It’s me again, you’re friendly neighborhood noob mom, back with a follow-up Willow Pump Review.
Now that I’ve had the Willow Breast Pump for around six months, I’m ready to share personal willow breast pump tips.
My hope is that this will be a quick and helpful resource to any moms thinking about buying the Willow Breast Pump.
Or any moms that might have already bought one, and need some troubleshooting ideas.
Click here to read how I’m feeling about breastfeeding/pumping here.
3 Important Willow Breast Pump Tips
Willow Breast Pump Experience #1 | Can A Willow Breast Pump Go In The Dishwasher
The milk collection container can go in the dishwasher. Willow also confirms this here. Just make sure that you put the parts on the top rack.
I STRONGLY suggest that you sit the container piece upright in the dishwasher. Something I’ve noticed with the Willow breast pump.
If ANY moisture gets stuck in the TEENY-TINY little flange (the area where you can set the pump to “1” or “2” to lock it), you’ll end up with the dreaded orange light.
An orange light that has made me growl “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU NOW?!” many-a-time.
Keeping the container upright in the dishwasher prevents the water from collecting there. This will make sure that your Willow parts dry effectively.
Willow Breast Pump Experience #2 | Willow Pump Orange Light
I’ve never been so tempted to chuck something across the room as often as I have using the Willow breast pump. There’s little more frustrating than wrangling a little baby while trying to pump…
Only for that orange light to flicker.
In my previous post about the Willow, I directed your attention to a video on Youtube I had found by accident. I own the reusable Willow containers because the price for the bags is disgusting. I also would rather have a smaller impact on the environment.
Anyway, this lady explained how that teeny-tiny piece is replaceable. And that you could replace it with the same flange piece from the Willow bags.
(Even if you ordered the reusable milk containers, you still get a set of 24 bags that come with the Willow)
This small tip solved all my problems.. for the most part.
Sure, is it still annoying to see that orange light come on- even though I’ve dried and cared for the pump?
But at least there’s a solution.
But, that isn’t my only point, because you might find yourself thinking that you need to replace this piece… A LOT.
And THAT means you might think you’ll need to keep buying bags ANYWAY.
Well, after a little experimenting, I found out that you don’t ALWAYS have to replace the small flange. As long as I remove the piece, clean it (and the slot it sits in), it fixes the issue. I haven’t had to “replace” one of these flanges in months.
Though, I do have to take the pieces apart at least once a day to clean out that little slot properly… so there’s still a bit of hassle involved.
Willow Breast Pump Experience #3 | Discomfort With The Willow Pump
I find pumping and feeding a child via breastmilk generally unpleasant and uncomfortable.
But I’m fortunate that I don’t happen to be one of the ladies in actual pain. However, I can share some of the methods I’ve tried to mitigate as much discomfort as possible.
First, you need a very sturdy bra. Especially if you’re very busty(trust me). I recommend getting a maternity bra a cup-size larger.
Secondly, make sure you’re massaging those puppies before and during your session. This helps milk production and can ease some discomfort.
DON’T FORGET TO MASSAGE THE UNDERBOOB
Holy cow, please don’t forget to massage your underboob during sessions. Willow pumps press firmly to your boob, and so it can pinch and squeeze.
The underboob can end up getting clogged(I can attest), and it is painful.
I almost went to the doctor because I was having trouble sleeping due to my one boob was hurting so much. It hurt to touch it, and it hurt whether I was pumping or not.
And when I was pumping, oh gosh, did it hurt.
I was on the interwebs and found out about duct-clogging (I don’t remember where I saw this or I’d link it). It explained how Willow can pinch ducts closed if you’re not being kind to the boob.
After some painful but thorough massaging, I alleviated the clog. Now I am more mindful now about making sure I’m massaging the WHOLE boob.
My Current Feelings As An Exclusive Pumping Mom | Spoiler-Alert: I’m Struggling
I fucking hate this. Like… I dread doing it every day. I find it inconvenient, uncomfortable, and I definitely feel like a cow. And that makes me sad, to be honest.
I’m not much of a romantic, but there was that secret little part of me that wanted to experience that maternal ‘magic’. I wished I could have enjoyed that bonding time, and feel like a life-giving goddess.
Well, Jakey and I made a decision pretty early on that he was a much happier baby when he was bottle-fed. It didn’t help that it took almost TWO FUCKING WEEKS for my milk to come in. Being that I was induced and a C-Section, my body was NOT ready to make milk.
And so, Jake was sucking nothing but air and miserable.
It was very traumatic for me. Even though everyone kept saying, “it’s fine, he’s getting what he needs,” or “it’ll come in soon, keep trying”.
