3 Willow Breast Pump Tips | 6-Months Down


Hullo!
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

Yes.

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?

Yes.

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.
Very 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…


XOXOXOXOXO


Talk to ya later, folks.

12 More Baby Products That Helped Me Survive My First 6 Months As A Mom

Hi everyone,

I know it’s been a MINUTE since I last checked in, but I’ve been quite the busy bee, and I’ve been total shit at setting aside time to work on my OWN blog.

Jakey has continued to grow into a more incredible little person day-by-day. He’ll be 6 months old on the 10th of May, and he’s currently able to roll all over the place and is just about to start crawling.

Pray for me.

Anyway, since it’s been 4 months since my first post with my favorite baby products for new moms, I am ready to update my list and share with you the products that have been a HUGE help to me in the past six months. Hopefully, they’ll be useful to you!

So let’s get started because even though we’re all stuck in quarantine, we’re still pretty short on free-time.

Real quick: any Amazon links are affiliate links- which means that if you purchase something using one of these links, I’ll get a small commission.

One: Zipadee-zip Sleep Sack

I’ll go into detail about Jakey dealing with the 4-month sleep-regression and sleep-training in an upcoming post. But, for the sake of time, here is a quick run-down of why I bought this sleep sack.

While trying to sleep-train Jake, the biggest hurdle was weaning him off the pacifier and out of a swaddle. Our biggest problem is that Jake’s other soothing mechanism is that he rubs and scratches viciously at his head and face. Like, horrible.

He also has eczema, which doesn’t help at all.

Aside from the obvious, another massive problem with this “soothing technique” was that he would continuously wake himself up because he’s constantly irritating his skin with scratching. So, he would be right on the cusp of sleep without the pacifier, start rubbing his face and start screaming again because he was in pain.

So I needed to find something that could let him move safely in his crib and keep him from scratching his face.

I had heard of the Zipadee-Zip Sleep Sack and decided to give it a shot because… well… they make your baby look like little potato-sack starfish, and they’re adorable.

I’m equally happy to say that, just like how much I love the Love to Dream Swaddle, I am now in love with the Zipadee-Zip.

The material is durable and very soft. It’s perfect for year-round wear, and it comes in sizes up to 3-years-old.

They come in super cute designs, and they’re pretty reasonably-priced. The two swaddles(one in 4-8 month size and one 6-12 month size) have shipped and arrived within a week of ordering. 

They have been awesome in helping Jakey enjoy the security of swaddling, the freedom to safely move around, and keep him from scratching too hard on his face.

10/10

Two: Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Cream

Like I mentioned earlier, Jake has eczema, and it’s been pretty traumatic on me because he gets some HORRIBLE break-outs. While I suffered from sensitive skin, I never had eczema, so I had little idea what to do.

His Pediatrician prescribed steroid cream, but that didn’t seem to make much difference. I felt so bad watching him struggle with welts and rashes I couldn’t get to go away.

I tried bath treatments and every lotion under the sun I could find.

I happened across the Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Cream at my local grocery store, and I was like, “why not”.

I was shocked at the results. After ONE day after using it, Jake’s skin cleared up by about 50%. I almost cried because I was so happy.

(As you can see, he likes it too)

It was so gentle on his skin and super moisturizing. It just works wonderfully. If your little one has eczema and you haven’t tried this baby lotion, I super recommend you give it a try.

Three: Food Ice Cube Trays

So, full-stop, these are kind of stupid, and there are a ton alternatives you could use to accomplish the same thing- but I like them a lot and at least want to mention them.

Once Jakey was able to start eating solids, I’ve much enjoyed making his baby food at home. I wanted some kind of storage tray that was clearly measured to 1 ounce so that I could keep track of how much he was eating.

Obviously, I could’ve found a basic ice cube tray, but I just… I just wanted what I wanted instead of having to test out ice cube trays that may not have been the right measurement.

(Again, I already stated that I recognize this really wasn’t a ‘necessity’ and more just out of convenience)

Well, I found these baby food trays that were not only the accurate measurement but also silicon- so they were super easy to pop the food in and out.

They’re great. I love them, and even though the trays are a little on the pricey side, they store a LOT of food, they’re very well-made, BPA-free, etc.

I am glad that I bought them.

