My Little Miracle

The exciting story of God's very special gift to Mama & Papa…

Breast Pump Dilemma and Review of the Spectra M1

on February 23, 2014

Here is my review on the Spectra M1 breast pump. I have been a Medela Freestyle user since Leo was born and I started pumping about 1 month after he was born to keep a stash when I get back to work. The Freestyle was lent to me by a dear friend that was not using it anymore. The Medela Freestyle costs around RM2000+ at normal price and maybe RM1800 was the lowest I have seen. It is the most expensive pump out there is the market and very well known internationally.

The Freestyle has served me well for 5 months and really helped me relieve engorgement. However, after using it for 5 months, I felt that it was not performing as well as it would like last time. Maybe I needed to send it for servicing? But it was not the case. Somehow along the way, this pump cannot empty my breast and it takes me 1 hour to pump! 1 hour is just too long for me and my nipple would hurt. So it was because of these incidents, I decided to buy a new pump. Also, the Freestyle was not my own, sooner or later I will have to return it and since I am going to be breastfeeding for longer now, I think investing in one will help. Besides, I will need it for the next baby as well, so no lost there!

Right! So let’s get to it!

2014-01-24 18.11.58

The M1 fits on the palm of my hand nicely.

2014-01-24 18.13.19

I love the Spectra M1. And to be honest, I think it is so much better than Medela. Even though Spectra is not a well-known brand, its performance is hospital grade. I bought it at the recent baby fair in Mid Valley at RM471 for a double pump. I was so surprised to know that it is so easy to be made a double pump. Just buy the extra kit (tubing, valve and bottle), unlike Medela which a single pump is only a single pump. Only their double pump can be used as singles. After using the Spectra for about a month now, I find that it is much better than the Freestyle, IN SO MANY WAYS!

Here is my personal comparison and how I find it. Comparison is also based on how I use them.

1387870041212

Medela Freestyle

Spectra M1

Section level 6-7 (out of 10). Section level 1-2 (out of 5). Very good suction!
Slightly heavier and more parts (motor, tubes, breast shields, membranes, valves, connectors, back caps, bottles) Super lightweight and less parts (motor, tubes, breast shields, membranes, bottles)
More parts to wash! Only 2 parts to wash (breast shields, bottles)
Causes backflow of milk Backflow proof
Battery lasts pretty long. I charge every 2-3 days. Battery goes weak fast. I charge every day.
Very super expensive! Affordable
Fits most normal narrow neck bottles Fits wide neck bottles
Pump is less quiet and vibrates/shakes Pump is more quiet and hardly vibrates

That was my personal opinion on the comparison. I like the fact that it fits the Avent wide neck bottles and I do not have to transfer and pour them from one to another anymore. Another plus for me is the washing. I pump at work and only have to wash 2 parts! Saves time and I can get back to work quicker.

2014-02-18 13.29.01 (1)

I really didn’t mind charging the M1 more often because I only use it at work and I direct latch whenever Leo is with me.

The last MAJOR plus is the price. I mean, seriously… RM2000 for a pump? It makes me think that those who spend on formula are no different if we wanted to breastfeed to save money besides the health benefits. Servicing the Medela pump is expensive too and even the parts! I enquired about the connectors and one costs RM129! Whereas the Spectra only costs RM12! The reason I am writing this review is to create awareness on breast pumps and options for those who are not able to afford an expensive pump (like me) and those who are looking for a good, handy, effective pump. The Spectra M1 is value for money and good in handling most daily task.

I would only yield about 3-4 oz from both breasts with the Freestyle. But with the M1, I manage to yield 5-8 oz! Of course, my body needed to get used to the new pump as well. After a few tries, I saw the increase in yield and believe that the M1 could empty my breasts well.

2014-01-27 13.33.24

The first week yield.

2014-02-13 12.05.59

The second week yield. Getting more than the first :)

2014-02-18 13.26.34

TA-DAA!!! This was taken last week! Yield increasing slowly…

2014-02-18 13.23.31

Again, this is only me. Every woman’s body is different and so are our boobs! Do try out different pumps and see which works for you and how effective it can be.

