Infants are recommended to be fed exclusively breast milk for their first six months by the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone, especially working moms. With maternity leave lasting for only twelve weeks – assuming you’re in a position to take the full twelve weeks unpaid – that still leaves moms caught in the trap of having to go back to work but still having to provide breastmilk for their baby.
And that’s where breast pumps come in.
Why Use A Breast Pump?
Using a breast pump is the most convenient way to ensure that your baby gets a constant supply of your breast milk even when you are not there with them. But conventional breast pumps are pretty time-consuming to use. Assembling the pump, undressing and redressing before and after pumping. The whole process up to refrigerating the milk can take up to thirty minutes of your time. Not to mention the challenges of finding somewhere to pump when you’re at work.
Technological advancements though have made pumping breast milk more effortless and time-saving. The Willow Company has designed something different from conventional breast pumps, coming up with a wireless wearable breast pump.
The Willow breast pump sits inside your bra. It pumps your milk wherever you are without interrupting your activities. It comes with a Willow App so that you can control it from your mobile phone. Willow’s generation 3 breast pump is the latest model with even more effective and comfortable suction.
Willow wearable breast pump
Description of the Willow pump
The Willow wearable breast pump is comprised of two-half-orb-shaped devices for wearing under a full-coverage nursing bra. The two half-orbs are white and smooth. The Willow pump is a self-contained pump housing suction flanges, a motor, and milk bags. No tubes connect to the pump or milk bags, and there’s nothing to connect to a wall socket.
When using the Willow, your hands are free to do other things like cuddle your baby, work, prepare meals, anything really. The kit consists of, two pumps, a charger, two flanges (24 or 27 mm), 24 spill-proof milk bags, two flex tubes, and two cleaning brushes. The milk bags are 4 oz each, and you can order extra bags directly from the company.
You can download the willow app on your iOS or Android smartphone for real-time tracking of your pumping sessions.
How the Willow pump works
The two pumps in a willow pump (one on each breast) can pump independently, one at a time, or simultaneously. You can switch on the pumps and regulate suction levels directly on the pumps or via the Willow app. When milk let down begins, the pumps automatically switch to expressing mode depending on your body’s milk production.
Each pump pumps your milk into a disposable milk bag or reusable container within the pump. The generation 3 Willow pump has upgraded features such as a slow, soft pumping rhythm for your comfort. It uses smart suction technology that tunes to your body to increase production without the need to touch a button.
The Willow pump uses a flex tube that creates suction, holds the milk, and transfers it into the milk storage bag. When you’re finished pumping, you can incline the pump until it produces a gulping sound, then flip it over to empty the last milk into the milk bag. The milk bags are spill-proof, self-sealing, and reusable.
The Generation 3 Willow pump allows you to pump milk into its Willow bag with a capacity of 4 oz. The bag is freezer-safe and has a one-way valve, so it is spill-proof. However, Willow bags are more costly than standard breast milk bags. You can also buy reusable plastic milk containers attachable to the pump. Then transfer the milk into bags after pumping, wash and reuse the containers since they are expensive.
If your body produces a lot of milk, you can pump multiple times a day. You’ll need to carry extra containers for storage if you are away from home.
The hands-free Willow pump has seven suction levels similar to a traditional pump and a hospital-grade pump. It is also sensitive to your milk let down, offering the comfort you deserve.
Willow Breast Pump Review on Features
Using the Willow breast pump has no limitations. You can use it as a first-time mom or an experienced mommy. You can pump the milk to feed your preemie, newborn, or toddler.
You have to charge the Willow pump before beginning your pumping sessions. You can’t recharge it as you pump. The rechargeable battery lasts up to five pumping sessions. Each of the two pumps charges separately, so you can purchase an extra charger to charge them together and save time.
Willow bags are self-sealing. This ensures that the milk inside is as hygienic as it came out of your breast. This is especially important for preemies and newborns who can be sensitive to any contamination.
All parts that breast milk goes through are BPA-free. This ensures no toxic substances get into the milk.
The Willow breast pump has a sleek and modern design. It fits in your bra without being conspicuous. The hands-free pumping is a fantastic feature that is appealing to the modern busy mother.
The colors are neutral and discreet to suit most tastes.
The wearable breast pump is comfortable to wear anywhere, whether at home or work or when traveling.
Unlike a traditional pump, the Willow pump is nearly silent, making it convenient for use during conference calls or in public places.
You can contact Willow’s customer support if you encounter difficulties while using the Willow pump. The pump comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty for the pump and ninety days for other parts.
Cord-free and Hands-free
The hands-free Willow breast pump is compact and perfectly fits in your bra. It is cordless, so you can pump wherever you are without the risk of getting tangled. You can lie down and relax, walk around, or even exercise as you pump.
The pump comes with a Willow App to track your sessions. It shows whether it’s in stimulation or expression mode, and when you are done pumping. With the App, you’re able to get the total output of how much milk you’ve produced in each pumping session.
