I’ve never been the mom who has tons of breast milk. I have had to work for every. single. ounce. — more like every drop — of breast milk that I’ve got. Because of this, I’ve had to pump early on to really help me out with my milk supply. But pumping can be annoying, and to be honest, I don’t know of a single mom that looks forward to pumping, myself included. It’s really a shame. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since the old days of those handheld, trombone-lookin’ breast pumps. But we still have a long way to go. That is until now! When I first heard about and saw the Willow breast pump, I was excited and thought that this might be the answer to all pumping moms’ prayers. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one!
What is Willow?
Willow is the only wearable, all-in-one breast pump that fits in your bra. You read that right . . . no external tubes, no cords, no dangling bottles. Everything you need to successfully pump your breast milk is inside the Willow breast pump and their app. Which tracks volume pumped and even shows a history of pumping. Amazing!
Their breast pump is designed to work quietly in your nursing bra with no external attachments. No longer are you tethered to anything. Also, you can now continue to live your life–cook, clean, continue working, walk the dog, play with your kids, whatever! And still pump. Gone are the days of taking a pumping break, finding a private room to pump in, and removing clothing to start pumping. With Willow, you can keep your clothes on and pretty much pump anytime and anywhere, even on the move!
What I Like About Willow
1. It’s quiet.
I feel like I’ve made fun of pumping noises for years. Haven’t we all? I think that pumping sounds from the traditional pumps sound like the Aflac duck from those insurance commercials. You know I’m right! With those pumps everyone knew when I was pumping. As a work-from-home mom, I need to be able to get on conference calls without people wondering what’s going on in the background. The Willow pump is much quieter. Now I can join those work calls with no distractions.
2. It doesn’t look like I’m pumping.
Some of my work conference calls are through Google Hangouts, and this mama isn’t about to have pumping bottles hanging out of her hands-free pumping bra when trying to close a deal.
3. I get to stay on our schedule.
Because I can pump during work calls and meetings with no one knowing, I can stay on baby’s and my schedule. Before I would have to wait until after my meetings when my boobs felt like they were going to explode to pump, or I would pump too early and not get enough milk that I wanted during a session.
4. Their app is awesome.
The Willow app is super helpful. Here’s why:
5. It tells you how much you’ve pumped.
The app will actually show you in real time how much breast milk you are pumping and it will shut off when the milk bag is full. (The Willow bags hold up to 4 ounces.)
6. It tells you when you don’t have a proper latch.
The app will let you know if the alignment, latch, or something else is wrong during your pumping session. It also tells you what phase you are in as the pump goes from stimulation to expression.
7. I can order more accessories on their app.
If I realize that I need more bags or new pump parts, I can do it conveniently through their app.
8. Your breast milk is automatically stored in bags.
THIS!! Can I tell you about the time I cried when I accidentally spilled 5 ounces of breast milk from my pump bottle when trying to transfer it into a storage bag? It was the worst. With Willow I no longer have to worry about that. I don’t have to transfer my milk to storage bags anymore because my milk is automatically pumped into their spill-proof milk bags.
9. I can wear my normal clothes while pumping.
The Willow pump slides into your nursing bra so you can wear pretty much anything while pumping. Also, if you wear a looser blouse, no one will be able to notice that you’re wearing it or pumping.
10. You don’t have to pay attention to overflow.
If you have an oversupply, the pump will sense when the milk bag is getting full and will slow down and stop. The app will notify you about this change and that you need to place in a new bag.
11. The suction is strong.
For me, it doesn’t take any longer to pump with the Willow pump than other high quality pumps.
12. There is no back-splash.
The one-way value makes sure that milk only goes in and never comes out.
13. There are fewer parts to clean.
I hated having to wash all my pump parts and bottles, but the Willow pump only has two parts to clean—the flanges and the flex tubes. Now all I have to do is scrub with their brushes they provide and/or throw those two parts in the dishwasher and I’m done!
14. There are fewer parts to bring with you.
When you’re a breastfeeding mom and have to go back to work, you normally have to bring a big bag full of pumping items back and forth so that you can continue your breastfeeding journey. It can sometimes be a real nuisance. I like that Willow makes pumping on the go way more manageable.
15. Perfect for moms with toddlers.
I know that having toddlers around while pumping can cause spillage to happen. They will pull at the cords and push the pump buttons while you’re pumping, but with Willow you don’t have these issues.
You can see why I have converted and I definitely recommend the Willow pump to other pumping moms.
What You Need to Know to Get Started Using Willow
1. Watch their videos.
There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to using the Willow pump. Because it’s unlike any other pump, even the most experienced pumper may need to start from the beginning. Thankfully Willow has some great videos to watch that can help you get started on the right foot. (Or should I say, the right boob. 😉 ) I highly recommend that you watch their videos. They will answer a lot of your questions.
2. Schedule your complimentary, one-on-one coaching session.
I love that Willow offers a one-on-one coaching session for every one of their customers. They want you to feel confident with your pump and to be successful. My coach was super helpful walking me through everything and answering all of my questions. She’s been wonderful with following up and checking in on me. You can call, text or even video chat with your coach. I was very impressed with their great customer service.
3. Do the 7×7.
Willow recommends that you do 7 pump sessions in at least 7 days. It takes time to learn and become comfortable with this new pump so if you try it once and wait a while to use it again, you may not use it again. After doing 7×7, you will feel much more confident using the pump and will truly experience the benefits that I mentioned above.
4. Work on the proper latch and alignment.
This step is vital. You may have to try a few times before you get the hang of getting the proper alignment, which will lead to a good latch.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
It takes time to learn and master using the Willow pump. The best advice that I can give you is practice. Once you get in a good flow and rhythm you’ll wonder how you ever did it differently.
Willow Pump Pricing and Insurance
I’ve tried a lot of breast pumps and think moms will really enjoy having and using the Willow breast pump. Currently it’s available to purchase on willowpump.com. The pump price tag is high, costing $479.99. This includes all the pump parts, charging cord and a stack of milk bags. Packs of 24 milk bags are available on their site for $11.99.
I know that this is expensive and that some people may be turned off with the cost. However, I do want to mention that you can pay for your Willow pump, milk bags, and its accessories with your FSA or HSA. All you have to do is pay with your FSA/HSA debit card at checkout. Or pay with another credit card and submit your receipt to your plans administrator for reimbursement. If issues arise with your FSA or HSA, the best thing to do is reach out to your card’s administrator to find out why.
If you’re wondering if the Willow pump is covered by insurance, some of their customers have reported that they’ve been able to obtain full or partial reimbursement for their Willow Pump through insurance. Also, it’s recommended that you contact your insurance provider to see what your particular policy will cover.
Moral of the story, I used to hate pumping. Also, I hated it so much that I was going to quit, which would ultimately lead me to quitting breastfeeding all together. I’m thankful that Willow has created a great breast pump that meets the needs of today’s modern mom. Because of them I am able to continue my breastfeeding journey and not hate pumping anymore.