11.18.2013

The Freemie System for use with Medela- review

Today I got my Freemie system for my pump.   I use a Medela Symphony with 27 mm shields in the house and a PISA when out and about.  I got the Freemie in size 28 mm for $49.95 here.  You can also buy kits for use with the Ameda Purely Yours or the Philips Avent Twin Electric.  The Medela kit works with the Symphony, Lactina, and PISA.






I noticed something interesting right away- on their website it looks like the tubes go down along your belly.  Well, the tubes actually come out of the top of the cups.  Trying to run them down is possible but they will kind of stick up right above your boob which is kind of awkward.


The cup itself is where the milk collects, around the valve.  It just pops off and has a flat bottom (or front, when it's on your boob) so you can lay it down.  You are supposed to pour into a bottle after pumping.

Here you can see the cup in my left hand and the valve/tube/etc on the right.



This is how the valve and tubing are positioned when in use- tubing up, valve pointed down.


The tubing just slides into a little tunnel.  I was worried that it wouldn't be all that secure but it seems ok.

i.need.a.manicure.

So, the Medela kit!  At first I thought nothing was in the box and got nervous.  The cups, an extra valve, and 4 tubes (2 extra, obviously) were easy to identify but the Medela kit?  It's this.  This little pointy thing.  You stick it into the other end of the Freemie's tube and then stick your pump's tube into that instead of into the Medela connector/flange part.


Again, I was worried about it being secure and if it could possibly generate a good suction.

I was also worried about losing them.  Freemie included one extra for a total of 3.

Ok, onto wearing the cups!

Here I am wearing the freemie cup on the boob closest to the camera and holding the Medela cup to the boob further from the camera.  The freemie is large, but it doesn't hang down like the Medela bottle does.  This makes it easier if you have a laptop on your lap, or you're holding/feeding your baby, etc.


Here's from the other side.  Medela closest to camera, Freemie on the boob further from camera.



Here's a view from above.  Nothing in the left boob, Freemie on the right boob.  See the tube?



Now on to suction.

One thing that really bothers me is that the cups are pretty frosted.  I can't see inside them.  I have no idea how much milk is in there and even if I could see the line at the top of the liquid there are no measurements on the cups.

When hooked up to the Symphony the suction felt the same as it does with my Medela cups.  I normally pump until I don't see milk coming out any more.  Since that's not an option, I pumped for 15 minutes and got 8.25 oz.  Normally I get 4.5-6.25 oz this time of day.  While that seems like a good increase, overall I'm down 1.25 oz from this time the day before and I just recently got my period back which can mess with your supply.  I'd need more than one use to really get an idea of how much milk these are able to get, but it really is a pain to not be able to measure as you are pumping or see if the milk is spraying out or not.  Since I cycle back to the Letdown setting when the milk stops, and do that 2-3 times each session, it really is making me question if I want to use these long term.

Bottom line:

I *really* wanted to love the Freemie cups.  I do think that they work OK as far as suction, but the sizes are different than Medela sizing, so guessing your size is just that, a guess.  I think I did ok, but time will tell.

Pros:

They felt comfortable but I think I got lucky in guessing my size right.

The suction seemed the same as using my typical Medela parts.  I did let down quickly and pump more than I normally do this time of day.

These *are* less noticeable than the Medela parts, but see cons for an expansion on this statement.

Because they don't hang down in the slightest, let alone to nearly your hips as the Medela bottles do when sitting, you can hold your baby, get closer to your table/desk/laptop, or drive easier.  I drive while pumping a LOT so this is a big deal.


Cons:

The frosted plastic means you can't see if you are spraying milk or how much milk is in there.  There is no way to measure how much milk you've pumped.  You really can't even see your nipple to see if it's positioned correctly.

They are NOT unobtrusive.  Maybe under looser clothes they would be.  I'm thinking a giant sweatshirt?  Lol.  You will show less skin than even a hands free bra because you can have your shirt completely over your boobs.  Again this means you can't see what is going on.

The tubes don't really attach to any parts and it seems like the Medela connector part would get lost easily.

I'm worried that I wouldn't get the cups completely snapped together and leak/spill milk if they are cracked open or even pop apart.

Since the milk is collected in the cup I wonder what happens when you completely cover the valve?  The nipple opening?  etc.  (with milk, that is).


