It’s World Breastfeeding Week, huzzah! In honor of the occasion, I tried out the brand-new (and totally buzzy) Willow Pump, which is the only breast pump on the market right now that is 100 percent cordless and bottle-less, too. In other words, it promises the freedom to really and truly pump on-the-go—and disguise the fact that you’re milking your boobs while running through your PowerPoint. So of course we were curious: Is it really that discreet? And, more importantly, does it work? To find out, I put it to the test.
Let’s talk about the presentation first. Opening up my Willow pump was reminiscent of unboxing a new Apple laptop. The all-white packaging is sleek and modern and stylish—kind of an anomaly in the breast pumping biz. When I popped the box open, there’s a big reveal: Two side-by-side pumps (one for your left boob and one for your right) that look a lot like futuristic eggs.
Full disclosure: I needed directions to truly master the setup. Like I said, this is not your average breast pump, so further instruction was required. To start, I of course had to boil the Flange and Flextube to sterilize them. (A perk is that, unlike other pumps, there aren’t a ton of tiny add-on pieces that are easily lost.) Simultaneously, I had to charge each pump. (Currently, you can only charge one pump at a time since only one charger is included in the box, but a full charge = five pumping sessions. Not bad.) I also downloaded the corresponding Willow app designed to help users keep tabs on their pumping progress. (More on that later.)
OK, I’m fully charged and ready to go. Reminder: This pump is cordless, so you do need a nursing bra to keep the left and right pump in place. (A full-coverage bra is recommended and, in my experience, works the best.) Before starting, I snapped a custom Willow Milk Bag inside each pump for the milk to collect (versus a bottle). A hefty amount of one-time-use bags come included with your pump, FYI.) Next, I popped each pump inside my bra—you’ll need to align the flange with your nipple like you do with every pump—then powered each one on and adjusted the suction level as needed during the letdown phase.
It’s so quiet, am I really pumping? Guys, I’m not kidding when I say I popped the pump off one or two times just to be sure it actually was on. Sure, I could feel a light suction and my boobs expressing milk, but the Willow is so quiet, I had to triple check to confirm. Once I was certain it was working, I did something crazy: I cleaned up breakfast in the kitchen. I put on my morning makeup. I even changed a diaper on my five-month-old. The portability was astounding.
How about that milk supply? Here’s where the app comes in: Because both pumps are opaque, the easiest way to keep tabs on production is to open up the Willow app, paired via Bluetooth to each boob. This allowed me to see that my left was under-producing (typical), and my right was on track to produce about four ounces. (Willow shuts off automatically when you hit 3.6 ounces—or after 25 minutes—so the bags don’t overflow.)
The only tricky part. When I was done pumping, the Willow asks you to do something they call a “Flip to Finish” where you actually suction any milk still caught in the Flange or Flextube into the pump. It took me a couple of tries—and, to be totally honest some milk spillage occurred (gasp)—but after I mastered it, it was easy. Also worth noting: The milk collection bags can be stored right in your freezer when you’re done.
So, is my review a rave? It really is. I’ve tried quite a few breast pumps, and the fact that the Willow gave me the ability to multi-task so seamlessly while pumping is a game-changer. Even crazier, I can officially verify that it *is* discreet enough that I wouldn’t mind using it in a pinch to pump in the open at my desk. Brava.