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Thread: Medela freestyle vs Medela Pump in Style advanced

  1. #1

    Default Medela freestyle vs Medela Pump in Style advanced


    I have a 6 week old baby, and will be returning to work in 3 weeks. I will be away from my baby 8 hrs a day, and will be pumping while at work. I need help deciding between freestyle and pump in style advanced. Which pump is better to maintain milk supply. I would like to breastfeed my child at least until she is 1 yr old.

    Minky's mom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Re: Medela freestyle vs Medela Pump in Style advanced

    I dont know about supply, but my co-woworker has a freestyle and it is very noisy compared to a PIS.

    Have you looked into if you qualify for WIC? They can get you your own PIS free for working moms. WIC also recommends renting a good hospital grade pump the first month. I use a Symphony and love it.
    Proud Momma
    DD 2-1-01 BF for 16 months
    DS 1-9-10 BF for only 4 months due to low milk supply and working graveyard
    DD 4-28-12 Pumping 5X a day at work, Loving BFing

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Medela freestyle vs Medela Pump in Style advanced

    Oh boy!! I have a lot to say about this! I've used both the Freestyle and the Pump in Style Advanced pretty extensively. I've also used the hospital-grade Symphony. When I bought the FS, I thought I was getting Medela's top of the line consumer grade pump. I thought it was just a higher end, more portable version of the PIS. This is not true. They are fundamentally different pumps with completely different designs.

    The major differences are:

    1. The FS runs on a rechargeable battery (like a laptop) while the PISA plugs into the wall. The FS has a power adapter, too, but this simply charges its battery.

    This makes the FS much more portable. If you were going to need pump regularly without an electrical outlet nearby, this would be pretty important. I also found it handy for just around the house though, too. Easy to leave it on the bedside table or coffee table and not have to worry about keeping it plugged in. I have a friend who uses the belt clip and a hands-free pumping bra and actually walks around the house doing things while pumping.

    The PISA comes with a battery pack (takes about 8 AA batteries). I have never used it but it's nice to know it's possible to use it that way in a pinch. I have the car adapter and have used it a few times without any trouble.

    I found the FS to be significantly underpowered compared to the PISA. I just don't think the battery in the FS can produce as much power as the PISA with its electrical cord. The suction itself can be OK when the FS is put together correctly (more on that later) but not as strong to me as the PISA, and I found the operation just isn't as smooth or consistent. At best it was adequate and at times it was just plain unreliable. Stress about your pump is the worst feeling when you're going back to work. You need a reliable pump that is going to perform for you, and the FS did not get the job done for me in that way. I find the PISA to be MUCH better in terms of providing reliable, consistent and smooth operation.

    2. The PISA is attached to the bag it comes in. The FS motor is not and fits in the palm of your hand. Again, FS wins for portability.

    3. The plastic parts are different and fit together differently. The PISA uses the same plastic connectors and parts as the Symphony. A tried and true, reliable design. And if you ever used a Symphony in the hospital or rented one, you already have a spare set of parts. The FS parts slightly easier to wash (fewer nooks and crannies) but they must be completely dry before reassembly. This doesn't seem like a big deal but it is a real pain when you're trying to sneak in a pumping session during a nap and find your parts are still soaking in the sink from last time. Getting them dry enough with paper towels is tedious and I found almost impossible. The PISA parts don't need to be perfectly dry, you can just wash, shake off excess water and go.

    The FS parts have to fit together just so in order to create suction. It's a sandwich of two plastic discs on either side of a silicone membrane. The membrane has these little tabs which fit into slots on the plastic discs and if it all doesn't go together just right, it wont work right. The design is pretty poor and sometimes I couldn't get mine to fit together at all. I wouldn't get suction despite it all looking like it was going together properly. I know people who use the FS and who don't have this problem though. So maybe it was just me. But I bought a replacement set of parts (so that I'd always have a dry set on hand) and still had the same problem, so I don't think I had defective parts.

    The PISA parts, on the other hand, go together correctly every time. One piece just connectes to the next. You could put it together with your eyes closed, and when you're in a rush, you're not going to make a mistake and do it wrong and have to fiddle with it.

    4. The FS is considerably louder than the PISA. The FS makes a loud motor sound and the PISA is a quieter whooshing sound. Pumping in front of the TV makes pumping 100x less boring but I'd have to turn up the TV volume just to hear it over the FS pump. The PISA is less grating and way quieter. I also like to pump after baby goes to bed. With the PISA I can pump in bed in the same room without waking her up. With the FS, I would need to be in a different room. It's nice to watch your baby sleep while you pump!

    In summary:

    I can see how the FS would be a godsend for a frequent traveler or someone who pumps regularly without access to an electrical outlet. But its was so unreliable for me that it caused me a lot of stress around going back to work. Switching to the PISA was such a relief. It has been the next best thing to the Symphony and with none of the issues I had with the FS. The PISA's integrated tote bag is actually kind of handy and the decreased portability is a very minor for me compared to the major advantage of reliable performance.

    I would never recommend the FS to someone who is pumping daily in an office in a regular full-time job. Given your situation, I'd say your best bet is the PISA. That said, I have spoken with moms who love the FS and have not had problems with it. I use a lactation room at work and I always recognize when someone is using the FS because of the way the motor sounds and there seem to be a number of moms at my job who use it, so it must not be a disaster for everyone. But it did not work for me. And I don't think my dissatisfaction can be attributed entirely to user error--it has some design flaws for sure.

    Anyway, that is my experience! I hope that helps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Medela freestyle vs Medela Pump in Style advanced

    From everything I've read here, I think the PIS is generally preferred. I love the portability (in concept) of the Freestyle, but the PIS seems to hold up better. It has parts that are easily sourced for replacements, and it seems to last longer.

    I used a PIS for my first child. This time I'm using a Hygeia, and so far, so good. I like that it is a closed system pump (so milk can't get sucked into the engine and grow nasty mold, which can happen with the PIS or Freestyle) which also means it can be passed to another mom, it can be recycled, and it's WHO compliant. Also, I can use my PIS flanges with it so I can easily buy parts at Target if I forget my flanges at home (which happened a couple times with my first, since I travel for work a lot, so there were plenty of opportunities to forget my pump equipment in the microwave - sterilizing - back in the office).

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Medela freestyle vs Medela Pump in Style advanced

    Dear sprocket,

    First off, thanks very much for taking the time to write a through comparison between the two pumps. It is very helpful. I will go with PISA.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Medela freestyle vs Medela Pump in Style advanced

    I used both and actually liked the FS but I was pumping 8-10x day for my daughter while still being at home with her and I loved the mobility of it. I used a hospital grade though, for the first 7 weeks. But if you're just pumping at work and don't need to stand up or whatever while you pump, I can see just getting the PISA.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

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