Our sponsor for the month is Freemie. They would like to introduce you to their products…
Do you have trouble making enough time or finding the right space to pump effectively at work? Consider pumping while doing your job.
Freemie breast pump collection cups are a hands free and concealable system designed to be used with most popular breast pumps. If you aren’t able to pump as often or as long as you need to at work, this might be the tool you’re missing. Freemie cups allow you to pump when you need to, wherever you need to.
It is important to understand that you do not have to buy a whole new pump to be able to use the Freemie system if you already have a compatible pump. Instead of using the traditional horns and bottles that came with your Freemie compatible pump, you connect the Freemie cups to your pump, and slip the cups up into your bra. Your milk collects inside the Freemie cups. Most bras can easily be adjusted to comfortably hold the Freemie cups in place, or you may have maternity bras that will work well. Many pumping bras also work!
How does the system work?
Each Freemie cup has a funnel and valve integrated into the cup assembly, so they feel and work just like regular breast pump equipment when placed over your breasts. But instead of milk falling down and hanging in bottles below the funnels, it collects in cups that surround the funnels. This more intuitive form makes the Freemie cups much more comfortable than any other hands free pumping system. Your bra is supporting a shape it was designed to support, so the weight of the collecting milk is hardly noticeable.
The cups are intended to be used right underneath regular clothing. But they are large enough to hold eight ounces of milk, and they do surround a deep breast funnel, which is necessary to effectively express milk. If you wear looser tops with quick and easy access to slip the cups in and out of your bra, there’s a good chance in many environments that nobody will even know what you’re doing. But if coworkers do notice, they probably won’t care. And there’s a good chance that they might appreciate that you’re not taking extra breaks to pump, even though you may be entitled to them. (The major benefit to you, of course, is that hopefully you’ll be heading out the door at the same time as everyone else, with your work done for the day, and heading home to your baby!)
Positioning the Freemie cups in your bra for an effective pumping session is important. Remember, you need to get your bra to do the job that your hands were doing, so pay attention to this part: After making sure you’ve selected the right funnel (and funnel fit is important, so if you need a size that isn’t available, unfortunately this system is not recommended) experiment with different bras–you have to see which one gets you a good seal, and positions the cups very comfortably so that you are effectively emptying milk from all your ducts. (For more on this subject, read here: Factors That May Affect Your Milk Production). Constantly pay attention to this part of the process, as making milk is a daily exercise, and your body changes over time. Breast pumps are almost never as effective as your infant, and you may need to utilize several different tools and techniques to maintain your milk supply during your breastfeeding journey. You may be able to pump exclusively with Freemie cups, but if the funnel fit or positioning isn’t perfect for you, then consider whether you should only use them during those times when you have to pump around other people or need to be hands free, or to relieve engorgement, but then use other traditional hand held funnels during a later pump session.
The Freemie cups’ tubing attaches to the tubing of your pump with simple quick connectors. By using each Freemie cup’s 24 inches of tubing and your pump’s tubing together, you can conveniently place your pump so that it is not in your way, and allows you room to function. You may even want to place it under a desk or behind some other obstacle to help to muffle or deflect any noise the pump makes. When you’re ready to get going, turn on the pump, and get back to work. When you’re done pumping, turn off the pump. If your situation allows you to keep working on something before you wrap up the pump session, you can let that last letdown of milk collect for a few minutes, with the pump turned off, before you take the cups out.
Transferring milk is easy; the notch in the cups that the tubing goes into becomes a pour spout when the cups are full. Pull the tubing out, but don’t take the cups apart. This allows you to hold the cup securely while you’re pouring the milk, and the spout creates a nice tight stream of milk. Practice this with water so you get the hang of it before doing it with your milk the first time.
How can the Freemie system improve your pumping routine?
One big advantage of the Freemie cups, for many women, is the opportunity to take the time pressure out of pumping. Pumping the Freemie way may allow you to relax while you pump and do time-consuming work simultaneously, rather than taking a quick pumping break before you begin tasks that are hard to interrupt. This capability can help women eliminate the need to rush through a pumping session. Some moms feel their situation forces them to turn up the pump a little higher than is comfortable or effective. But if you can pump without taking a break, what difference does it make if you pump for 5 minutes, or 45 minutes?
If you begin pumping with the Freemie system, you may find that many routine daily workplace negotiations – some of which you may dread – regarding your personal pumping needs are no longer necessary. Whether it is the need to schedule a specific break time with coworkers or supervisors, or the need to use someone’s private office if a dedicated pumping space isn’t available, the elimination of these negotiations can be hugely beneficial for you and the support you get in the workplace. Not only can you simplify the logistics of pumping, and eliminate headaches and tensions in the workplace, but you can more easily adapt the times you pump to optimize your productivity on all fronts.
Stories abound from women who have to go to a different floor in the building they work in – or a different building altogether – just to find a private space to pump. They might spend half of their allotted pumping time just traveling to an appropriate space to pump. Imagine the liberation if it is okay to pump in your cubicle or workstation!
Now, are you wondering if your company will let you pump at your workstation? In most workplaces, women don’t even need to ask. But if you are unsure, go ahead and ask. (It should be an easy sell.)
Pumping without taking extra breaks makes great sense if you can make it work in your situation. You’ll get more work done in less time on the job each day, and get home to your family quicker. Moms should be able to bring home the milk with the “bacon” without adding any time to the work day.
Lastly, there are some advantages to the Freemie system at home that many find useful: Because of the shape of the Freemie cups, you can double pump and hold your baby very comfortably at the same time, without baby getting distracted by milk bottles. But one of the most popular uses of the Freemie cups at home involves pumping with a single cup. Imagine comfortably pumping one breast while simultaneously nursing baby on the other breast. We call this, “Freemie Feeding.” Many working moms say this technique allows them to sleep in a little longer in the morning, because they pump during the morning feed. Before Freemie cups, these moms said they would spend 15 or 20 minutes pumping after nursing the baby before heading out the door for work. That meant getting up 15 or 20 minutes earlier. For many women with a new baby in the house, those few extra minutes of sleep are a big deal.
Many women who must return to work after having a baby are not able to sustain breastfeeding as long as they would like. Often, this is due to diminishing milk supply, resulting from inadequate pumping. It is just too hard for many women to find an adequate space and carve out enough time at work to pump as much as they should. Freemie cups dramatically change the possibilities. Moms can pump more often and longer if they need to, without adding any significant time to their workday. Some moms tell us the Freemie cups save them as much as an hour each work day.
Update: Congratulations to Freemie, Winner of the Best New Baby Eats Technology at the 2016 CES The Bump Baby Tech Show in Las Vegas!