Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Double Electric Wearable breast pump review
In a nutshell
A game-changing hands-free breast pump that, although a touch noisy and pricy, allows you to easily express on the go
What we tested
- Ease of use
4.1A star rating of 4.1 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Ease of cleaning
4.8A star rating of 4.8 out of 5.
4.2A star rating of 4.2 out of 5.
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.3A star rating of 4.3 out of 5.
- Lightweight, easy to use, easy to clean, great app, wearable, hands-free
- Difficult to see how much you’ve expressed, expensive, not completely silent
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Born out of Switzerland in the 1960s, Medela has worked hard to become the brand that is absolutely synonymous with breast pumping. Offering a wide variety of breastfeeding products, including both manual and electric pumps to suit all kinds of budgets, it's a respected and trusted brand that's clocked up numerous awards.
The Medela Freestyle is the brand's smallest and first ever wearable hands-free double electric breast pump, designed to let you carry on with whatever you need to do while expressing. It’s lightweight, completely hands-free, the machine washable cups fit in your bra and it even connects to the Medela family app to track your pumping habits. At £299 it's at the higher-end of the hands-free breast pump market alongside the Elvie pump, £269 for a single pump, compared to more budget-friendly options like the Wren Hands-Free electric double breast pump, at £179.99. To find out how it compares to other brands, check out our list of the best breast pumps.
Jess, a journalist and mum-of-2, used the Medela Freestyle hands-free double electric pump as part of her breast-feeding journey with 3-month-old Hettie.
What were your first impressions?
At first sight I was really impressed at how compact and non-clunky the Medela Freestyle hands-free breast pump seemed, and loved that the collection cup only consisted of 3 pieces as it meant less faffing about when washing. Inside the box were 2 collection cups of different sizes (21mm and 24mm), tubing, the motor unit, power adaptor, cable and an instruction manual with clear guidance on how to set it up. There was also a separate warning to ensure you sterilised the collection cups (but not the tubing!) before use, which I thought was super helpful.
Was the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump easy to set up?
Super easy. Once I’d had a quick glance at the manual, sterilised the cups and put them together with a click I was pumping within 2 minutes. If you want to use it hands-free you need to charge the motor unit for 2 hours, or if you’re happy to be stationary you can use it plugged in straight away. The instruction manual has a really simple photo guide explaining exactly how to use the product and further advice on how to properly clean and wash it.
How easy is the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump to use?
The Medela breast pump is extremely easy to use, but it is also easy to make mistakes in set up that hinder the product's performance. For example, you need to ensure that the yellow membrane is completely fitted across the valve. If it isn’t, it will still sound like it’s working, but it doesn’t pull the milk through meaning, in my case, that it just pooled in the shield and left me a bit soggy.
The motor unit is very simple and allows for 2-Phase Expression. This aims to mimic babies nursing habits with an initial stimulation phase which is faster, and acts to stimulate milk flow, followed by the expression phase, which is slower; like a deeper suck. Once your milk starts to flow you can press the let down button on the motor unit to start the expression phase, or this will happen automatically if left for 2 minutes. The motor unit also has + and - buttons to adjust the strength of the suction once expressing. Once you’ve finished expressing, you can easily pour the milk out of the holes at the top into a bottle or storage bag.
How comfortable is the breast pump?
Really comfortable. There's a choice of cup sizes (the manual includes guidance in how to choose the right one) and you simply position the cup around your nipple with it nestled inside your bra. The cups were so lightweight and fit so well, that it was easy to forget I was actually pumping.
How effectively does the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump express?
Very! Initially I did find it quite difficult to know if the pump was working, as it’s hard to see if milk is collecting in the cups (a definite negative compared to the traditional bottle collection method). However, once I was sure I was expressing, the pump was absolutely incredible. I pumped 150ml from each breast in less than 20 minutes; so far more effective than any pump I’ve used before. In fact, it was a bit of a shock when I removed the cups and saw how much milk I’d produced.
How well do the different settings on the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump work?
As a pretty seasoned breast feeder/pumper, I found that I could quite quickly ramp up the suction on the motor to express faster. You can definitely feel if the suction is too high as it begins to hurt your nipple, so I’d advise others to have a play around with the different settings to see what works for you.
Does it have a control pad or a smartphone app?
Yes, the Medela Freestyle can be used alongside the Medela Family app, which I found really easy to download and use. You can connect your pump to the app just by turning it on and using the sync option on the app (it took seconds to connect). The app has a stats section which shows (amongst other things) when you pumped, for how long, which breast, how much milk was produced and what level setting you had it on, which was really useful as a reminder when I pumped again. It’s important to note though that you don’t need the app to make the pump work, it’s just a nice added extra if you choose to use it!
How portable is it?