What pump do you use? And have you ever faced such problems like mine? Do share it with me in the comments below.


69 responses to “Breast Pump Dilemma and Review of the Spectra M1

  1. Kendra says:

    Medela swing.my lo not even one year old now and the suction become very bad already.my breast was engorged but can only pump out 1-2oz for more than half an hour.end up i hand express,get another 3oz.now i only hand express or use avent manual pump.cheaper and faster ^^

    • vavaloy says:

      Yea. I honestly feel medela is a bit overrated :( many other moms have the same problem with suction going bad after just a few months.

      I’ve never hand expressed before. Maybe I should give it a try… Haha. No idea how to start!

  2. Tyng says:

    Thank you so much for M1 review. Cause I m still considering whether I should invest a M1 pump or not.

  3. 0nc3 says:

    Thanks for sharing… I am confuse to choose which brand to buy. I have no experience and now i am still 30 weeks pregnant actually.
    I have a question, should i wait until my babies born? (i got twins baby) and see first wether my breast produce milk or not. Coz some friend of mine, they have no milk come out from their breast eventhough they have big boobs. Then buy the pump will be a waste.

    • vavaloy says:

      Congratulations for twins!!!
      Everyone will produce milk for their babies. Supply=demand. After birth for the first few days, You will not have flowing milk yet but u will hve colostrum. Rich in nutrient and fat for your twins! It is yellow in color. This is most important for your babies. After 3-5 days only you will start having milk.

      I think you only need to buy pump after baby is born. This is because you want to make sure your supply is stabilize before pumping. Pump too early is not good as your body is still adjusting. Stay positive and don’t give up too soon! You will surely have milk.

      You can search my blog for breastfeeding update because I posted about colostrum and normal breast milk in one of my breastfeeding update.

  4. Hi Mommy!

    Thank you for the wonderful review of the Spectra M1. As for myself, I’m a Spectra S1 user, and i’m truly happy with the brand. My milk supply boosts within weeks (from 3 bottles to 4 bottles per day) & Spectra makes night pumping peaceful, with its silence and pretty night light :) Although i would’ve love to get an M1 myself due to the size and weight which are way lighter & smaller compared to an S1. It is travel-friendly for mommies-on-the-go and they fit nicely in a vcool bag.

    xoxo
    Fellow mummy

  5. vavaloy says:

    Yay! Thanks for your comment! So far I didn’t see any bad reviews on spectra. S1 is definitely a good pump :) but it is too heavy for me to bring to work haha

  6. Jesse says:

    Mummy vavaloy, could you pls share on ur pumping schedule and how long do u pump per session that make ur supply increase gradually. I’m thinking of getting Spectra M1 and i’m a FS user at the moment….

    • vavaloy says:

      Hi Jesse,
      I pump about 2-3 times a day.
      Normally in the morning at 730 or 8am. Then again at 12 or 1pm and the last session is 430 or 5pm.

      I use to pump like 45 mins to an hour with FS. Now with M1 max I will go 30 mins full bottle. With 15 mins I can get 4oz already. But for me everyday is different. Sometimes I get more let downs and sometimes not much. Could be due to the food I eat prior to pumping also.

      • Angeline says:

        Hi mummy vavaloy, thank you so much for the review. May I know how long have you been pumping your milk before you started to use M1? I just purchase M1 and tried it once today and I still need to try hard to yield the milk :(

        Question:
        1. Do you massage (with the massage mode) your breast before you start pumping? If so, how long does you massage?

        2. How fast can you see the let down after massage? Does the milk drop immediately once you start pumping or you need to massage for awhile only can see the letdown?

        3. My baby is only 26 days old. I was using spectra 300 and I have been trying hard to yield but average I can only get 3-4oz (or sometimes less) from both breasts while keep massaging the breast. It took me around 1 hour or more :( is it because I didn’t pump frequently? I tried to pump every four hours. But looking at your schedule, you can pump out quite a lot although u only pump 3 times a day! Any milk booster you took?

