Traditionally expressing involves holding a 'flange' or breast shield attached to a bottle onto your breasts. Double expressing (ie doing both sides at once) is recommended to save time and increase or maintain your supply, but this means trying to hold both at once.
Figuring out how to hold both setups (nicknamed 'horns') with one arm is a skill that few master. Even if you are able to figure it out, you are still limited by what you can do. And sometimes the slightest movement can dislodge one or both kits. Also the position you have to hold yourself in can cause strain on your shoulders.
Hand free bras are available. These are bras, or sometimes just straps, with holes cut out near the nipples to fit the flanges/breast shields through. They hold the kits in place but you are still stuck with the horns dangling from your breasts. This makes it almost impossible to cover them well with a t-shirt. And a well placed limb or head butt from a child is a risk for dislodging it all.
Picture of Medela® Easy Expression bra, Medela® Pump-in-Style and Freestyle pump.
It is legal for you to express in public just as you are allowed to breastfeed in public, but it is understandable that most women would probably feel more uncomfortable expressing in public as the nipple is exposed the whole time.
Enter Freemie® Kits! These can literally be a game changer for women who are doing a lot of expressing. These kits contain cups that are shaped to fit INSIDE your bra. You can then wear a t-shirt or top over them. Attach them to a compatible pump* and you are free to do just about anything - hold and feed your baby, play with them and/or older children, sit and eat with 2 hands!
If you have a portable pump the possibilities of what you can be doing while expressing are almost endless - walk through the shops, ride in a car (I don't encourage driving a car while expressing but I know it has been done), have a coffee with friends, have a picnic in the park, continue working (depending on your job of course), be just about ANYWHERE!
About the only thing you can't do with them is exercise or sleep (the person who invents a setup that allows you to express whilst asleep will become a millionaire overnight!).
The cups hold up to 230ml each so they will make you look like you have had a sizeable breast enlargement but surely that's worth it to be able to express, hands free, just about anywhere...? And they are easily covered by a large t-shirt or top.
At $125 (+ P&H) for a deluxe kit (which comes with 2x of 25mm and 28mm funnels, 2 collection cups, plus everything you need to double express, and attach them to your pump) they are pricey, but think of the time, energy and sanity you could save!
The deluxe kits contain everything shown above, which is everything required to double express and attach the cups to your compatible pump
Up until October 2016 you could only get these kits online from the USA or New Zealand. Cherished Parenting Services is now an Australian based stockist for the kits, meaning you are paying in Australian dollars and postage normally only takes 1-2 business days. Or if you are in Perth they can be picked up or delivered for free
They are now back in stock after selling out. If you have any questions please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.cherishedparenting.com.au/online-store to order your kit now
Spectra® - S1, S2, 9 Plus, & M1
Medela® - Symphony, Lactina, Personal, & Pump in Style Advance
Avent® - Twin electirc
Unimom® - Forte
Ameda® - Paltinum, Elite, & Purely Yours