Freemie collection cups are a completely different kind of milk collection system, where everything fits into your bra – no bottles and pump parts hanging off of your chest! I was really excited to try it with my third baby, and here is my Freemie review.
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Most pumping systems have three major parts – a breast shield (or flange) that fits over your nipple, a pumping mechanism (breast shield connector, membrane/valve, etc.), and then a bottle that the milk is collected in. The Freemie has the same three things, but instead of being pumped into a bottle, the milk flows into a collection cup that surrounds the breast shields and pumping mechanism. Everything fits into a cup that you can put in your bra.
When are Freemies Useful?
Freemies have a few benefits – they can make it easier to move around and get things done, or they can just be a way of going hands-free without having bottles hanging off your chest.
Here are some examples of situations where Freemies can come in really handy:
- When your baby wants to be held while you pump, it can be easier to pick him up and snuggle when you’re using Freemie cups versus trying to work around pump parts and bottles.
- If your baby is older and likes to play with tubing when you pump, Freemies can make it easier to manage because more of the tubing is concealed under your shirt.
- Pumping in public can be easier with Freemies, as you don’t need to use a nursing cover and it just kind of looks like you have larger breasts.
- If you have a mobile pump, it’s easy to go about your day while pumping – you can move around your house, cook, play with your baby, etc. The one thing to watch out for is that you might have some spillage if you bend over.
Should You Get Freemie Cups, or a Freemie Pump?
This depends on a few things.
If you already have pump and you are looking for a hands-free solution, then I would suggest just getting the cups that go with your pump.
If you want additional mobility than your pump can provide (for example, if you use a Medela Symphony), you may want to get a smaller pump. You could get a Freemie Liberty or Independence pump, or you could get a mobility pump with Freemie cups. Some popular mobility pumps include the Bella Baby, Baby Buddha, and the Spectra S9.
Some things to consider in deciding which to get include are cost, suction strength (if you struggle to empty I would go Baby Buddha or Bella Baby, if you need something gentle I would go S9 or Freemie), and how comfortable you feel with using pieces from different brands versus an integrated solution.
Freemie Liberty vs Willow vs Elvie
If you are looking for a hands-free pump, should you get a Freemie Liberty, a Willow, or an Elvie?
The main difference between the Freemie Liberty and the other two pumps is that while the Freemie Liberty is hands-free and very mobile, it is not wireless. You still have to manage tubing. The Willow and Elvie are both completely wireless.
However, the price the Freemie Liberty is much lower than the wireless pumps, so that might be a good trade-off for you.
If you decide to go with a wireless breast pump, here is a more in-depth comparison of the Willow and the Elvie.
Closed vs Open System Freemie Cups
There are two different kinds of Freemie cups – closed system and open system. So what is the difference, and which ones should you get?
First, there are two types of breast pumps. Open system pumps do not have a barrier between the pump parts (and breastmilk) and pump motor, while closed system pumps do. The barrier on closed system pumps are usually called backflow protectors.
The type of Freemie cups that you should get depends on what kind of breast pump that you have. Most Medela pumps (with the exception of the Symphony) are open system, so you should get open system Freemie cups. Most Spectra pumps, the Baby Buddha, and the Ameda Purely Yours are closed system.
If you aren’t sure which type your pump is, check the instruction manual for your pump (most of them are available online) or call the customer service and ask.
Freemie Tips and Hacks
Here are a few additional tips for pumping with Freemies:
- If you find you’re not getting as much with Freemies as you’re used to, try a tighter bra. Having the correct amount of pressure is key.
- If you find the suction is not as strong as you are used to, try replacing the duckbills.
- I had a little trouble pouring the milk out of the collection cups into a bottle the first few times I tried it, so I would suggest practicing with water first. (Tip: Use a normal breast shield as a funnel when you pour breast milk. Just put it into the bottle you’re pouring into, and you’re a lot less likely to spill.)
- Make sure you have the right size flanges. Freemies come with 25mm and 28mm flanges; if you need a smaller size you may be able to use BeaugenMom inserts to make the 25s small enough. You can also use some standard flanges – including Pumpin Pals – WITH Freemie cups. (A mom in our Facebook group tested different flanges with Freemie cups to – see infograph below to see what worked.)
Have you used Freemie collection cups? Feel free to share your experience!References