Welcome to the terrifying and confusing world of breast pumps. If you’re planning on providing breast milk for your babe, but can’t or won’t be near him/her every three hours for a year, you’ll likely be thinking about pumping and storing milk.
Unlike the days of yonder, there are now a plethora (fun fact: plethora comes from a 1500’s term meaning “excess bodily fluid”…fitting, eh?) of breast pumps on the market to choose from, and many are currently covered at least in part by insurance. While I can’t speak to most of them, I do own and use regularly two Medela pumps – Pump In Style Advance and Freestyle. If you’re deciding between the two, or thinking about owning both, here are my thoughts:
Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced
Suction: This pump seems to have better suction power at a lower level. Depending on your needs and comfort level, this gets the job done at a lower pumping level than the Freestyle. Pumping sessions go faster and are a little more comfortable.
Noise level: Overall, this pump is quieter than the Freestyle. If you have concerns about making noise at work or wherever you’ll be pumping, PISA may be a better choice for you. Honestly, it matters to me when I’m trying to pump and watch some trash TV at night. I don’t need my neighbors knowing I binge watch House Wives, ok?
Sturdier: The PISA is a little tank. It is square and solid and it makes me feel safe. Is that weird?
More common: The Pump In Style seems to be the number one choice of pumps for moms. Some advantages of having a common pump are that there are more people who are familiar with this pump, and there are better and cheaper accessory options. If you accidentally lose a part, or need to replace one quickly, you should be able to find what you need at a store or online pretty easily.
The Pump In Style is somewhat bulky/heavy and hard to take on the go. It’s by no means huge, but it’s certainly not discreet.
It also must be plugged in to work. This limits where you can pump. Probably not a daily concern, but certainly something to consider if you’ll be traveling or on the go a decent amount. Or if you shamelessly want to sit on the couch and watch cat videos on Youtube while you pump.
Bottom Line: The Pump In Style is an efficient, quiet, easy-to-use pump, but not great if you’ll be pumping in a lot of different places regularly.
Mobility: As its name indicates, the Freestyle is made to give you freedom of mobility. You do NOT need to be tied to an area with an outlet to use this pump. It even has a little belt clip so you can mega-multitask by clipping it to your pants, walking around, and do something fabulous like another load of laundry.
Size: This pump is pretty itty. Which means it’s great to toss in a bag or purse for pumping on the go, which is the whole point. I even brought one to a wedding reception and kept it in my purse.
Battery Life: I use this pump twice a day, and only charge it once a week. The battery life is pretty notable.
Digital Interface: This isn’t a huge deal, but I really like that the Freestyle is digital, so that I can crank it to the same setting each time and know it’s the same. It also automatically starts timing each session, so you know how long you’ve been going and how much longer you have left to avoid that meeting you’re trying to miss all together.
The Freestyle doesn’t have as powerful of suction as the PISA. I have to crank it up to a pretty high level to get the same pump as I get from the In Style.
It’s also a little more obscure and parts are harder to come by, so I have to buy parts on Amazon and wait a few days for them to be shipped. If you happen to forget or lose a part, you probably can’t run to Target and get a replacement.
Finally, this little sucker is kind of loud. It vibrates, so if it’s place on a hard surface, it can make a ruckus. I like to set it in my lap to help diffuse some of the sound.
Bottom Line: The Freestyle is perfect if you’re going to be on the move, away from outlets, or if space is a concern. It will allow you to pump in the car if that’s your thing, walk around the house while you pump, or generally give you peace of mind that you can do your pumping thing whenever, wherever. If you need a good, strong suction, this may not be the best choice for you.