Four: Mommy’s Bliss Little Gums

Another big issue we’ve encountered with sleep-training is poor Jake’s teething discomfort. He’s been teething since he was 2-months old, and they have been driving him crazy ever since. Most nights, I have to give him Tylenol, or he just can’t sleep- especially since we took his pacifier away.

To be honest, I feel a bit lost on this and am unsure what to do.

He also has trouble taking naps because of his teeth. I do everything possible to avoid giving him Tylenol during the day because he’s usually okay(it’s just when he’s falling asleep he doesn’t have anything to distract him from the discomfort) I was looking for something to help relieve his sore gums and teach him how to teeth.

Also, since Jake started teething so early, he didn’t have the motor skills to learn how to use teethers of any kind, even if I held them for him, he really just didn’t quite get it. I also needed something safe for babies to use younger than 3 months. It was a whole thing.

Well, I tried a ton of teething gels, and Mommy’s Bliss Little Gums is by far my favorite. It’s natural and works pretty much immediately.

I pretty much have decided to buy stocks, that’s how often I use it.

Five: Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water Night Time

Thankfully, in recent months, Jake’s gas issues have subsided. He’s pretty good at burping and farting on his own, and he isn’t taking in as much air while drinking from a bottle. Even so, I always keep Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water Night Time on hand because it saved us so many times.

I had a mommy friend tell me to try and mix it with the milk in his bottle, and that was a huge game-changer.

Another great, all-natural thing to keep in the cabinet.

Six: Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo with Organic Calendula

More skin stuff time. Aside from Eczema, Jake just has general sensitive skin (he gets it from me). Taking baths was lovely, but I was worried about the effect it was having on his skin because he suffered from “dry-ass forehead skin”.

I found this baby body wash after it was recommended by one of my husband’s coworkers, and it’s magical.

It smells lovely, it’s so gentle and moisturizing on his skin, and his skin doesn’t have any adverse reactions to it.

Seven: Baby Teething Tube

This was something I saw all over social media. I was really reluctant to buy this thing because Jakey just didn’t like to use teethers. It was pretty expensive(to me) for being just a silicon tube.

I decided to give the Baby Teething Tube a try when I noticed Jake liked to chew on my finger to relieve his sore gums, and since the teething tube was the same basic shape and pretty easy to hold, I ordered it.

It’s the only teething toy that he uses. And he figured it out immediately. I think that it was worth every penny. 

Even though it’s simple, it’s very well made and soft. Jake’s adorably clumsy hands can hold it easily, and it has some lovely texture along one end that provides comfort when he is in the mood to chew.

Eight: Old Keyboard

This one is more of a “LOL” shitpost type entry, but it’s been a big help in my house. If it isn’t obvious, I spend a LOT of time on the computer working (and playing videogames when I can). My husband is also an avid computer-user, so Jakey naturally wants to play with the fun clicky board.

I had an old wireless keyboard, and he loves it. It’s also adorable to watch him smack and smash the keys because he gets so hype.

Nine: Amazon Echo/Google Home

This is going to go hand-in-hand with another product on the list, but we’ll start with these guys.

I was never really into these digital assistant AIs. I just didn’t need them… until my hands were always filled with an adorable baby.

Being able to ask a very polite assistant to do things like “remind me I have a meeting with X client” or “set a timer for 5 mins(so I can remember Jake’s bottle)” or “turn on/off the lights/tv” has been… so helpful.

Am I lazy?

Yes.

 Could I use my phone for a timer, or use a remote?

Yes, and yes.

But when I’m elbow-deep in a shit-filled diaper or trying to soothe a sleepy baby, being able to just “ask for help” from Alexa or Google has been a pleasant investment for me as a lazy tech-lover.

I don’t mind mentioning these on this list because Echo Dots go on sale often, and I’ve been able to get mine for around $30. While I don’t think it is a parenting necessity… I think anything that makes life a little easier- especially if you’re a work from home mom like me-e-e-e- is worth it.

Ten: GoSund Smart Plug

I mentioned how the Amazon Echo and Google Home went hand in hand with another product, and this is it.

Obviously, Alexa or Google can’t just turn off the lights or the TV, you need some added “smart” hardware to be able to connect them.

These GoSund Smart Plugs not only work GREAT and are easy as hell to set up… but they’re super cheap.

You can 4 of them for $20 on Amazon (I recently just bought a second set)

LOVE LOVE LOVE These.

