Are you trying to decide between Medela Freestyle vs Freestyle Flex?
Then let us help you decide which is best breast pump for you and your baby with our Medela Freestyle vs Flex review!
The Freestyle has been one of the most important breast pumps in the Freestyle range for over a decade.
When first released, the portable, double electric breast pump was truly original, and many moms owe comfortable expressions to its impressive technology.
But in the years since its initial release, the Medela Freestyle has fallen behind the times. Features that were innovative became commonplace.
So, Medela has given the Freestyle a fresh new update. The Freestyle Flex is designed to have all your favorite features of the Freestyle, upgraded.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how the Medela Freestyle Flex compares to the original. Is this update as exciting and user-friendly as the Freestyle double electric pump? And if so, what does it do better?
And if you love this Medela Freestyle Flex vs Freestyle breast pump comparisons guide, make sure to check out our guides on Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S2, Medela Freestyle vs Pump In Style, and Medela Freestyle Flex vs Swing Maxi.
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Medela Freestyle Vs Flex
Let’s dive in and take a look what is the difference between Medela Flex vs Medela Freestyle.
All About The Medela Freestyle
The Medela Freestyle was first released in 2008, and quickly became one of the most popular breast pumps on the market.
It was the first hands-free and rechargeable breast pump that moms could easily get their hands on. Conveniently portable and easy to use, it remained at the heart of the Medela range for decades.
Any whilst it was a great breast pump, it’s important to note that the Medela Freestyle has now been discontinued and replaced by the new and improved Medela Freestyle Flex.
All About The Medela Freestyle Flex
The Medela Freestyle Flex is a double sided, electric breast pump that came first on the market back in 2002 to replace the original Medela Freestyle.
While the basics have remained, the overall design has undergone improvement, reacting to the developments in the breast pump market that followed the Freestyle.
The Freestyle Flex has been designed to be portable and convenient for part-time pumpers or moms that are always on the go and need a breast pump that can allow them to pump at the most opportune time, no matter where they are.
It features a rechargeable ion battery which means that it is super easy to pump hands free. The built-in rechargeable battery that lasts for up to eight double-pumping sessions from a full charge, so you can rest assured when you’re out and about and have the sudden need to pump discreetly.
The Medela Freestyle Flex breast pump is also incredibly lightweight, weighing only 1lbs. This makes it super convenient to pop into your bag and travel around with.
This breast pump is for daily use for women who consistently pump throughout the day. This is made super easy thanks to its patented 2-Phase Expression Technology which produces more milk in less time.
The Medela Freestyle Flex breast pump includes 2 sizes of PersonalFit Flex breast shields with a super soft rim to make the pumping experience as comfortable as possible.
With a modern design and an easy to use digital display, The Freestyle Flex also features back lighting for when you’re pumping at night.
This pump conveniently connects to the free Medela Family app, which allows you to track your pumping progress.
A downside to this breast pump is that a few women claim that the suction begins to reduce after only a few months of use.
- Small, compact, lightweight
- Rechargeable battery that lasts for up to eight double-pumping sessions
- Backlight for easier night time pumping
- Connects to the Medela Family App for better tracking
- Unable to adjust cycle speed, only the vacuum strength
- Pump parts are unique to the Flex, which can make it more difficult to get a replacement in a hurry
You can read more in our full Medela Freestyle Flex review.
What Are The Similarities Between The Freestyle And The Freestyle Flex?
As the Freestyle Flex is an update on the original Freestyle, Medela has retained many of the key features so vital to its initial success.
Let’s take a look at the similarities between the two, and if Medela has maintained what moms appreciated in the original Freestyle.
Electric Double Pump
The very basics of the Freestyle have been maintained in the Freestyle Flex. This is still an electric double pump, designed to be portable and easy to use.
It’s also still the same cheerful yellow that characterizes Medela pumps. Although there are many clear differences, the overall impression remains the same.
2-Phase Expression Technology
Mimicking the natural feed of a baby, 2-phrase expression starts fast to stimulate milk flow, and slows to feed. It feels natural, and can also lead to a more efficient pump.
An important feature in many Medela pumps, it can be found in both the Freestyle and Freestyle Flex.
The rechargeable battery was critical to the success of the Medela Freestyle, as it improved the portability and function of the pump.
The Freestyle Flex also has a rechargeable battery, although the system has been updated. But we’ll cover that in more detail below.
What Are The Differences Between The Freestyle And The Freestyle Flex?
The Medela Freestyle was an innovation when it was first released, a double electric breast pump that could be used hands-free and recharged.
But in the decades since the initial release, the rest of the market caught up. While the Freestyle remained a useful breast pump, it was no longer the exciting product it once was.