      • vavaloy says:

        Hi Angeline!
        Answers to your question:
        1. Yes I use the massage button until I see a let down (when you see milk slowly coming out). After awhile, you can even feel it when u have a letdown.
        2. How fast for letdown to come really depends on individual. Most often it depends on how full your breasts are. If full, I can get a letdown in less than a minute. Always need massage before milk drops, it mimics how baby sucks as well.
        3. Since your baby is only around 1 month old, don’t worry too much about pumping. Breastmilk yield really goes hand in hand with your mood (as it secretes hormones to stimulate letdown and milk production). Feeling worried and stressed can cause milk to be less. So don’t worry, just latch as much as you can because latching will stimulate more milk. Remember that supply = demand! More demand , more supply. Pump after you feed, slowly that will increase your milk as oh empty your breasts more often.

        I did not take any milk boosters. But I did realize that eating durian, eating sweet potato leaves, and drinking Horlicks helps. Again, some works for some people and some don’t. You gotta experiment to see what works for you :)

        Hopefully the M1 will help you better than the 300. Every pump is different too.

  7. Jesse says:

    with FS right now… i also have to pump min 45 mins…. i need to increase my supply as my LO’s appetite is getting better… basically I’m an EP mum

    • vavaloy says:

      Do try spectra. If you are an EP mum, you might wanna give S1 a try coz it’s hospital grade and super heavy duty. It’s quiet and have many options for massage and suction too. Only thing is, it’s big and heavy. But will definitely last longer and suit your needs as EP mom.

  8. Jesse says:

    how do u find the breast shield size… will it be too big?? if freestyle, u r using size M right??

    • vavaloy says:

      I’m not sure what’s my medela size. I think it’s 24 or 27 mm…

      • Elva says:

        Hi, I had bought S1 but after that purchased FS due to spectra std breast shield size (28mm) hurting me (it is too tight to me). However, I am OK with Medela breast shield size 27mm (looks funny, rite…haha..).
        I have the same feeling with you, first time when I use FS, it able to empty my breast, but after that my milk looks like start reduce… I think to sell my S1 but I feel heavy heart to sell it. After read your review, make me more struggling..
        I am very sad if need to let go S1 due to breast shield size problem, do you have any solution able to help me? I had bought spectra 32mm breast shield (but it is too large for me).
        I will appreciate.

      • vavaloy says:

        Hmmmm. Have you tried calling spectra Malaysia and ask them? I remember when I bought mine i asked about sizes they said it’s general size but they do have different sizes at their store.

  9. Epfish says:

    Thanks for sharing ur experience. I am also a medela freestyle user. So far I am quite satisfied with its performance. I used avent double electrical pump( comfort series) and the suctions are too strong even though i put it to the lowest setting causing injury to my ducts. I literally pump out blood and I switch to medela after bleeding for a few times! I bought the medela pump for around half a year and my LO is almost 1 year old. I’ve notice decrease in mu supply and sometimes I am not able to cope with my LO’s demand. I was thinking my supply dropped as my child is getting oldet and slowly changing to solids. Is it really possible that it could be due to my medela pump not pumping efficiently anymore?

    • vavaloy says:

      My FS was working good for only 4 months max, and then start to have decrease and suction is not as strong. Many other moms said need to send for servicing, but for me to service every 4 months is costing a bomb! They claim to be durable but I feel that it’s performance is not consistent. With spectra I feel totally confident and you rarely hear complaints on them

      • epfish says:

        You are pumping like usual with the spectra (meaning same frequency per day) and you notice there is a significant inscrease in your supply, is that so? I do realised that I have to pump longer now to clear all ducts but seldom has the luxury to do so during work. Most of the time now I use my hands to clear all ducts after pumping with medela at home. Well, it is definitely a good thing to know that many are experiencing the same problem. Thank you all mothers for sharing their experience. Now we can make a wiser decision in choosing which pump to use! Less money wasted and less stress!

