medela breast pump

 

Medela is known as one of the top makers of breast pumps and other nursing accessories for new moms. As a research-based company, Medela has funded research on breastfeeding and breast milk and worked closely with medical professionals and educational institutions in order to develop the medical vacuum technology found in its breast pumps. One such model is the Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump, which I had the chance to touch and feel (though not use since my son is long past the nursing age at 8 years old). I did, however, use a manual Medela pump way back when. And seeing how this electric pump works and how easy it is to set up makes me regret not having forked over the extra money for an electric version.

What is Medela’s Medical Vacuum Technology?

Medela’s 2-Phase expression vacuum technology is designed to mimic a baby’s natural sucking patterns. As it latches on to your breast, it begins quickly but gently to stimulate the milk ejection reflex. It then switches to a slow, deep rhythm, just like if your baby was suckling and not a pump. This way, you can get the most milk out of pumping to store in the refrigerator or freezer, or feed to your baby right away.

A flexible membrane prevents milk from getting into other areas of the pump. This pump, as with others from Medela, has Overflow Protection. This help prevent the growth of bacteria and microorganisms from building up in other areas of the pump, which can occur if they aren’t cleaned properly.

medela freestyle flex contents

What is the Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump

This pump, one of the simpler options from Medela without a ton of extra bells and whistles, can attach to both of your breasts simultaneously to extract breast milk twice as quickly as a single pump. It has a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to three hours of pumping per charge or up to eight double pumping sessions – more than you’ll possibly need in a single day. Charge it via the built-in USB port. You can use the MyMedela app with it to track pumping sessions, expression amounts, settings, and more.

Because of its compact size (it can fit in one hand), lightweight design (it weighs less than 300 grams), and included carry tote—along with battery-powered operation—this pump is ideal for use on the go as well as at home.

It has touchscreen controls for starting and pausing pumping action, switching expression mode, adjusting vacuum levels, and activating the delay start function.

Pump directly into one of four 150mL bottles (included) to store milkAlso included are lids, a pair each of 21mm and 24mm PersonalFit breast shields, two connectors, a hands-free kit, tubing, two bottle holders, a cooler bag with an ice pack, a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, AC/DC transformer, disposable nursing bra pads, and the aforementioned tote bag.

How Easy Is It To Use The Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump?

medela breast pumps double

The first thing you should do when taking the pump out of the box is charge the motor unit for at least two hours, and thoroughly wash and sanitize all of the components in boiling water or in a microwave using the Quick Clean bags, then allow all parts to air dry. (The motor unit can simply be wiped clean with a damp towel). Washing and sanitizing should be done every day as well. The tubes can be cleaned with drinking quality water and mild dish soap.

Try on the breast shields to find the size that fits best for you. You can measure your nipple diameter and use the handy guide in the instruction manual to pick which one fits best. You want to make sure that your nipple doesn’t rub against the side of the tunnel and that it is centred and can move freely for optimum pumping. Note that they are oval shaped so you can rotate them to find the best and most comfortable fit.

Assembling the pump once everything is clean and dry is fairly straightforward. Open the connector and insert the dark yellow membrane inside to form a seal. (The membranes come already inserted but should be removed, cleaned, and re-inserted). Close the lid until you hear a click. Then screw the connector onto one of the bottles, push the preferred breast shield into the connector body, insert the short end of the tubing into the connector lid and the long end into the motor unit, making sure it is pushed in as far as it will go. If you want to single pump, there’s a convenient tubing holder you can tuck the second tube into so it’s out of your way. If you want to pump from both breasts simultaneously, repeat the steps and add the second breast shield, connector, and bottle to the second tube. Place the shield(s) onto your breast(s) and hold it/them with your thumb and index finger, supporting the breast(s) with the palm(s) of your hand(s). If you want to work hands-free, you can purchase the Easy Expression Bustier separately. (It’s probably a worthwhile investment for the most efficient double pumping experience.)

medela breast pump motor

The motor unit has a few simple buttons. There’s an on/off switch on the side, a let-down button, increase and decrease vacuum buttons so you can adjust to the most comfortable pumping suction, and start-pause if you need to tend to something in the middle of your pumping session, or switch bottles. Turn the unit on and press the let-down button to start milk flow from the breast then adjust accordingly. As noted, the 2-Phase Expression method will start with stimulation via a fast pumping motion then slow down for more gentle and efficient milk removal once the milk is adequately flowing.

A battery display on the motor unit will let you know when it’s time to recharge. Two bars mean you have about 75% battery capacity left and one bar is about 40%. Once it starts flashing and gives you an audio signal, you’re almost out of battery charge. You can still use the breast pump while the battery is charging if you’re in a pinch, but it’s best to recharge when not in use so you aren’t tethered to a power outlet. It will also work more slowly this way.

If desired, you can download the free MyMedela app to a compatible Apple or Android device, pair the unit to it via Bluetooth, and keep track of your pumping sessions.

my medela app screen shotBottom Line About the Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump

As noted, I used a manual Medela pump when nursing my son to bottle breast milk and refrigerate/freeze it for when I would be away, I wouldn’t have the chance to nurse, or someone else was handling the feeding. (My son was also fed formula because of my limited milk production and his voracious appetite!) In hindsight, looking back at the endless hours I spent tucked away in my bedroom manually pumping one breast at a time, I wish I had invested in an electric pump.

While I didn’t get hands-on time with Medela’s Freestyle pump (my milk expression days are long over!), I can see how the 2-Phase Expression technology can help with mothers like me who had limited milk production and trouble simulating a baby nursing with a manual pump. Sure, the pump worked well and I was able to get enough milk to freeze in bags and provide for sleepovers or babysitters. But an electric pump like this one would have significantly sped up the process not only because of the electric motor but also because of the double pump style that allows busy moms to express milk from both breasts at the same time.

Breastfeeding was one of the most difficult challenges I had with my son after he was born. So any device that can help make it easier, and help a busy mom save a few hours each day, is worth an investment in my book. And this particular set is easy to set up, comes with a convenient carry bag, and includes technology backed by medical research that can help make your milk expression just as efficient with a pump as it is with your baby.

Check out the Medela Freestyle Double Electric Pump, and many others from Medela, at Best Buy Online.  

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