UPDATED AFTER 2ND USE:

I've had some questions and some more picture requests that I'll update on here-

1)  The Medela connectors plug directly into your tubes.  I guess technically the tubes from my Symphony plug into the connectors, not the other way around.  I did not notice any suction issues at this part.  When I noticed less suction in my left boob it was fixed by pushing the tube that comes out of the cup in deeper.


2) I absolutely worry that these will stretch out my bra, but while it's not stretched out, it does hold them nice and snug against my chest.



3)  Please understand this is a cell phone pic but this should give you a rough idea of how well (or not well...) that you can see inside the cups as you pump.  I can see my nipple expanding so I know it's in the right space.  I can't see the milk expressing.  I can kind of see the line of the milk gathering in the cup.


You can see the milk much better when you take the cup all the way off.  Again, no measurements.  For the record this was about 3 oz.


4)  Pouring can be tricky.  The cup itself lays flat on it's "front" and the "top (this is the part against your boobs) snaps off.  I used the little notch for the tube as kind of a spout to pour into the bottle.



5)  It had been 2 hours since my last pump.  I generally pump 3-6 oz at a time and it varies, but towards the lower end when it's only been two hours.  I normally only need to pump for 10-15 minutes during the day.

I pumped for 15 minutes and from both cups combined got just under 4.5 oz.  


I then attached my normal Medela flanges and pumped for 15 more minutes.  Guess what, I was almost empty already!



6)  This is a terrible picture.  I will try to have a family member take better ones later.   This is me holding my baby in a cradle position with the pumps on and working.  Normally the Medela bottles dangle right where his body would go, so this was MUCH better!  Holding him upright against my shoulder was fine for me but I worry that it was uncomfortable for him so I kind of had him to the side.


7)  The cups themselves feel very secure, but if my bra was stretched out I'm not sure I'd feel the same.  I was able to stand up and pick up my baby from the cradle but I squatted down rather than bending over to do so.  I also lay down on the couch on my side, torso leaning over the arm of the couch, legs bent on the couch...this is an awful description, isn't it?  I'll get some pics.  I didn't have a problem with leaking.  I do worry that the back and front of the cup will randomly unsnap.  They snap together like tupperware.

8)  As to car pumping, I realized that with the Medela bottles at least I can just take them off and slap a cap on them.  These would have to be poured into a bottle, so you're bringing these AND bottles and figure out how to pour while parked in your car.  I guess you could wear them inside wherever you are going and find a table or counter to unload onto but that would depend on how comfortable you are walking in with these on your chest.


Will update more as I continue to use these.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review. A friend just told me about these. Of course I decided to check out reviews first. Ha, I will be honest. I was hoping this was an old post so I could ask you for an update!

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    1. Hi Corrine! I actually am using them on and off (not for every pump) and have more to update on them soon! I took some experimental requests from some people so it's been fun, at least!

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  2. I found this too looking for reviews before I buy. If I can ask a personal question... What bra size are you? I read some reviews on amazon and one person said these wouldn't work for a bustier woman. Just wondering your thoughts on that.

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    1. Oops! I meant to add that I am a 44G when nursing and my nipples are lower, so curious if you think it would still work.

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    2. Hi Lisa! I wear a 38 DDD which is also an E, F, or G depending on the brand, it seems. I'd say I am pretty busty and I not think at all that my boob size is a problem. I wear stretchy bras and I'm afraid of the Freemies stretching them out, but non-stretchy bras won't accommodate a Freemie, so it's kind of a Catch-22 there. I do think the Amazon reviews are for an older model as they just started selling these again about a week and a half ago and I didn't see them available on Amazon but I haven't looked recently. If the review is any time before November 18th-ish it's probably the older model.

      Hope that helps! I have experimented with the Freemies by request and will have some updates soon!

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  4. Hi Gigi,

    I was wondering if you have used this personally with another pump? If so, which one was the quietest pump? I will be returning to work after maternity leave and need something inconspicuous like this. I work in a quiet, cubicle-type environment and really want to remain as "invisible" with it as possible. Thanks in advance!

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  5. HI! I'm working on a project to redesign the breast pump. you mind if I contact you for additional questions based on your reviews?

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  6. Months later do you have any additional updates/tips for someone looking into these?

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