      • vavaloy says:

        Yup! I still pump as usual like I always do daily and I see increase in my yield. I guess no pump is the best, most important is to try it first. Pumps are so expensive nowadays and I wish to help other moms and create some awareness on it

  10. Azura says:

    thank you so much for the review i really need this. Btw, how about spectra warranty?

    • vavaloy says:

      Hi azura,

      For M1 model is 6 months. I’m not sure about the rest. I know it’s not long but they did tell me that their pumps work efficiently… Rarely have problems. Say if there is, their repair charges shouldn’t be too expensive comparing with medela.

    • nana says:

      Hi i wanna let go my spectra 3… Under warranty. Bought on march 2014. Used Abt 1 mths. Do u interested?? If yes, sms me 0127891505 Tq..

  11. Cheda says:

    Thanks for the review.
    My concern is the built in battery. Its built in, means we cannot change the battery? How long does it take to fully chargw the battery? Tq ;)

    • vavaloy says:

      Not sure if you can change, but if there’s anything wrong with it, you can always send it for repair. The battery seems to be working very well. Only takes around 2 hours to charge I think… I didn’t time it but definitely not as long as charging my iPhone haha

  12. DC says:

    Is spectra M1 suitable for 1st time mummy? Is the breast shield size really matter? I am considering M1. Looking forward for your advice.

  13. vavaloy says:

    Hi ,
    I think it shud be suitable because the breastshield size is general. Better to try it out first if u can .

  14. Kris says:

    Hi, where can you find the spare parts?

  15. vavaloy says:

    You can get it at Spectra Malaysia office. The same place you send the pump for servicing, they should have spare parts

  16. Kris says:

    I have an offer for Philips isis duo at a low second hand price. But I am still contemplating getting a brand new M1 spectra in Johor. This is such a dilemma for me. I understand M1 is portable but need to charge more frequently, and Avent needs less charging but needs to be plugged in.
    Do you have any good advice?

    • vavaloy says:

      Hmmm, I’m not sure about the performance if Isis tho. How often do u pump and do u have a plug point at work/the place u will pump?

      M1 can pump 3x (around 30 mins per session) without charging.
      Avent less charging but beeds plug? Means it’s not chargeable u mean?

  17. Azfahani says:

    Me too!! I am seriously in love with my new m1! My old pump was spectra 3 and i loved it too, decided to get a new one only because a portable , chargeable one is easier to use when i’m going outstation. I can relate with u on the yield, cos i saw the increament in my ebm too . So mommies out there who are still deciding, here’s another die hard fan of spectra m1! :)

  18. Sharon says:

    Hi mama, I wish to get 1 spectra M1 since I heard lots of best comment for tat… But it is sad tat Spectra M1 come with a bigger size breast shield and it doesn’t fit to those who has small breast… So wat do u think to help? I’m using medela fs breast shield size is 24mm… Thx

    • vavaloy says:

      Hi Sharon,
      I’m not sure if Spectra Malaysia has those sizes. But when I bought mine, I remember asking them about the different sizes and they said it was standard. Also, they mentioned that they do have smaller ones but not sold in retail. Maybe you can give them a call and ask? Or you could find a different breast shield that fits the spectra tubing. Means you use a different breast shield but Spectra M1 pump.

  19. kamilah says:

    hi dear, thanx soo much for the review. ive had headaches thinking on which brand to buy and lots of ppl encouraged me to go for medela. i think probably its bcos of the brand itself and it is internationally known. spectra is not as famous but really, your review has made me think that i should give m1 a try :) ngeee, thanx!

  20. Linda says:

    Hi,

    I’m just curious, in the photo of your 2nd week yield, the bottles look like Avent classic bottles. Did you pump straight into those bottles? Does the Spectra M1 fit Avent classic bottles?

    Thank you very much.

  21. wing says:

    may i know , who have to sell the second hand “spectra m1 double pump” ?
    my bady delivery date is 07.07.2014, please contact me if you have selling the second hand breast pump.
    thx

  22. mino says:

    Hi where can I purchase it ? City square ?
    Singapore have ?

