Milestones in history

Over more than 60 years, Medela has evolved into a leading global medical device company while staying true to our origins as a Swiss family business. 

1961 – Founding Medela

A passionate and committed entrepreneur, 33-year-old Olle Larsson established Medela as a sole proprietorship to import medical electronic appliances from Sweden to Switzerland and then sell the products. The name Medela comes from MEDical ELectronic Appliances.

1980 – The First Medela Breast Pump

Medela launched its first hospital breast pump, the Medela Classic. Encouraged by the market success, Olle Larsson sought  to expand the vacuum technology business into medical suction. With the development of the “Universal” in 1981, Medela laid  the foundation for its future surgical division.

1991 - World’s First Battery-Powered Breast Pump

Medela launched the Mini Electric, the world’s first battery-powered breast pump. This pump was particularly groundbreaking because it was designed with a valve in the neck of the bottle, eliminating the need for moms to evacuate the entire volume of the bottle when pumping. This paved the way for much smaller breast pumps to be designed.

1993 – Observing Natural Behavior

Succeeding Olle Larsson as chairman, his son Michael Larsson began to pursue his vision of science-based product development. In 1996, Michael connected with the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Prof. Peter Hartmann, resulting in a partnership agreement with UWA - the beginning of a new era based on observation of nature and scientific research. This collaboration continues today.

2001 – A Symphony of The Future

In 2001, Medela introduced the Symphony®, a hospital-grade multi-user breast pump with the revolutionary 2-Phase Expression® Technology – making the Symphony the first pump in the world to mimic a baby’s natural sucking rhythm. The patented research-based technology would eventually become the standard for all Medela electric breast pumps and expand the company’s market leadership in personal-use breast pumps in the years to come. 

2006 – Advancing Research

Medela organized the first International Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium, bringing together the world’s leading lactation and human milk researchers to present their latest findings to 300 professionals from over 40 countries – an annual event that continues today. In 2010, for example, Prof. Paula Meier from the Rush University in Chicago demonstrated that human milk significantly reduces morbidity in infants and UWA PhD student Foteini Hassiotou proved the presence of stem cells in breast milk.

2008 – The Smart Thoracic Drainage

Medela developed a thoracic drainage system, introducing the world’s first Thopaz™ in 2008 with sophisticated technology that enables patient mobility, digitally recorded disease progression and triggered alarms when thresholds were exceeded. In 2014, its successor  Thopaz+™ is introduced. The chest drainage pump is equipped with patented sensors to detect air leaks and the amount of fluid drained – an enormous help to  healthcare professionals.

2014 - The Best For The Most Vulnerable

Medela continued to expand its portfolio of feeding solutions for babies in NICUs, with the goal of bringing life-giving, nutrient-rich human milk to all infants. In 2016, Initiation Technology™ is developed to mimic the sucking rhythm of a newborn baby and while stimulating  mother’s milk supply, even if she is not yet breast-feeding. Today, all Symphony PLUS breast pumps are equipped with this innovation to ensure even the smallest and earliest infants can receive human milk.

2017 – Smart Breast Pumps With Digital Breastfeeding Support

With the introduction of the Medela Family app, Medela offers parents with comprehensive support along their breastfeeding journey. A global digital solution, the app includes tips to help moms manage their milk supply, resources to overcome common breastfeeding challenges and a virtual assistant for immediate answers to breastfeeding questions. In parallel, Medela launched its first-ever smart double electric breast pump. Sonata enables moms to seamlessly connect their breast pump to the Medela Family app to track pumping sessions and update their personalized pumping dashboard in real-time via Bluetooth.

2019 – A Science-Based Breast Shield To Yield More Milk

In 2019, Medela launched the PersonalFit Flex™ technology, a 105˚ breast shield designed with a unique oval shape, an optimized application angle and a rotation mechanism developed from research on lactating breasts. Studies have shown that the PersonalFit Flex™ breast shield yields 11% more milk. PersonalFit technology is now the standard for all future breast pumps and pumping accessories.

2020 – Medela Cares

While Medela continues to grow as a company and expand globally, so has the need to make a global impact. For decades, Medela has supported non-profit organizations around the world that promote and support breastfeeding. In 2020, the company introduced Medela Cares, a global social responsibility program, anchored by the three pillars People, Planet, Society, and guiding our vision to nurture health for generations. 

2021- 60 Years of Medela

Celebrating our 60th anniversary, this important milestone reflects our heritage, our brand evolution and our commitment to advancing research, observing natural behavior, listening to our customers and nurturing health for generations.

2022 – Igniting Our Innovation Pipeline

In 2022, Medela introduced a number of product innovations across the Mom & Baby Care and Professional Care categories, among them the Keep Cool Intimate Apparel Collection, the Silicone Breast Milk Collector and Clotstop Chest Drainage. These innovations exemplify Medela's commitment to meeting the evolving needs of our customers and advancing care solutions. 

2023 – Pump Anywhere, Anytime, And Hands-free

Medela introduced its first wearable hands-free breast pump, the FreestyleTM Hands-free. Based on extensive research and feedback from breastfeeding families, it is one of the lightest in-bra systems and features innovative design and advanced technology for a superior hands-free experience - reflecting Medela's 60 years of scientific research and lactation expertise.

Michael Larsson, Chairman of the Board

Through advancing research, observing natural behavior and listening to our customers, Medela turns science into care, nurturing health for generations.

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