As I discussed in my previous article for the moms who are ready to give up breastfeeding, my breastfeeding experience had a rough start, and honestly it will probably always be a work-in-progress. However, we are still going strong with exclusively breastfeeding, and are continuing on our path towards the goal of breastfeeding past the one year mark. Luckily, prior to giving birth to our third baby Rosalie, I had teamed up with Medela Canada. If I hadn’t been given the Medela Freestyle breast pump to review, the pain I experienced most likely would have been too much to handle.
Looking back, I really wished that I had opened up the Medela Freestyle and got it ready prior to needing it, but since my daughter decided to come 12 days before I was due I wasn’t completely prepared.
So, if you have time while you are pregnant and you are pretty positive you are going to want to pump at least sometimes, I would highly recommend purchasing the Freestyle pump ahead of time and getting it all ready.
I would have preferred to not be in a sleepless haze and in a lot of pain while trying to read the instructions and put it all together for the first time. However, if you want to keep it all in the box just in case, here is are some helpful videos that Medela made:
Medela Freestyle Breast Pump Review
Using the Medela Freestyle off and on, in addition to using lanolin and an all-purpose nipple ointment, allowed my nipples to heal without a disruption to my milk supply. I have been given two sizes of nipple shields to try to help our current issues with my overactive letdown. We are still trying them out, but am grateful to be trying something out that may help. Nipple shields, while I believe should be used sparingly, can also help moms get through the initial breastfeeding discomfort and help with latching on, but it is important that mom and baby are followed by someone capable of supporting their breastfeeding goals. You can pick up a Medela nipple shield for $13.99 at the Medela boutique.
If you are also in the market for a breast pump, you can purchase this Medela Freestyle double breast pump on the Medela boutique for $495.00.
The Medela Freestyle included everything you would need to be able to pump and feed your baby. Here is a list of everything that is included in the box:
- 1 x Calma nipple
- 4 x 150ml bottles with lids (BPA-free)
- 2 x PersonalFit Breast Shields size 24mm
- 2 x PersonalFit Breast Shields size 27mm
- 1 set of Freestyle Hands-free Connector Straps
- 1 x cooler bag with ice pack
- 1 x black tote bag
- 1 x Medela breastfeeding accessories pack ($40 value) – this includes helpful things like lanolin cream, disposable breast pads, and a quick-clean micro-steam bag,
I also received an Easy Expression Bustier, which is a zip-up bustier that goes over your clothing and holds the pump flanges in the pumping position so that you can pump hands-free. This would be super helpful if you are going to be pumping at work, you are pumping full-time for whichever reason, or if you have a busy household like mine. They are available at the Medela Boutique online for $47.95.
Here are some of the things that I loved about the Medela Freestyle:
I LOVE how all of Medela’s products fit together seamlessly to make life easier. The bottles fit onto the pump, and the Calma nipple fits on to the bottles. Their expression bags can attach right to the pump flanges and then placed in your freezer. Even the cooler bag with ice pack has space for each of the four 150 mL bottles so you can transport your expressed milk easily.
I LOVE how lightweight it is. This double pump only weighs 370 g and is the size of the palm of my hand. It has a clip on the back that you can hook onto your shirt or pants.
I LOVE that I can pump both sides in 10 minutes.
I LOVE the two-phase expression technology – it begins with short, quick sucking rhythm for the first two minutes to stimulate let down, and then switches to a slower rhythm to allow more milk release. If your let down happens earlier than the two minute mark, you can switch to the slower rhythm sooner with a touch of a button.
I LOVE that there are nine options for the strength of suction.
I LOVE that I can walk around, look after my children, and make dinner while pumping.
I LOVE that the lithium ion battery holds a charge for what seems like forever (actually around three hours!), and that the pump’s ability to remove breast milk doesn’t suffer when it’s unplugged.
I LOVE all of the accessories that are included, so you can try them all out.
I LOVE that I can put everything I need to pump in the black carrying bag it comes with. Knowing that I will easily be able to pack up everything I need to express milk takes away added worry if I ever find myself having to be away from my daughter.
There’s only one thing that I have found that I don’t love about the Medela Freestyle. In order for this pump to function as well as it does, it has five components that need to be washed, dried, and put back together between each pumping session.
The cleaning process is honestly the worst part about pumping and using bottles, but I do like how Medela sells a spare parts kit at their Medela Boutique for $34.99. I would make the investment of purchasing an extra set if I was using this pump around the clock for an extended period of time, so that I could have an extra set of clean parts on hand in case I was too tired at night or away from my house.
Overall, I love my new Medela Freestyle double breast pump, and I think you would love it too. If you’re concerned about price, you can always check with your insurance provider to see if they will cover some or all of the cost!
Double Pumping is Removes More Milk than Single Pumping
A recent study by Prime et al (2012) found that simultaneous (double) pumping created more milk ejections and a larger amount of milk at 2, 5, and 10 minutes than sequential (single) pumping. The study also found that double pumping removed a greater total amount of milk, and the cream content was greater than single pumping.
Feeding at the Breast At Least Part-Time Still Has Benefits
Just because this pump is super convenient, lightweight, and efficient, it doesn’t mean that I would ever recommend exclusively pumping out of convenience. If you and your baby are having difficulties obtaining a latch, please find support in your area through a lactation consultant or Laleche League leader. A recent study by Keim et al (2017), found that pumping without feeding at the breast is associated with a shorter breast milk feeding duration and an earlier introduction of formula. Thus, if possible every mom should continue to work towards the goal of feeding her baby on the breast.
There is No Specific Time Limit
There is no need to look at the clock when pumping… Just make sure that your breasts feel as if they have been completely drained, which should take roughly 15 minutes. It all depends how fast a woman’s milk ejection reflex is stimulated, and how many occur. Every woman is different!
Allow the Pump to do the Work for You!
To ensure your pump works it’s best, make sure you do a few small things:
- Stay relaxed, as stress inhibits oxytocin – the main hormone responsible for milk ejection.
- Watch the pump to see when you milk starts to flow, and then switch to the expression phase right away – 36% of the milk is obtained during the first milk ejection.
- Adjust the pump to the highest level of suction that is still comfortable during the expression phase.
Keim, S. A., Boone, K. M., Oza-Frank, R., & Geraghty, S. R. (2017). Pumping milk without ever feeding at the breast in the moms2moms study. Breastfeeding Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1089/bfm.2017.0025
Prime, D. K., Garbin, C. P., Hartmann, P. E., & Kent, J. C. (2012). Simultaneous breast expression in breastfeeding women is more efficacious than sequential breast expression. Breastfeeding Medicine, 7(6): 442-446. DOI: 10.1089/bfm.2011.0139. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23039397