Plan on breastfeeding? Great! But guess what’s not so great….pumping!! I’m not saying it’s awful, but I think we all can agree that breastfeeding > pumping any day.
The reality is, if you plan on going back to work, you’ll need to build a relationship with your breast pump to maintain your milk supply.
I’ve tried a few different breast pumps, hands free bras, even this thing (which actually works pretty well, it just made me feel like a torture victim). But y’all… HANDS DOWN these take the cake.
They are called Freemie Collection Cups, and they have made my pumping life spectacular.
SO WHAT ARE THEY?
Okay, so these bad boys are actually just the flange/bottle part of a breast pump. If you are somewhat familiar with an electric breast pump, these guys don’t do the actual pumping part.
You’ll need to use your own electric breast pump, and they just hook up to the end of your tubing. Freemie does sell a double electric pump that you can buy to go with the collection cups. But, if you’ve already got an electric breast pump, you can hook these up to your existing one.
LET’S GO OVER THE PARTS
First up, there are only FOUR parts to clean per cup. Compared to some of the breast pumps out there, that’s actually pretty low.
This is the cup, and this is where the milk collects as you pump. It can be compared to the “bottle” part of a normal breast pump. Pretty standard.
Freemie states that each cup can collect up to 8 oz of breast milk per boob. For all you noobs out there, that’s a TON of milk. That means you can pump up to 16 oz in a session without overflowing.
I’ve never pumped near to that much milk in a single pumping session (my PR is 9.5 oz *first night he slept 10 hours straight*) , but I’m sure there are some of you over-suppliers out there who might overflow these guys every once in awhile. If you are a super over-producer, and you consistently pump more than 12-16 oz in a single session, sorry, but these are probably not for you.
If you are a normal producer, slightly over-producer, or have issues with low supply (like me), these will work great for you!
Alright, let’s move on,
This is the breast funnel, and this is the part your nipple goes into. It can be compared to the “flange” part of a normal breast pump.
Two different sizes come in the box when you order the product, 25mm and 28mm. You are able to order different sizes, if you have smaller or larger nipples. Although, most women will fit either a 25mm or a 28mm, which is why they come standard.
This is the tubing attachment thing (AKA I’m not really sure exactly what it’s called), and it does exactly what I’ve described it as. It’s where the end of the tubing that comes with the set fits into.
I would like to note, depending on which electric pump you have, your tubing ends might look different than mine. It fits on the end of the breast funnel like so:
This is the duckbill valve, and it is how the milk flows through into the cup. Unless you are a Medela girl, the valve looks and acts very similar to most breast pump valves.
It attaches to the bottom part of the tubing attachment thing like so:
HOW DO YOU WORK THEM?
It’s very easy, all you need is a semi stretchy bra and you are good-to-go. Once you’ve assembled the parts, you just pop these suckers into your bra, attach the tubing, and make milk!
I will say, while I have put these into my bra in public before, I do prefer to go behind a closed door, pull up my shirt and properly place them into my bra. If you’ve EVER pumped before, you know how important it is to make sure your nipple is properly placed into the flange, so as not to rub up against the sides (ouch).
After 15-20 minutes of pumping, I go back behind a closed door or curtain, take them out and pour the milk into a bottle or milk storage bag (these are my favorite bags by the way).
I either then wash them if I have the time, or put them into a plastic bag and stick them in the fridge until my next pumping session.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THESE THINGS?
If you know me, you know I am a labor and delivery nurse! Like many busy professions out there, I found it difficult to find the time to pump. My co-workers were more than happy to accommodate me, but I personally felt bad leaving the floor every few hours. I also HATED the anti-social factor of going and hiding by myself in a room for 20 minutes.
Well Freemies changed my routine. Guys, I pump at the nurse’s station. I can chart, and talk to my co-workers while I pump. I can do whatever I want with my shirt on while I pump! IT’S AWESOME!
You see, that is the freedom that Freemies have given me. I can pump hands free with my shirt on! No cover needed.
I also love these guys for another reason…I have OUNCE ANXIETY. What is ounce anxiety? It’s when you keep looking down at your bottles every few minutes while you pump to see how much you’ve gotten.
I used to do this, and I believe it actually hindered my milk supply. I would stress about how much milk was in the bottom of my bottles, and every pumping mama knows stressing while you are pumping is no bueno.
Well thanks to my Freemie collection cups, I don’t have ounce anxiety anymore! I can’t see how much I’m getting while I’m pumping, so when I’m finished, it’s a surprise how much I get!
They also fit any size breast. You don’t have to have small or large boobs to wear ‘em. The size is corresponding to your nipple, not your bra cup size.
ARE THERE ANY DISADVANTAGES?
Yes, there are a few disadvantages with this system, but not many.
First off, the collection cups are not entirely clear, like a normal flange/bottle. I would describe them as more opaque. This means it can sometimes be difficult to get proper nipple placement at first.
My best advice on this issue is that it’s just trial and error. I found that after a few pumping sessions, I was able to feel if my nipple was correctly aligned. It’s somewhat of a learning curve. Once you’ve used them routinely, you get the hang of it.
Second, it is difficult to do breast compression/massage while you pump. If you are accustomed to doing this while you pump, these may not be for you. It can be done, but it’s hard.
They are also….ehhem…not so discrete. Yes, you have your shirt on, but you kinda look like Madonna.
Lastly, I did read a few reviews on Amazon that some mamas were pumping less milk with Freemies than they were with a normal flange/bottle system. Personally, I did not find this to be true. I actually found that the less amount of stress I was having while using my Freemies caused me to pump more.
HOW MUCH ARE THEY?
Many women are able to get a free (or discounted breast pump) through their insurance, so before spending a ton of money on a fancy double electric pump, check with your insurance agency first.
This amount of money may sound like a lot for just some replacement cups to hook onto your breast pump. But I am telling you guys, they are SO WORTH IT. These collection cups are so vital to any working mom. Honestly even if you plan on being a stay at home mom, these will benefit you! And exclusive pumper….meet your new best friend!!
Here are a list of places I’ve pumped with my shirt on while using my Freemies:
- At work (duh)
- In the car
- Sitting on the couch with company around
- At a wedding
- At the airport
- On an airplane
- In a restaurant
- In the back of a taxi cab
The money was waaaaay worth it for me, and trust me these will change your pumping life.
Here’s the link again 🙂
Also, be sure to check out my post on 30 proven ways to increase your milk supply if you need a little boost!
Tell me below in the comments if you have any experience using these babies! Here’s to keeping the milk-a-flowin’!
*UPDATE* I found a SUPER awesome Breastfeeding Handbook worth investigating if you want to stay organized and need some extra pointers with breastfeeding/pumping! Trina and Alli from Mom Smart Not Hard have put a TON of work into this amazing resource, and they’ve included SO MUCH INFO! There’s a 25+ page handbook inside, along with 3 printable trackers to keep you organized through those first few weeks of newborn life! Snag your copy here, trust me, it’s so awesome and helpful! 🙂
Founder, Labor Teen