This is a mummy-mummy post so my sincere apologies to my male readers. You may want to skip this post!
Oh my Medela!
After six months of serving me very well, I started to see problems with the suction. I thought I did not place the connectors properly, or maybe my pumping position was wrong. So I would struggle to adjust the position while pumping and driving - definitely not safe and it made my normally stress-free, hands-free pumping sessions quite frustrating. Upon a closer inspection, I finally found the root cause of the problem.
Yes, I tore both of the breastshields, hence the pump could not maintain suction!
|Medela Freestyle comes equipped with the M sized (24mm) breastshields.|
Medela Freestyle users would know that the older Medela pumps were sold with the Soft-Fit breastshields, but those breastshields were discontinued a few years back. A friend mentioned that the breastshield replacements (called the Personal Fit) were hard and uncomfortable. So since I bought my pump back in 2010, it still came with those Soft-Fit ones and I took care of them very well. I made sure they were properly cleaned but never sterilized or submerged in hot water as I didn't want them to warp. But alas, they tore. And what bad timing - as I was scheduled for a business trip to Miri the very next day. (Typing this post in a hotel in Miri!)
I did not have any other choice but to rush to find a replacement. I could have simply bought them at Mothercare but since it wasn't a like for like replacement, I wanted advice from the experts. So I googled for the nearest Medela Service Centre in the area. Two locations came up - one in Bangsar and the other in Ampang. Although the one in Bangsar was closer to the office, I decided to head to the one in Ampang (behind De Palma Hotel) as I was more familiar with the area and access to parking. (I grew up in Ampang, remember?) And boy, was it a good choice to head to Ampang. Firstly, the Bangsar service centre has relocated to a different location in Petaling Jaya (closer to the industrial area and harder to locate). Secondly, parking was a breeze (well at least for me) and last but not least, I received valuable advice from the lady who was manning the centre.
|Picture from http://iemazmil.blogspot.com/|
|Breast shield fitting.|
From the Medela website: Note that your nipple should move freely and easily and should not rub against the sides of the tunnel. If the breastshield fits tightly, your nipple will rub against the sides of the tunnel with each vacuum movement of the pump. After several pumpings, you may notice that the outside of the nipple (rather than the nipple tip) is tender or sore.
I requested to test both the M (24mm) and L (27mm) size. There is a small room at the back of the centre where you could do a test pump because it is almost impossible to tell which size breastshield is the best fit without watching the nipple movement during pumping. We did a full 20-minute pump, and as expected - I needed a bigger size! It was quite a revealing moment though, as I discovered that with suitable fitted breastshields, I was able to express more milk as I was able to empty the breasts properly.
She also checked my pump and the suction. Suction was still good, but there was black dust gathering at the back of the unit which was not caused by the battery but rather the motor. She said that there was a case where the black dust contaminated the pumped milk so she recommended that I change the motor. I nearly balked at the price! The quote was about RM1300++ whereas a brand new Medela Freestyle can be purchased (cheapest) at RM1700++. It was quite frustrating, especially since I had only used the pump for only 6 months, and since I purchased it in the US, the guarantee did not cover Malaysia. According to her, if I had bought the pump in 2010 from a Malaysia Medela supplier, they would actually only start calculating the guarantee from the date of birth of the baby, in this case for Ian would be six months thus the motor would still be within the guarantee period (of six months).
|Black dust at the back of the pump. Don't be fooled though, the outside of the pump looks absolutely brand new!|
I also inquired about their trade in program - you can trade in your breast pump for a specified price and use it to offset your new pump. Unfortunately the program is for breast pumps that were purchased in Malaysia. She could probably still accept if the pump came with a three-pin head, but since mine came with a two-pin US adapter, she could not make an exception.
|The Soft-Fit versus the Personal-Fit.|
|Can you see the size difference?|
I also purchased a Hands Free Breast Pump Bra from Simple Wishes (sold at the Medela service centre) for RM139. It claims to be a bra (it has straps and all that) but to me it is a very clever tube top with holes in it for you to stick your breast shields through. I just used it yesterday and it was quite comfortable and stable. I enjoyed the exhilarating freedom of being able to walk around the house while pumping and still being modestly covered! (Rumah tepi surau, hence have to be careful with what I wear! Prancing around topless is a big no no!)
|Simple Wishes Hands Free Breast Pump Bra. Comes in black and brown. I chose black.|
|Also comes with an extra panel (in case you need extra width) and straps that you can use like a normal bra or even like a halter top.|
Anyway, I managed to squeeze a trip to the Mothercare sale before I left the Ampang area, as I wanted to get the Yoomi for Ian. Guess what? Both the Personal Fit and the Hands Free Breast Pump Bra were on 10% sale with an additional 10% for members. *grumble grumble*
Well, at least I had a one-to-one trial session to ensure that I bought the best fit. *ayat sedapkan hati*
Here are all the Medela Service Centre contact details, as of June 2014:
PJ Branch: 11, Jalan Tandang 51/205A, Seksyen 51, Petaling Jaya.
Ampang Branch: Lot B2-G, Jalan Selaman 1, Dataran Palma, Off Jalan Ampang, Ampang. 03-42701128
Penang: 9-1-22, Taman Kheng Tian, Jalan Van Praagh, Pulau Pinang. 04-2827278
Johor: No. 35, Jalan Molek 2/1, Taman Molek, Johor Bahru. 07-3535988