Medela Freestyle Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Medela Company began in 1961 in Zug, Switzerland and was founded by a man named Olle Larsson. They currently sell a variety of products world wide and are one of the most popular pumps available in the United States today. This pump is designed as a portable pump that will allow you to "get things done" while you pump. Read on to see what we ultimately thought of this pump.
We scored this pumps at a 7/10 for efficiency. It creates a good amount of milk in a short amount of time. The reason we scored this pump a little low was because we found its design to actually have a negative effect on efficiency. We found it very difficult to relax enough to allow all our milk to be expressed while busily going about the house. As you use the contraption, it does become easier, but for us, it just wasn't practical enough to actually use as designed. If you are talented enough to get stuff done while pumping, we commend you!
This pump received a 6/10 for comfort, similar to the Medela Pump In Style Advanced which scored slightly higher at a 7/10. The loss of points was mainly due to the straps and bra hooks that make the whole pumping experience a little more cumbersome and a little less comfortable.
Ease of Use
This pump scored poorly when it came to ease of use. In fact, out of every pump tested, it received the lowest score in the metric. The process of putting this pump on and hoping that it stays connected to your bra was quite a task. There are so many straps and connections its like trying to connect an octopus to your pumping bra. Our testers were very frustrated hooking it up, having a piece fall off, and then starting all over again! It has a lot of moving parts and could be extremely frustrating, especially for the frequent pumper, to set this thing up every time. On top of the extended set-up time, it wasn't even very reliable or practical in our experience.
We scored this pump at a 7/10 for portability. It comes with a great tote bag, plus an insulated cooler, ice pack and extra bottles to store your milk in. It also includes a rechargeable battery pack that lasted over 6 hours in our dry run (this time will shorten when in actual use and varies depending on the settings you use). The actual pump is tiny which makes it very easy to pull in and out of the tote bag, which is especially great if you choose to pump on the go.
This is an open system unit, very similar to the Pump In Style Advanced. However, we did not experience condensation in the tubing like the In Style Advanced, and we did not note any other reviewers stating they had this problem. The parts are pretty easy to dismantle and clean, but overall, as an open system requiring more cleaning, we had to give this pump a lower score in this area.
Not a super-quiet pump, we gave this pump a 7/10 on acoustics. As stated before, there are both positives and negatives to a louder pump. On the positive side, people can hear you pumping from afar and will usually give you some more privacy, such as in a work break-room. The more negative aspect might be that it's too loud to use if your baby or partner are sleeping nearby.
This pump is meant for a frequent pumper who desires the ability to "move around" while pumping. It is a double electric pump and is efficient in emptying both breasts in a timely manner. It also comes with a rechargeable battery in case you don't have a plug available. For the price, we would not recommend this pump to occasional pumpers.
With a list price of $379.99, the Freestyle was the most expensive pump we tested. Although the accessories with this pump are great, we'd still recommend our Editors' Choice Award winning Spectra S1 as a better pump at the higher end of the price range.
This pump is portable and efficient but very difficult to use. It's expensive and doesn't deliver the experience we were hoping for from a pump at the top of the price range. If it is your goal to pump "hands-free" and be able to get things done around the house while pumping, then it may be an option for you. Expect to spend a lot of time making this pump work efficiently, and be prepared that it may not pan out to be exactly what you were hoping for.
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