Review | Willow Pump

Willow Pump Breastfeeding FAQ.JPG

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the Willow Pump over the last 5 months, so I decided to share my experience here! Pros, cons, and everything in between.

Pros:

  • They’re discreet in the sense that you are not exposed

  • It’s a closed system so only two parts need to be cleaned: the flex tube and flange (dishwasher safe!)

  • It’s a closed system so it’s easy to put together (only two parts, plus the bag)

  • I can multitask like a Super-Mama. While I would much rather just breastfeed all day, Isla has become such a distracted eater/snacker, I like to guarantee she's getting around 4oz with each bottle because otherwise I’m up feeding her 6x per night. So if I’m full time mom-ing it all day and trying to pump throughout, I need to be able to do other things while I’m pumping — i.e. take care of my very rambunctious newborn-5 month old, cook dinner, clean the house, and work on freelance projects while she's napping.

  • In those vulnerable postpartum moments when I basically felt like my body was no longer mine (even less than I felt it during pregnancy) it gave me the feeling like I was in control. Those first few weeks you are recovering from childbirth, while keeping a tiny human alive, so having the ability to cover up and have just an ounce of privacy was key for me. I truly believe having the Willow Pump helped my mental health and helped me find my way back to my almost normal self by 4 months postpartum.

  • The battery lasts for 4-5 pumping sessions!

  • The bags are one way valve sealed, so you literally cannot spill them. You just take them right out of the pump and can put them into the refrigerator without having to seal them or transfer the milk to another bag, bottle, etc.

Cons:

  • You can 100% tell there is something In my shirt. While Willow claims to add one cup size, I look a bit like Pamela Anderson when mine are in. I was only comfortable pumping around family members, who I could explain what was happening under my shirt, until recently (5 months in). Now I’m a lot more comfortable wearing the ‘I’m a confident Mama feeding my baby’ hat, and will use them outside of the house at a coffee shop, grocery shopping, or taking a walk.

  • They’re not silent. You definitely couldn’t walk into a meeting with them and have no one hear anything, BUT they are very quiet and much quieter than a traditional pump.

  • You can’t see where you’re putting your nipple in the Willow, so at first there’s a bit of a learning curve. You’ll probably have instances where you get a lot of air in the bag at first as a result of readjusting them for correct alignment. I found that within a month or two, there were very few occasions where I needed to reposition them.

  • The bags are pricey. If you plan to go back to work and pump full time, make sure you budget for all those bags. Additionally they only hold 4oz of milk, so if your output is more than 4oz on one side you need to put a new bag in there during your pumping session. I pump about 3oz each side, so I’ve never run into this issue, but it could get even more expensive if you do produce more — just something to keep in mind and budget for!

Other things to Note:

  • I haven't found a bra yet that I love using them with. My favorite nursing bras don't offer a ton of coverage so it’s difficult for me to really move about as freely as I would like if I’m not wearing a full coverage bra. I would definitely recommend trying them with full coverage nursing bras.

  • The price is a barrier to entry for a lot of people who have insurance that covers their breast pump (Willow is not covered — although some have suggested they’ve been able to independently submit to their insurance for full or partial coverage, so worth looking into if that’s the only thing holding you back!).

  • The pump comes with a set of flanges and a set of flex tubes, but unless you don’t mind washing them after every session, you will need to purchase more. I have 4 sets of each and I think two more sets (6 total) would be ideal for my pumping use. It also comes with one charger and I recently just purchased another charger so I could charge both pumps at the same time. Sometimes I’m really good about alternating charging, and other times I accidentally charge the left pump all day and end up with a dead right pump for my last pump session. The pump itself is $479 and then with all of the add ons, including a second charger (but not including any bags) my setup was $719.

My overall experience with Willow has been incredible. I feel like I have so much freedom to live my life and I credit my postpartum mental health recovery partly to Willow. It wasn’t a cheap investment for our family but after continuously weighing the pros and cons for our family, and what we needed our life as a family of three to look like, we ultimately decided it’s what was best for our situation. Luckily we were able to budget accordingly ahead of time, and cut costs in other areas of our allocated baby funds to make Willow Pump make sense financially for us! If you find yourself looking for additional information, shoot me a message. I’m happy to share more of my experience!

Jill Monterotti