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Blog (Product Review): Philips Avent Comfort Double Electric Breast Pump vs. Medela Freestyle Breast Pump By »

October 5th, 2015

So my milk came in on day 4, and in one word….OWWWW.  I was excited and curious, but when I woke up that Thursday morning…oh…my…goodness…I was pretty sure that I had two 10 pound bowling balls on my chest. My boobs were heavy, extremely hard and oozing milk. Even though MJ was constantly eating, I needed to start pumping to relieve some of the pressure and pain. I know, I know, the more you pump, the more milk you make, but I couldn’t even lay on my side, accidentally touch them with my arm or wear a shirt, without either my boob aching or my nipple crying for help.

I had the Medela Freestyle Double Pump on my registry and received it at my baby shower and I was sent the Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump shortly after to review. I’ve since used them both and have written my review below.

Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump

Avent product shotThis double pump promises to be Avent’s ‘most comfortable breast pump yet‘ with its unique design that allows milk to flow naturally even when sitting up straight – no need to lean forward. It also comes with a bunch of extra pieces, a storage bag, breast pads and coupons.

 PROS

  • With a retail of $299.99, this pump fairs in the middle of the market when it comes to breast pump prices. The kit includes: (4) Natural 4oz bottles with nipples, (12) day breast pads, (6) night breast pads, a bottle brush, (4) sealing disks for milk storage, (4) diaphragms, (2) travel covers, a large carrying case and $30 of bonus coupons to help purchase add on products like extra bottles and soothing heat pads.
  • I love all the extras this kit comes with. Pumping and bottle feeding is a lot of work, with a ton of washing and sterilizing. With the additional bottoms and pumping pieces, you can pump at 4am (yes it happens!) and not have to worry about cleaning the pieces right that second, because you have a whole new set ready for later that morning.
  •  There are tubes, valves and many pieces that need to be attached prior to pumping, but assembly is easy with clear instructions and the way the pieces are shaped makes cleaning them easy too.
  • The cushions fit securely to your breast. The massage cushions were comfortable and once your nipple is positioned properly, the suction (on any level) is quite effective and doesn’t hurt. However, I found the instructions for how to place the cushion on your breast better in the Medela booklet. It’s important to note that your nipple shouldn’t touch the sides of the cushion. The funnel should be expressing your breast and areola, with your nipple being pulled gently.
  • The pump starts in gentle stimulation mode and then there are 3 speeds/vacuum suction settings to choose from to make milk flow most comfortable. When I was engorged, it took 4 minutes to pump 4oz. I used the most powerful setting and mark it an A+ for being fast and efficient.
  • As explained, it does express while you sit up straight BUT you’ll have to stop and lean over for the last couple of ounces because the bottle fills on an angle. So this point is 1/2 Con for me as well because I still had to lean forward to level out the milk and continue pumping to top off the bottle.
  • Great tips are provided in the instruction booklet if you’re having trouble pumping (ie. Look at a photograph of your baby, use a warm cloth, etc).
  • Being a double pump, my Pro here is that I had the extra pump, pieces and bottles to use later in the day. I never actually pumped both breasts at once – I explain why in the Con section.

CONS

  • It’s quite loud. If your child is a light sleeper, don’t pump in the next room…and if you’re back at work, people will know what you’re doing in your office!
  • The pump is a medium to large unit that needs to be plugged in while you pump. I like rechargeable battery options better, so you don’t have to worry about the cord. Also, the tubing connection to the pump can be pulled out quite easily, so if you have other little children running around, be wary of little tugging hands.
  • It doesn’t have a hands free option so pumping both breasts at the same time means both hands are occupied, and if a suction isn’t right or one breast is done before the other, being ambidextrous is a must.
  • You also have to be careful when you’re done and you place the bottle on a table. It’s a bit top heavy as the large pumping mechanism sits right on top of the bottle.
  • Disassembly is a bit tedious. My suggestion is to put the milk away first, detach the tubing, then go over a sink and take the additional pieces off. Some milk will drip from the silicone cap, diaphragm and body.

