When I was researching the Pumpin Pals flanges, I wanted to use them with my Spectra pump. But when I saw them for sale, I realized that the description says they are not compatible with a Spectra.
I did not want to have to purchase a new pump in order to use these flanges, so I devised a method to connect the parts together. This is the best way that I have found to use these flanges with my Spectra.
So, how do you use Pumpin Pals with a Spectra pump?
- Connect the Pumpin Pals flange to a Medela connector.
- Use an adapter to connect the flange and Spectra tubing.
- Connect the duckbill valves.
- Pump into narrow-mouth bottles, or
- Use an adapter to pump into wide mouth bottles.
- Start pumping as usual.
Pumping Accessories Needed
First, let’s get started with a list of items you will need, and then we will go into how to use them correctly.
Here is a list of the accessories you will need when using the Pumpin Pals with a Spectra pump. You might find that you have some of these parts on hand already.
For example, I had Medela connectors and Medela bottles in the pumping kit from the hospital where I delivered. I also already had wide-mouth bottles (Avent) that I used for pumping every day with my Spectra.
I found everything on Amazon and included links for you in the list below. This way you can see the best items that work for this set-up.
- Pumpin Pals flanges
- Medela connectors
- Adapter – to connect Medela flanges to the Spectra tubing
- One of the options below:
- Narrow mouth bottles, such as Medela bottles or Dr. Brown’s, OR
- Wide mouth bottles (Spectra or Avent bottles), and an adapter to connect the wide mouth bottles to the Medela flange
This may seem like a lot of pieces, but I felt like they were 100% worth it. I was so much more comfortable when I pumped using the Pumpin Pals flanges. Before I started using Pumpin Pals, my back was killing me. It was a life saver not needing to hunch over eight times per day while I pumped.
If you want some more details on how to use these parts and adapters check out this article – Spectra To Medela Hack: Using Medela Flanges With A Spectra Pump.
Step-By-Step Guide To Pumping With Pumpin Pals Flanges And A Spectra Pump
Here are the six steps you can use to begin pumping with your Spectra pump and Pumpin Pals flanges.
Step 1 – Connect The Pumpin Pals Flange To A Medela Connector
To begin, you will need the Pumpin Pals flange and a Medela Connector.
When you get the Pumpin Pals, you will realize that they come in a set with three different sizes. I found that these extra sizes were really useful because I would alternate between needing to use the Small and Medium Pumpin Pals flanges.
The next piece you will use is a Medela connector. This piece is integral. It is what connects the flange, the tubing, the valve, and the bottle.
Twist the Pumpin Pals flanges into the Medela Connectors to secure the two pieces together.
Medela pumping kits typically come with this connector so you can use different size breast shields without needing to buy a full set of pieces.
Spectra pumping kits typically include a large plastic flange. This flange encompasses both the breast shield and connector into one plastic piece.
The Pumpin Pals sold on Amazon are compatible with the Medela system and fit perfectly into the Medela connector. I used this set-up when I pumped with a Medela Symphony.
After I returned my Symphony rental, I figured out this system to continue using the Pumpin Pals with my Spectra pump.
Step 2 – Use An Adapter To Connect The Flange And Spectra Tubing
The next step is to use an adapter and connect the flange to the Spectra tubing. An adapter is needed because the Medela parts and Spectra parts do not have interchangeable tubing.
One reason that the adapter is needed is that the Spectra tubing is wide. The Medela tubing is designed to have a small plastic piece inserted into the Medela connector.
This is my favorite adapter to connect the flange and Spectra tubing. I like this one because it includes the Spectra backflow protector in one piece. This meant there were fewer pump parts to clean and keep track of.
There is also a tiny adapter that can be used to connect the flange to the Spectra tubing. When using these small adapters, they have one end that connects to the flange, and the other end connects to the backflow protector. Then, the backflow protector connects to the Spectra tubing.
Step 3 – Connect Duckbill Valves
Your normal Spectra duckbill valves will fit onto the pump parts. It is important to not forget the valves because they are the main piece that is responsible for the suction on the pump.
If you have Medela valves and membranes, they can be used as well. The Medela valves and membranes and the Spectra duckbill valves are interchangeable. It is up to your personal preference as to which part works the best for you.
Step 4 – Pump Into Narrow Mouth Bottles
The next step is to connect the flange assembly to the bottles that you will pump into. The Medela connector that we used in Step 1 is designed to pump into Standard Narrow-Mouth bottles.
Some examples of narrow-mouth bottles are:
- Medela bottles
- Dr. Brown’s bottles
- Evenflo bottles
All of these types of bottles are interchangeable. If you have any of these brands of bottles already, it is ok to use what you already have on hand. I have tested them and they all screw on perfectly to the Medela connectors.
You might already have some of the Medela bottles on hand to store breast milk in the refrigerator. Or, if you feed your little one out of Dr. Brown’s bottles, you can directly pump into the Dr. Browns bottles with this set-up.
Step 5 – Use An Adapter To Pump Into Wide Mouth Bottles (If You Do Not Have Narrow Mouth Bottles)
If you do not have any narrow mouth bottles on hand, there is an adapter that you can use. This adapter will connect the Medela connector piece to a standard wide-mouth bottle.
If you normally pump with a Spectra pump, you may already pump into the Spectra bottles or Avent bottles.
This adapter allows you to use the bottles that you already have on-hand (such as Spectra or Avent) with this setup. Without this adapter or a narrow mouth bottle, then your flange set up will not connect securely to the bottles you want to pump into.
Pro Tip: Use this set-up to pump directly into milk storage bags
- If you use this system to pump directly into milk storage bags, the Medela adapters in this gift set can be used to pump into milk storage bags.
- If you are pumping into these milk storage bags, then you will not need narrow mouth bottles from Step 4, or the adapter from Step 5.
- As an added bonus, I love this system because it saves so much time cleaning feeding bottles and pump parts.
Step 6 – Begin Pumping As Usual
Now that all of the pumping accessories are connected, you can begin your pumping session as usual. Typically, you will want to begin pumping in the letdown mode and then switch to expression mode.
For a detailed guide on how to use your Spectra pump, check out this article I wrote – The Ultimate Guide To A Spectra Pump.
Will These Steps Work With A Spectra S1, S2, or S9?
Yes, these steps will work for all three pumps: a Spectra S1, Spectra S2, and Spectra S9.
The pump tubing is interchangeable for an S1, S2, and S9. Because all three of these pumps use the same tubing, the piece that connects the flange to the tubing will work with all three of these pumps.
You can also check out this guide I wrote to the Spectra S1 and S2 pumps. It contains so many pro tips for using these breast pumps!
How Do I Know Which Pumpin Pals Sizes To Order?
Pumpin Pals includes three sizes in each set. The useful thing about this is that you will be able to try different sizes and see which one gives you the best output.
If you typically have a large amount of areola pulled into the tunnel while pumping, then you may want to try the small set. The small set includes Extra Small, Small, and Medium flanges.
The stickiness of the silicone on the Extra Small and Small flanges is really useful. It helps to keep a large amount of tissue from being pulled into the tunnel while pumping.
If you typically do not have a large amount of areola pulled into the tunnel while pumping, then you may want to try the medium set of Pumpin Pals. The medium set includes Small, Medium, and Large sets of flanges.
Pumpin Pals also states on their website that they offer a lifetime sizing guarantee. So, if you end up ordering the wrong size, just contact their customer service and they can help you find the correct size. If you need a different size, they will go ahead and ship you another set.
Now that you know how to use Pumpin Pals with your Spectra, I hope that they work out well for you! I hope that you will find them so much more comfortable while pumping!
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