Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump

The Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump is lightweight, programmable and has a handy backlit digital display that allows for pumping in the dark, and it also features a timer so you don’t have to remember to check the clock. Yes, the Freestyle has a higher price point than a lot of other double electric breast pumps, but it’s loaded with features and functionalities. And if you regularly pump on the fly, you’ll appreciate that it comes with a rechargeable battery (with a three-hour life), tote bag and mini cooler that is designed to hold up to four collection bottles. Also, depending on your needs, you can easily transition between using the Freestyle as a double or single pump.

Assembly

The pumping components—collection bottle, breast shield, membrane, etc.—consist of six pieces, and while they come assembled, you’ll need to take everything apart for the initial sterilizing boil. Once the parts are cool and dry, you can reassemble and pump. The Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump comes with an extremely helpful Quick Start Instruction booklet. It’s full of clear pictures and easy-to-understand instructions. Connecting the pump and collection bottles with the tubing is very intuitive. All of our parent testers agreed that this is an easy to assemble pump.

Comfort

Our parent testers all reported that they were able to use the Freestyle without any breast discomfort. Only one said she wasn’t able to sit in a comfortable position while pumping (there are lots of factors that could affect this). The Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump comes with two sizes of breast shields, 24 mm and 27 mm, and the Quick Start instruction booklet has handy illustrations to help you figure out whether or not you have the right fit—which is essential to comfortable pumping. If neither of the included breast shields fits, Medela offers three additional sizes: 21 mm, 30 mm and 36 mm.

“It looks scary and intimidating, but wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The hardest part was figuring out what flanges or breast shields are (I mistakenly thought a nipple shield was the same thing—it isn’t) and figuring out what size flange I needed for my particular nipples. I’d never measured my nipples before! Ah, motherhood.” —Ariel, mom of one

Pumping

With a backlit digital display and five simple buttons (on/off, reduce vacuum, increase vacuum, memory function key and let-down), all of our parent testers found it easy to use the various options for pumping styles or expression settings that the pump offers. To help get your milk flowing, the Freestyle will start in a stimulation phase, which is a more rapid sucking motion that aims to replicate a baby when it initially latches. The stimulation phase lasts two minutes, and during this phase you can adjust the vacuum for your comfort. After two minutes of pumping, the Freestyle automatically switches to expression phase. If your milk starts to flow before the stimulation phase is over, you simply have to press the let-down button to switch to the expression phase of pumping (which is more comfortable that the stimulation phase).

All but one of our parent testers found that they were easily able to get an airtight seal between the breast shield (or flanges) and their breast. When it came to milk leakage around the shields (a common issue) , the majority of our testers said they experienced some leaking. However, they described those leaks as “a few drops once or twice”—nothing that would deter them from using the pump. All of our moms agreed that the pump provides good suction and the majority found that their breasts felt fully drained after a pumping session (not fully drain your breasts could potentially reduce your milk supply) .

The majority of parent testers found it easy to detach bottles from the pump without spilling any breastmilk. And when it came to using the pump in a dark or dimly lit room, all of our parent testers agreed that it was easy to do so. Other features we find useful are the memory function (you can set your preferred suction level) and timer

Depending on your needs, the Freestyle can also be used as a single pump with a simple adjustment to the tubing. Our testers agreed that Freestyle packs up nicely and it’s easy to use when they’re away from home thanks to the rechargeable battery and included tote.

“I liked this pump because it was easy to use, you can pump both breasts at same time and it can be used hands free.” —Rachel, mom of one

Noise

In our lab tests, we used a noise meter to measure the volume of pumps by setting the pump at its highest setting and pressing the breast shields against our skin. The Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump was one of the two quietest pumps that we tested , but the sound is nevertheless quite noticeable. The majority of our testers described the Freestyle as “somewhat loud” and felt that they would wake a sleeping baby or partner if they pumped in the same room as them.

Cleaning

Our parent testers found that the Medela Freestyle parts are easy to clean by hand and in the dishwasher. We found that the flanges on the Freestyle are big enough that they’re not easily lost and sturdy enough that they shouldn’t tear during basic use and cleaning. (Note: As with any pump, check the instructions for which parts are dishwasher-safe.) Half of our parent testers noticed condensation in the tubing after washing, but the majority of those testers said that they were able to clear it out easily.

Dos and don’ts of pump cleaning: Don’t forget to rinse all pump parts that come into contact with milk immediately after pumping. Do use a dedicated plastic wash basin just for pump parts, nipples and bottles. Don’t soak or submerge pump parts in your kitchen sink. Get more pump cleaning tips.

Design

With a base unit that fits in the palm of your hand, it’s no surprise that the majority of parent testers agreed that the Medela Freestyle is compact and lightweight. Bonus: The breast milk collection bottles that come with the Freestyle are compatible with all other Medela pumps and the Calma feeding system.

Final word

The Medela Freestyle is a high-quality product that gets the job done efficiently and comfortably. The majority of our parent testers rated the quality of the Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump as very good and said they were very satisfied with it. While the price point of the Freestyle is on the higher end, all of our testers said they would buy this pump, and the majority also said they’d recommend it to other moms or moms-to-be. The Freestyle is truly an on-the-go pumping system, with a rechargeable battery (a rarity among double pumps) and accessories that span everything you could possibly need to pump and safely store milk.

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