I was what some would call a fanatic in nursing. I believed in total breastfeeding and never supplemented until Baby E was past 1 year old. Then we got on a long journey of trying to get Baby E to accept fresh milk or formula of any sort because work was causing supply to drop and my ‘Just-in-time’ system (because Baby E refuses to take frozen milk due to my excess lipase problem) was getting too stressful to bear. I cycled through 4 pumps in my 18month breastfeeding journey. The purpose of this post is to give a review of each. I won’t dwell on details such as how many bottles and spare parts the package contains etc because that information is easily available online. What I’ll talk about will be details that I think is good to know for people consider buying these.
My first pump: Ameda Purely Yours (also called Ameda Lactaline in Singapore)
This is a sturdy and well-built pump that is closed system. It can be used as both a dual or single pump and the default package comes as a dual system (which is good because some of the spectra pumps i bought later came as single pump and I had to purchase additional equipment to turn it into a dual pump. Adds some stress when you don’t know the pump well and requires more research).
How to get it: I bought the US set and my sis brought it back for me (The sis sprained her ankle bringing this back and I feel forever guilty about it). You can also buy this in Singapore at departmental stores such as Takashimaya and OG. The US set came with extra accessories such as milk cooler bag, cooling blocks, tote bag and extra bottles, and was half the price even after currency conversion. But before you go running to place orders, there are some things to note about getting the US set.
- It’s US warranty! Mine came with the battery function not working so I had to keep it on mains all the time. This was why I switched to my next pump but on hindsight, I really could have kept it to use when I go back to work because when I’m pumping at work, I’m attached to the mains all the time.
- The weight! Compared to the Spectra, this one’s a dinosaur. But for those who keep it in the office, like I did with my pump later, it’s quite decent a pump.
- Check the restrictions before buying! Freight forwarders these days refuse to ship back items that contain lithium batteries. However, this one doesn’t come with the 6 AA batteries that it requires so I think it might still be ok. But always check with the freight forwarder if unsure. The last thing you want is to have the item stuck at US warehouse. Adds a whole load of stress.
What I liked about it:
- Ease of usage: It’s quite easy to figure out and use. The diaphragms that prevent milk from entering the tubing are really easy to remove and wash and milk indeed doesn’t get in.
- Suction: The suction is good, albeit a little painful at times.
- Well-built: It’s quite sturdy. No fear of it breaking if the LO sits on it (I think).
- Customizable: You can tweak the speed and suction so you can adjust the combination as you like, unlike some pumps that have a fixed setting.
What I disliked about it:
- Size and weight: This is really bulky and heavy. Carrying it out on a full day shopping trip was insane. Midway through, I really wanted to just go home and stay there.
Why I switched to my next pump: I happened to be at the Kulily warehouse and the founder recommended the Spectra M1 to me. I was blown away by its tiny size and wanted something portable to bring along when I’m outside.
My second pump: Spectra M1
Another pump that is closed system and can be used as both a single pump and a dual pump. My set came with a T connector and they later on came out with the white connector which is easier to use because you can plug each tubing into each hole and convert from dual to single pump even while pumping. The T connector is more cumbersome and I had to stop pumping to switch.
How to get it: Lots of places in Singapore have it. I saw it at Takashimaya, OG and online stores such as Spectra Baby SG, Pupsik and Kulily. These come with 1 year Singapore warranty. If you like to live life dangerously like I did later on, you can also buy this from Qoo10. There are sellers in Korea who ship these in to you and they’re half the price. Again, some things to note before you go running to Qoo10 to place your orders:
- Warranty issues: These come with Korea warranty and sellers require you to ship it back at your own cost if there are issues later on. At the cost, it might be more worth it to just buy another if there are problems (which luckily I did not encounter). That said, when you first receive the pump, check it immediately and if it is faulty, it is Qoo10’s rule that sellers must pay the cost of having it shipped back for exchange. So you’re protected in that sense.
- Language issues: Korea sets come with Korean instructions. This can be resolved by googling for instructions.
- Singapore service centre: You can also opt to bring the set to the Singapore service centre if there are issues later on. But again, they levy a fee to fix it which you may need to evaluate whether it’s more economical to fix it or buy a new one.
What I liked about it:
- Portability: It’s really portable! It’s like the size of a tub of Sunsweet prunes. It’s quite light too so I could travel everywhere with it.
- Decent suction: It’s quite powerful despite its tiny size. I could extract more milk using this compared to Ameda for some reason. That said, different people respond differently to various pumps so it might be different for you.
- Ease of usage: There’s just a button to switch on, and 5 suction settings. The speed is fixed but there is a letdown mode that goes at high speed and slightly lighter suction that was very effective at triggering a letdown for me in the first year.
- Internal battery: There’s an inbuilt battery so I didn’t have to struggle to find my rechargeable batteries and charge them separately. They charge while it’s attached to the mains. How convenient!
What I disliked about it:
- Mold and Membranes: Moisture does get into the part that connects the bottle to the membranes so do open the backflow protector to air it at times. There’s no need to wash and sterilise the membrane all the time but do clean it every now and then. I’ve found mold in my office set at times. Luckily Baby E is fine. But still, yucks.
- Not versatile enough to last long: This is good for the first year of the baby’s life, but in the second year, I couldn’t get it to extract enough milk. It’s just not the same as a hospital grade pump. But still really good as a travel pump.
- Bottles kept dropping! Not sure if it’s the threads of the bottle and breast shield being too shallow or what, but the vibrations of the pump does result in the bottle getting loose and I’ve dropped a bottle of milk on the ground because of that. Massive heart pain! After that, I always made sure to check the connection midway through the pump and indeed, they’re often loose. So be careful!
Why I bought my next pump: I needed another pump to park in the office because I was tired of shuttling the pump to and fro my home but had already sold away the Ameda pump on Carousell (lousy decision because I sold it cheap and now have to spend on another). So I got one on Qoo10.
In the next entry, I will review the Spectra 9s and Spectra S2+. Stay tuned! (Yes, I’m really insane as to cycle through 4 pumps in my 18 months of nursing journey. #Guilty)