  23. Hi…does M1 has a hands free strap like medela freestyle in order to do double pumping?

  24. Asyie says:

    hi, can the pump be used with standard bottle?not the wide neck bottle?if it can’t fit the standard neck bottle, does it come with “wide to standard neck bottle adapter” or do we need to purchase it separately?

    thanks!

    • vavaloy says:

      I think spectra has 2 types of funnels. You can get the standard ones too. Of you got the side neck ones, you can buy the adapters. It’s not too expensive

  25. YY says:

    Hi,
    May i know how is the suction after using for few months? My Avent single pump suction is weaken after 6 months. Any mummy having this problem with their Avent or M1? I am considering for M1 also..My doubt is the suction of the pump only.
    Thank you.

  26. Megan says:

    I am considering purchasing the m1.

    I was wondering how long you have been using it for now? Is the motor still running strong? I plan to have a few more children and would like to use it for a long time.

  27. leenadevi says:

    Hi, may I know how long your friend have been using the medela freestyle pump prior to borrowing it to you? What was the suction level you used when you first started using it?

    • vavaloy says:

      She was using for a few months I think. I had to use suction 7/8. I generally didn’t like the Medela. It served me well though, but come to think of the price. I’d rather get something cheaper and performs the same.

  28. Leila says:

    hi, i am selling spectra m1. now it comes with 1 year warranty n i sell.their spare parts as too at a reasonable price. do visit my website http://milkywayjuniors.com and page facebook.com/milkyway.my

  29. misscombi says:

    Hi. I am FS user and currently looking for a replacement since there is problem with FS pump. The cost to repair is too expensive. I learn that MI does not has a hands free strap like medela freestyle. How do you manage to double pump using normal nursing bra?

    • vavaloy says:

      Hi!
      I just pump sitting down and holding the bottle. Sometimes I can pump once the shield is on, and the fasten my nursing bra angling away from the shield. You can also purchase a boob tube to wear over your bra and it’ll be handsfree :)

      • Megan says:

        I’ve also hear of people using a sport bra and just cutting holes in the boob part to create a hands free nursing bra.

      • vavaloy says:

        YES! I avtually tried that and it worked! But because I cut the fabric, it was left as it is so the material frayed. If I had swen it maybe it’ll last longer hehe…

  30. Cee says:

    Hi does M1 vibrates too? I learned that pump that vibrates won’t empty our breasts that’s what happened to Medela, other Spectra model like Dew are not vibrating thus have good recommendation too but was told M1 also vibrates, did you feel it?

    • vavaloy says:

      M1 has very minimal vibration. I think all pumps will vibrate to a certain level because it is the motor working. As for less vibration = better yield, I’m not so sure.
      So far my M1 has very good suction. Among the 5 levels you get to adjust, I’m only at level 2 or 3… Sometimes even 1! Medela in at level 7/8 out of 10!

  31. betsyanti says:

    wowww… what a wonderful sharing… thank you so much for the sharing. I am really looking for the best pump ever since my 1st baby I only use Medela Harmony and really take my time for both breast and yet im a working mother too :-( but it gives me so much happy result so far and I was thinking to buy double pump (electric). My first tought is medela freestyle…
    the most criteria I would like to highlight are:
    value for money?
    heavy duty? because I love to pump more than 5 times in a day
    quite motor?
    battery life?
    portable?
    easy to handle?
    hygiene tubing? any back flow?

    and now you give me good fact between Spectra and Medela Freestyle…

    I would like to refer to your comparison… my 2nd baby is on the way… and want to give fully breastfeed ;-)

    • vavaloy says:

      That’s great! Congratulations on your pregnancy!
      I highly recommend spectra. I have really no problems with it and very very happy that I’ve bought it.
      If you are looking for heavy duty I would suggest the S1 model. It’s hospital grade and you can customize the suction level very specific for yourself. Do give it a try and I’d love to know how it goes!

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