Willow Breast Pump Review
An honest review of the pros and cons of the hands-free Willow breast pump.*
I don’t usually do product reviews but when I shared that I recently received the new Willow, I had so many moms reach out asking for a Willow breast pump review.
For those who haven’t heard of Willow, this amazing new device is a breast pump that fits into your bra for convenient, hands-free pumping.
The wearable cups, which are shaped to resemble a natural breast, contain tiny, quiet motors that do their sucking magic while you sit back and relax or do the work you can’t get to when you’re sitting attached to a traditional pump.
I recently received the Willow breast pump and have been trying it out for the past few weeks. Many people had questions about it such as:
- How big are the pumps – can you tell that you’re wearing them?
- Is it noisy?
- Is it worth $500?
I decided I owed my mommy friends — who are desperate to maximize their time — an honest review of the pump!
Here are my thoughts…
Willow Breast Pump Pros:
1. The Willow breast pump is hands-free.
Sure, you can achieve a hands-free pump by buying a pumping bra, but you can’t do all that much with bottles and tubes sticking out of your chest. I got pretty savvy with my medical-grade Hygeia Encore Breast Pump (which I love) that I received for free through insurance and would whirl around the kitchen, making waffles with one hand and holding the pump with the other. But obviously, it’s not ideal!
With the Willow pump, you just pop the pumps in your bra and after the short stimulation phase (3-5 minutes), you’re up and on the go, doing whatever you like. I’ve used them while making dinner, putting on my makeup, and lounging in bed with my boys.
One thing I will note, however, is that I’d hoped a benefit would be the ability to hold my little guy while pumping. It is not as easy to do this as I would like. I certainly can hold him much better than when wearing my other pump, but the cups do prevent me from naturally holding him across my chest.
2. The pump is quiet.
As I noted above, many people wanted to know just how discreet the Willow breast pump is and you’ll be happy to know, it’s very quiet. I pumped next to my husband in bed while he slept and it didn’t wake him or the baby. Albeit, my husband could sleep through a zombie apocalypse. Caleb, however, wakes up every time I roll over.
3. It’s easy to assemble and transport.
I had the pump sitting in the corner of my living room for a couple of weeks before I finally took it out of the box, simply because I have such little time these days and I figured that the process of putting it together and learning to use it would be time-consuming. When I finally sat down to read the manual though, it took me a mere 10 minutes to download the app, put it together and practice using it. After I easily sanitized the parts, I was off and pumping in no time.
The pumps each come with a handy little carrying pouch so you can easily toss them in your bag when you’re on the go.
4. It’s efficient.
The pump works well. It takes me about 12 minutes to pump after a feeding session and I get a similar amount to what I get with my Hygeia pump. Although I spilled some milk the first time I used it, once I got a hang of the “flip to finish” system, I was pumping like a pro.
Note – sometimes you have to perform the flip to finish process twice to get all the milk out of the flange. There are easy to follow directions on how to do this in the manual.
5. Willow offers pumping support.
Willow is supported by an app that tells you how much milk you’re producing as it pumps. It’s pretty cool actually. Within the app, they also have many videos showing you how to properly use the pump and advice for troubleshooting.
Additionally, all customers receive a free coaching session via phone or video chat to help you get started and answer any questions you may have.
Like all great things though, there are some drawbacks.
Willow Breast Pump Cons:
1. It’s expensive.
The pump costs $479.99. However, if you’re exclusively pumping and need to get back to work, the time you save not having to take pump breaks may be worth it.
On their website, Willow states that some people have been able to get the pump covered by their insurance, but this is something you’ll need to look into yourself. Under the Affordable Care Act, all mothers are entitled to a pump to rent or keep, but the type of pump depends on your coverage. I got my Hygeia covered by my insurance.
Willow does offer a payment plan and you can also pay for it through an FSA or HSA.
2. The milk bags are not reusable.
When you pump, your milk is collected inside disposable milk bags. You must discard the bags each time. The bags are also a bit pricey — $11.99 for a 24 pack.
Additionally, the bags only collect 4 oz at a time. If you fill up the bags during a session, you can always switch them out for fresh bags and keep pumping. This is just something else to keep in mind, especially if you’re an overproducer.
3. It’s not as comfortable as my other pump.
I found that the pump stings a little — but that’s just me. It doesn’t hurt badly enough for me to discontinue using it, it’s just a bit uncomfortable. However, everyone has different pain thresholds and I may just be uber sensitive. I know plenty of other moms who said it feels perfectly fine to them.
The Willow is a very innovative pump with a lot of positives. If I worked a 9-5 and had to pump away from home on a regular basis, it would be a no-brainer – I’d buy this pump! Right now, I’m glad I have it along with my other traditional pump to trade off between. They both have their benefits and their drawbacks.
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Weigh in: Are you interested in the Willow breast pump? Did you find this review helpful? Are you planning on buying one?
*I received this product for free but all opinions are my own and were not influenced by receipt of the product.