(PHOTO WEARING THE WILLOW PUMP 😉 )
Hey ya’ll! So this blog post is MUCH anticipated and asked for (probably the most asked for post EVER!) and it’s on the WILLOW BREAST PUMP! I knew when I had my son Brayden that I wanted to try and breastfeed, I sort of assumed it would be a natural process and really didn’t know much or question him latching and everything working right. When Brayden was born he immediately latched on and was able to breastfeed, however as the next couple days went on latching got harder and harder and both me and my little guy were frustrated with not being able to comfortably latch and get enough food. I had multiple lactation nurses in the hospital come by and everything they said made sense, but Brayden could not get his mouth wide enough to latch on so in came the best thing for us; the nipple shield… if you are having any problems with your baby latching this may be for you! This really allowed Brayden and I to make it through the first 3 weeks of life together trying to figure out breastfeeding because it allowed him to have more to ‘grip to’ and it made us both happy because he was able to latch and I was able to breastfeed him. After the first couple weeks of nursing it was taking Brayden over an hour to eat every time he nursed and he would still be hungry after each session, I knew he was not getting enough from nursing… I noticed the practically every single time he nursed he would fall asleep, I would have to wake him up, put him back on and he would fall asleep again…. I would literally feed him and have maybe 30 minutes to an hour to do house chores and shower before we were back at it… I want to stop here and say that EVERY woman’s experiences are different and I had so many people keep telling me to ‘stay with it’ and I did for a couple weeks and it was making me feel extra isolated because I knew he was not getting what he needed and he and I would spend ALL day on the sofa trying to nurse (not a joke!) After our 2 week doctors visit we discussed pumping and feeding and to be honest, pumping intimidated mea tad. My pump came with lots of parts and seemed much harder to use than it actually was. After maybe 2-3 weeks we had the pumping thing down and I would nurse in the morning hours when I had more milk and maybe in the evenings when I had more time, but during the day he would have a bottle of pumped milk. After trying that method for a few weeks until basically now we have started to only bottle feed.
I have only given Brayden one type/brand of bottle and it is the Como Tomo newborn bottle. I had heard incredible things about these bottles from friends and then the brand sent me some newborn ones for review and WE LOVE THEM! The nipple on these bottles is supposed to be similar to breastfeeding and making the transition easier and I can say that Brayden has never had trouble latching from bottle one. I love the design and shape of the Como Tomo bottles as well and that I can heat the bottle pretty much anywhere I go with hot water!
Ok, back to the pump! So, any mom who has pumped knows the length of the 15-20 minutes sitting still alone attached to the wall listening to the vaccuum of their pump and feeling somewhat like Elsie the cow (am I right?!?!). No matter how much you want to breastfeed it is hard to remove yourself from the fact that you are a food source and have to me ‘milked’ every 3-4 hours in most cases! Not only do you feel somewhat like our sweet cow friends, but we then have a minimum of 1,908,768 parts to clean after we are done 😉 I’m totally kidding, but WHY does cleaning pump parts feel like washing a whole loud of dishes each time? SIDENOTE: YOU CAN PUT ALL PUMP PARTS IN THE FRIDGE FOR 24 HOURS BETWEEN EACH WASH. I learned that something about keeping them cold keeps bacteria away and you don’t actually HAVE to wash all the parts after each use (PRAISE HANDS!!!).
So the Willow Pump has made it possible for me to pump in the car easily, pump in the night when I am trying to hold/pacify my son after he eats and allows me to do chores in the house during the day! This pump IS what it says it is! I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND for any Mom who is solely pumping and stays active and on the go! I will say that the pump itself is a little bigger than I thought so when you are wearing it (especially if you are smaller chested) you feel really busty and look busty with the pumps on (PICTURED ABOVE… I look like DOLLY PARTON 😉 ) …. I still feel more comfortable wearing this pump in the car or doing things in private or at home, but when the temps drop and clothes get ‘baggier’ I could totally see me wearing this to the grocery or easy places so I can cover up a little more. I did test out the pump at the mall (pictured above) and as you can see I really had to pull the cardigan over my chest to conceal it because I looked so busty, but it worked! I will say that the only thing is, be near a bathroom so when you are done pumping you can finish the process in the bathroom 🙂
A few things I have learned about the pump:
- Easy to use
- Less parts to clean (only 4 each time)
- Allows me to multitask/hold my son
- Pretty discrete (can pump in front of family/close friends etc. without exposing yourself)
- Pretty Quiet (can’t be heard over maybe a few people talking)
A few cons (I hate to use that word because I love it, but things that may be difficult)
- Can only pump roughly 4 oz. on each side before having to change the bag
- I always spill a few drops during the ‘flip over’ method to finish (if you get the pump you will see that’s how you finish up the pump each time)
- Can pinch when it latches if not put on correctly ( I had to try a few times to really nail it)
- Can’t add to milk bags after pumping (so what is pumped into bag is all that can go into bag)
- Have to keep it charged! (this may sound lazy, but when you are used to plugging up to the wall you can forget to charge each of the pumps!)
This pump has already been a lifesaver for me during the day trying to get errands run with baby and still feel like a human and capable of being away from home longer than 3 hours. I still use my Spectra pump when I am at home and especially in the mornings and evenings when I know I have to pump more than 4 oz. per side. I will say that I feel that the Spectra pump (that plugs into the wall) expresses milk faster in the same amount of time, however, the Willow is battery powered so this seems to be expected.
My overall rating on the pump is a 9!! I would TOTALLY recommend to anyone who is active and wants to solely pump or who maybe has to go back to work and wants to pump more discreetly! This pump has allowed me to feel ‘FREE’ again on those days I am super busy and have to get things done and can’t sit attached to a wall.
I also wanted to share this HANDS-FREE PUMPING BRA that I use with my Spectra and also really love and find super helpful when I have to use it! It is a one size fits all and so easy to adjust and put on and I highly recommend if you guys don’t already have one of these!
Breastfeeding has by far been the trickiest part about having my son for me, but I am so thankful to be able to do it for my son by having tools like the Willow Pump that help make it easier and possible for me. If any of you have any personal questions about the pump you can also shoot me a DM on Instagram or you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to answer them for you! I wanted to share some of my favorite comfy cardigans to wear will pumping in a boutique below for you guys to enjoy as well and all you have to do is click on the item you like and it will take you right to purchase.