How to use the Spectra breast pump

By |Published On: August 29th, 2021|0 Comments|

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How to use the Spectra breast pump

Photo by Canva Pro

In this how-to guide, I’m going you walk you through step-by-step how to use the Spectra breast pump so you can get started easily. I’ve also included a video for you.

These tips will be helpful to any mom who is pumping breastmilk.

Read next: Spectra s2 vs s1 – Which breast pump is best?

Is there a difference between Spectra S1 and S2?

I want to get something out of the way first; something that you may be wondering.

The Spectra s1 and Spectra s2 are almost identical. There are a lot of Spectra breast pump reviews out there that focus on one or the other, which might be confusing. For assembly and use purposes, however, they are the same!

The only real difference is that the Spectra s1 has a rechargeable battery for portability. Apart from that, they are assembled the same and they operate the same. So, when looking at how to use the Spectra breast pump, it doesn’t matter which one you have! The same steps apply.

How to use the Spectra breast pump

With that cleared up, let’s first look at how to assemble your new Spectra breast pump right out of the box.

When you open it up, these are the parts you’ll find:

  • Two pairs of breast flanges (one pair is 24mm and the other is 28 mm)
  • Duckbill valves
  • Backflow protectors (These include a silicone membrane)
  • Motor (the actual breast pump machine)
  • Some tubing
  • 2 bottles for storing the milk (these bottles each include a nipple, cap, disc, and lid)
  • AC power adaptor

Also read: Spectra vs Medela – How to choose the best breast pump

Assembling your Spectra s1 or s2 breast pump

Consider this your Spectra breast pump manual. Before we look at how to use a Spectra s2 breast pump (or s1) we need to put it all together first.

You should check to make sure the box has included everything listed above and, with that, let’s begin assembling.

Step 1: Assembling the backflow protector

Spectra s1 and s2 breast pumps are designed as a closed system. What this means is that milk cannot flow back into the tubing and the motor, thanks to the Spectra breast pump’s backflow protector.

In order to assemble the backflow protector, you need to place the silicone membrane into the uppercase and lowercase (these are the clear plastic parts that are also included). At one end of the backflow protector, connect it to the breast shield; the other end connects to the provided tubing. Now your backflow protector is working!

Step 2: Properly connecting the tubing

This one is simple: one end of the tubing connects to the motor (the main pump) while the other connects to the backflow protector (as covered in Step 1).

A quick note: if you plan on double-pumping, that will obviously require two bits of tubing. In order to single-pump using the Spectra, you need to cover the second port. The Spectra s1 and s2 come with a cap which you can use to cover the second port.

Step 3: Assembling the breast shields, duckbill valves, and bottles

The breast shield has an opening for the duckbill valve to be twisted into. Do that first. Once that’s done, you then need to attach the bottle to the breast shield over the already attached duckbill valve.

Step 4: Connecting the breast shields to the backflow protectors

This is the final step. The breast shields attach to the backflow protectors, which finally allows you to attach the shield to your breast and start pumping milk. Just make sure the AC adapter is plugged in before you start.

Read next: 10 best bottle warmers (for all budgets!)

Using Spectra breast pump

Using a Spectra breast pump is simple and comfortable. It’s a quiet machine that makes less noise than your refrigerator. And, if you follow these instructions, it should also be a comfortable and easy pumping process to get used to.

The Spectra s1 and Spectra s2 have a few different modes and settings, but you’ll be switching between “massage mode” and “expression mode”. You switch between these modes by pressing the center button with the three wavy lines.

On either side of the central mode button and power button, you can see + and – options for “cycle” and “vacuum” which you’ll adjust accordingly.

Massage Mode

This is the mode you need to start with. Before you start pumping, check that your pump is set to “massage mode” by pressing the center button with the three wavy lines.

You also need to make sure that the pump is set to “vacuum level 1” to begin with, and “cycle 70”. These settings will start the milk flowing gently.

Expression Mode

This is the other mode selected by the center button. Wait until the milk has started flowing before switching from “massage mode” to “expression mode”. Expression mode is what extracts the milk. Along with switching to “expression mode” you can also switch to “vacuum 4” and “cycle 54”, provided you are feeling comfortable. The cycle speed can be easily adjusted by pressing the +/- buttons.

Vacuum Levels

I’ve given some guidance on ideal vacuum levels for effective pumping, but these are only guidelines. Our bodies are all different and you need to adjust the vacuum levels according to your level of physical comfort and how your milk flow works.

The vacuum levels on the Spectra breast pump range from 1 to 12, and you need to move through these levels in order to get the milk flowing smoothly, but without causing any soreness to your nipples.

Soreness can happen if you raise the vacuum level too high in order to speed up milk extraction, so take care.


If you’d like to see a video where this is all explained, you’ll find a helpful guidance video here:

Increasing your milk supply

The Spectra s1 and s2 breast pumps are impressive and reliable when it comes to pumping a good amount of milk each day, provided you’ve followed instructions on how to use the Spectra breast pump properly.

That said, our bodies are all unique and we all require different settings in order to achieve the best results.

Beyond the Spectra breast pump’s settings, however, there are a few other factors to consider in order to get the most out of your pumping every day.

Time between nursing and pumping

This is a good tip to increase the amount you can pump. If you are able, try pumping within a half hour after nursing.

Consider the time of day

Different times produce different amounts of milk, and most of us typically produce an increased amount of milk during the night: specifically between 1am and 6am.

Physical positioning

Leaning forward when pumping can help stimulate increased milk flow. If you’re single pumping, switch breasts every five minutes to keep the flow steady.

I hope this showed you how to use the Spectra breast pump. Let me know below in the comments if you have any questions!

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About the Author: Mama Miri

how to use the spectra breast pump
I’m a mama of two boys, and I'll help you be the mom you want to be. Parenting is hard enough without all the guilt. So let’s stop trying to be perfect moms and just be real ones.

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