I received a Kiinde starter kit at Mommy con recently and I held onto it knowing that it might come in handy. Now that I'm breastfeeding again I had the opportunity to use the system. I was not paid for this review but I found it to be an interesting design so I wanted to share it with you.
The Kiinde system is a well thought out system that comes with the dongles to be able to attach the storage bag directly to a manual or an electric breast pump without having to transfer the milk from a bottle or other storage bag.
This is the main benefit of this system because typically with a different set up, you would pump into bottles and then transfer those into a bag for storage of breast milk or put a nipple on it to bottle feed your baby or you would transfer it to another bottle to feed your baby. The transfer can be a bit annoying and create a lot of washing up and it can sometimes be challenging to remember all the little doodads you need to pump for baby.
Another benefit of the design is that it eliminates air in the pouches and thus transfer of air which can help the baby in that they don't swallow air and then aren't burpy or possibly gassy. Some infants experience GERD and colic and many mothers and professionals associate this with swallowing air during feedings.
As an industrial designer, I have to say that this system was thought out by someone who probably is really persnickety about how they go about pumping and feeding their baby and they then hired an industrial designer to design the **** out of this system. Everything is serious and curvy and plastic and pretty....the doings of a traditional industrial designer who probably pored over their computer for months to years getting this whole system figured out. Even their box uses computer renderings to show all the components of their system. They have everything from a rack to store these special packs in the freezer to nipples that then go onto the food packs to create a bottle for baby to feed from to nipple brushes and a bottle warmer.
This Kiinde system uses the technology used in food pouches and reusable water bags for drinking water. They are high quality pouches with a threaded plastic opening that you can screw right onto a male dongle that allows you to screw it onto a breast pump. It comes with several adapters to ensure that it will work on most breast pump brands.
The bag can stand upright but it also comes with a rigid outer casing so that if you wanted to use it as a bottle, you could. This casing then comes with silicone nipples of different flow rates and a cap. It seems they have thought of everything. If you buy this system you then only need to purchase their storage bags and it has the potential to make pumping and feeding more streamlined.
Each starter kit comes with a coupon to buy the bags as they are more pricey than some options but they are also I would say a few steps up in plastic quality. You could potentially re-sanitize these and use them again. It definitely would seem like a waste to throw the bags away as they each have a hefty plastic threaded lip on each one that just doesn't seem too disposable nor environmentally friendly to discard. I have some reusable water bags just like this that I bought at an outdoor trade show that is the same construction and they were definitely meant to be reused. The benefit in them was being able to collapse the bottle and have it be super lightweight rather than carrying around an empty and still heavy water bottle.
The other benefit of this system is also that it extends into their baby food prep called Foodii where you can use the same pouches and put your baby food into and then use them to serve to baby like those pouches with spoon/straws you squeeze to reup the baby food serving for baby to eat. This is compelling system that I would think a first time mom might splurge on to have a comprehensive system that goes from breastmilk to organic and sustainable food puree.
Would I buy the whole system? I'm not quite sure as it comes with a LOT of parts and pieces and there is a lot of potential for them to upsell many things to you. It is a bit nauseating seeing all the stuff that comes together to make this a comprehensive system. On a more sarcastic day, I might think I'm solving one problem but creating another by having to now get all these other pieces in order to 'do it right'.
My system when I'm pumped for my daughters was that I used a Medela hospital grade pump that my sister and I purchased used and 'shared' amongst our then 4 children. Medela makes small milk storage bags that stand up that you can attach via hooks to your pump flanges and pump directly into those bags.
This was convenient but the bags sometimes fell over or if you set it down, it would tip and milk would spill. The bags were also small and not as convenient for storing breast milk. They currently cost $7-9 for 20 bags. Compared to this, the Kiinde bags are $11 for 40 bags. They are larger capacity than Medela so that's actually a better price. Typically on a normal work day, I would generate about 1.5-2.5 bags of the larger capacity ones like a Lansinoh bag. Estimating then that it would be 16-24 oz of breastmilk a day.
The Kiinde and Medela both hold 5 oz and the Lansinoh holds 8 but I have always stored up to 10-11 oz in the Lansinoh bags. It really depends on how flat you want the bags to lie when you freeze them. Lansinohs at 8 oz freeze nice and flat for the best storage. Lansinoh bags are higher capacity and cheaper: $12 for 100 bags! So to review, Kiinde $.28 per bag which is 5.5 cents per ounce of storage. Medela $.40 per bag and 8 cents per ounce of storage. Lansinoh $.12 per bag and 1.5 cents per ounce of storage. Because cost was an issue, I went with the Lansinoh. I haven't figured out my strategy this go round if I end up needing to pump and store.
Are there any real cons to this system? Well, one I can think of is the baby bottle adapter - it creates an elliptical shaped bottle AND NIPPLE that seems a bit unwieldy for baby and for mom to use and carry around. It does seem kind of bulky. Some moms will find that some nipples work well for their babies and others do not. You often have to go get several different nipples and see which ones your baby likes to use. Nipples also have different flow rates....it's all quite a racket - you'll find yourself with a bin full of different types of nipples and bottles, etc. So, you will find for yourself what type of bottle and nipple your baby likes and I would recommend that you figure that out before you invest in any comprehensive system. There are a lot of things as a mom you will buy or register for and you might find you never really used them and it was a waste of money to buy them. The other con might be that the storage system will not work well for your freezer especially if it is a bottom loading freezer and might be too bulky. If you are trying to stock up and create a back up supply, you may not be able to fit as many of these into your freezer.
Now, stretching even further, IF you are planning for future children, having all of this stuff to hold onto for the next child might be overwhelming for you and you might find yourself trying to give it away or sell it and it's doubtful you would repurchase it if you had more children. I did this with all my Avent bottles. Now I would probably just get the simplest and cheapest set I could get just so that I didn't have all this stuff to store in my cupboards. <br>
On the other hand, after receiving this starter kit, all I really need to implement this system is more bags and they are well priced, to use this system bare-bones will not break the bank! And on the other hand, if you are going to reuse these bags, if most of them are holed up in the freezer, you won't have the bags ready to re-use. But, as we found, they are affordable and so you may not end up reusing them.
Overall I think the Kiinde system is a great development in infant to toddler nutrition and it definitely filled a gaping hole in the needs of users in this market. I hope this might help those of you considering whether to try the Kiinde system for your child.