flow into the bottle and you just need to stay still until there is no more milk or you have the amount you require. I found the cup to be comfortable enough and a suitable size for my breasts (32DD) but I'm not sure what you would do if you found it wasn't a good fit. I found the pressure to be fine as you can have it at the exact pressure you feel comfortable with. I never found it painful although my friend with the same pump did injure herself with it by putting the pressure too high. The pump helped me express good amounts of milk so I would say it is definitely effective. The pump is a bit noisy but this didn't bother me particularly as I never did it while in other peoples company! Once you have finished pumping you can slowly decrease the pressure and then turn the pump off. The milk is already in a bottle so it is ready to be used/refrigerated/frozen as required.
- Comparison -
It is a very simple and easy process and there is nothing I could complain about with this pump. However, I have been able to compare it to two other pumps. First was a manual Avent pump I used in hospital after my son was born. I found this to be very tedious and not nearly as effective as electric pumps so I would definitely recommend an electric pump if you plan on doing a lot of expressing. The second pump I used was a Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump. I used this over a two week period when my son was six weeks old and very ill in hospital. This is the brand of pump that the NHS use as standard and I can see why. It quite simply does everything that little bit better. As I have said there is nothing I can really criticise the Spectra for as it performs very well and is easy to use but returning to this after the Medela I felt like it wasn't quite as good.
- Cleaning -
Obviously cleaning your breast pump is very important as bacteria from milk can make a baby very ill. I always took apart the different parts of the pump and soaked them in a sink of hot soapy water. Then I used a bottle brush to give them a good scrub. Attached to the cup there is what I would describe as a filter of some sort. This would be a great place for bacteria to hide so it is essential that special attention is paid to this. Cleaning this is a little fiddly but it is made easier if you have a good bottle brush. I then sterilised the different parts before use. As I recall most of the parts are microwave steriliser safe so I did this or sterilised them with a tablet instead. Cleaning the pump is probably the most complicated and fiddly part but I think this would be the same with most breast pumps. The electric pump box obviously can't get wet so to clean this I used a Dettol or Milton wipe. With six months of regular use and cleaning all the parts of my pump were still in good condition.
- Price and Availability -
The only place I know to sell this breast pump is Amazon. I paid £49.95 but the current price is £59.95 which I still think is good compared to many pumps available. The Medela pump I liked is currently selling for around £100.
- Would I Recommend? -
I would definitely recommend this breast pump if you are looking for an electric pump but don't want to spend a fortune on it. It is easy to assemble and use and it pumps effectively and comfortably. It is a little noisy and is fiddly to clean but these are probably things you would say about most breast pumps. I think it does everything well but I think the Medela Swing pump does everything better. I chose the Spectra because of the price which is almost half that of the Medela so I would say that I can live with not having the best if I don't have to pay the higher price!