After testing both pumps, I wanted to share my honest, unsponsored opinion about the Elvie vs. Spectra Breast Pump in a breast pump review. I stumbled into exclusive pumping after many painful, failed nursing experiences with my daughter. Even after seeing a lactation consultant consistently, nursing was not a fit.
After having my son, I was pleasantly surprised how well we hit it off with nursing. It was a natural fit. However, within two weeks, I found myself gravitating towards exclusive pumping again. Especially as I get ready to transition back to in person meetings, pumping at work is a consideration for me.
Why I prefer pumping:
I quickly became appreciative of how consistent pumping is to follow. There are many tips online to maximize your supply. The most basic rule of thumb is to pump every two hours as your supply builds.
Sometimes women stray away from pumping because it can be tedious to clean the parts. Don’t get me wrong, it is, but I’ve always loved that I know the quantity of food my baby is eating.
Plus, I found with my second baby that pumping was faster. If I nursed, he would eat every two hours. However, if I pumped, I could stretch him longer. Plus, he started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks!
It also drove me batty nursing during the day with one breast at a time. I found that unless I had a milk collection cup, like the haaka, it became a really tedious process. Plus, two to three hours seemed to pass by much faster nursing than pumping.
With my first daughter, I had the Spectra S1 pump, which is a hospital grade breast pump; however, it was not portable. With a toddler running around, I need a wearable breast pump that’s hands free. I ordered the Spectra S9 through insurance and a friend gave me the Elvie pump.
I’ve also heard of the freemie liberty and medela pump in style, but don’t have personal experiences with them.
Fit and Feel:
The fit and feel is very different between the Elvie breast pump and S9 Spectra Pump. The S9 Spectra Pump has a very basic, consistent feel like other breast pumps. You wear the beautiful, sexy pumping bra (I joke) and have the large cups sticking out.
With the Elvie pump, it truly fits into your nursing bra. I have a basic nursing bra from Target that works really well. I’ve also heard good things about this bra from Amazon. It’s also easy to slip on and turn on.
However, I find that it’s tough to get it to stay in place if you’re truly moving around. Every time I have bent down wearing it, I leak.
While the Elvie pump is easier to hide, I’ve had problems with it slipping and leaking. I feel much more secure in the Spectra S9.
Fit & Feel Winner in Elvie vs. Spectra Breast Pump Review: Spectra S9
I have roughly 6 pumping sessions per day, and I can make it all day with my S9 Spectra Pump. Each session is 15-20 minutes.
With the Elvie pump, I need to recharge about half way through the day. There also is not much of a warning with the Elvie pump. A red light will come on when you’re low on battery and it dies shortly after.
With the Spectra S9, there are three bars at the top within the battery image that gradually drop down. The first bar lasts a while and I’ve even gotten a full pumping session with the battery flashing (aka dying), so it gives you plenty of warning.
Both pumps have rechargeable batteries.
Battery Life Winner in Elvie vs. Spectra Breast Pump Review: Spectra S9
I started using both pumps around 2 weeks and initially produced the same amount. However, once I hit 4 weeks, I started producing significantly more (at least 20%) when I pump with the Spectra S9 vs. the Elvie pump.
If I’m going to take the time to pump, I definitely want to produce as much as I can.
Production Breast Pump Review Winner: Spectra S9
Parts & Cleaning:
Let’s face it, when you look at all of the pumps on the market, none are fun to clean. The wireless breast pumps are no different. Each have several parts to clean.
While they’re both annoying, I find that the Spectra S9 is slightly easier to clean. It has a few less parts. Plus, I keep them in the fridge in between pumps instead of washing them.
I can’t do that with the Elvie. While it’s still sanitary, the suction no longer works for me after one use – even when I use the adjustable suction feature.
Parts & Cleaning Winner in Elvie vs. Spectra Breast Pump Review: Spectra S9
This is an easy one. The Elvie breast pump is easily the most convenient of all electric pumps. It’s conspicuous and easy to use. The chargers operate with a USB so it travels well.
We had a play date a few weeks ago, and I brought my Elvie pump. The other moms didn’t even know I was pumping.
Convenience Winner in Elvie vs. Spectra Breast Pump Review: Elvie Pump
Spectra S9 Breast Pump Review Pros & Cons:
I really like using my Spectra S9 even though it’s not technically hospital grade. I have not needed to use a breast shield with it or any other tools. It’s very straightforward and consistent.
While it’s annoying to put the pump bra on every few hours and it’s certainly noticeable that I’m pumping, the output and consistency is worth it to me.
Elvie Breast Pump Review Pros & Cons:
I am super grateful that Jessie gave me her extra pump. It definitely comes in handy. The Elvie breast pump is incredibly convenient. If you’re pumping after nursing or supplement with formula regardless, you’d love the Elvie.
The pump also seems to max out around 3.5oz per side, which I’m producing more than that now. If you’re exclusively pumping, my guess is you’d need to pause and empty in order to keep producing.
Hands Free Breast Pump Review Recommendation:
Overall, I think the Elvie is a great secondary pump. Whether you’re looking at a closed system pump or a wireless breast pump, Elvie vs. Spectra are two great options.
If you’re fortunate and insurance covers one pump, I vote for the Spectra. If you already have a Spectra from a previous pregnancy and can get the Elvie, it’s a good second pump to have. I’d also consider getting it second hand and doing a standard cleaning that all pumps require.
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.