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My Freemie breast pump was such a huge help in my breastfeeding journey with my first son. So as I prepare to welcome another little one, I’m reminded of some key things to keep in mind. The first big one is how long does it take to pump with Freemie?
But I’m also remembering the cleaning process and transferring the milk to bottles for feeding. Here are some important information you should know if you’re planning to use a Freemie in your breastfeeding journey.
How long does it take to pump with Freemie?
The time that it takes to pump milk is variable based on a woman’s body chemistry. I will say this though, the Freemie was not as powerful as my Medela Pump In Style.
It generally took me about 15 minutes to pump to empty with Medela. The Freemie took me more like 20 minutes to pump to empty.
The big difference for me was that I could do things around the house and complete work while pumping. Even with a pumping bra, other pumps tend to take up tons of space and be challenging to do things around the house while wearing.
Not only that, but most other pumps need to be plugged in while in use, which means you’re tied down to a specific area. Or those that are battery powered are so bulky it’s still challenging to move around.
My 20-minute Freemie pumping sessions were fluid and flexible because the pump is battery powered and small enough to clip to my waistband.
Can you do breast compressions while using Freemie?
The other thing to consider when using a Freemie breast pump is that it’s a bit harder to do full breast compressions while pumping. As someone who suffered clogged breasts, mastitis, thrush and just about every other breastfeeding ailment you can imagine, compressions were important for me to drain all milk.
Because the Freemie sits overtop of your breasts, it’s more challenging to massage the various milk ducts. So be aware of that if you’re exclusively pumping. You might want to alternate between the Freemie and another pump that more easily allows for such compressions.
I did a mixture of direct feeding and pumping so I was able to do those compressions when my little guy was nursing to avoid problems.
Cleaning a Freemie breast pump
I’m a busy work-at-home mom. The idea of cleaning a breast pump every few hours makes me feel like a crazy person. While it isn’t recommended, I put my Freemie plastic parts in the dishwasher.
I only had one problem with using this cleaning regimen. One time I put one of the smaller parts on the top rack instead of in the baskets. It fell down near the heating coil and melted. I had to buy a new part.
Other than that, I never had any issues with running my Freemie through the dishwasher and highly recommend it for busy moms. I cleaned it by hand throughout the day using a bucket just for pump parts and bottles with some mild dish soap and warm water. Then at the end of the day I ran it through the dishwasher.
To fully sanitize the plastic parts, the manufacturer recommends boiling the parts. When I had Thrush, I boiled bottle nipples, pump parts and pacifiers twice a day.
I didn’t love the process, but it is something that only takes about 15 minutes and you don’t have to babysit the process the whole time. Of course, this time around I’ll have a bouncing, climbing toddler to worry about with a boiling pot of water on the stove.
Transferring milk from Freemie to bottles
Some pumps have compatible bottles that allow you to just put a bottle lid and nipple on top and feed it to your baby. That’s incredibly convenient, but I also found my son didn’t prefer those bottles anyway.
His favorite were the Avent Natural. I’ve been prepping by getting infant size 0 nipples for those bottles. I figure our existing ones are pretty stretched out from my oldest son using them for 18 months.
For breastfeeding, you always want to use slow-flow nipples. The infant ones that provide the slowest flow are the best for preserving your breastfeeding journey. You don’t want the bottle to be easier and more convenient for baby.
Transferring milk from the Freemie cups to bottles is a bit challenging and has a learning curve. Try not to cry over the possible spilled milk you might experience. There is a small hole at the top of the cup for air to escape from while pumping and to pour the milk. I preferred using this over taking the cups apart and trying to pour from there without a funnel.
Just don’t pour too fast. This is a small hole so it takes a little while to empty the cups fully. If you rush the process, you might end up with milk everywhere, which as a breastfeeding mom is so disheartening.
Do work-at-home moms really need to order a breast pump?
In my opinion, yes, work-at-home moms still need a breast pump. I woke up many hours before my son to get work done. And during this time, I was so full and uncomfortable if I didn’t pump. It kept me from being productive.
I also liked the fact that I could have a bottle in the fridge for my husband to give baby if I ever had an evening conference call. Even though these calls are normally 30 minutes to an hour, you never know baby’s sleep schedule and when they’ll need to eat. So it always gave me comfort to pump before those calls and sit a bottle out for my baby’s caregiver.
As my son got older and could self-feed, sometimes it was a good distraction to let him have a bottle while he explored and I could get things done. This was always in safe and supervised conditions but gave me a bit more freedom to keep typing and working without a squirming older baby on my lap. As those babies get bigger, they get more challenging to nurse and work with because they move around so much.
If you can get a breast pump through insurance, I highly recommend doing so even if you think you’ll be exclusively nursing. It can come in handy at some surprising times. And because you won’t be using it three to four times a day like moms who work outside the home, you can afford to have a less powerful pump like Freemie that takes a bit longer to pump to empty with.