Medela Breast Pump Reviews: What’s the Best Medela Breast Pump?

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
December 10, 2021

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

Breast pumps allow you to collect milk for when you won’t be around to feed your newborn. Using a breast pump regularly stimulates milk production and will make a difference if you are experiencing painful or engorged breasts. Using a breast pump is a quick and easy way to extract milk, and Medela is one of the best brands on the market with a good selection of reliable products. Check out our Medela breast pump reviews below to find the best Medela breast pump for you, your baby, and your budget.

Medela breast pump FAQs

These are the questions people often ask about Medela breast pumps.

How do I use a Medela breast pump?

There is a breast shield that goes over your nipples. Once the shield is placed over your nipples, you can activate the pump, either manually or by flipping a switch if you use an electric pump. The pump extracts milk that is then stored in a bottle.

How can I clean my breast pump, parts, and tubing?

Cleaning your breast pump after each use is very important since germs can develop if there are milk residues on the pump.

The tubing shouldn’t be exposed to milk, but you can get rid of condensation in the tubing by letting the pump run while you close the bottles and store the milk. You should then take the rest of the pump apart and rinse everything with cold water to get rid of milk residues.

You can then use hot soapy water to clean the shields and other parts. Let everything air dry before storing it. If the electrical unit itself needs to be cleaned, use a cloth or a paper towel.

What is the best way to dry and store a breast pump?

You should let the tubing air dry since use a cloth to wipe it could expose the pump to germs. You can place some parts like the breast shields on a dish rack to let them air dry.

Use a sealable food storage bag to store the different parts of your breast pump. Don’t reuse the same bag.

Can you boil Medela breast pump parts?

You can safely boil Medela breast pump parts and should do so at the end of the day. You should sterilize the pump kit, the bottle brushes, and the wash basin but other parts should only be washed with hot soapy water.

You can sterilize your breast pump parts by boiling some water and leaving the parts in the water for five minutes.

Can I travel on planes with Medela breast pumps?

The TSA allows breast pumps on planes, but keep in mind that airport security will scan your carry-on luggage and ask you to open it if they notice anything unusual.

You are allowed to have 3.4 ounces of any liquid, including breast milk, in your carry on luggage.

Can I use the same Medela bottles for manual and electric breast pumps?

Medela sells BPA-free dishwasher-safe bottles that I highly recommend. These bottles are compatible with all the products sold by Medela, including manual and electric pumps.

Can I change the breast shields?

You can easily remove the breast shields to clean or replace them. Medela offers five different sizes of breast shields. All products come with the standard 24mm size, and a few pump kits have an additional size included.

What is the difference between Medela’s manual and electric pumps?

An electric breast pump is powered by a battery or by a wall outlet. There are more features available such as varying pumping speeds and modes, and you can pump both breasts at once.

If you opt for a manual pump, you will need to operate the pump yourself, typically by pressing on a swivel. These pumps are smaller and more portable, but you can only pump one breast at once and this should take longer.

How much does a Medela breast pump cost?

The simplest electric pump sold by Medela costs around the $160-180 range.

If you are interested in a Medela electric breast pump with more accessories and with a carry bag, you will have to spend between $300 and $400, with the most expensive kit reaching around $450-500.

If you would rather use a manual pump, Medela sells one in the $40 range.

Best Medela breast pump reviews

I looked at the different breast pumps sold by Medela and compiled these reviews to help you find the best product for your needs.

Medela Pump In Style Advanced

  • Daily use, double-electric pump
  • Battery pack to pump anywhere
  • Removable cooler bag

This is a portable breast pump that would be perfect if you need to use it several times a day. I liked the fact that you can personalize this kit and choose between a tote, a backpack or a metro bag to carry the pump and accessories. You can easily adjust the pump speed and settings when using it and double pump.

The pump is powered by a battery pack that requires 8 AA batteries (not included). It comes with two different sizes of breast shields. You will also get a cooler bag that holds four milk bottles.

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

  • Double electric pump
  • Daily use for several times a day
  • Memory buttons

This is a smaller portable kit that fits in a carry bag. The freestyle pump itself is much smaller than other products from Medela and it is operated by a rechargeable battery with a 3-hour lifespan, which gives you more freedom if you don’t have access to a wall outlet.

This kit includes a carry bag and two sizes of breast shields.

Medela Harmony Breast Pump

  • Great for travel
  • 2 phase expression technology
  • Use the same Medela bottles as electric pumps

This is Medela’s only manual pump. This would be an ideal choice if you plan on only using a pump occasionally.

All you have to do is apply the 24mm breast shield on your breast and use the ergonomic swivel handle to pump. Note that you can only pump one breast at once.

Medela Symphony Breast Pump

  • Single or double pumping
  • Daily use hospital grade
  • Requires Medela Symphony double pumping kit sold separately

This is an ideal breast pump if you want a product that you will mostly use at home. The pump itself is larger than the portable models, but there are more features.

Products from the Symphony series use a built-in program with stimulation and expression phases. This program mimics natural breastfeeding and can help with milk production besides making pumping a more comfortable experience.