As the motor unit is light and small enough to fit in your pocket, I found the Medela Freestyle breast pump to be super transportable. I ran around after my toddler whilst pumping, drove my car and even got ready for my first night out. They don’t make a carry case, but you could easily pop it in a handbag or backpack.
How noisy is the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump?
I’d say the pump is mid-range when it comes to noise. It isn’t the loud grinding bass of a hospital grade pump, but it isn’t silent, and there’s no way you could sit next to someone on public transport wearing it and not have them wonder what on earth was going on. That being said the noise didn’t grate on me, and it was quieter than my Medela Flex.
What's the battery life like for the Medela Freestyle breast pump and is it easy to charge?
I was really impressed by the pump’s power. The charge lasted ages, and the LED screen informs you of the battery power so you can make sure to charge it up again. The USB-C plug is also light weight, so not a hindrance if you’re taking the system away with you. I also used it plugged in to pump and found this worked really well.
How easy is the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump to clean?
I’d say one of the big pros of this pump is how easy it is to clean. It essentially has 3 components that need washing: the 2 parts of the collection cup and the yellow membrane which is the rubber bit that goes inside. You dismantle these, give them a wash with warm soapy water then either pop in the dishwasher or steriliser. So easy. It’s really important not to wash the tubing like this (no milk goes near the tube), and the instruction manual gives really clear guidance on how to wash each part.
How does it compare with other breast pumps you’ve used?
The 3 main USP’s of this product, in my opinion, are that it’s: portable, easy to use and effective. Having tried other pumps, I’d say it definitely comes out on top for these 3 areas. As a busy mum, what better gift is there than time and the ability to even further multitask? The ease of wearability of this breast pump puts it in a different league to the other versions of the Medela pumps. From research and speaking to other mums, I think the best like-for-like comparison would be the Elvie Stride Double, £299, which is a similar price point, but (at least claims to be) quieter.
What’s in the box?
- 2 x collection cups of different sizes (21mm and 24mm)
- Motor unit
- Power adaptor
- Instruction manual
What are the additional accessories that you can buy?
It’s not essential to buy these from Medela but they do sell great storage bags, from £4.49, which you can then freeze your milk in. As you’re not pumping into a bottle, you’ll also need to have a sterilised bottle ready to tip the milk into (if needed) which Medela sell – or you could use another brand if preferred.
What did you think of the packaging of the breast pump?
The pump was packaged effectively, in mainly recyclable cardboard. It felt well cushioned, but none of the packaging seemed wasteful.
Can the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump be reused or recycled?
As a closed-pump system the Freestyle could definitely be resold or donated at the end of your usage. In the US, Medela run their own recycle scheme via their website, but this doesn’t appear to be available in the UK yet.
Do Medela offer any repairs for the Freestyle breast pump?
If bought through Medela or a trusted supplier the Freestyle includes a 1-year warranty, however, this is extended by an extra year if you register your pump within 28 days of purchase on the website. The warranty includes both replacement and repair options, depending on the issue. They also sell some (but not all) spare parts on the website, if the issue occurs outside of warranty.
Now you’ve tested it, what would you have wanted to know before purchasing this pump?
I’d have wanted the heads up on double checking the membrane, as it was frustrating to have sat for 10 minutes without realising it hadn’t been working. I’d also download the app from the get go as I think it enhances the product experience greatly.
Who would the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump be most useful for?
In my opinion, this product would be amazing if pumping was a real key part of your breastfeeding experience e.g. you’re combi-feeding, struggling with latch, heading back to work or need to be away from your baby but still want to provide milk for them. I also think it would be really useful for anyone struggling with feeding, as I found it was very powerful and also so easy to use and track what I was doing to successfully express.
Is the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump worth the money?
Although I originally balked at the price, I think this product really does take the chore of pumping away, and is definitely worth it if pumping is a big part of your breastfeeding journey. If being hands-free is important to you, or you’re struggling with time and could benefit from being able to double pump, I’d say it’s a worthwhile splurge.
How does it compare with other hands-free breast pumps on the market?
|Double or single?
|How much milk does it hold?
|Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump
|300ml (150ml per pump)
|Wren Hands-Free Double Breast Pump
|300ml (150ml per pump)
|300ml (150ml per pump)
|Lumina Breast Pump Pro Double
|300ml (150ml per pump)
Where can you buy the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Electric Double Breast Pump?
It may be a tad pricey, but if you’re looking to invest in a hands-free breast pump that is easy, lightweight and saves on time I think it’s 100% worth the money. The wearability factor really helps free up your time and the Medela Freestyle is so comfortable to use you'll forget you're wearing it. Just make sure you assemble it correctly every time, download the app, and get your nipple positioned correctly in the cup. Happy pumping!
|Freestyle Hands-Free Double Electric Wearable
|Usb rechargeable power pack
|Tubing, cups, membranes, breast shields, power adaptor