Which Wearable Breast Pump Is Best? Willow and Elvie Compared

Best wearable breast pump

Electric, wearable breast pumps are increasing in popularity in the market. Both the Elvie pump and the Willow pump are hands-free and wireless. Willow claims that it is completely spill-free. while Elvie claims their pump can hold more milk than the other brands. In this article, we will introduce the Willow and the Elvie pump to you. and discuss their similarities and differences to help you choose the best pump for your needs.

Breast Milk for Your Baby

Feeding a newborn baby is one of the 24-hour commitments every parent- especially a mother- has to take on after giving birth. As a parent with a newborn, you get to choose what to feed your baby, whether it be formula milk or breastmilk. Although both kinds of milk are good, breast milk is, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the best food for babies, on the basis that breastmilk contains antibodies safeguarding an infant’s health and survival. 

Breastfeeding: a Time-intensive Activity

Although breastfeeding your baby sidesteps the extra effort of mixing formula milk in the middle of the night with your eyes half-closed, breastfeeding is not a walk in the park, either. It is time and energy-consuming. Unlike bottle-fed babies, breastfed babies are not necessarily fed every four hours. In fact, they feed on demand, which means that you may find yourself nursing your baby every two to three hours, or even every hour.

Feeding on demand can be a challenge for moms, whether working or stay-at-home.  You need something that is convenient for producing milk for your little ones, and that is where a hospital-grade hands-free breast pump comes in.

A Breast Pump is a Way to Go

Breast pumps allow you to give your baby breast milk without having to hold or feed them for hours during the day, allowing you to multitask at home or work while giving your baby food when they need it. Breast pumps in the market are mainly subdivided into two categories: manual and electric breast pumps.

If budget permits, moms prefer the electric breast pump because it helps you pump milk without manually expressing milk. However, the older models of electric breast pumps are still time-consuming because they don’t allow you to move and do other activities – you have to hold the pump in place covering your breast perfectly for efficient pumping.

The new generation of electric pumps- wearable, hands-free pumps- take away the effort of holding your pumps for the whole duration of your pumping session, allowing you to move freely and making your pumping sessions a lot easier whether at home or work.

What are wearable breast pumps?

Wearable breast pumps take the lead in terms of convenience among all other pumps in the market. Wearable breast pumps have three key features: cordless, tubeless, and hands-free. Just like the older generations of breast pumps, milk from the hands-free breast pump can be drained into reusable milk containers like storage bags and bottles. Wearable pumps use rechargeable batteries that you can charge when not in use and they give you the option to pump from one breast only or pump from both breasts simultaneously.  It can even fit inside your bra or nursing bra, allowing you to perform your regular activities.

wearable breast pumps

The Willow Breast Pump

Willow Pump Wearable Breast Pump

The Willow wearable breast pump is a great choice for active moms. It has three key features: 360 mobility, high performance, and smart sensor innovation, technology which grants it a spot in Time Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions.

360 Mobility

The Willow pump has a patented leak-proof design which allows you to do regular activities while pumping milk inside your bra. While other wearable pumps offer 80-degree mobility, the Willow breast pump is spill-free with its reusable containers that allow you to move 190 degrees and up to 360 degrees with its self-sealing bags.

Storing breast milk

There are two ways of storing your milk with the Willow pump. You can either pump 4oz of your breast milk into the spill-proof self-sealing bags, or pour the milk into the reusable milk container, depending on how much you’d like to move and how you’d like to transfer and store your breast milk.

High performance

A baby’s latch rhythm is vital in preventing leaks. Willow pump has created continuous latch technology with suction seal and pumping rhythm similar to how your baby latches. The continuous latch technology strengthens the Willow pump’s capability in preventing leaks, conserving your liquid gold.

Smart sensor innovation

It has seven levels of suction and smart sensors switching the pump to the expression phase upon detection of your let down.

To support its ability to enable mobility while pumping, it has a Flextube that creates continuous suction. For maximum comfort and support, the flange has three sizes you can choose from, ensuring the best fit.

Smart sensor of breast pump

Other features

The Willow pump has an app that you can use to track milk flow in real-time and get personalized tips. The Willow pump has raised the bar in terms of convenience, too, with only two parts – the flange and Flextube – to clean every after use.

The Elvie Breast Pump

Elvie breast pump

The Elvie pump wearable breast pump has ‘silent suction’, making it a great choice for moms taking phone and video calls most of the time, or moms who’d like to keep it quiet while the baby is sleeping. Silent suction is one of four key features, the others being its size, quick clean, and state-of-the-art smart technology.

Smallest and lightest pump

Among all wearable breast pumps in the market, the Elvie pump is the smallest size and lightest weight.

Patented “Shhh!” technology

With this patented technology, you can pump milk even while you are taking a call or letting your baby sleep. This is very important especially if you are trying to catch up on your pumping sessions while your baby is asleep.

