Medela Freestyle Breast Pump Review: Less Cleaning

I’ve been testing breast pumps for the past few months, which means I spend a considerable amount of my time washing breast pump parts. Every day I’m washing parts that I’ve used, and parts that I’ll be testing next. There’s always either a bottle or wearable cup, various rubber pieces, and sometimes extra shields or sizers. All of which must first be boiled and then washed after my daily pumping session.

Which is why when I saw the Medela Freestyle had only three parts—two pieces to the wearable cup, and one rubber piece—I was embarrassingly excited. Less washing? No tiny duckbill flange that constantly tries to go down the disposal? Yes!

Portable and Wearable

Medea Freestyle.

Photograph: Medela

The Freestyle is technically just a portable pump, since the pump itself and controls are in an external device outside the bra. But the cups are wearable, which means they’ll fit entirely in your bra instead of needing a pumping bra and hooking up to a bottle.

That wearable cup is one of the things I love best about this pump. It has exactly three parts: two sides to the cup, and one rubber piece that acts as both the backflow protector and the duckbill flange. That rubber piece stretches across the middle of one side of the cup, and then the second half is placed on top of it.

I’m probably biased after testing half a dozen pumps, but the simplicity of assembly was so exciting to me. It’s still a total of six parts you need to wash (or pop in the dishwasher, as they’re all dishwasher safe), but it was much easier to keep track of than the usual 10 or more parts I would wash, dry, and have to build in a certain way. Especially with wearable pumps, putting them together can be less than intuitive.

After building your cups, tubing connects the cups to the pump itself. The pump is a cute little handheld device, and it has a similar feel to a Roku remote (though a little larger and heavier). When you turn it on, it lights up with LED buttons and a little display that tells you the battery life, how long you’ve been pumping, and what mode and level you’re on.

It’s easy to figure out how to connect everything together and start using it. You can pair the pump to your phone via the Medela app (Android, iOS), but none of the core functionality is built into it—you don’t need it to guide you through setup, and there’s a minutes timer on the pump itself (though the app will show you minutes and seconds). The Bluetooth connection didn’t always stay stable, but the app would reconnect and pick up your pump session where it left off.

Pros and Cons

Medea Freestyle.

Photograph: Medela

The three-part cups are super lightweight compared to true wearable cups, since there’s no motor and fewer parts. They’re comfortable to stick in any existing bra, and easy to wear and walk around in. The pump itself comes with a short lanyard that you can wear around your wrist or tuck into a pocket as you move around. But the top has an opening, so you shouldn’t bend over while wearing this pump.