It happened on this one fateful night…
*Nadia being dramatic*
We were staying at my in-laws’ that weekend, so I had packed along my freemie collection cups to do some pumping.
If you haven’t read an earlier entry on mine – The Day My Baby Changed. Forever. – I am now exclusively pumping. Hence, my pumping gear is my new best friend. Apart from my main pump at home, I use the freemie cups when I’m out and about. The freemie cups are designed to cater to mothers who are on the go and need to pump — the latest of its kind in the market that I know of. Widely marketed and reviewed excellently, I got a set of my own.
It had been a while since I last used the freemie cups, since resigning from my full-time job. The last time I [almost] used it was when I was away for a full-day emcee gig a little outside of the city. I never had any issues with it. It served its purpose — offering ease and convenience. It’s not as bulky as those conventional ones.
It was nearing my baby girl’s bedtime.
I was expressing milk…………and only managed to get less than 1 oz after a routine 15-minute pumping.
“Something is wrong. What is wrong?!!! I need milk for Baby NZ’s night feed before she heads to bed!!!”
I wanted answers from my poor husband, who was witnessing a woman on the brink of insanity.
“Pam rosak ke? You haven’t used it for a while,” he said.
“It can’t be,” I said. “It’s perfectly fine. I assembled it correctly.”
For a peace of mind, I quickly did a YouTube run to check whether the parts were put together correctly. Surely, they were.
Urghhhh. I was going out of my mind.
My baby wanted to sleep and I only had less than 1 oz of breast milk. I’m doomed.
The ultimate question came to mind —- had my supply dried out?????
“That can’t be reason,” my sister wrote in her text after I told her about the crisis I was in.
“If your supply was running out, it would happen gradually. You pumped a few hours ago and managed to get the usual amount of milk. So it’s not that. Please calm down. Try again shortly.”
Thank you for the wise words, sis. Hehe.
“You need to give formula la,” my husband said.
I replied, “tell me, where can I get formula in the middle of night??” Oh husband. Haha.
I felt that milk was still in there and was not emptied out for some reason, that there was some error in the pumping method.
Ten minutes after, I tried again. To my great relief, I was able to express the usual amount. Alhamdulillah!
I had done it a little differently the second time around.
During the first failed pumping session, I held the freemie cups manually, with my hands — similar to how it’s done with my conventional pump back at home.
During the second successful pumping session, I inserted it into my brassiere and I was hands-free.
Operative words: Insert into brasserie. LOL.
Well, duhhh! You were supposed to be hands-free all along, that’s why it’s called freemie collection cups. You’re supposed to be able to pump with your shirt over the pumps, without having to hold them.
Holding them manually doesn’t work for freemie cups, it prevents proper suction.
So if you have these freemie cups, don’t make the same mistake I did.
With the root of problem identified and rectified, I was back on track.
* * *
How to Assemble Freemie Collection Cups
The freemie collection cups do not come with a motor, as it’s supposed to be connected and generated using the existing motor you have for your conventional pump. It’s compatible with most popular brands, but not all. The instruction booklet included only applies to a few brands, excluding mine. Although it was compatible, it was not laid out in text. I had to search online for a step-by-step guide; found an easy one on a blog.
So, let me blog it forward, in my own version:
– Assembly Part I: Freemie Cups –
**I apologise for the poor visuals; I should have used a darker background!
1. Identify the parts of the cup
2. Insert the valve base into the breast funnel. Make sure the valve base’s tip is aligned with the breast funnel’s spout (see circled area).
3. Assemble the valve at the bottom part of the valve base. Ensure that the wider surface of the valve is facing the breast funnel like in the picture.
4. Once all the parts are tightly assembled together, insert the cup. Make sure the cup is placed properly; wait til you hear that ‘click’ as if you’re closing the lid to a container.
5. Do the same with the other freemie cup.
– Assembly Part II: Connection Kit –
*Please note that assembly of the connection kit is according to the motor brand I am using – Malish Ilaria. It may differ with other brands.
6. Once the assembly of both cups are complete, you now need to connect the cups to your motor.
7. Each tube must be inserted with a connector on one end. This connector is inserted into the barrier. The barrier has two ‘handles’ on either side; one is bigger than the other. The connector goes into the bigger one.
8. The existing tube that came with your motor is also used. In my case, it’s the Malish Ilaria motor. Both ends have connectors. For the purpose of using freemie cups, remove one connector from each tube.
9. The end of the tube where a connector was removed, is then connected to the smaller handle of the barrier.
10. With both handles occupied, it now looks like this:
11. The tube from the freemie cup connection kit (that is without a connector), is then inserted securely into the spout of the cup. This is where milk will flow.
12. Do the same with the other tube and insert into the freemie cup. Assembly is now complete!
13. Connect your motor’s tube into the motor as per normal practice. Place the cups into your bra; ensure that the tubes are facing upwards. Remember, ensure that all pieces are securely put together in the right positionings to prevent any leakage.