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Fabulous Freedom: Freestyle

Medela FreestylePumping sucks. Pun intended. But seriously, it does. For as easy and convenient as breastfeeding is, pumping is complicated and, well, inconvenient. I’ve always been in awe of women who are master pumpers. I have one friend whose sons both refused to breastfeed, and she pumped exclusively for nine months with each of them. Amazing.

I am not a master pumper by any means. But this time around, it will have to be different. So I jumped at the opportunity to try Medela’s newest breastpump, the Freestyle.

The Freestyle just won an Innovation Award from the JPMA at the ABC show earlier this month, and now I understand why. This thing is beyond innovation – it is genius.

The big story of the Freestyle is that it can be rigged to pump hands-free. It works with most nursing bras, thanks to three different attachment options, and some nursing tanks. The hands-free attachment system comes with so many pieces that it took me a week to work up the nerve to unpack it, but when I did, I was delighted. The instructions were excellent, and I was able to get it set up in under 5 minutes. And it really works. The concept behind the design is very complex, but Medela has executed it flawlessly, and the Freestyle is very user-friendly, even if it looks a little intimidating right out of the box.

Aside from the hands-free pumping action, the Freestyle has some other great features. The pump itself is really small with a nice, backlit digital display that shows the time elapsed. Like the other newer Medela pumps, the Freestyle has a two-phase pumping system – one phase that stimulates let-down, then another to pump the milk once it is flowing. The Freestyle comes with a tote bag, which can be used to stow the pump and any accessories you need. It also comes with an AC adaptor which powers the pump and charges the rechargable battery.

Overall, having used the older Pump-In-Style model, I think the Freestyle is a fantastic upgrade. For moms who will be pumping on a regular basis, it is worth every penny. I know there are special bras out there that enable hands-free pumping, but these hearken back to corsets and other uncomfortable medieval undergarments. The beauty of the Freestyle is that it works with your comfy nursing bras.

I may never like pumping, but I do love my Freestyle. And I dread pumping less now than I did before I figured out the hands-free component. So that’s saying something.

Next step – convince Zev to take a bottle…

5 comments

  1. Have you seen the La Leche League Intimates patented hands-free pumping bra? It is a pretty, seamless, cotton bra that allows you to pump or breastfeed from the same garment, and does not look like a corset or some “medieval undergarment”.

  2. I was thinking about getting this pump for the arrival of #2 (10 weeks and counting!), but wasn’t sure if it was worth it since I have the Pump In Style (PiS) Advanced. I love the PiS Advanced. My only complaint is that it is a little heavy for travel (and you have to use batteries if traveling internationally).

    I also have the Medela Swing for travel (after burning out the cord on my PiS Advanced). Other than the fact that the Swing is teeny, it is not my favorite. Compared to the PiS Advanced it has relatively poor suction, significantly less comfortable to use, and I didn’t feel like it kept my supply up as well. I also hate the fact that the connectors can’t be cleaned in the microsteam bags.

    My biggest concerns in considering the FreeStyle are:
    a) the Freestyle won’t be a significant enough difference vs. the PiS Advanced to be worth the upgrade for regular at home pumping
    b) the suction on the Freestyle will be more like the Swing (ie. weaker and less comfortable)

    Thoughts anyone?

  3. Ray – LOL. Sorry, I haven’t seen that one. If it is comfy to wear all day, it is definitely a great alternative to the Freestyle.

    Sarah – I’ve never tried the Swing. I have an older PiS and I have extensive experience with the Lactina. The suction on the Freestyle is pretty strong, and it is definitely comparable to my PiS, but I hadn’t really thought too much about it. I will get my hands on a Lactina and do some testing with regards to both suction strength and comfort. Of course, if I do that, I should also try that bra that Ray talked about – now that I’ve experienced hands-free pumping, I don’t think I can go back.

  4. I have used both the Lactina and the Freestyle. The Lactina has more suction than the freestyle, but not the two stage pumping. I like the Freestyle for its portability and ability to memorize the settings.

  5. There is a new hands-free pumping bra on the market that is not only super comfortable but looks good too! It is guaranteed to work with ALL breast pumps so if you don’t want to fork out the cash for the Medela Freestyle (as it is pricey), check it out at http://www.PumpEase.com.

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