Eleven: Avent Bottle Warmer

***Quick Note while getting a link for this product, it’s coming up at over $60. I don’t know why, but when I ordered one it was only around the $20 mark***

I almost forgot to include this on my list until I was writing the “Amazon Echo/Google Home”. I’m so glad I remembered.

I originally bought another bottle warmer by Dr. Brown, and I fucking HATED IT. It was $60, and when the store I bought it from told me they couldn’t take it back without a receipt, and I threw it in the trash right then and there.

(I over-reacted)

It just… it just wasn’t pleasant to use at all- and I was desperate for an alternative. I happened across the Avent Bottle Warmer on Amazon, saw the reviews, and since it was only $20, I ordered.

It’s a great bottle warmer. It’s simple, it works, it’s never given me an error message or a problem.

It lacks a timer setting- BUT that’s where Alexa comes in! Whenever I start the warmer, I just ask Alexa to set a timer for me, and I have no problems.

If you’re looking for a reliable, sturdy, cost-effective bottle warmer, this is it. It works so well that it only makes me angrier that I spent so much money on the other bottle warmer.

Twelve: Dragon Fit High-Waist Yoga Leggings

Just like in my last post, I wanted to include something specifically for mom. Mom-bod has been tough to deal with. I’m struggling with it, but I’m also accepting where I am now and that once I fully heal from my C-section, I can get back to working out the way I like.

In the meantime, I just wanted a pair of comfortable leggings with pockets. 

I’m happy to report that these leggings not only have MULTIPLE deep pockets but are also comfy and flattering. These leggings are available in tons of different colors, and I would say the sizing is pretty accurate.

They’re also very opaque, so I don’t have to worry about anyone seeing my underwear.

Hope You Found Something New To Try…

Thanks for popping by this post, I hope some of the products I have shared will be helpful to you. If you’ve used any of these items, or have a recommendation of your own for other moms, please definitely share it.

If you aren’t already, make sure to subscribe because I’ll be talking about sleep-training.

I’ll also be posting a follow-up with my thoughts about the Willow Breast Pump. Since I’ve had it for a few months and think I have a pretty good grip on how to use it.

Until then, stay safe and sane, fellow mommas!

Honest Willow Breast Pump Review From An Exclusively Pumping Mom

Hi All,

It’s me again, hanging out here, halfway through February, and stunned at just how fast baby Jakey is growing up.

Like… holy shit, my baby boy is a little chatterbox, teething (which I’ll write an entirely separate blog post about in the future), laughing, and intrigued with the world around him.

He’s practically a person!

HE’S PRACTICALLY IN COLLEGE!

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

Alright, existential mom moment aside, we’re here to talk business. Big business for some of us, as the Willow Breast Pump is a pretty hot topic of discussion amongst new moms. Especially those of us who are breast pumping exclusively.

If you’ve never heard of the Willow Breast Pump, then this post might be especially intriguing to you.

The Willow Breast Pump is a completely portable, chargeable, wearable breast pump that fits inside your bra.

The whole schtick is a discreet pumping experience that doesn’t lock you down in one place. For those of us who pump exclusively, this is an ESPECIALLY important feature, as I know I spend about 2-3 hours during my day just pumping breast milk.

I hadn’t originally intended to pump exclusively. So, to be honest, I didn’t re-e-eally give a damn about the fine details of my original pump. I asked some of my other mommy friends for their suggestions, and just ordered the Medela Pump In Style Breast Pump.

The Medela was a fine pump. I don’t have any complaints, though there were a few growing pains at the beginning.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, like [this one] and [this one], I mention that I happen to have smaller than average nipples.

Anyway, once I got the correct flanges, things went fine with the Medela Pump. it was comfortable; it worked, no complaints… other than the fact that I felt like a cow latched to a stall for upwards of an hour.

(I had to make my boobs work overtime) those first few weeks due to my milk supply being low from an inducement and c-section- as well as the fact that I quickly realized my kid just preferred to be bottle-fed.

After a while, I got frustrated with my lack of mobility and privacy. I hated having to skulk off into another room when we had friends over just to sit by myself and pump.

I solved some of the privacy issues by purchasing “Freemie” breast pump attachments for the Medela, which also worked just fine… but I just HATED feeling stuck in one place.

And with my husband going back to work the day after New Year’s, I knew that I was going to have a HELL of a time trying to take care of Jake AND devote so much time to pumping.

