Web site: Medela.com
Comments: The Freestyle is Medela’s latest pump and they pulled out all the stops: hands-free option, LED display, pumping session timer, memory function and more for $240.
How does it differ from the Pump in Style (PIS)? Well, the Freestyle can be removed from its bag (unlike the PIS backpack or shoulder bag) and it features a rechargeable battery for three hours of pumping (the PIS can use AA batteries or a wall outlet). Most moms only have to charge it once a week. No, it doesn’t have the PIS’s “2-Phase Expression technology” but it does have the one touch let-down button. It’s also missing the ability to independently control the speed and suction.
Yet it is the hands-free option that is the killer app here: fans call it “life changing,” especially for moms with another toddler at home (and hence the need to multi-task). Retail is $300, and at that price this pump better be darn impressive. Good news, though, we’ve found it online for under $250. Regardless, it’s amazing that all this comes from a pump that basically fits in the palm of your hand (ok, if you have big hands).
The Freestyle comes with cooler bag and ice pack, two breast shields, four baby bottles with lids, rechargeable battery, tote bag, and 12-volt AC power adapter.
So why buy the Freestyle instead of the Pump In Style? Fans of the Freestyle say it is easier to use and clean than the PIS. Even the breast shields are softer and more comfortable. The downside? The Freestyle isn’t exactly quiet, although no louder than the Pump In Style. And if you don’t keep the bottles at the right angle, milk can spill out. Also the Freestyle can be a bit fussy to assemble—if you don’t assemble the parts just so, you can get less suction.
Finally, moms complain that the battery is not as powerful as the corded Pump In Style Advance meaning you won’t get as much milk or it will take longer. Those cons aside, we still think this is an good pump. The Freestyle is highly recommended for occasional pumping. If you’ll be pumping more than once a day, consider the Pump In Style Advanced instead.
FYI: If you receive a stripped down Medela pump from your insurance company, Medela sells accessories (like carry bags) a la carte from their web site. Rating: A-