Aug 22, 2016

Medela Swing Maxi versus Medela Freestyle: Which Breast Pump Should I Choose?

A few months ago, for a short while, I took a break from my regular editing-writing profession and took on work as events coordinator at The Parenting Emporium, a parent-and-child–oriented store, events venue, and community.

One of our best-selling products there were Medela breastpumps, specifically, the Medela Freestyle and the Medela Swing Maxi.

Now these are two very similar pumps, that is, they are both double electric breastpumps.

Therefore, a very frequent dilemma among our customers was, "Which one should I get?"

The Medela Freestyle and the Medela Swing Maxi
The Medela Freestyle (left) and the Medela Swing Maxi (right)

How They're The Same

The Freestyle and the Swing Maxi are both heavy duty pumps, with heavy duty motors and heavy duty membranes.

In other words, if you take away all the trimmings, they are exactly the same.

At this point, I will digress a little and talk about the regular Swing, with which the Swing Maxi is often confused.

The regular Swing is a single pump. It can only pump one breast at a time.

The Swing Maxi is designed to pump from two breasts at the same time.

The regular Swing is designed for occasional use. The Swing Maxi is designed for daily, round-the-clock use. (You will notice that the Swing Maxi has bigger, thicker, sturdier-looking membranes than the regular Swing.)

The Medela Swing and the Medela Swing Maxi
The Medela Swing (left) and the Medela Swing Maxi (right)

So if you need a heavy duty pump to express enough milk to feed your baby while you're at work, the regular Swing is not the pump for you. What you need is a Swing Maxi – or a Freestyle.

Now back to the original question: which should you get?

Rechargeable Batteries

The biggest difference between the Freestyle and the Swing Maxi is that the former has an in-built rechargeable battery; the latter does not.

So if you're going to pump only at the office, and your office has an accessible plug for your pump, the Swing Maxi is quite sufficient for your purposes.

HOWEVER, if you plan to pump in the car or at the mall's lactation station, where access to electric outlets is not available or allowed or provided, you need a Freestyle.

Note: the Swing Maxi does give the option of battery power. It has a slot for six AAA batteries, and those would provide enough power for approximately three pumping sessions.

If you expect to need batteries only occasionally, that  may be enough for you as well.

There are also rechargeable AAA batteries. The Parenting Emporium recommends a certain brand; ask them what it is via 0917-5614366.

Expect to shell out P2,000 total for the set of rechargeable batteries plus charger. But between the two of us, I had a hard time finding that set.


One way of looking at the Swing Maxi is that it's a basic version of the Freestyle: It pumps your milk powerfully, efficiently, every day – nothing more, nothing less.

The Freestyle, on the other hand, includes a bunch of other stuff that every pumping mother would find really convenient:
  • Timer: How long have you been pumping? Have you been at it for 15 minutes already? I hope you didn't forget to check the time when you started. The Swing Maxi won't tell you how long you've been pumping – but, with its built-in timer, the Freestyle will.
  • Cooler. So you're done pumping. Where do you store the milk? When you buy a Freestyle, the set comes with a free cooler bag and ice pack, so your milk stays cool and fresh until you get home.
  • Extra bottles. The Swing Maxi comes with two bottles. The Freestyle comes with four. The abovementioned cooler pack can hold four bottles.
  • Carry-all tote. The Freestyle also comes with a chic black tote bag that you can use to carry your pump to work. 
Of course, if you buy a Swing Maxi, you can still buy the cooler bag, tote bag, and extra bottles separately. Text 0917-5614366 to find out how much each of these cost.

What you can never buy separately are the timer and the rechargeable battery.

Other Perks 

The Parenting Emporium is the main distributor of Medela pumps in the Philippines. It is located at 29 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City.

When you buy items collectively worth P10,000 or above from The Parenting Emporium (this includes the Freestyle or Swing Maxi, since their prices range from P10k up), you automatically become a member of the TPE Loyalty Program. Members get free (or heavily discounted) seats at various parenting classes held every weekend at the store. These classes cover topics such as breastfeeding, weaning, positive discipline, homeschooling, yaya training, etc.

If your pump breaks within the warranty period, The Parenting Emporium will replace it, not repair it, no questions asked.

The Parenting Emporium is open from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday to Saturday, and some Sundays as well. They also occasionally have pop-up stores in Makati for those who live in or near the south.

You can follow The Parenting Emporium on Facebook or Instagram to keep updated with their products, classes, and store schedules.


The Parenting Emporium firmly advocates direct breastfeeding of the child for the first six months of life.

However, it understands that some mothers need to return to work less than six months after childbirth. That is normally where breast pumps come into the picture.

Breast pumps are meant to assist, not replace, direct breastfeeding.

When milk is expressed, it is ideally fed to the child via cup by another caregiver, to avoid nipple confusion.

When the mother is present, the child should feed directly from the mother's breast.

Direct breastfeeding can be uncomfortable at the start. In fact, as somebody who has continuously breastfed for 11 years, I would attest that it made me scream with pain at the beginning, and I had to express at times to give my left breast some time to heal.

My right breast gave me no problems whatsoever. After a few weeks, nursing at my left breast wasn't so bad anymore either. (But yes, it did take a few weeks. And yes, I was able to do it for eleven years.)

A lactation counselor can be a big help in making breastfeeding less painful. You can text The Parenting Emporium at 0917-5614366 to set an appointment with a PGH-certified lactation counselor.

It's not as expensive as you may imagine it to be. A movie date and dinner afterwards will cost you more. No investment you have ever or will ever make costs so little but gives back so much.

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a homeschooling mom of five. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

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