Except, my son was so hungry the first two days of his life that he couldn’t sleep for more than 20 minutes. And when he was awake, he spent most of his time screaming.
Not to mention, continuing to try and have him breastfeed, he had realized boob did NOT equal food. So he would struggle and cry and refuse to latch.
(And he had been perfect at latching in the hospital)
So, he and I would both end up crying. Even once I finally got him to latch on and let him nurse for 40 minutes, he still wasn’t satisfied.
Out of desperation, I gave him a bottle of formula, and my poor baby fell asleep for 4 hours.
My guilt was so insane. As was my shame.
First, I couldn’t DELIVER my baby on my own. Now I couldn’t even feed him. I had these massive tits my whole life… and they weren’t even doing what they were supposed to do.
Now, I know these thoughts are toxic and untrue. As with most of us, I tend to be very cruel to myself.
I “know” logically that I didn’t need to feel shame. But I still did… still kinda do, if I’m honest.
And that’s what this blog is about, I’m trying to be honest so that, if you feel these things, you know you’re not alone.
It WILL get better- WAY WAY WAY better.
So, Jakey was formula fed until my milk came in… but to this day it’s a struggle to keep my production up.
Exclusive pumping DEFINITELY holds a lot of benefits, even if I think it’s a hassle.
I’ll list my pros for your consideration.
I like being as honest as possible about some of the heavier motherhood shit, but you may have different experiences than I have. So don’t let my personal feelings dissuade you from pumping. Especially if you think it would benefit your specific situation.
Here’s what I like about the Exclusive Pumping Lifestyle.
- Someone else can feed the baby(which means a break for you and bonding time for dad and baby)
- It’s much easier to track how much your baby is eating (which means less anxiety)
- No need to worry about boob-weaning troubles(which means less screaming)
- Your baby can drink out of a bottle. This means baby can be away from you, and you don’t have to worry about them refusing to eat for anyone but you.
Logistically it definitely makes sense for my personal situation. I just… don’t enjoy it.
Now that Jakey is eating solid food, it’s a little easier. But I still hate that I find myself stressing about it. Half the battle is me. I dislike it so much that I don’t WANT to pump 4-5 times a day to boost my supply.
It’s exhausting for me emotionally and physically. Especially while I am trying to build a business and be a good and attentive mommy to Jakey at the same time.
Okay, tantrum over.
No matter what, I plan on feeding Jake breastmilk until he turns one. He was never only fed breastmilk, but it’s been a 90/10 situation.
Now that he’s 7 months old, his diet has expanded, so I don’t need to produce a TON of milk. But it would still be nice not to stress about it, or dread doing it.
On a positive note: He’s also pretty much sleep-trained. We also took his pacifier away at night, which helped IMMENSELY.
For our kid, that made the most significant difference. So if you’ve been thinking about weaning the pacifier off at night in hopes it will help them sleep better… I can attest on it’s MASSIVE impact with my own child.
After a few weeks of sleep training, we can lay him down between 6:45 AM and 7:00 AM. usually, he only wakes up once between 11:00 PM and 1:00 PM for a feed. From there he’s conked out until anywhere from 6:30 AM-8:00 AM. I make a point of keeping him in his bed until 8 AM because that is when I want him to wake up in the long-term.
As long as I give him a pacifier in the early morning, he usually will sleep until his DWT(designated wake time, as the mommy FB group refers to it).
If you’re looking for a great group full of resources to help you sleep train your baby I recommend Respectful Sleep Training/Learning.
It’s the only Mom FB Group I am a part of.
It’s a supportive community with info on ANY style of sleep-training you’re curious about. As well as inspirational ” success story” posts from moms (like me) to keep you motivated.
I’ll be writing a post about my ST (sleep training) experience. I’ll talk about the things that made the process easier for MY child.
So stay tuned for that, gang.
That’s All Folks
Hopefully, this Willow review was helpful. I’m glad to be able to compile the “I wish I knew that sooner” shit into one place for you guys.
If I can save you even ONE day of frustration dealing with this helpful but stupid piece of hardware, I’ll be happy.
Also, thank you for letting me vent. It feels a lot better getting that out. If you’re also feeling the way I am, I hope my rant helps you feel a little less alone.
We’re in this together.
I also believe that, if you REALLY hate breastfeeding… then just don’t do it. I’m a “fed is best” gal.
If any cool moms have tips or questions about the Willow Pump that I didn’t cover in this post, comment below.
Don’t be stingy!
Alright, I’m gonna go. It’s time to FUCKING PUMP AGAIN…
Talk to ya later, folks.