I’ve been holding off writing this post until I’d used both pumps for a while. I purchased my Freestyle at the end of July. I began using it exclusively a couple weeks ago.

After speaking with other moms of multiples who had successfully & unsuccessfully breastfed, I decided to rent the Symphony for three months {at the cost of $180 by the way}. I spoke with a couple LCs before I delivered, & they too strongly recommended that pump to establish milk supply for NICU babies. I’ll never know otherwise, but I feel that the Symphony, & my consistent contact with it, helped get my supply in order for feeding two.

Five day old baby Zach in Jason’s arms with the-thankfully–ever-present-in-NICU Symphony in the background.

The Symphony is big & heavy. The hospital had it on it’s own rolly cart which worked well to move it around the NICU {seen above}. It’s quiet though for the size – the motor barely hums & there’s pretty much no vibration. The sucking timing with the Symphony seemed in line with what my babies do.

The parts used on the Symphony are the exact same ones as all the other Medela pumps, except for the tubing. I was fortunate that the NICU LC gave me parts & my hospital room nurse did too. Be sure to ask for parts in the hospital – it’ll save you $50. It was nice too that I then had back up parts, so we didn’t have to wash constantly. I do go by the rule of thumb that it’s okay to place the pump parts in the fridge during the day or night & just wash them every 12 hours or so.

I started out pumping every 3 hours around the clock with the Symphony for 15 minutes at a time. The NICU LC told me it was okay to go a 4 hour stretch at night, so I could sleep a little more {this was before they were home}. Once the babies were breastfeeding, I jumped my pumping scheduled onto their NICU feeding schedule. I’d feed them every 4 hours then pump afterwards. My output was typically about an oz on each side after feeding both. If I pumped without feeding them, I would typically pump 5 oz on the right & 6 or more oz on the left.

Now let’s chat about the Freestyle. It’s the most expensive of the portable Medela pumps {was $299 at Target}. I did my research again though & felt like for my life~ work schedule, travel plans, two babies~ the Freestyle would be better than the more well known Pump in Styles.

For one, the entire pump fits in my palm & is fairly light weight. It’s a double pump, but the tubing is made so that you can change the connection and pump one at a time if needed. It can clip onto your pants aka you’re not tied to a big heavy pump. I would be unable to cart the Symphony back & forth with me to work while carrying the Freestyle up from the parking lot, up & down flights of stairs & holding it while pumping is a breeze.

The Freestyle has a rechargeable battery which makes the pump portable. This has been great for over-night pumping. I can pump in the nursery while putting the paci back in Zach’s mouth. Or pump in the kitchen under the light when the rest of the house is sleeping in the dark. Or like this morning, pump in the kitchen before work while eating cereal & packing up bottles for daycare.

The Freestyle is fairly loud in a white noise kind of way. The pumping motor is pretty noticeable. The sucking seems to be a little longer & slower than my two do.

The Freestyle requires it’s own pump parts. The tubing is different, the connectors are very different & comprised of 3 parts {you can buy extras of them though & I did}. You can use the flanges from other Medela models even though the Freestyle comes with different {softer plastic} flanges.

And you’re wondering about my output… That’s the main thing, right? I was worried too. So much so that my husband offered for us to continue to pay for us to rent the Symphony. But I’ve been happy to say that I don’t see much of a difference there. Now that I’m back to work, the day pumping has been on the lower end of my normal ~ about 3-4 oz on the right & 6 oz on the left. Overnight, I get the same as I had with the Symphony.

But the time it takes to produce the same amount is longer. Instead of 15 minute sessions with the last 3-5 minutes being empty pumping, I now pump mostly between 18-22 minutes before I get empty pumping. That’s the biggest difference I’ve noticed.

I think the Symphony did great to get my supply established, but that’s not to say that the Freestyle couldn’t have done that. I don’t know since that’s not my experience. But I will say that I’ve been happy with my decisions & have no real complaints so far with my switch.