Freemie breast pump reviews: Freemie electric vs. manual breast pumps

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
December 11, 2021

freemie breast pump

Freemie is one of the country's most popular brands of breast pumps, with a product line that emphasizes portable pumps and a set of highly compatible cups. In this review of Freemie breast pumps, we're going to answer some common questions, then review each of Freemie's main pumps to find the best Freemie breast pump for you.

Freemie breast pump FAQs

These are some of the most common questions people have about Freemie's products.

How do I use the Freemie Breast Pump?

After cleaning and assembling the Freemie breast pump, follow the directions in the included guide to determine the correct pressure. From there, wear or buy a bra to keep that pressure while you pump. Proper bra fitting is critical to the use of this pump.

From there, set the pump to its lowest setting and turn it on, then increase the vacuum strength until you reach a comfortable level. If the vacuum reaches max and has no noticeable suction, one of the connections is probably loose.

Always pump in an upright position. Do not lean forward or back while pumping. Freemie's devices have a limit on the amount of milk they can store, and you may need to switch out for new cups if you produce more milk than the devices can hold.

How do I clean Freemie breast pumps, parts and tubing?

Start by disconnecting all parts that come into contact with breast milk (typically the cup, breast funnel, valve, and valve base). Hand wash each part in hot soapy water, then rinse thoroughly. Do not boil the tubing or valves, put parts in the dishwasher, or steam sterilize any of the parts. Avoid excessive heat and any abrasive items.

Clean each part as soon as possible after each use, and make sure they are completely dry before you store them.

What's the best way to dry and store Freemie breast pumps and parts?

Freemie parts should be wiped with a soft, clean towel, then allowed to air dry. When possible, store them vertically. This allows the water to drip down and speeds the drying process.

Can you boil Freemie breast pump parts?

Some Freemie parts should be boiled to sanitize them before their first use. On the Freemie Freedom pump, these parts include the breast funnel, valve base, and natural shape cup. Which parts should be boiled - and how - is covered in the user manual of each pump. Be sure to follow these directions exactly - failure to do so could damage the parts.

Do not boil parts to clean them after the initial sanitizing process.

Can I travel on planes with Freemie breast pumps?

Yes. According to the TSA, breast pumps can be taken in carry-on bags or checked bags. You do not need to have an infant with you to carry your breast pumps. That said, breast pumps usually need to be called out during the security screening. Clearly declare what the breast pump is, and store the milk separately. It is not subject to the normal three-ounce limit for liquids.

Do you use the same Freemie bottles for manual and electric Freemie breast pumps?

Not quite. Freemie has several different types of cups that are compatible with different devices. If you get both a manual and an electric pump, you may or may not be able to use the same cups with both systems. That said, manual and electric pumps should come with their own, compatible cups, so this is rarely an issue for users.

What's the difference between Freemie's manual and electric breast pumps?

Electric pumps are generally easier to use. In particular, Freemie's line of electric pumps focuses on discreet, portable pumps you can use while you shop and enjoy the rest of your life. Manual pumps are considerably less convenient.

Can you change the breast shields?

Yes. Freemie's products are easy to disassemble, and spare parts are available from the manufacturer.

What are the prices for Freemie breast pumps?

Remember that your insurance may cover Freemie pumps, allowing you to get them at no additional cost. Always check with your insurance before deciding which type of breast pump to get.

Single items (like an open system Freemie cup) and replacement parts are readily available but fairly expensive compared to the competition. Expect to pay out a fair bit when you need replacements or want to buy Freemie parts that are compatible with other pumps.

Replacements are "when", not "if" - they suggest replacing the pump filter and cup valves every 1-2 months.

Best Freemie Breast Pumps

Here are the three best Freemie products on the market.

The lesser of Freemie's electric pumps, the Freemie Freedom Double Electric Hands-Free and Concealable Breast Pump is a relatively straightforward electric pump. While it needs to be plugged in and set on a table, it is designed to fit inside a regular or nursing bra so you can pump more comfortably in public. It also allows either single or double pumping, providing added flexibility.

