Where was the Freemie back when I was pumping? My kiddos are now 3 and 5, which makes my own pumping days pretty much ancient history by now. So when mamas from the Mindful Return course started talking about the “Freemie”, I was intrigued – though admittedly mystified by how this contraption worked.
To enlighten me – and all of us! – I invited one the amazing alumns from the course, Jewelyn Cosgrove (also author of How to Create a Maternity Leave Plan Your Employer Will Love), to give us the real scoop on the Freemie.
Jewelyn tells all about the Freemie, here:
When I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to try to breastfeed. Emphasis on the word “try.” I know some women struggle, and I knew there was a chance I would as well, but I wanted to give it my best.
Once my baby was born, and she successfully latched and nursed, I set my sights on a new goal – six weeks. Just six weeks and supposedly things would get easier, so I’d try to make it to that point.
Once I made it to six weeks, I decided three months was my new goal, realizing that any longer than that and I would need to be prepared for the challenges of not just being a working mom, but a working PUMPING mom.
As my return to work approached, my anxiety rose. I was fortunate that my place of work was incredibly accommodating. They installed blinds on my office window, a lock on my door, and provided a fridge beside my desk. Everything I needed for privacy, storage, and discretion. But I was still anxious, realizing that I’d essentially have to disrobe in order to pump, and maybe even mutilate a bra to hold the flanges in place. In my job in particular, I’m not always in my office. Trying to keep my pumping sessions on a schedule when at least one day a week, I would be out of pocket, was a daunting additional hurdle to my nursing/pumping strategy.
That’s often the biggest complaint for working moms – how to be discreet, maintain privacy, and handle the rather complex logistics of pumping on the go. It’s not always easy.
A week or two before I was to return to the office full time, another mom in my community mom group shared her latest pumping find – Freemies. “They fit in any bra!” She raved to us. I immediately googled the product. I was skeptical, and a little perturbed that I’d need a “conversion kit” to suit my pump, but I decided to make the purchase.
Mamas, the Freemies have been a lifesaver. They fit into literally any bra, and other than the fact they’re hard to fit in your shirt if you wear something with no give in the chest area, I can wear whatever I want and never disrobe to pump. I simply tuck the cups into my bra and plug in the tubing, turn on the pump and let the magic happen. I have pumped in my car, I have pumped on Capitol Hill, I have pumped at the airport, and I have pumped at my desk. Not once have I needed to remove even one article of clothing. A friend of mine even pumped on the beach!
Here’s how they work. The freemies are simply collection cups – with a filter, a valve, and a funnel that fits over your breast just like the original flanges that came with your pump. The cups tuck into your bra, making you look a little like Madonna in that famous cone bra, except these seem infinitely more useful. The conversion tubing fits onto your pump’s existing tubing – so nothing changes from how you would otherwise operate your pump, except for the part that collects the milk. After you’re done pumping, you can pour directly out of the collection cups into your storage bottles or bags. Pretty simple, right?
If you’re a working nursing mom and have any concerns about your privacy, the discretion and comfort afforded by the Freemie collection cups may be a great fit for you. I know it’s hard, but I’m sitting here nine months into my breastfeeding journey and I am really pleased I made the decision to buy the Freemies. Sure, it’s an additional expense on top of all the other accessories you may have purchased to compliment your pumping journey, but it’s one I’ve found immensely valuable.
Want more pumping advice…and more help returning to work after maternity leave? Check out the Mindful Return E-Course. New sessions start soon. [And if you need a laugh while you’re pumping, click here!]