MY SUGGESTIONS TO AVENT:

  • Many times new moms aren’t sure if glass or plastic bottles are better – I know I wasn’t! So, of the (4) 4 oz bottles included in this kit, I’d include 3 plastic and 1 glass.
  • Currently a $2.50 off coupon is provided in the kit to use towards storage bags to freeze your milk in. My suggestion is to include samples of the storage bags, because if you’re pumping and bottle feeding all the time, you won’t want to waste a bottle in the freezer and with a newborn, you probably won’t have time to go out and purchase the bags right away.
  • The day and night breast pad samples are a good addition to the kit, however, another sticky area needs to be added to the back, as the one that currently exists is too small and doesn’t stay on a bra.

Medela Freestyle Double Pump

Medela product shotThis double pump is Medela’s highest end pump. It promises strong suction via 2-Phase Expression technology, includes a rechargeable battery and is marketed as compact and lightweight.

 

PROS

  • It doesn’t come with as many extras as the Avent, but the cooler bag and ice pack are a practical addition.
  • The size of the pump is much smaller and lighter than the Avent. It can literally fit in the palm of your hand – I’ve actually put it in a sweater pocket as I walked around and pumped. It has a clip on the back, but I found it too stiff.
  • It’s rechargeable, so you don’t need it plugged in while you’re pumping. That’s great for portability, plus the life of the battery is also quite long.
  • It’s quiet! Don’t get me wrong, it has a humming noise, but nothing that a little blanket can’t mask!
  • It has 9 different speeds/vacuum suctions. When I was engorged, it would take 8 minutes to pump 6 oz. I used the 4th speed and mark it an A for being fast and efficient.
  • The perk to its backlit LCD screen for me, was the timer. It’s quite easy to lose track of time when pumping (especially when it’s wayyyy to early in the morning for civilization to be awake!)
  • The double pump Pro again for me is just the extra pieces. See the Con section for hands free double pumping.
  • Easy assembly, disassembly and cleaning. One tube permanently protrudes from the pump and branches to the two backcaps on each bottle. This way you don’t have to worry about it being pulled out of the machine.

CONS

  • High price point – $449.
  • Even though the pump was forceful, the fit of the shield wasn’t as tight as the Avent one. It’s flimsier and collapsed inward causing me to have to readjust the suction more.
  • I had to lean forward the whole time I pumped to ensure a decent suction and drip into the bottle.
  • The hands-free straps attached to my bra quite easily, but never held the bottles quite right and thus the shield never had a strong suction and would leak milk. The straps are a brilliant idea – I’m attributing the issue to the poor shield construction.

Final Verdict

All in all, both of these breast pumps are easy to use and got the job done for me in almost the same amount of time. The photo finish comes down to:

Biggest Cons:

  • Avent Comfort: Too loud and has to be plugged in.
  • Medela Freestyle: Poor shield construction thus poor suction at times and expensive.

Biggest Pros:

  • Avent Comfort: Comfortable shield and good suction.
  • Medela Freestyle: Quiet and portable.

If I knew how great the Avent Comfort pump was prior to having MJ, I would have registered for it, no doubt about it. The problem is, since I’ve had him, the Medela Freestyle pump has proven more versatile because I’ve pumped at relatives homes, in the car (not while driving!) and even at a banquet hall (it was at a party and I was engorged…you do what you gotta do sometimes!).

The question you’ll have to ask yourself prior to investing is, what kind of ‘pumper’ will you be?

If you have more of a set schedule and know you’ll be at home, or somewhere with an outlet, then the Avent Comfort is for you. If you’re going to be out and about and don’t want to worry about the size/noise of the machine, or having to find an outlet, then the Medela Freestyle is for you.

Hope this helps! Until next time…happy pumping!

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