That said, there are a few concerns with this product. First, most of the parts don't last very long - the duckbill valves and filters need to be frequently changed, and that cost adds up. It's also difficult to see how much milk you've pumped, which is an issue given the relatively small size of the cups. On the bright side, the pump itself is rather quiet. It's not the best pump available, but in most cases, it will get the job done.

Freemie's Equality Double Manual Concealable Breast Pump is designed to fit under your clothes, allowing you to manually pump without exposing yourself in public areas. It's lightweight and easy to carry, with a simple hand pump and adjustable suction strength that offer impressive versatility for minimum effort.

It accomplishes its goal, but there are a few drawbacks to be aware of. First, and perhaps most importantly, this manual pump is not discreet in any sense of the term. Other people will notice the cups, which usually stick out several inches from your breasts. Second, this product doesn't work as well on women with large breasts or small nipples, since they don't have smaller flanges.

Accordingly, we feel that this pump works best as a backup in case an electric pump stops working. It's not a bad product, but it's hard to call it any better than average - and that's an issue when you want the best for yourself and your child.

Freemie's premiere product is the Liberty Mobile Hands-Free Breast Pump, a fully portable system. This product has many features lacking in the rest of the product line, from a programmable timer to easily customized tube lengths. It can be clipped to your belt, placed on a desk, or set anywhere else you need it.

As with all of Freemie's products, there are a few points to keep an eye on. First, it is a little bulky under your clothes, so they recommend getting creative with scarves or other bits of attire. It's also hard to see how much you've pumped, which can lead to some awkward peeking if you're pumping in public. It doesn't come with milk storage, either, so you'll need to get some cups (and perhaps a cold box) to bring around.

Overall, however, this is a reliable mobile pump - and definitely the best product Freemie offers.

Tips for choosing the best Freemie breast pump for you and your baby

Freemie's product line is fairly small - two electric pumps, one manual pump, and a variety of connectors and accessories. As such, all you really need to do is consider whether you want a manual, tabletop, or mobile pump - and that determines which Freemie product to get.

Which Freemie breast pump is the best?

The Freemie Liberty - their mobile pump - is easily the best choice. It's considerably more expensive than their other pumps, but it offers a variety of features worth having. This is especially true if you can get it through your insurance at no additional cost - there's no reason to get anything less than the best unless you're just looking for a manual backup.

Public perception about Freemie

Praise for their products includes things like appreciation for how many bras they fit with, how easy it is to disconnect the system, and how natural they feel once they're on correctly.

Conversely, negative comments include complaints about how slow the pump can be, how much trouble it is to transfer the milk instead of storing in collection cups, and how hard it is to see how much you've pumped. These issues are fairly common - even among mothers who like Freemie's pumps - so they're likely to hold true in your case as well.

How it compares

Overall, Freemie's products are not as good as those from major competitors like Medela and Spectra. They're also fairly expensive when compared to their competition, though as we mentioned above, that's basically irrelevant if you're able to get a pump through your insurance.

Other Freemie products to buy

There are several products worth getting aside from the pumps themselves.

Freemie Collection Cups

While cups and connection parts need to be purchased separately, the cups themselves are fairly popular. If you need a replacement or want something more comfortable than the cups a different pump provided, it's worth seeing if Freemie has a compatible product.

Freemie Connection Kit Replacement Set For Double Electric

That said, Freemie's parts have a relatively short warranty period, and you may need to replace the connection parts if you're using them with another pump. Fortunately, such parts are widely available.

Freemie Valve Replacements For Collection Cups

Valves need to be replaced far more often than the cups themselves, so expect to buy these on a regular basis. (As with the pumps, it's better if you can get your insurance to cover the parts at no charge.)

Freemie Electric Pump Replacement Filters

If you use one of Freemie's pumps, you'll need a new filter every 1-2 months. Dirty filters reduce suction power and could lead to contamination of your milk.

Final review of Freemie breast pumps

Overall, Freemie has a set of fairly average products. The stand-out feature we found was the adjustable automatic timer on the Freemie Liberty - that's a rare feature on electric pumps and helps it stand apart from the competition. Even with that, however, the need for frequent part replacements makes it hard to recommend their products over better brands.

If possible, we strongly recommend that you try their pumps before you buy them.

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