Quick clean

With only five parts to clean and quick assembly, you can save your precious time and focus more on other things.

State-of-the-art smart technology

smart technology of breast pump

Upon detection of your let downs, the Elvie pump will switch automatically from stimulation to expression.

On top of that, when your bottle is full, the pumping will automatically pause. You can personalize your use during daytime and night time with an app to track your pumping session.

Which Breast Pump? Elvie and Willow Compared

Design features

The Elvie and the Willow pump are both designed for in-bra pumping with no cords and dangling tubes, with three sizes to choose from for the best fit when you pump your breast. Both work best with full-coverage bras, especially nursing bra, that provides the pump full support to hold it in place. 

Design features of breast pump

Suction Strength

Both the Willow and Elvie pumps have seven suction levels. The Willow pump has continuous latch technology with a suction seal and pumping rhythm that mirrors how your baby latches.  The Elvie pump, on the other hand, has 2 modes and 14 intensity settings to choose from as well.

Convenience features

Cleaning

Both the Willow pump and Elvie pumps are dishwasher safe. The Willow pump only has two parts to clean every after use while the Elvie has five parts to clean every after use.

Battery life

The Willow pump takes about two hours to fully charge to get a battery life that lasts all day with up to 5 pumping sessions, just enough to get you by the day especially when you are out and away from your baby.  Elvie, on the other hand, takes about 2 hours to get a battery life of up to 2.5 hours of pumping sessions.

Noise

When using the Willow pump, you may not hear anything when there is background noise, but a little bit of sound may be heard when the background is a little bit quieter or when you are on a call. Elvie prides themselves on their ‘silent pump’ that allows you to have a quieter pumping session.

App

Breast pump app

Both the Elvie and the Willow pump also have an app for real-time milk flow tracking, pumping history tracking, and customized pumping tips.

Based on Google Play Store review scores, the Willow app is more reliable and useful than the Elvie one.

Milk capacity

The Willow pump has two types of milk containers: self-sealing bags and reusable milk containers. The Willow pump’s self-sealing bags and reusable containers can hold up to 4 ounces of milk from one breast or a total of 8 ounces of milk from both breasts. When you reach the 4 oz full capacity for each breast, the pump automatically shuts off.

reusable milk containers

Elvie comes with a bottle container that can hold up to 5 oz of milk. Similar to the Willow pump, Elvie also pauses pumping when the full milk capacity of the reusable milk containers has been reached.

Milk conservation

Willow pump offers leak-proof technology with its continuous latch technology similar to how your baby latches, allowing you to move up to 360 degrees, doing yoga for example, without spilling your milk using its milk bags. The Elvie pump, on the other hand, does not leak as long as you are not laying down or working out.

Cost

The Willow pump kit for willow starts at $499.99 which includes 2 Willow Pumps, 2 flanges, 2 Flextubes, 24 4oz milk bags, 2 cleaning brushes, 1 charger, and a 1-year warranty.

Elvie, on the other hand, has two kits to choose from: single and double. For the single kit, you get 1 Hub, 2 Bottles (5oz/150ml, BPA free), 2 Breast Shields (24 and 28mm), 2 Valves, Spouts, Seals, Storage Lids, and Bra Adjusters, and 1 USB Charging Cable and Carry Bag for $279.99. The double kit costs $499.99 and it comes with twice what the single kit has.

Insurance

Insurance coverage is possible for the Willow pump depending on what insurance you have. Deductibles should be met first before the insurance will cover the cost. Elvie is partially covered with insurance. Both are also FSA/HSA reimbursement eligible.

Willow Vs Elvie Pump: Key Similarities

Both Willow and Elvie are hands-free pumps, that are double electric with an in-bra pumping design that allows you to pump hands-free. Both pumps also have three different sizes and seven suction levels to choose from. In terms of usage, with apps to guide you while using the pumps, both are user-friendly and easy to clean. FSA/HSA reimbursement eligibility and insurance coverage are also possible for both.

Willow Vs Elvie: Key Differences

The Elvie and the Willow pump differ in the number of parts needed to get cleaned every after use:  Willow only has two parts to clean while Elvie has five parts to clean. Although both are rechargeable, the Willow pump can last all day while Elvie lasts for 2.5 hours after 2 hours of charging. While Elvie has no noise at all while using, Willow has a little bit of noise that can be covered by background noise.

Elvie and the Willow pump differ in milk capacity with Elvie carrying up to 5oz of milk and Willow carrying up to 4oz per breast. The biggest difference here is the leak-proof ability of Willow wherein you can move up to 360 degrees that Elvie does not have.

Elvie Vs Willow Pump: Overall Recommendation

Both the Elvie and the Willow pump are great choices for a wearable hands-free pump. If you are very active, Willow might be worth a try. If you want to have a more quiet pumping session that you can do inside and outside the house, then Elvie is worth considering.

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