So, what has Medela done with the Freestyle Flex to bring it up to date?
The first thing that you’ll notice with the Medela Freestyle Flex is that the shape is new and improved.
The unit is smaller and sleeker, and it fits into your hand better. The Slim shape is also better for storing in your pocket, and slipping into your purse.
The original Freestyle unit sometimes seemed a little bulky. This improved shape adds to the overall portability.
At 42dB, the Freestyle Flex is noticeably quieter than the Freestyle, which operated at 54dB. This makes the Flex a more discreet option, again improving the portability.
This is also useful when it comes to pumping at night, as you won’t wake the entire household up with a noisy pump.
And it also means you can pump while watching your favorite show, and not miss half the dialogue!
Updated User Interface
Although the user interface on the original Medela Flex was serviceable, the Freestyle Flex has been given a modern upgrade.
Instead of using a bright LCD screen and silicone buttons, like the Freestyle, the Freestyle Flex has an LED touch display. It looks good, it’s less glaring when used during the night, and the buttons can’t get stuck.
The digital controls illuminate when they can be used, allowing you to pause, switch expression mode, and adjust the suction level as necessary.
Many moms know the frustration of being disturbed in the middle of a pumping session, and having to stop the whole thing and start all over.
It’s annoying and uncomfortable, and we love that Medela has upgraded the Freestyle Flex by adding a pause button. When life gets in the way of a pump, the pause function means you don’t have to restart.
The delayed start gives you a ten-second hold before pressing start and the pump getting to work.
This is useful in general, allowing you to get fully settled before the pumping starts, but it’s also useful when double pumping. You have time to get the breast shields comfortably into place.
PersonalFit Flex Breast Shields
PersonalFit Flex breast shields have been tested by moms to provide a comfortable experience and improved milk flow. With the flexible design, the breast shields fit better, allowing for more milk to be collected.
The original PersonalFit shields included with the Freestyle were good, but the Flex shields are a notable improvement.
Adjustable Wrist Lanyard
Portability was one of the key features of the original Freestyle. Although it might seem a little bulky now, when first released, it was one of the few double electric breast pumps that you could actually travel with.
With the Freestyle Flex, portability has remained a crucial element. Still small and lightweight, the switch from belt clip to adjustable wrist lanyard makes it easier to carry and use the pump on the go.
The sleek new shape of the Flex has also made a significant difference. It’s easier to hold now, and fits better into purses and bags.
The built-in battery included with the Freestyle Flex lasts for up to 8 double pumping sessions, and can be charged using the Flex USB port.
We love this addition. USB charging makes it easier to power the pump on the go, and it fits more intuitively into busy lives.
The original Freestyle had a removable, rechargeable battery. Useful, but the USB port is a welcome addition.
A closed system acts as overflow protection, preventing breast milk from entering the tubing as you pump. This serves many purposes, including improving hygiene, and making a more efficient pump.
The closed system is a fantastic addition to the Freestyle Flex, and a noticeable upgrade.
Closed systems have become more common in the years since the release of the original Freestyle, and we’re glad to see Medela use the design on the Flex.
When the Freestyle original was first released in 2008, there was no app to connect to. But, to be fair, the app store had only been released that same year.
Since then, apps have gone on to take over the world, and, of course, Medela have developed their own.
By connecting your Freestyle Flex to the Medela app, you can easily track your pumping sessions and preferred settings.
It also warns you when the battery is running low, so you never have to be caught short in the middle of a pump!
Which Is Better: The Freestyle Or The Freestyle Flex?
Undoubtedly, Medela has implemented some fantastic changes when creating the Freestyle Flex.
The original Freestyle was a revelation at the time, and many moms owe an improved breastfeeding experience to its fantastic design.
But in the years since, it has been eclipsed by the growing market, and is now discontinued.
With the Flex update, Medela has placed the Freestyle range back on top. The sleek design looks better, improves portability, and increases user-friendliness.
Making use of technologies that have become popular since the Freestyle release, the Freestyle Flex has app connectivity and a closed system. And with a pause button and delayed start, the Freestyle Flex works better for moms.
Final Thoughts on Medela Freestyle vs Medela Freestyle Flex
Across the board, we think the updates of the Freestyle Flex are fantastic. Medela have kept the concepts that were key to the initial Freestyle, while rethinking and improving any areas that haven’t stood up to the test of time.
For fans of the original Freestyle. The Freestyle Flex has everything you loved, made better.
We hope this guide has helped you to understand the key differences and improvements between the Freestyle Flex and the Freestyle, plus the crucial functions that stayed the same!
And if you’re looking for more great guides, make sure to check out these guides on best electric breast pumps, best breast pumps for low milk supply, best portable breast pump for travel, and best freezer for breast milk.