I was extra motivated for an alternative solution once I realized my son wasn’t the best napper. We’re lucky that he sleeps pretty exceptionally at night; otherwise, he usually only snoozes for 15-30 minutes at a time during the day.

via GIPHY

Ironically, as I type this, he has been sleeping for over an hour. That’s the longest nap he’s take in… well… gosh, a month, maybe?

Anyway, I had heard of- and was researching, the Willow Breast Pump most of December. I thought it was cool, but hated the steep price tag of FIVE-HUNDRED-DOLLARS, as well as the cost of having to invest in the NON-REUSABLE BAGS that are, roughly, fifty cents per bag! 

The Willow 2.0 Breast Pump seemed like an excellent solution to my problem.

But… and this is a BIG “but“-

because the Willow Pump was an item that you could not return, and I had heard some very notable flaws, I was super reluctant to consider making such a huge investment.

Eventually, I decided I would rather take the risk to attain freedom than continue to feel like a farm animal with no mobility.

Buying my pump off of eBay seemed like the best option. So I was able to find a brand new Willow 2.0 Breast Pump on eBay for about one-hundred-dollars less than the initial cost.

As well, Willow introduced a REUSABLE Milk Collector that had flanges in my size, and so I bit the bullet.

I will give you a quick synopsis of my thoughts before going into detail: I think it’s one of the best inventions ever created for moms.

… and I also understand why people do not like it.

The Willow Breast Pump has been a real sordid affair for me. I can’t imagine my life as a new mom without it, while simultaneously finding myself resisting the urge to chuck it into a wall.

With that said, I will now go into my experience with the Willow Breast Pump as an exclusively pumping mom.

My Initial Impressions… and the First Problem

I was super happy with my eBay experience, so I’ll start with that. 

My purchase was quick, the delivery came right on time, and my pump was in MINT condition. It was clear that the product was brand new and never touched. 

So, a huge relief…

I also found the packaging to be very appealing, everything was neat and orderly, and the initial set up was okay.

… but also where I ran into my first problem lol.

I followed the direction to start my first pumping session, only for the Willow App to suddenly advise me in the middle of the session that it needed to update to function correctly.

No big deal, I thought…

But the issue was: each time I would follow the instructions to update, the update would crash before it could finish the installation.

I tried several times to restart the process, as I knew the wifi could be spotty at my house, so there was a chance I was having an issue with the BlueTooth, but nothing seemed to work.

Que quite a bit of time and frustration later as I tried to troubleshoot this issue and search for problems online. I was freaking out because I thought I had already broken, and I was like 

“there goes $400 right down the fucking drain!”

After some intense googling, I was able to reset the pumps and solve the issue. Though, my stress level was already through the roof at that point, as I had been so excited to use them, only to be forced to use my old pump set-up until I figured out how to fix it.

On top of freaking out that I had broken the pumps!

So, if you plan on purchasing a Willow Breast Pump, make sure you install any updated BEFORE you try to pump.

This might sound obvious, but I had no warning about this in the directions until I was in the middle of pumping, and the app started its shit, so just make sure you run the app first.

Is The Willow Breast Pump Comfortable?

Short answer, it seems to depend on the woman. I don’t find it super painful- BUT at the end of the day, my nips are sore and need a break.

I would not say that pumping with the Willow Breast Pump is as comfortable as using a traditional breast pump, but that is due to logistical factors that I can’t hold against the product, itself.

One of the reasons I have found Willow uncomfortable is that it is a relatively large device. The pump has many mechanicians it must preform, so even though it’s portable, it’s still a lot of weight pulling on your nipple.

They do advise using a full coverage bra to use the Willow properly. However, I still find it a bit uncomfortable. Not enough that it prevents a letdown, but I wouldn’t say I enjoy the experience.

It also has pretty strong suction, much stronger than a typical breast pump to start. This is a blessing and a curse, as it means more discomfort to your boobs, but you don’t sacrifice power for portability.

Adversely, I’ve heard of some women who can’t even use it because they found it so painful. 

The remedies that I’ve heard to help the pain include: using coconut oil as a lubricant for the flange; make sure your flange is aligned correctly; and use nipple cream after pumping. 

If you’re looking for good nipple cream, this is the one I have.

All in all, I would say that while it’s no spa day, I find it more than tolerable most of the time.

