We love this portable pump that’s great for moms on the go
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Doesn't work with milk bags
When portable, cord-free breast pumps first emerged on the market a few years back, it was game changing for busy mothers. But the hands free wearable breast pumps came with a steep price tag, which made them less-than-affordable for parents on a budget.
Willow, one of the first companies to debut a wearable pump, has introduced a much more budget-friendly version of their original, the new Willow Go.
The original Willow 3.0 pump was never my favorite pump, as I found it a bit finicky. I especially disliked the heart-stopping “flip to finish” method that was required, which called for physically turning the pump over after it was full, and praying that it didn’t leak—which mine did, often.
It also never produced as much milk during pumping sessions as my full-sized double electric pumps.
The new Willow Go, which is more reasonably priced and is also at least partially covered by many insurance companies and FSA/HSA eligible, is both less nerve-wracking and a bit easier to use.
With in-depth directions and even a compatible smart phone app, I was able to get up and running with ease.
Unboxing the Willow Go pump is a truly well-thought-out experience, providing step-by-step directions with both words and visuals, and app support through Bluetooth pairing to the pump.
The app is an extremely simple, but helpful experience, essentially just assisting with basic charging steps and also keeping track of pumping time.
There is a bit of a learning curve with any portable pump, including this one, but the directions help you navigate that.
One of the most convenient features of the Willow Go breast pump is the easy-to-see milk containers so you can monitor production, and also that the easily accessible buttons on the top of the pump allow you to pump at nine different levels of suction.
This is much higher than some other portable pumps, though the highest levels can get a bit noisy if you are, say, a teacher pumping discreetly during a long day of standardized testing around others.
Two flange sizes are provided—21 and 24 millimeters—along with a nifty try-on nipple sizing chart to determine which one to use.
You can also order 27 millimeter flanges, which are sold separately. The sizing chart is an invaluable tool for new pumping moms, because determining your flange size can be integral to a successful pumping experience.
Popping in a different flange is easy enough, and with just the push of a button, you can begin.
Expressing milk through this comfy pump felt very natural and although its suction isn't very powerful, it's quiet nature is a major plus.
While I do wish the containers “clicked” to ensure they were completely closed before starting to pump, the Willow Go itself is comfortable, and doesn’t feel plasticky on the skin, which is optimal for better relaxation.
While the motor doesn’t feel anywhere near as strong as other hospital grade pumps, it removes enough milk to take the edge off between major pumps, or if you are away from the baby for just a few hours.
It’s also ideal for “over-producers” who yield more than the typical 4 to 5 ounces that other portable pumps hold. The Willow Go, by contrast, can hold 5 ounces but it also has an option to buy a 7 ounce container, though that appears to be a popular and therefore sometimes out-of-stock item.
Unlike traditional breast pumps that have tubes and other small parts that need to be washed by hand, the Willow Go only has five parts, and they’re all dishwasher safe (on the top rack).
Although the Willow Go is cordless and hands-free, you don't have complete mobility while pumping which is the ultimate purpose of a portable pump.
One notable difference that active moms should watch out for is that the Willow Go doesn’t offer the 360-degree motion without leaking that the Willow 3.0 does.
This means you cannot do an upside-down yoga pose while pumping, or more realistically, lean way over to help a kid tie their shoes. But, if you are just going to be sitting at a desk or walking around doing basic activities, it will work.
There’s no way to use milk bags with the Willow Go, which means you’re stuck pumping into the reusable containers.
While this is fine if you’re planning to use the milk right away, it’s problematic if you were hoping to build up a stash.
If you want to bank milk in your freezer, you’ll have to pour the milk from the containers into storage bags—and that can be messy (and a pain).
The Willow Go truly goes above and beyond when it comes to pumping.
While no pump is perfect, the Willow Go pays attention to small details that help sleep-deprived parents, such as clearly labeling which flange size is which (thank you!), and using a QR code to get the app started. The Willow Go makes me excited to see how portable pumps will develop even further in the next decade. Until then, the Willow Go is one of the better options on the market—especially at this price point—for moms on the go.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Doesn't work with milk bags