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Hands-on Gear Review
Medela Freestyle ReviewPrice: $380.00 List
Pros: efficient, portable, quiet
Cons: difficult to use, uncomfortable
Bottom line: While this pump is efficient and portable, the "hands free" feature is difficult to use and not reliable
The Medela Freestyle is great in theory, but in practice, we found it required patience and a little extra work. It's quite expensive, and all in all, we found that it just wasn't worth the price. This pump was designed with movement in mind and it seems great to be able to clip your pump to your belt and get some laundry done, but in all reality, it just wasn't practical. The parts that clip to your bra were kind of like a puzzle, and it was definitely not a one size fits all. While this pump can be efficient, it's hard to say how much milk you would express while "on the go" as most moms need to sit down and relax in order to express an optimal amount of milk.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Medela Company was founded in 1961 in Zug, Switzerland by 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 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.
— Lindsay Smith and Curtis Smith
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