I am all about innovations that make mom life easier. Modern moms are busy entrepreneurs, corporate bosses and chief of households. So products that seemingly extend the hours in the day or simply lend a helping hand when two are just not enough, are always on the top of my list of must-haves.
With Jaxson, I struggled so much with keeping my milk supply so I had to power pump (basically pump all day every day!) along with nursing. It was a lot…a major commitment and honestly really stressful. When Kingston arrived, I was even more stressed about how to juggle the needs of both boys especially during the morning and night routines and keep my milk supple. Being chained to a pump just wasn’t an option. When I heard about Willow pump, I was very intrigued. Perhaps it was the answer to my prayers. It was a big investment but I wanted to give it a try anyway. It has been about 2 months now since I’ve been using the Willow, and I feel like I’ve had enough pumps under my belt to tell you guys the real honest pros & cons…and there are definitely many on both sides.
Wireless – The convenient factor is the definitely the number 1 reason why I wanted to get the Willow. I’ve pumped in the car, at a party, while washing dishes, while working…you name it, I’ve pumped through it with the Willow. At first it’s pretty uncomfortable to move around with it, but you get used to it.
App – The app is great because it tells you how much milk you’ve pumped (although I think its sometimes a little off), battery percentage and a history of all your pumps.
Spill proof – I love that I don’t have to worry about spilling all over the place while I’m pumping. I don’t think laying down flat on your back is a good idea, but with the right nursing bra to hold the pumps in place, you can technically be as active as you need to be. I did experience a lot of spilling in the beginning while trying to figure out how to empty the milk from the tubes. There is a technique to it. See a video here!
Wearable under clothes – While I wouldn’t say it can be completely hidden, you can definitely wear it under a loose fitting sweater or tee. It just looks like you have increase your cup size to FF. ha!
Expensive – The price tag is huge. Especially if you compare to a regular Madela or Spectra you can get free (through insurance). It really just depends on how much you are willing to pay for the convenience and flexibility factor.
Expensive parts – Adding more to the expense, all the extra parts (flex tubes, flanges and bags) adds up. I got an extra set of tubes and flanges so I’m not constantly washing after every pump. And don’t get me started on bags! Depending on how much you produce and pump, it could be a big on-going expensive.
Not silent – The Willow can be rather invisible, but its not silent. The noise doesn’t bother me, but its probably not a good idea to pump during a conference call or when you need some level of quiet.
Learning curve – It took me a couple weeks and around 10 pumps to get comfortable with the Willow. At first it hurts…so bad that I could only pump with it every other day. I was also getting too much air in the bags. Too much air means the pump would open up with the expanding bag and pumping would stop. Or it would require you to change the bag mid pump as it assumes the bag is full. Also, the “flip to finish” technique to end each session also requires a bit of practice. Done incorrectly, you leave milk in the tubes which then spills out once you remove the bags.
Requires the right bra for optimal use – I went through a couple different nursing bras until I found one that would hold the Willow tightly in place. For me, the racerback sport bra version seems to work best. For extra comfort, I layered a regular fitted nursing tank over the nursing bra. The right bra will help eliminate air and discomfort from the latch. Really makes all the difference.
Wasted milk – Any spillage gives me anxiety since I don’t make that much milk as it is. But I learned that with Willow, some spillage just can’t be avoided. I find some milk always leaks out when I remove the bags, and of course, transferring to bag to bottle always seems inefficient. Again, it’s just the price I accept for the convenience. You’re not losing multiple ounces of milk, but I feel like it adds up!
I’ve definitely gotten the hang of the Willow Pump now after 2.5 months of use. But its not without making some amateur mistakes. So here are few things to watch out for:
- Check the bags for any holes. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened to me. Basically milk was just being pumped and spilling all over the inside of the pump before noticed…which was at the end of the pump session. 🙁
- I’ve also left milk in the flange and flipped before noticing. Before removing the bag, you always to see if there is any milk left in the flange and tube. If so, you just have to do the “flip to finish” again to make sure all milk goes inside the bags.
- And I’ve accidentally forgotten to remove the milk bags post pump. It’s so easy to set it down and forget since the bags are hidden inside. So now, I remove bags immediately post pump.
Overall, the convenience factor works well for my lifestyle. And I would 100% buy it again. Once you get through the learning curve, it works really well.
Who would benefit from it? If you’re a working mom (pump between meetings, in your office), always on the go mom (pumping cars, in restaurants, in the pick up line, etc), exclusively pump, or just need extra hands throughout the day and can’t afford to sit connected to a pump multiple times a day, this device is for you! If you only pump occasionally and have flexibility with time and place, I would say save your money and go with the regular less expensive pump. If you’re an over producer, I would also consider an alternative pump. The bags only fit up to 4 oz, so it might be a hassle to change bags mid-pump and not to mention the expense.
Comment below or send me an email if you have any specific questions!