Easy to Use
The Willow pump is easy to use with a regular nursing bra in contrast to a traditional pump which requires you to wear a special pumping bra. For adequate support, Willow recommends that you wear a stretchy full-coverage nursing bra.
Easy to transport
Most traditional pumps are large, challenging to transport, and need plugging into a power source when in use. The Willow is small and compact, comes with a small bag for carrying the pumps, and is charged when it is not in use.
Easy to Clean and Assemble
Breast pumps can contaminate the milk if they aren’t cleaned properly. Most pumps have many tiny parts to clean, the Willow pump has only two (the flange and the flex tube). These two parts are dishwasher safe, and a brush is provided for cleaning the insides. You’ll also have to clean the bags or reusable containers after every use.
The Willow pump has three parts to assemble; the flex tube, the bag, and the pump. If you follow the straightforward instructions given, assembly is pretty simple.
Products Compatible with the Willow Breast Pump
Willow pump breast flanges
Usage: Willow pump breast pump flanges are only usable with Willow breast pump generation 2 and generation 3.
Reusable: The flanges are clear to allow for nipple visibility during alignment. The transparency makes placement and assembly simpler for effective suction. Although the flanges are reusable, you should replace them after every three months for maximum performance.
Hands-free pumping: The flanges are portable, hands-free, and straightforward to assemble. They fit inside the pump as they are cordless and without attachments. Flanges are the feature that enables you to pump directly into storage bags with no need to transfer.
Different sizes: The flanges come in three different sizes, so you can choose one that fits you. The sizes are 21mm, 24mm, and 27mm.
Cleaning and storage: Flanges are dishwasher safe, easy to clean, and BPA-free. You can store them in a freezer, fridge, or cooler bag. In addition, they ease the transfer of milk to a bottle for feeding.
Willow pump reusable breast milk containers
Usage: The milk containers are exclusively for use with the Willow wearable in-bra pump.
Reusable: You can pump milk right into the reusable milk containers and transfer it into a bottle or storage container. The company recommends replacement every three months for superior performance.
Hands-free: They are cordless and hands-free without any attachments. They fit inside the pump.
Different sizes: They come in three different sizes to choose your fit. The sizes are; 21mm, 24mm, and 27mm.
Easy transfer: You can effortlessly transfer milk into a baby bottle. The reusable containers are easy to clean, BPA free and dishwasher safe.
Capacity: Each container has a capacity of 4 oz. When double pumping, you can pump a total of eight ounces. The willow app will help you track the volume in real-time.
About Willow Innovations Inc
Willow Innovations Inc is a female technology company and producer of willow wearable in-bra pump and its constituents. It was founded in 2014, and its headquarters are in Mountain View, California.
Although better and more convenient than traditional pumps, Willow has competitors, including the Elvie pump.
Willow breast pump versus Elvie
- Both are wearable, cordless pumps, unlike traditional pumps like the Medela pump.
- Willow pumps into willow bags or reusable containers each 4 ounces while Elvie pumps into reusable 5 ounce bottles.
- Willow has only two parts to clean (the flex tube and the flange) whilst Elvie has five (bottle, valve, spout, breast shield, and seal).
- They both use apps, the Willow App, and the Elvie app, to monitor pumping.
- While both pumps are not loud, Elvie is quieter than Willow. Elvie is also smaller than Willow.
- Elvie gives you the option to buy one pump. With the Willow, you get a set of two.
- Both pumps take equal time to recharge. The recharged Elvie pump lasts about 2.5 hours while Willow lasts up to five sessions. Each individual Elvie comes with its own charging cord while Willow comes with one charger, another can be bought if required.
- Elvie has a warranty of two years for the pump and ninety days for its parts. Willow’s warranty is one year for the pump and ninety days for its components.
- The two pumps have similar prices. You may be able to use your FSA/HSA towards the cost. Some insurance policies may cover certain brands of breast pump, while others offer partial reimbursement, so you should check out your policy first.
Some exclusively pumping mothers choose to use traditional pumps like the Medela pump for their low cost. Whilst traditional pumps will do the job, they aren’t as convenient, quiet, or wearable as modern hands-free pumps. The Willow pump increases your freedom and confidence in your journey of motherhood.
Is the willow pump worth the price? We’d say yes. The convenience and hygienic pumping sets it apart from traditional pumps. The Willow saves your time as you can pump on your way to work, at the workplace, almost anywhere in fact. If you’re exclusively pumping, the willow pump may be more cost-effective to you than if you pump and breastfeed.
It is important to remember to measure your breast size before buying the willow pump, as it comes in different sizes. It is also essential to keep the breast pump and its parts clean to avoid any contamination. We hope that this Willow breast pump review has been useful to you in choosing a modern alternative breast pump for your pumping needs.