I have goals as a mother, which range from breastfeeding to using baby sign language to making sure my children know that no topic is taboo and that I’ll always be there for them. I also have goals for myself outside of motherhood, but the vast majority of them are tucked in the back of my mind, waiting for a time when my children don’t require as much of my attention. It was only after a great deal of soul searching that I finally decided that putting Cub and Little Miss into daycare twice a week was the only way to pursue my personal and professional goal of growing my blogging and social media management business. I tried for over a year to do it all: have the kids home full time and be a supermom plus work in every spare moment to meet my clients’ needs and maintain my blog. It worked for a while, but as Little Miss grew more and more mobile and slept for shorter and shorter periods, there was no way I could keep “having it all.” Luckily, daycare twice a week doesn’t mean I have to wean Little Miss Cub, who’s now fourteen months old.I will continue to breastfeed Little Miss Cub for as long as we are both happy with the arrangement, and going to daycare hasn’t changed things. She nurses before bed and typically at least once in the middle of the night, then probably three other times during the day. The two days that she is at daycare and I am working from home, I pump once in the afternoon when she would normally be nursing. Not only does this help me maintain my supply, but it also makes me a whole lot more comfortable. Little Miss isn’t interested in taking pumped milk from a bottle, but the milk does not go to waste. (She drinks water at daycare and nurses as soon as we get home, or sometimes I nurse her at daycare before we leave.) I am able to get anywhere from eight to ten ounces when I pump in the afternoon, and all of it goes into the freezer for the Northern Star Mothers Milk Bank.On Mondays and Wednesdays, the clock starts ticking as soon as I sprint in the door from dropping the kids off. I have just shy of eight hours to get a hefty list of business-related tasks done. There are no paid coffee breaks or lunch breaks. If I’m not at my computer, I’m not earning. And if I’m taking a break, it’s to run the vacuum or put in a load of laundry. So while I’d love to tell you I make myself a tea, grab a magazine and pump milk from the comfort of my sofa, the truth is, I pump while I’m loading the dishwasher, writing a blog post, interacting on social media or cooking dinner.I can’t imagine pumping with anything but the Medela Freestyle. For one thing, it’s a double pump. If I’m pumping only one side, then not only does it take twice as long, but milk is leaking out and being wasted on the other side. When Little Miss was younger, I would have her feed on one side and pump on the other, since you can absolutely use the Freestyle as a single if you want to. In addition to that, it is portable. I can clip it to my pants and move around the house, especially if I’ve got my pumping bra on. Most electronic pumps need to be plugged in, which severely limits your multitasking abilities! It’s also remarkably quiet. I’ve heard some electric pumps that sound like a herd of cows mooing. While not whisper-quiet, the Freestyle isn’t so loud that I have to turn up my podcasts while I pump. If I worked in an office, I wouldn’t be worried about disturbing colleagues with the sound of my pump. After all, it doesn’t even bother my fellow breastfeeding mom, Zelda!The batteries on the pump unit last a long time, too. With up to three hours of pumping per charge, it’s no surprise I haven’t had to recharge it for at least a month!
I’ve been using the Freestyle since Little Miss was born (my Cub is still very insistent on helping if I pump when he’s home. The Medela has a patented 2-Phase expression cycle: Cub knows how to turn it on, and he knows that after two minutes (that’s the length of the stimulation cycle), he has to press the “+” to bring the suction level to “8.” That’s the most comfortable and productive level for me, but there are 9 suction levels to choose from. When I start feeling my breasts get heavy after lunchtime, I start pumping, and within ten minutes I am typically done! (And a few more social media posts have been scheduled.)
I recommended the Freestyle to my friend and fellow work-at-home mom, Renee, from the online shop Lil’ Monkey Cheeks. (She also happens to be one of my clients.) Her son also just started daycare, and she’s pumping while she packs orders or even while she’s driving. With Cub, I was happy with my manual pump because I was not trying to collect milk for donation and we were already on our way to weaning when he started daycare. I know many, many breastfeeding moms have to return to work much earlier than I do and need to pump from their workplace multiple times a day. I can’t imagine doing so without a Freestyle!
My Medela Freestyle helps me pack more into our two daycare days, which means I’m happy, my business can thrive, babies in the NICU get yummy, wholesome breastmilk and most importantly, my kids get to hang out with a mom who’s not constantly trying to get onto her computer to get her work done.
Have you tried the Medela Freestyle?
Find out more about my favourite electric breast pump here!
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Medela Canada and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.