I’ve also learned, due to the Willow’s powerful suction, I don’t have to pump as long during sessions as I used to. So, as long as I don’t overdo it, I don’t have any prolonged discomfort.

Also, another tip: make sure your bra is loose enough. If your bra is too tight, it might feel more secure, but you’re going to feel a lot of discomfort. I’ll talk about how I discovered this a bit later.

Is The Willow Really As Discreet As It Claims

I mean, it is definitely more discreet than a traditional breast pump. However, as mentioned earlier, I have a large bust WITHOUT them producing milk, so I DO think I look a little silly when I’m wearing them.

Do I care?

No, not really. Sometimes I’ve had people come to the door, and it’s the first thing they notice, so I feel a little bad for THEM, but I’m not that concerned.

As far as the noise factor? I would not say that they are virtually silent, but they’re not distracting. If there are ambient noises and conversation, it’s unlikely the people around you might notice the noise.

My husband and I have a little joke that I’m a 3D printer, as the pump sounds a LOT like a standard office printer when in use.

As long as I don’t wear a plunging shirt or a form-fitting shirt with no elasticity, I’ve never had a problem concealing them under my clothes.

I know some other moms say that they have used them at work or while shopping, but I have yet to do so

To give you a general idea of the bra to boob to willow ratio you’re dealing with: each breast pump is about four inches deep, and about six inches long (this is a rough estimate, as I’m just kind of eye-balling them because I’m too lazy to find a ruler).

Does The Willow Breast Pump Leak?

I can say, after using it exclusively for a month and a half, the Willow Breast Pump does NOT leak at all.

The ONLY time I’ve ever had the Willow leak is due to my error when transferring milk from the reusable cup to a storage bottle.

And THAT only happens because I either forget to “lock” the flex tube-which is just a little switch, or I didn’t notice the tiny bit of milk left in the flange.

Otherwise, I have never had Willow leak. It’s fantastic not to have to worry about ruining a shirt, or losing precious titty tonic. 

(I swear to god, I would have never imagined I would view boob milk as more precious than gold… but nothing pisses me off worse than if I spill some breastmilk, or it gets wasted)

I’m telling you, one of my biggest gripes with traditional pumps was leakage due to incorrect alignment or just the universe being in a shitty mood that day. All it takes is just looking down and seeing your underboob soaked to make you want to throw a tantrum.

This feature, by far, is what I am most impressed with, as even despite my unusual flange size, the Willow has never leaked on me. 

This is mainly because it won’t begin pumping unless you are correctly aligned. This takes a bit of practice, but you get used to it.

How Long Is Willow Breast Pump Battery Life?

I usually find that I can get about 3 hours of life per charge, though I often just make sure I charge them when not in use.

Would you like to know one of my biggest pet peeves with the Willow Breast Pump?

Well, you’re gonna!

Willow provides you with only ONE charging cable, and that means only one pump can charge at a time.

If you want a second charger, then you have to purchase one for another THIRTY DOLLARS. 

I’m sorry, if I’m going to spend FIVE-HUNDRED-DOLLARS on a piece of rechargeable equipment, it should come with the accessories needed to charge the product efficiently. I should not need to switch back and forth, trying to remember which one was lower on battery… or be forced to spend MORE MONEY.

I’ve only had the battery die once on me when I needed it, due to me forgetting which pump was lower on battery. You can only tell by the app or if it turns from green to yellow.

It also maintains its power until it dies, I don’t notice any issues with suction as the battery gets closer to running out.

As strong as the suction power is, I just can’t get over the shitty “gotcha” of only sending one power supply when you charge so much money for a product that relies entirely on battery life.

I’ve also read in several places that the Willow Breast Pump has an expected life span of 12 months (basically, just long enough to survive the standard breastfeeding schedule).

I find this almost equally aggregious because it is kind of urging you to buy ANOTHER ONE if you decide to have a second baby. 

I’ll be sure to do a follow-up post when I’m done breastfeeding and let you know if I think the Willow Breast Pump 2.0 has fallen off or has a longer life than expected.

Is The Willow Pump Easy To Use?

In theory, yes, but I’ll share some of my few my biggest frustrations when using the pump regularly.

Firstly, Willow works in tandem with the app. The app lets you know (or is supposed to) how much you’re pumping, when the pump is full, when the battery is low, etc…

I would say that Willow accurately records this information maybe forty percent of the time. 

