Milking Machines – Medela Freestyle vs Swing Maxi Double

Nearly everyone recommended Medela double breast pumps but I couldn’t figure​ out the real difference between the Swing Maxi Double and the Freestyle, other than one was £250 and the latter £320. There were no real specs on the boxes or online, other than ‘18% more’ which relates to it being a double pump rather than single. As far as I’ve seen, shops don’t let you open the sealed box to inspect them so it’s quite an expensive blind purchase (go to the tech department in John Lewis and you can trial a £40 radio and learn the techie specs). It’s especially expensive if you buy it without knowing if your milk will come in, and if it does, at what rate.

So before splashing the cash, I emailed Medela to ask for tech specs. I gave a long list of questions. Though I’d been told the important things for a breast pump are:
  • the noise when pumping
  • the power of the pump
  • for how many daily pumps that power is maintained
They asked me to call them which made me dubious. I called, and was told they’d have to contact their Swiss HQ for stats as they don’t have them. That’s bizarre to me given this is a technical product. However… a very helpful guy got back to me.
  • The Freestyle is 10dB quieter (55dB ish vs 65dB ish)
  • They wouldn’t tell me the pump power but both models use the same pump
  • the Freestyle will do 7-8 daily pumps, the Swing Maxi Double 4-5
Both pumps have both battery and mains power. From what I can see, the only other difference of the Freestyle is that the batteries are rechargeable. That doesn’t equate to a £70 difference to me. Besides, we got a Swing Maxi Double for £180 on Amazon, almost half the price of the Freestyle.

A friend found the power too weak, and hired a hospital grade Medela pump instead. I might be a pussy but I don’t even use full power so far. It hurts my nipples and I hate seeing them deformed as they’re sucked into the filter.

I have realised that I don’t think I could pump enough for exclusively expressed bottle feeding. It takes me 15 ish minutes for 100ml (on a good day). That hasn’t satisfied RB on a bottle feed and RB seems to feed between 10 – 15 times a day. Though everyone is different so my output is true only for me.

Also, for the record, I’ve used a Tommee Tippee hand pump too. It’s £15 – £30 depending on where you buy it. I used it as soon as my milk came in to soften my boobs as RB wouldn’t latch and my boobs felt ready to explode. The milk came out faster than I expected but I haven’t used it since getting the electric pump out of pure laziness. When I stop being so lazy I’ll do a comparison with the electric pump.

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