Medela is one of the most well known makers of breast pumps. They must have some breastfeeding gurus on staff because moms will tell you that their breast pumps are fabulous! The newest addition to Medela’s line of breast pumps, the Freestyle, is no exception! The Freestyle is the first hands-free pump from Medela that was designed for the pumping mama who wants the pumping performance of a double, daily-use pump and the flexibility to be mobile and hands-free while pumping.
The Freestyle is currently Medela’s most expensive non-medical grade breast pump retailing for $379.99. This may sound expensive but if you are a daily pumping mama looking for a fabulously compact yet powerful double pump with the option to pump hands-free, then the Freestyle is TOTALLY worth it!
Freestyle is a double-electric, personal-use breast pump that is designed for daily use. The Freestyle is different than other pumps because of its small size, long lasting rechargeable battery and optional hands-free accessories.
First, let’s talk about size because in the Freestyle-world – size matters! I love the fact that the actual pump is so small. Fits-into-the-palm-of-your-hand-small! What’s great is that this little yellow pump (weighs less than 1 lb) is NOT permanently attached to a bag like with other electric pumps. When most moms think of a high quality electric pump – they think of a huge bag with a pump built in that isn’t great or convenient for traveling or on-the-go. Not the case with the Freestyle! You can travel with just the yellow pump and the collection kit on its own. This makes your pumping experience so much better and convenient!
The Freestyle does come with its own bag though. It’s a large, black tote that is roomy and easily fits everything you need to pump, store your milk, and carry any personal items with you. The bag zips closed, has two outside pockets and a roomy interior with four open pockets and a zip pocket for personal items.
Another great feature of the Freestyle is the long lasting rechargeable battery. This is great for pumping in places that don’t have convenient power sources. I’ve used the Freestyle in casino bathrooms (don’t ask!), in a cab, on an airplane and in my car just to name a few. The pump can go anywhere! A fully charged battery will provide about three hours of actual pumping time. I love that when turned on, the battery indicator on the display will show how much battery power is left so you won’t unexpectedly be out of battery during a pumping session. If the battery symbol starts to flash showing just one bar, there is only enough power left for approximately one 20-minute pumping session.
The Freestyle has a LCD screen, digital display that lights up and can also be used as a nightlight for those late pumping sessions. The face of the pump also has five buttons: on/off, memory, let-down, “+” and “-“(to increase and decrease levels).
The memory button allows mom to save her favorite pumping pattern for ease and efficiency for the next pumping session.
The let-down button allows a mom to change between the stimulation mode and the expression mode at the press of a button. The pump is pre-set to automatically change to the expression mode after two minutes. At any time a mom can transition between pumping modes simply by pressing the let-down button.
There are 9 levels in both stimulation and expression modes. Each level is indicated by L1, L2 etc. The pump starts in Level 3 when turned on. The “+” and “-“ buttons allow you to change the levels to make it comfortable for each individual.
So, the Freestyle has great features for the pumping mama but how does it pump and how quickly, you ask? I’m happy to report that the Freestyle is quick and comfortable (for a breast pump). This pump has a patented 2-phase expression technology. This basically helps in generating the “let down” reflex that helps milk flow more readily from the breast. According to Medela, their pumps have the only research-tested technology that closely mimics the nursing patterns of babies. Thus it produces the most milk in the least amount of time. That means it is fast! Every pumping mama is different but I was able to pump both breasts (at the same time) in less than 10 minutes. The Freestyle is powerful and effective!
Electric pumps, in general, are known for their loud motors. Not so with the Freestyle. The motor is rather quiet. Not silent by any means, but not embarrassingly loud either.
Freestyle includes the SoftFit™ breastshields which are flexible rubber cups that are much more comfortable than other hard breastshields because they conform to your breasts. Should a mom need a larger size shield, Medela’s entire line of PersonalFit™ shields are available.
The last feature that makes the Freestyle stand apart from the competition is the hands-free accessories. These included accessories provide the freedom for true pumping mobility. The hands-free kit won’t be for every pumping mama but if you are the mom who likes to multi-task with everything – you’ll love it! The hands-free kit allows mom complete hands-free freedom while pumping. It’s a little weird at first to have two breast shields connected to you pumping away while you are doing other things. But again if multi-tasking is your thing, you get used to it. The hands-free kit attaches to most nursing bras for a secure hold. The hands-free kit includes two sizes of straps that accommodate the majority of moms. The Freestyle hands-free kit was designed to fit the majority of moms up to approximately 40F bra sizes. It includes two hands-free strap sizes and adjustable top straps, so mom can customize her fit.
The hands-free kit is pre-set to work with Medela Seamless and Comfort style bras. Don’t have those bras? Not to worry because the kit also includes adapters so that it can work with other types of top flap nursing bras. The hands-free kit was designed as an optional accessory. Mom can choose when hands-free pumping is right for her. The hands-free kit and waist belt can be used together, on their own or not at all.
There is even a waist belt included that was designed to securely hold the Freestyle pump, giving mom the ability to move around. It is a great option for a mom who wants a complete hands-free experience without having to hold the pump.
The Medela Freestyle includes: pump, pumping kit with SoftFit™ breastshields, 4 collection containers with lids, rechargeable battery, carry bag with removable cooler, cooling element, power cord, hands-free kit with two size straps and bra adapters, waist belt with extension piece, instructions and the Breastfeeding Information Guide.
I found the pump rather easy to clean. All parts that come into contact with the breast and the breastmilk should be disassembled and washed in warm soapy water then rinsed in clear water and air dried on clean towel.
Most Medela collection and feeding solutions work with the Freestyle pump. These include the 5 oz (150ml) bottles and the 80ml containers. Medela’s Pump & Save™ bags are not recommended for use with Freestyle.
Overall, the Medela Freestyle is a fabulous breast pump! The only drawback of the Freestyle is the price. It’s expensive! But I would highly recommend this compact yet powerful double pump with the option to pump hands-free for all serious (or not so serious!) pumping mamas!