Medela Symphony Hospital Grade Breast Pump

  • Single or double pumping
  • Hospital grade for multiple users
  • 2 separate, independent membranes

This is a slight variation of the Symphony breast pump with a special membrane that prevents overflow. This feature makes the pump easier to clean and safe to use if you will be sharing it with another nursing mother.

Medela Sympho​​​​​ny Plus Breast Pump

  • Mimics a baby's nursing rhythm
  • Single or double pumping
  • 2 phase expression technology

This is another version of the Symphony breast pump with a different built-in program called Initiation Technology. The purpose of this program is to alternate between stimulation phases and expression phases to mimic how a newborn feeds during her first days.

Medela Sonata Smart Breast Pump

  • Double-electric daily use
  • Smart connection to MyMedela
  • Very quiet for public situations

This is an electric breast pump with two pumping modes. It is very quiet, and you can use it for double pumping. It is operated by a rechargeable battery and you can easily fit the pump and all the accessories in the carry bag that comes with it.

The most interesting feature of the Sonata Smart breast pump is that you can download an app on your phone and keep track of how often you pump and how much milk is extracted.

Medela Swing Breast Pump

  • 2-phase expression technology
  • Easily portable for travel
  • Solution set with accessories

This is a much smaller electric pump that you can use on one breast at once. You will need to plug this small electric pump into a wall outlet and can switch between stimulation and expression modes as needed.

I think this small electric pump would be ideal if you want something portable that you would use occasionally.

Tips for choosing the best Medela breast pump

The best Medela breast pump depends on how often you will need to extract milk and where you will be using the pump. An electric pump with a rechargeable battery can be used anywhere, but a pump with an AC adapter for a wall outlet would be more portable and convenient if you will be using it in the bathroom at work.

Your budget is another important thing to consider. An electric pump with advanced features and accessories is going to cost you more than a more compact model.

The hospital-grade feature is interesting since it makes the pump easier to clean, but keep in mind that this isn’t a necessity for extracting breastmilk safely.

Other relevant products to buy

In my experience, these items will come in handy if you plan on using a breast pump regularly:

Medela Breast Pump Backpack or Bag

Consider a set with a backpack or carry bag so you can easily transport everything. You can buy a pump kit and a carry bag separately, but Medela makes bags with compartments for all the different elements of the kit.

Medela Spare or Replacement Parts

Order spare and replacement parts. If there is mold on a part, you will need to replace it.

Medela Breast Milk Storage Bottles

Get some Medela bottles to store your breastmilk.

Medela Breast Milk Storage Bags

Invest in Medela breastmilk storage bags. You can connect it to any Medela pump. Storage bags take up less space than bottles when empty.

What do women say about Medela breast pumps?

I looked at a lot of different reviews from women who use Medela breast pumps. Overall, the brand has an excellent reputation and women are very satisfied with their breast pumps.

Women who use these pumps say that these are convenient products for pumping multiple times a day and typically deliver a very comfortable experience. They like the speed and how efficient the pumps are at expressing milk.

Medela pumps also receive praises from women who are new to pumping and who were worried that using a pump might be complex. A lot of women like that they can easily store the pump kit in a bag and transport it discreetly.

The price of these breast pumps is a recurring negative point mentioned in reviews. A few reviews talk about the weight of some of these kits being an issue.

How does Medela compare to other brands?

There are a lot of other breast pump brands that are worth considering. You could also see our tips on choosing the best breast pump. Here are the ones I am most familiar with:

Ameda makes a manual pump similar to the one offered by Medela. This brand also has different small electric pumps, but these don’t feature the same built-in programs as the ones sold by Medela.

Spectra has a product that is similar to the Symphony breast pumps from Medela but doesn’t offer any portable kits.

Freemie has a very different product designed to discreetly fit under your shirt. This is a shield, pump, and storage bag all in one.

Willow makes small hands-free pumps that you simply insert in your bra.

Evenflo has a breast pump that is basically a smaller version of the Symphony pump sold by Medela.

Nava takes a different approach by using water instead of air for pumping. This results in a more comfortable experience, but the price tag is a lot higher.

Hygeia has a good selection of portable kits that are somewhat similar to the Medela Pump In Style Advanced or the Symphony pump.

Lansinoh offers manual breast pumps and small electric kits. This could be an interesting alternative if you were thinking about ordering the Harmony or Swing models from Medela.

NatureBond offers a manual breast pump and a portable electric kit that is comparable to the Pump In Style Advanced kit or to the Freestyle kit. NatureBond product is designed for double pumping but only works with a wall outlet.

Which Medela breast pump Is the best?

Choosing the best breast pump sold by Medela is difficult since every woman is going to have different needs based on where she will use the pump and how often she will use it.

However, I think that the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump kit is an excellent investment.

This kit is small enough to be portable and you can use it anywhere you can get some privacy thanks to the battery pack. It is ideal for multiple pumping sessions throughout the day and is easy to clean. You can save time with double pumping and switch between the stimulation and expression phases by touching a button.

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