With a toddler who demands constant attention and a new baby who prefers the bottle, Erin, our Head of Editorial has no time to be attached to an outlet pumping. She decided to put Willow’s new Generation 3 breast pump to the test and here’s what she learned:
From packing a hospital bag to securely installing the new car seat, you’ve done your prep for bringing Baby home. But, what you can’t plan for—and what the books don’t tell you—is the sheer amount of time you’ll spend feeding your baby. For those who have lived it, nursing and pumping is a marathon deserving of an Olympic medal.
Now, thanks to the Willow Breast Pump, the world’s first all-in-one, in-bra breast pump, new moms can actually enjoy the feeding journey to the finish line. I’m a new mom with a 6 month old and 2.5 year old and I recently tested out their new Generation 3 model to see what the hype is all about. Read on for why I think the Willow pump is a total game changer and how it gave me back my freedom.
Convenience: Willow Lets You Pump Where You Want
With the Willow, you are never tied to an outlet and you can freely go about your day, all while pumping. I’ve pumped in the car on road trips, during work calls and building forts with my toddler. You can move without risking any spilled milk, and pump with freedom and dignity when you want and where you want. I love that I no longer have to schedule my day—or miss out on special family moments—around my pumping schedule. It’s truly liberating.
The technology behind this pump is first-class. It’s quiet, compact and doesn’t require any special gadgets or supplies except a regular full coverage nursing bra with a nursing flap. The newest Generation 3 model even has a smart suction technology that adjusts the suction based on your preferences to increase output.
Online Tutorials & the App
Like with any breast pump, there is a learning curve (more on that below), so Willow is putting effort behind educating women on how to properly use the breast pump. You receive an instruction manual full of easy-to-follow illustrations and directions, which is also supported by an app and website that features video tutorials on everything from how to get set up to how to troubleshoot common issues. I found that the video tutorials online and in the app were helpful in the early days of using the pump.
Beyond the video tutorials, the app is especially useful when pumping. With the app, you can track how many ounces you’ve pumped per side, your historical pumping history and control the level of suction.
Minimal Parts to Wash
Unlike a hospital-grade pump, the Willow pump parts are minimal (hooray for easy cleaning!). You can either pump into single-use storage bags or storage containers (which you then wash and reuse). If possible, I suggest the latter, even though it’s one extra part to purchase. In the long run, you’ll save money and won’t be using a plastic bag every time you pump.
Milk Output and Comfort
We compared our milk output to our hospital-grade electric pump and were impressed that the amount of milk we pumped from the Willow was almost the same as the traditional pump. At times (like later in the day when our production level was low), I did have to pump longer than I normally would, but it was worth it for the freedom of mobility while pumping.
Good to Know Before Buying:
• The price point is spendy. But to put it in perspective: you invest in your baby’s crib, car seat and stroller, which you use daily. So, for those who can afford it, it makes sense to invest the same in yourself and a product you’ll also use multiple times every day. If buying a Willow isn’t an option, put out feelers to your local mom’s group to see if any mom is selling hers.
• There is a learning curve with the pump. Mainly, what Willow dubs “Flip to Finish” where you disengage the pump from your breast and flip it over to collect the milk. It took us a few tries (and a little bit of spilled milk) to finally grasp the proper steps on flip to finish. Luckily, there are a handful of online tutorials that show you exactly how to do it, as well as the Willow app itself with videos.
• Each Willow pump comes with one electrical charging outlet so if you want to charge both at once you would need to buy a second charging outlet.
• Each side of the pump can collect up to 4 ounces of breastmilk. If you do pump more than 4 ounces, the pump will automatically stop to prevent an overflow. For those who have an oversupply or pump larger quantities, you would need to disengage and pour out the milk, and then resume pumping.
• As mentioned above, Willow now has breast milk storage containers that you can reuse in the pump (they previously only offered single-use bags which could get expensive and aren’t environmentally-friendly). We suggest investing in the milk storage containers—they’re just as easy to use as the single-use bags.
Available at willowpump.com
Have you tried the Willow breast pump? Share this story on Facebook and tell us about your feeding journey. Remember: fed is best!
all photos from Willow