Mrs. Nipple's honest review of the Willow Pump
Too good to be true?
I'm writing this blog post while pumping in a coffee shop. Yup, you heard me correctly. I'm writing this blog post while pumping in a coffee shop. From the moment I announced I was trying out the Willow Pump, the DMs came streaming in. So many mamas out there were just as intrigued with this new pump, which seems to be first in class in the hands free "discrete" category. I received so many questions about the Willow Pump. Is it really actually quiet? Will I be able to attend a business meeting while wearing it? Can I get things done around the house while pumping? The number one question being, is it worth the money? It's like that unicorn...you've heard of it but you've never actually seen it...so does it actually exist?
First I'll start with the set up...
This pump is simple to put together. It's just a few pieces, a quick charge, downloading the Willow app and you are ready! I also recommend watching the educational videos so you know exactly what you are doing. Then like anything else it takes a little practice.
Willow advises that you pump at least 7 times within the first 7 days. That's because with Willow, it does take a little time to master it. It is not your average pump. Willow offers the option of a coaching call to help you during those first few days. I highly recommend jumping on this call. I think those that like the Willow don't mind putting in the extra effort upfront to then get the benefits of using the Willow vs. your traditional pump. A few things to focus on during this time is mastering placement of the pump on your breast, emptying the remainder of the milk from the pump into the bag, and changing bags mid-pump. I picked these because these were the three areas that took a little time mastering for me personally. You really have to get your nipple lined up correctly. With this pump, you can not see where your nipple sits while pumping like you can with the traditional pumps. The bags are also different than your traditional bags. You have to get a good seal (with proper alignment!) to prevent air from filling the bags and you also need to turn the pump a particular way to prevent leakage of your liquid gold after you pump. The customer service was great and having a coach to walk you through these areas was super helpful. It still takes practice to get these new skills down, but the benefits of the pump can be worth it to some.
Parts and way less of them
One of the things I hate most about another pump I’ve used and most traditional pumps is the amount of parts: the bottle, the flange, the plastic piece that goes on the outside of the back of the flange and the rubber piece that goes on the inside.....times two. Pumping on the go is not easy for a number of reasons and one reason is this...so many parts! Willow clearly has the traditional pumps beat here. There are 3 pieces plus the bag, but when you're done pumping you just take the bag right out, it's presealed. There is no question that it is easier to travel with the Willow vs a traditional pump. You only have to wash 2 parts and they are dishwasher safe.
I did find I was pumping for longer periods of time with the Willow pump vs. the traditional pump. I think this was due to the fact that the Willow bags only hold 4 oz of milk each. For some this is fine but I like to pump as much as my body will allow when I'm pumping which is over 4 oz. The Willow app alerts you that you reached 4 oz of milk and you have to take the bag out and insert a new bag. I get into a grove while pumping so this kind of messed with that grove a bit. I eventually ended up deciding to stop at 4 oz unless my breasts were engorged.
Is it really silent?
The Willow Pump is definitely quiet but it does make sounds. It makes the most noise in the beginning while it is in the stimulation phase, before switching to expression, but even during that time it is so much quieter than your average pump. Would you be able to hear it in the quiet section of the library? YES! But not in a coffee shop.
How discrete is it?
Can you pump while holding your baby, cleaning the house, folding laundry, sitting in the corner of a coffee shop or driving? YES!! Are you going to pump with the Willow while you are walking around town? I doubt it. I wear a 34 B and it look like I have DDD or even bigger....I can't remember what comes after DDD like maybe X or something like that?! Well, then my boobs are XX while wearing the Willow. There's no way you will catch me walking around town looking like this, but it sure does help while driving or cooking dinner. I actually wore them while eating dinner with my parents and it was so nice not having to spend an extra 30 minutes I didn't have to pump with the door closed. It also feels nicer. I often feel like I'm pumping myself as if I am a cow when I use a traditional pump. These slip right into my bra and that's it!
There's no question that the Willow is expensive. On top of the price of the pump, the bags will also cost you a pretty penny. That being said I know many mamas will spend the money on a pump that could really fit into their lifestyle. Willow now offers financing, with payments starting at $43/month. You can also use your FSA/HSA funds as well.
Would I recommend the Willow?
I think it really comes down to what your needs are and how motivated you are to learn to really use the Willow correctly. If you occasionally pump and you can usually find time to sit down in a discreet place while pumping, then this may not be for you. If you are always on the go, have multiple children, can't find a second during the day or constantly traveling and can't always find a discreet area to pump, then the Willow is a wonderful option. It's not perfect. I'm going to say it again, it's not perfect which you will usually find with something so innovative, but because I spend 60 percent of my time in my car because of my job, it's an easy choice that the Willow works with my lifestyle. That being said, if I'm home on a Thursday night and the kids are asleep, I will reach for my traditional pump because it pumps the milk in less time and can hold greater than 4 oz of milk.
If you have any specific question please ask them on instagram under comments or send me a DM.