Medela Launches Freestyle™: The Industry's First Hands-Free, Double-Electric Rechargeable Breastpump
MCHENRY, Ill., February 2008 — Attributes like hand-held usage and portability are paramount to successful consumer technology. But while a USB device the size of stick of gum can easily store a lifetime’s body of work, shrinking technology to accommodate moving motors is no small task.
That’s why the engineers and design team at Medela, the world’s leading maker of breastpumps, had a formidable challenge in developing Freestyle, the first rechargeable, hands-free, double-electric breastpump. Not only did the pump have to weigh less than a pound to make it truly portable, but it needed to be powerful enough to empty both breasts simultaneously. And to be an efficient hands-free pump Freestyle also required a long-lasting rechargeable battery; a shape contoured to fit in mom’s hand; and a thoughtful, easy-to-use setup so moms can intuitively figure out hands-free pumping.
The Medela team spent five years of painstaking research and hundreds of hours talking to health professionals and observing mom-testers to find the way to get twice the power of its smallest breastpump, Swing™, into a package of comparable size. The result is a revolutionarily small but exceedingly powerful hands-free breastpump with Medela’s research-based 2-Phase Expression® technology.
“Creating Freestyle was a totally mom-focused process because we wanted it to be user-friendly and appealing, as well as hand-held and technologically superior,” said Medela manager of industrial design, Jill Solberg. “We know moms juggle so many things, from parenting and working to managing the household and social commitments. So we made Freestyle easy to use as well as ergonomic, so you can hold it and use the buttons one-handed. And it was input from our mom focus groups that inspired us to add features like a structured waist belt, backlit display and built-in timer.”
Easy, powerful hands-free pumping is a welcome development for many moms, who now have the freedom to recoup time previously spent holding breast collection kits to their chest when pumping. While pumping hands-free with Freestyle a mom can hold her baby, check email, read or talk on the phone. And if a mom prefers, she can forego using the hands-free option and pump while holding the breast collection kits, giving her the freedom to pump in the way that best suits her individual lifestyle.
Research-based technology, programmable memory and a charge that lasts a week
Freestyle features Medela’s pioneering 2-Phase Expression technology. Researched and developed by scientists initially for hospital-grade breastpumps, 2-Phase Expression technology is scientifically proven to mimic babies’ two-phase sucking pattern, allowing for a reduction in pumping time. 2-Phase Expression enables the Freestyle breastpump to operate in two distinct modes — the “Stimulation” mode, in which the pump duplicates babies’ initial rapid suckling to initiate milk flow, and the “Expression” mode, which imitates babies’ slower, deeper suckling. Together these modes create a pumping experience that feels most like baby, giving mom greater comfort and more milk in less time.
Freestyle offers a number of new features including a rechargeable battery that affords three hours of pumping time with a single charge — the equivalent of one week’s worth of pumping for many moms — and a bright LCD screen, making it easy to read pumping information during night use. Additionally, Freestyle’s programmable memory allows moms to record their preferred pumping pattern, and a one-touch let-down button allows for faster milk flow.
Freestyle comes with everything mom needs for pumping wherever and however she chooses. Freestyle’s hands-free accessories attach easily to most nursing bras and the motor can be worn on the waist with the adjustable belt, or placed on mom’s lap or a table. Freestyle comes in a stylish black microfiber tote bag for discreet and easy portability.
“The Freestyle breastpump offers moms the industry’s preeminent, research-based technology; the option to pump hands-free and multi-task; and a small, lightweight device that can be carried anywhere,” said Carolin Archibald, Medela’s vice president, consumer products. “Freestyle shows that Medela understands a mom’s unique lifestyle and demonstrates our commitment to helping women make breastfeeding more possible for an extended duration.”
Freestyle will be available for purchase at specialty retail stores and through healthcare professionals in February 2008. All components of Freestyle that come into direct contact with breastmilk, including breastshields and bottles, are made with BPA-free polypropylene plastic.
Medela provides the most technologically advanced, superior-quality breastpumps and breastfeeding accessories to nursing mothers around the world. A longtime champion of breastfeeding, Medela is the only company to develop products based on research by the world’s leading lactation experts. As a result, Medela’s breastpumps are the number one choice of healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities worldwide, including 80 percent of U.S. hospitals.
Medela has developed an extensive line of products to meet the diverse needs of nursing mothers. These products include hospital-grade, double and single electric and manual breastpumps; breastfeeding accessories such as pump cleaning products, breast care products and specialty feeding devices; and maternity and nursing intimate apparel.
Founded in 1961 by Olle Larsson in Zug, Switzerland, Medela continues to grow under the ownership of the Larsson family. Medela serves customers through a worldwide network of distribution partners in more than 90 countries and its 13 subsidiaries in the United States, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, Sweden, France, Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, China and Spain. The company entered the United States more than 25 years ago; its U.S. headquarters are located in McHenry, Illinois.