How to troubleshoot a freestyle medela breast pump

Written by michelle skidgel
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How to troubleshoot a freestyle medela breast pump
The Medela Freestyle is a much more effective breast pump than hand-held, manual pumps. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The Medela Freestyle breast pump is unusual in the realm of breast pumps because it allows you to pump breast milk hands-free. The double-electric pump attaches to flat-top nursing bras via provided adaptors, so you don't have to hold the milk bottles as it works. In addition to being a convenient alternative to traditional pumps, the unit also incorporates Medela's 2-Phase Expression technology, which mimics your baby's mouth movements, resulting in faster flow and more milk expulsion. While the Freestyle pump should operate with little trouble and is covered by a limited one-year warranty, you may on occasion find it necessary to troubleshoot minor issues to restore the unit to optimal working condition.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Dish soap
  • Cloth
  • Towel

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    Suction Issues

  1. 1

    Disassemble the breast pump and put it back together, taking care to make sure all parts fit smoothly and firmly. If all washable pieces of the pump are not clean and dry, wash them in warm, soapy water and dry before assembling.

  2. 2

    Inspect both ends of each piece of tubing. They should fit securely into the connections to the pump or breastshield assembly. Listen for a clicking sound to indicate proper connection.

  3. 3

    Secure the unused piece of tubing to the tubing dock if you are pumping one side only.

  4. 4

    Take the breastshield from your breast and then reposition your breast in the shield. It should seal completely around your breast.

  5. 5

    Look over the entire assembly and correct any other issues that may affect suction. Kinked tubing will cause trouble, as will a folded yellow membrane between the breastshield and its clear back cap.

    Problems While Using Battery Power

  1. 1

    Look at the display on the breast pump. If the battery is low, the indicator on the display will reflect the problem with a flashing battery outline with one bar inside, which means you must plug the pump's power cord into both the pump and a power supply to recharge the battery. Leave the pump plugged in for 24 hours to reset the flashing symbol, and use the pump with battery power only.

  2. 2

    Take the battery out of its compartment, and reinsert it securely if the display doesn't show a battery symbol at all.

  3. 3

    Allow the pump's battery to undergo a charging cycle if "batt" shows on the display. The cycle will take 18 to 24 hours to complete. You can still use the pump during this time, as long as it stays plugged into an electrical socket.

  4. 4

    Plug the power cord into the pump and an electrical socket if the display shows a flashing battery outline and the pump will not work at all. Attempt to turn the pump back on. If it still won't work, unplug it and remove the battery. After 10 seconds, replace the battery and power cord. Leave it to charge for up to 24 hours. If the battery still will not work after a full charging cycle, a replacement is necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • An "Err" error code followed by three beeps requires contacting customer service for assistance. This code may appear whether the pump works or not.
  • A replacement power cord is needed if the display flashes a power cord symbol and will not work.
  • Contact Medela customer service at (800) 435-8316 for additional assistance or to obtain a replacement battery or power cord.

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