So I’ve been getting a TON of questions about the Willow Pump and wanted to share my honest review. If you’re not familiar, the Willow Pump is a hands-free, cord-free pump you can stick in your bra! It pumps breast milk into sealed bags that can easily be stored for later or used (by cutting them open). It also has an app where you can manage, track and watch how many ounces are pumped from each breast at any moment. Of course this doesn’t come without a cost – the Willow Pump is $499 and milk bags are $24.99 for 48, which are non-reusable.
SO Is it worth it!?
Before I answer that, I want to share my experience pumping during my first month postpartum. My first month, I lived on my Spectra2, which I got for free via insurance. (Linked that post here again if you want to get your free pump! It takes 2 seconds and is so easy! Just have your insurance card handy!) It was set up next to our couch, where I kept my hands free pumping bra and it was easy to put on, pump for 15-20 min and pour into bottles that was given to the babies. Your first month you’re basically feeding non-stop (newborn babies usually eat every ~2 hours) and for me, I was at home during the entire first month, primarily not working or doing anything but feeding and taking care of the babies. My mom was also here for the first 3 weeks and between her and Marc, they did a majority of the cooking/cleaning. During the first month I probably used the willow less than 5 times.
Now that I’m in my second month, it’s back to reality! Aka I’m not just sitting on my couch, I have work and projects and cooking, cleaning and laundry to do! On top of trying to feed two very hungry boys! I’ve also been trying to get out of the house more – whether it’s walking ralphie, taking the boys for walks, running errands, or like this past weekend going to a wedding. That said, it hasn’t been possible to be on a regimented schedule of pumping on my couch every couple hours, and this is where the Willow has been a total lifesaver! Lately, I’ve been using it multiple times a day! Being able to pump on-the-go has been so convenient, and not having to carry around bulky equipment is also nice! For instance, this weekend we had a wedding and I was able to pump in the car on the way there and back! It’s also been nice to be able to cook dinner, do laundry, change a poopy diaper without having to think or plan around my pumping schedule. That said, there is very little thinking with the Willow Pump, it does it all for you and manages everything in the app. It also automatically stops after 25 minutes and then again when the bags are full. The Willow equipment is also super easy to clean and there are only two parts that need rinsed (shown below). On top of that, once you cut the bag you can throw that away! Which also means less clean-up with storing milk in other containers. It’s also less messy in general. With it secured to your chest, the suction is powerful and you can literally do anything, including completely lay back and nap/sleep! Something you can’t do with a regular pump. So I have also started to use this in the middle of the night when I need to pump, and yes I have fallen asleep with it on and no it doesn’t leak or spill! But it’s also saved me time of being awake in the middle of the night if one of the babies wakes up during my pumping time. I can quickly throw it on and then run to get bottles, feed and/or change diapers and pump while I am doing these things, as opposed to doing them all and then sitting down to pump for 15-20 minutes.
I think that the Willow Pump is great, and now that I am using it more and more I really see the value in it. However, I’m not going to say go buy the Willow – it’s the best thing ever!!!! Because 1. It is expensive and 2. I TRULY think it depends on your lifestyle and your goals of pumping/breastfeeding your child(ren). So I’m going to leave you with these questions to ask yourself that helped me, and if you’re wondering anything else I am always happy to help! Leave a comment below! xx A
- What type of lifestyle do you have? Do you stay home? Work full-time? Are you more settled? Are you busy? Are you more on-the-go? While I work primarily from home, I still find being attached to a pump on the wall not practical at getting anything done. Having the freedom to pump and get work and other things done or get to do anything social is so nice!
- How long do you plan on pumping for? Short-term or long-term? If you’re planning on pumping long-term, I think it’s worth it for all the reasons I listed above!
- Do you have other children? I’m bringing this up, because while I don’t have other kids, I do see value in having the Willow if you have a toddler that is constantly on-the-go and you can’t sit plugged up to a wall all day.
- Do you travel? Because it’s more compact, it’s easy to charge, pack and carry anywhere! It’s also nice that you don’t need to juggle extra milk containers and that the bags can easily fit anywhere.
- How do you plan on storing excess breastmilk? While I haven’t had excess breastmilk for more than 24-48 hours, I can see how it’s more convenient to store the Willow bags! They can easily lay flat in your fridge or freezer and aren’t bulky. Only downside is once you cut a bag open it’s open.
- Is it loud? It’s not any louder than my Spectra2. It does make a suction noise and when it deposits the milk into the bag it makes a noise; however, it’s not bothersome (I completely forget when it’s on!) it’s more like a printer noise.
- Do you like apps? Personally, I think all these apps can be annoying. But when it comes to keeping track of breast milk, I find this one to be quite handy. Mom brain is REAL. The less thinking and keeping track of things – especially important ones like breast milk – the better! And because it tracks when and how much you pump, it has helped me stay on top of it better and better understand situations when I’m producing more or less.
- Is volume the same? This is hard for me to answer, only because I don’t know what’s considered normal in terms of volume per pump session? I only know what’s normal for me and I would say I’ve noticed I pump more with the Willow Pump because I’m not focused on hitting a certain time to just get it done and over with, so I can get up and do other things. Because I can throw it on AND do other things, I have found myself pumping more because I can forget it’s even on and can pump for longer periods of time. However, this also depends on how much your producing each time you pump and how much time you have to sit and pump uninterrupted.