Medela Freestyle® Breast Pump Review

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Medea Recycles program and Medela Freestyle® Breastpump review

My Medela breast pump was a life saver when Dub was a baby. He has always been high needs and as an infant he didn’t allow my husband or I to sleep very much and certainly not at the same time. Since we were on very different sleeping schedules I had to pump a lot more than I had initially planned so my husband could feed him while I got some sleep. 

I held on to my Medela after Dub weaned, but now that it looks like we won’t be using it again I am excited to learn that Medela now recycles breast pumps through the Medela Recycles program. When you are finished with your breast pump you can send it back to Medela for recycling. Every used pump that they receive through Medela Recycles supports the donation of new hospital-grade, multi-use breast pumps and supplies to Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®).

Ronald McDonald House is a fantastic organization where families can stay while their children are hospitalized. By donating multi-use  to RMHC®, you will help give families caring for a baby in the NICU the ability to give their baby freshly pumped milk throughout their stay. 

Find out more about how you can help by visiting Medela Cares.

Kara’s review of the Medela Freestyle® Breastpump & accessories:

Medea Recycles program and Medela Freestyle® Breastpump review

Review by Kara

I received a complimentary Medela Freestyle® Breastpump in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links. 

Since my last review, our family has grown. The Marksman was born a few weeks ago. He was quite overdue and has the extra weight to prove it. He loves to chat and we are absolutely in love with him.

When The Philosopher was an infant, I pumped just enough to keep a good supply for the occasional babysitter. We never ran out and even had a fair amount of frozen milk left over for him to use once my milk dried up during my pregnancy. That was achieved with a hand pump that I used probably a few times a month. It worked just fine. But this time, I had different plans. I was not looking forward to pulling out my hand pump twice a day, every day so I was very excited when Medela sent me a breast pump kit.

Medea Recycles program and Medela Freestyle® Breastpump review

Medela sent me a variety of pumping supplies: an easy expression bustier for hands-free pumping (which I haven’t been able to use comfortably yet since we’re still in the early days of breastfeeding), a tube of tender care lanolin, some quick clean micro-sanitizing bags, quick clean sanitizing wipes (which include wiping down restaurant high chairs and tables for the recommended use), a box of pump and save bags, a Calma bottle, a box of disposable nursing pads, and of course a Medela Freestyle® breast pump.

Quick Clean™ Micro-Steam™ Bags

The sanitizing bags are wonderful. Seriously, go buy some now. There is no reason to sanitize your pumping equipment, pacifiers or bottles the old fashioned way. This is so much faster and easier. And you can do it while babywearing without risk of spilling boiling water on your baby! You drop your washed equipment in the bag with a few ounces of water, microwave for a couple minutes, and they’re fully sanitized! I like to toss everything in the bag after my second pump of the day, and it’s fresh for me to use in the morning.

Calma® bottle

We don’t plan on using a bottle until Mark is a bit older, but I am intrigued by the Calma® bottle for when we do. It is designed with a valve that only works if the baby creates a vacuum and sucks much like they do at the breast. It sounds great for moms who worry about switching back and forth between bottle and breast. The pieces look and sound different from typical bottles, and I plan on watching closely when my husband first gives Mark this bottle because I want to see it in action. There are a lot of parts, but as far as I can tell, the pieces only fit together only one way. However, if you’re a family that is looking for simplicity, this may not be for you.

Disposable Nursing Pads

I typically prefer reusable breast pads, but the Medela disposable nursing pads were great the first few weeks. Mark was an exceptionally messy eater at first. When I used my reusable pads, I was going through multiple bras a day because they just couldn’t absorb quickly enough. The Medela nursing pads cover the entire area at risk of getting dripped on but are still thin enough to be discrete and comfortable. Wow, do these things hold a lot!

I also had a scary experience with Phil when he was very small where a pad fell out of my bra during a night feed and somehow landed right on his nose and mouth while he slept in his cosleeper. His head was turned enough to one side that he was able to breathe the whole time, but it still scared me. I realize that the odds of that being repeated are extremely unlikely (the odds of it happening in the first place are extremely small!), but I prefer not to use reusable pads at night because of this. The Medela pads, like most disposable bra pads, have a section on the back with adhesive that holds it in place in your bra making these even less likely to somehow fall out of a mother’s bra and land precisely on a baby’s nose and mouth.

Medea Recycles program and Medela Freestyle® Breastpump review

Medela Freestyle® Breastpump

The pump. This pump is magnificent. It comes with four bottles with lids to pump into, a small cooler with ice packs to keep milk cool while en route from work to home or where ever you’ve been while pumping, a rechargeable battery with the option of plugging into a wall outlet, two different sizes of breast shields, a kit to convert to hands-free pumping, and a bag to store it all in.

It is small and lightweight, about the size of my hand, making it very easy for moms who have to carry a pump to work every day. It has Medela’s “2-Phase expression technology” meaning it pumps at a pace similar to how a baby sucks. The pumping speed switches once you press a button to let it know you have had a letdown. This is supposed to help remove more milk in less time. Comparing this to my hand pump, which of course, removed milk at whatever pace my hands pumped, this certainly seems true. I can pump out the same amount in roughly half the time, not even considering this is a double breast pump, and my hand pump requires me to do one side at a time.

Users can also customize the vacuum levels. I didn’t think this would make much difference, but my button-loving toddler encouraged me to experiment a bit by increasing the vacuum level in the middle of a pumping session and I discovered that different levels both felt more natural and helped me remove more milk.

