One of the best pieces of advice I received while pregnant with my first child (and wisdom I’ve since passed on to other moms) is to invest in a good quality breast pump. And now, a company named Willow has invented a hands-free breast pump that is wearable, portable, and tube-free. Moms-to-be: if you invest in one big thing, let it be this.
Before having kids, no one warns you about the dreaded breast pump. Yes, it’s a necessity for working and breastfeeding moms. It’s also essential for stay-at-home moms who want to save milk or increase milk supply. But it’s awful. It’s loud and awkward and there are tubes everywhere and 900 parts to clean after each pumping session.
Working moms have to hide in bathrooms or dusty closets for 30-minute stints with this contraption. Stay-at-home moms have to navigate the responsibilities of wrangling a toddler on to the potty and cleaning up poop-plosions while the pump simultaneously sucks the life-force from their bodies. But not with the Willow wearable pump! As their website clearly states, there are “No external tubes. No cords. No dangling bottles.”
If you ask me, it sounds like a dream.
How does it work? Rather than the traditional pump style that exports milk down tubes and into bottles or bags, the Willow pump has the bag hidden within the plastic piece that fits inside your bra. This means you have your hands free to do the 8,642 other things you need to get done. And it’s quiet, too — which means you can discreetly pump at work, while driving, running errands, or pushing your toddler on the swing at the park.
Bye-bye dusty broom closet at the office! I’ll just sit here at my desk and take a conference call while I make milk for my offspring.
Also, the design is incredibly simple. “No more scavenger hunts for missing pump pieces,” its website promises. “Fewer parts means you’ve got less to track down and clean up.”
As much I miss searching for that teeny-tiny yellow piece that fell to the bottom of the sink while I was cleaning pump pieces … Oh wait, I don’t miss that at all. Fewer pieces means less work for an exhausted new mother.
And for moms still figuring out the tricky business of breastfeeding? The Willow pump senses your let-down — and automatically transitions itself into the expression phase “based on your body’s own unique milk production and timing.” In other words, it doesn’t make you wait a pre-set time.
As much as we want to believe breastfeeding will be a smooth, natural, and easy process, for many of us, it isn’t. The Willow company seems to totally get that and wants to help.
Much like a smartphone, this is “smart pump” feels very 21st century. Ever get distracted and overfill bottles? The Willow pump shuts off automatically when the bags are full. And it works with a milk-tracking app on your phone too.
Seriously, I’m almost considering having another kid just to experience this magic. Almost.
There’s just one catch: The Willow Pump won’t be available until Spring 2017, but you can sign up to receive an email once it’s officially on the market. And at $430 a pop, the Willow is pricey — but it could make a great joint gift from a few relatives. Or if mom chooses consignment or hand-me-downs for other baby items, this might be more affordable.
Moms-to-be who plan to breastfeed should definitely consider putting this on their registry or investing in it as a self-purchase. More than likely, they’ll need some sort of breast pump, and this one seems to address many common challenges that traditional pumps present.
The 21st century mom is not hiding at home until her baby is done breastfeeding. She’s out in society, with the rest of the world — working, traveling, meeting people; multi-tasking as women do. And the Willow Pump is clearly here to help her do just that.