Everyone’s talking about all the new wireless breast pumps these days — the Willow, the Elvie, the Baby Buddha, yes, yes, we know — but Freemie was actually driving some major breast pump innovations years ago (2013, to be exact). In fact, the developers behind Freemie basically invented the concept of hands-free pumping with wearable cups — giving women the ability to pump (somewhat) discreetly while doing other tasks, such as driving, working, or holding babies. (If you’re like, “Driving!?!? Who would ever pump while driving??”… Just wait!!! Hahahahaha – No seriously.)
In 2020, Freemie’s newest pump, the Liberty (out in 2018), offers a few improvements to the original design (which we liked very much, BTW) and remains a much more affordable option for women looking for a wearable, wireless pump.
The pump itself is a small hexagon with an LCD screen — it’s roughly the size of your palm, weighs just about ½ pound, and you can clip it to your clothes. It has a rechargeable (USB) battery, which typically lasts for about an hour, give or take (thus, the battery life leaves something to be desired). It’s pretty quiet, though not 100% silent, clocking in at 50dB compared to the Medela Pump in Style’s 60dB.
The Freemie collection cups fit inside your bra (much like the Willow or the Elvie), making the Liberty ultra-portable. In fact, you can walk around, get in your car, leave the house — whatever — with it. It’s hands free (the collection cups do connect to the pump via tubes, just FYI).
The cups are reusable and hold 8 oz. each. This is more storage than other parallel options, such as the Willow, which holds 5 oz in each cup. (What this means for you: even if you’ve got a big supply, you probably won’t need to empty out the cups in the middle of a pumping session, which is SO annoying to have to do.)
One of the biggest improvements with the Liberty (over Freemie’s previous pump offerings) is that its “Next Generation cups” ($89) now make for a closed system, meaning that milk won’t leak back into the tubing from the collection cups. Since this was a frequent complaint with the earlier iteration (and closed systems are just better, really…), we’re very pleased with the change.
Note that the Freemie collection cups, while subtler than traditional pump flanges and bottles, will still give you large, Madonna-like boobs while you’re using them, it’s 10 times more discreet than the standard alternative — bottles hanging off your boobs. But it’s not invisible.
Like pretty much every other wireless breast pump currently available, it will take a bit of finagling to both get things set up and then disassembled at the end. That is, you’ll likely need/want some privacy at the front and back end of a pumping session.
DIY: Make a Frankenstein Breast Pump
Freemie collection cups are available for purchase separately to use with different breast pumps, and many women take advantage of this by getting a stronger pump through their insurance and then buying Freemie cups to use with it.
You can buy the Next Generation cups (the closed-system ones) to use with any Spectra, Ameda (Purely Yours or Finesse), Philips Avent, Ardo Calypso, Evenflo Double Electric/Advanced, or Lucina Melodi Prime. For compatibility with Medela Lactina, Pump in Style/PISA, and Symphony, you’ll have to revert to the original Freemie cups (which are fine, but they use an open system).
*Make sure you consult Freemie’s website to double check which exact parts and pieces you need for your pump.
Note: Freemie cups are NOT compatible with the Medela Swing, Freestyle, or Sonata; the Baby Buddha is not yet listed as compatible, but women are rigging it up seamlessly!
The Liberty has an auto shut-off described as a “sleep timer,” which is nice… although we’re not sure that “sleeping while pumping” is quite as common as “sleeping while nursing.” Anyways, it’s there if you want it, and it’s in line with the auto-shut-off many other pumps also offer. (And many women say they really do benefit from this kind of feature because they’re more prone to lose track of time — while working, or something, mind you, not sleeping — with pumps like the Freemie, and the timer reminds them to call it quits.)
Note that the Freemie Independence breast pump, which is $50 cheaper, at $249, is identical to the Liberty save for the LCD display (it doesn’t have one) and the “sleep timer” (it also doesn’t have this).
If neither of these features are important to you, save the fifty bucks and go for the Independence.
*By far the biggest downside with the Freemie pump is that it simply doesn’t have the power other pumps like the Spectra or even the PISA have (note that this is true of all the wearable breast pumps). While many users report the suction power does the trick, many others complain it takes much longer to pump and may even diminish your supply.
It’s also a huge pain in the a$$ to clean, since the cups are not dishwasher safe (WHY?) and extra cups are hella expensive on their own ($79-89).
Freemie Liberty Breast Pump Review — bottom line: Many moms are happy with the Freemie Liberty, while others wish it were stronger. If discretion while pumping is of the utmost importance, and you don’t want to shell out $500 to try out the Willow or the Elvie, give the Liberty a whirl. Better yet… since most moms seem to rave more about the “idea of the system,” and the cups themselves, rather than the actual Freemie Liberty Pump: just buy the collection cups to use with a stronger pump (may we suggest the Baby Buddha?) for the best of both worlds. Create your own Frankenstein breast pump!