I have only found 2 very minor problems with this pump: When I hold the bottles with my hands, I occasionally put pressure on where the tube attaches to the pump and suddenly realize that suction is not occurring even though the pump is still running. This doesn’t happen if I pay attention to how I’m holding it and won’t be able to happen once I start using the hands-free bustier.

The other problem is that the buttons are super appealing to Phil and I frequently have my settings changed mid-pumping session. I think we can call this user error, though, and it’s not much of a problem since he’s always willing to switch the settings back when I tell him which buttons to press. On the flip side of this, the entire process is fascinating to him. I never have to worry about what he’s doing while I pump because he sits right next to me and watches the entire time, hoping I will tell him to press a button. He also keeps up a great running commentary on the process about how eager he is to drink all the milk.

To purchase

If you’re interested in any of this equipment and accessories, you may purchase from the Medela website or Amazon

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  1. I have heard so many great things about this pump. I really could have used this for my first child since I had a lot of problems with breastfeeding.

  2. I love everything about this pump but my favorite is that it is small and lightweight. Thanks for the review.

  3. I love Medela pumps. I was able to use one in the pumping room at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh when my daughter was in the NICU and it was a dream! The Freestyle looks wonderful – I absolutely love the tote bag! So convenient to take all around.

  4. Thank you for the great review. My husband and I are planning on having our first soon, so this was a great read! 🙂

  5. I love the idea of the Calma bottle! I will need to go into the office a couple times a week so will need to be pumping as well as breastfeeding. Nipple confusion is my biggest worry, so it is great to hear Medela has created a bottle to help avoid this!

  6. With my first baby, I used the breast pump that came with my insurance. I can’t even remember what brand it was. I had no prior comparison, and I thought it was okay… but multiple of my other mommy friends SWEAR by the Medela and say it’s the absolute best. I’ve already decided that for baby #2 due early next year, I was going to get a Medela. If I could win one, that would be an absolute blessing! I also love the bag that it comes with. Mine didn’t have anything to make it discreet haha I just carried it in a zip block in a back pack. Stylish…

  7. I love the little pump bag that comes with the breast pump. No one would ever guess that’s what it is! Thanks for the review!

  8. I was able to use a wonderful Medela in the hospital to help get some colostrum out for my babe- it worked amazingly. I wish I had the money to get one of these because I could really really use it. The cheapo pumps just don’t have the staying power that these Medelas do!

  9. I was already planning on registering for this, but reading this review makes me more confident in my choice.

  10. I love the bag that it comes in!! You can take it anywhere with you and it doesn’t attract tons of attention. I really like that there are different levels too! I remember pumping a lot with my oldest and, at first, the lower setting was all I could stand. As time went on, I needed it to pump “stronger.” 🙂 I guess it won’t be too long and I’ll be needing another pump!!

    1. Yes, the bag is pretty discreet. I normally pump in my living room so, of course, all my supplies are there too. It’s nice to have the bag to hide everything when we have guests.

  11. I have always know that when I got pregnant, I would use a medela to help with pumping. Having been a nanny for many years and working for a lactation consultant, I understand the difficulties that lots of women face when it comes to breastfeeding. Now that I am pregnant with baby number 1, I am excited to get all the information that I possibly can on breastfeeding. I truly appreciate your review as it makes me that much more confident in my decision to choose Medela when it comes time to purchase a bread pump.

  12. I have a brand new grand daughter born on the 10th. Mommy is already trying to pump manual style. I remember these took SO long. What a long way this industry has come to support moms that need to pump for work, for a little sleep, and in our familys case, for a micro preemie my daughter had a few years ago. Thank God for the program at the hospital to rent a machine so she could pump for her little guy. There is NO way a parent in that situation could afford a good pump like that.
    The recycle program is something so amazing and gift and health giving. You cannot BUY the love and satisfaction of knowing you are providing such a gift to your child. Kudos for a company that will do this.
    I had no idea you could pump right to the bags? So nice to have the storage bags instead of cleaning multiple bottles each day. How convenient!

  13. I used a Medela single pump with my son and it was great! I would love to have a double pump to get the job done twice as fast with baby #2! I loved the bags that attached to the pump – made storing and freezing milk so easy!

  14. I love that Medela has a recycling program! No one ever wants a hand-me-down breast pump, so it’s nice that you can recycle rather than throw away. I was never able to afford this awesome pump, but I’ve heard nothing but good things!

    1. Medela pumps are single-use so yes, you shouldn’t use a hand-me-down pump 🙂 Hospital grade pumps can be used by more than one user.

  15. i have so many great things to say about medela products. i currently have the single electric pump (think its called the swing) and it is amazing. comfortable and easy to use. i also have the hand pump (didn’t think i’d need my pump on our trip but ended up needing one). i was blown away with how well it worked. on our cross country move we used the sterilization bags and they were so convenient to use. i loved that you could use each bag a few times. i would still love to win the double as i think it would be so much more convenient than my single.

  16. I love that it comes with the micro steam bags and I also like that you can also customize the vacuum levels.

  17. Reading this review really makes me wish I was able to have a Medela brand pump! My insurance only covers Ameda pumps and I was not very happy with its performance with my first baby. Our second baby is due in roughly 2 weeks and I would absolutely love to try a Medela pump because of reviews like this and hearing from other moms on breastfeeding groups who have had great success with Medela.

  18. I like how easily you can sanitize and how many settings there are on this pump! Thanks for the review!

  19. I love that this comes in a tote and is removable! It’s definitely the style I will be purchasing… I know I’ll be more likely to carry it than a backpack version as I am a serious tote-bag-lover. Lightweight is also so, so important! Thanks for the thorough review. Those sanitizing bags sound pretty cool, too!

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