Maybe.

I’m being generous…

More times than not, the Willow GROSSLY overestimates how much your pumping, and MOST frustratingly, the pump stops once it thinks it is full, and you can’t continue pumping until you empty it.

More times than not, my pump will tell me it’s full, and it’s usually only half full.

This is… SO ANNOYING when you’re in the middle of something and have to stop. Last night, I had barely pumped half an ounce before the pump shut itself off.

I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing wrong as far as cleaning, because I clean them thoroughly after every use.

That is another one of my biggest problems with the Willow Pump. I feel this issue eliminates the convenience quite a bit. It is very frustrating having to stop taking care of a fussy baby to empty my pump after 3 minutes, and there’s only 1.5 oz in the collector cup.

The other issue is that the tiny little flange which helps control the airflow dies very quickly and needs replacing. There was a solid day and a half where one of my pumps was unusable, and I could not figure out what was wrong. I even reached out to customer service.

Finally, after a lot of messing around, a youtube video happened to start in the background, and it showed me a really helpful tip about how you can use the flange from the willow bags (which you get a set of bags that comes with the pumps) to replace them for the reusable cup.

Here’s a link to the video

This super hero walks you step-by-step on how to do it. Not only does this help you prolong the life of your pump without spending any cash, but if you choose to purchase the reusable cup, it also gives you a reason to use the bags that come with your pump.

Personal Willow Breast Pump Insights & Experiences

So, as you can see, my thoughts and feelings on the Willow can be pretty polarized. The convenience is worth any of the hassle, in my opinion, but there are hassles.

My most recent issue was a pain in my right nip even when I wasn’t pumping. 

Like, it really hurt, and I couldn’t figure out why. Obviously, and unfortunately, when you exclusively pump, you can’t take a “day off,” or your supply will drop.

via GIPHY

And I had worked TOO DAMN HARD to build my supply to risk losing it over pain.

But it still sucked, and I couldn’t figure out what had happened, because it was enough discomfort that I was gritting my teeth while pumping.

Do you remember what I said earlier about making sure your bra wasn’t too tight?

Well, I only figured it out because of this situation. After some googling, I read a few comments saying that if the Willow was pressed too firmly to your boob, it could clog ducts, and that could cause pain.

So, after making sure my bra was looser than I preferred and quite a bit of massaging, I worked out the clogs and feel fine now. But, just be aware of this. I find that pumping is both more and less uncomfortable. I am getting used to the extra gravity, but the lack of pressure on my boob is nice, too.

Final Thoughts On The Willow Breast Pump

Overall, Willow Breast Pump has improved my life immensely, and it was worth every penny… and it costs a LOT of pennies.

While there are definitely drawbacks, I feel as though these will be improved upon as each new iteration of this pump is released.

Now, Willow has a competitor in the form of the Evie Breast Pump, I have not used the Evie, nor do I plan on shelling out another several hundred dollars to test it out.

I do know from my research that a ton of people love it, and it has a ton of great features that people like over the Willow.

After using portable breast pumps, I believe they need to be covered by insurance for future moms. I think it makes a HUGE impact on the pumping experience, both logistically and emotionally. 

via GIPHY

I strongly recommend researching on your own, as well. While I’m not sure if/when the Willow breast pump will be covered by insurance, but on the WIllow FAQ they claim that: 

… some Moms have told us that they have been able to obtain full or partial reimbursement for their Willow Wearable Breast pump through insurance…” –Frequently Asked Questions | Willow: Wearable Breast Pump. https://www.willowpump.com/faq/

– so, definitely check with your insurance provider if the only thing stopping you from trying Willow is the price tag.

(or Evie- I’d love to hear from any moms in the comments if they’ve used the Evie and their opinions on it)

I hope that this Willow Breast Pump review has been helpful to you in your breast pump research. I can say, as an exclusively pumping mom, I can’t imagine having to spend the next year strapped to one spot with a baby and such to take care of.

The Willow has its flaws and can be a frustrating piece of equipment to use. Still, I find the pros have outweighed the cons, and I genuinely look forward to seeing how this technology advances for future moms, because in a few years… I have a feeling portable breast pumping will become a great deal more common reality.

I hope you had a fabulous Valentine’s and Galentine’s Day, my friends!

Until next week!

Take it e-e-easy!