Breast Pump

Are Willow Wearable Breast Pumps Worth The Money?

Updated on 19 September 2022 • 10 minute read

 

Are Willow Breast Pumps Worth Your Money?

Willow wearable breast pumps allow you to pump breast milk any time of the day, even when you’re on the go. Many nursing mamas consider them a top baby essential because they offer more mobility and freedom than traditional pumping options.

Yes, it’s true that they’re more expensive ($329.99 to $499.99) than other well-known breast pump brands, for example, Medela and Spectra. Despite the higher price tag, many parents believe that the cordless, hands-free Willow breast pumps are worth the money because they’re more convenient and allow you to go on with your daily life tasks with more ease.

In this Willow breast pump review, we’ll cover all models and key features along with frequently asked questions to help you choose which model is right for you.

 

How Does The Willow Hands-Free Breast Pump Work? 

Many breast pumps have to be plugged into an electrical outlet to work. Others (e.g., portable breast pumps) work with a battery. For most of these breast pumps, you still need to hold the collection base or baby bottles in place while you pump. 

While you can use a nursing bra to hold them in place, the dangling bottles are still obvious. Even with battery-operated pumps, you’re unlikely to pump discretely in public. 

Hands-free breast pumps like the in-bra, wearable Willow combine the pump with a collection system so you can pump discretely without bottles or containers dangling or protruding from your clothes.

Both Willow 3.0 and Willow Go breast pumps can be connected and controlled remotely through the Willow app. The pumps automatically stop once the containers or breast milk bags (for Willow 3.0) are full.

 

Is Willow A Hospital Grade Pump?

The brand assures consumers that Willow 3.0 and Willow Go have hospital-grade suction strength comparable to traditional double-electric breast pumps.

Willow 3.0 has up to 245 mmHg maximum suction strength, while Willow Go has up to 280 mmHg.

Like hospital-grade pumps, both have a closed system but are only designed for single, personal use.

 

Does The Willow Pump Help Increase Milk Supply?

Yes, it can help increase your milk supply. These pumps have a stimulation option and adjustable levels of suction to help encourage milk production.

 

Willow Breast Pumps

Advantages of Willow Generation 3.0 (starts at $499.99)

  • Leak-proof in-bra pump with 360° mobility (lets you pump in any position, including while lying down) when using Willow’s spill-proof milk bags
  • Up to 245 mmHg maximum suction strength
  • More flange options (21 mm, 24 mm, 27 mm, plus additional sizing inserts)
  • More milk storage options (spill-proof milk bags or reusable containers)
  • Smart pumping using the Willow app that automatically records sessions with view history options and tracks volume in real time (feature not available for Willow Go)
  • Fewer parts to clean (only two) compared to Willow Go (five)

 

Advantages of Willow Go (starts at $329.99)

  • Cheaper than Willow 3.0
  • Stronger suction strength (up to 280 mmHg) than Willow 3.0 
  • Pump kits already include 21 mm and 24 mm flanges at no added cost (you need to pay for additional flanges for the Willow 3.0)
  • Larger milk container sizes (5 oz or 7 oz) than Willow 3.0 (only 4 oz)

 

Continue reading below to learn more about each model’s key features.

 

Willow Generation 3.0

(source: amazon.com)

 

Price

  • Pump kit (inludes 24 mm flange size) – $499.99
  • Pump kit and additional 21 mm flange size) – $519.98
  • Pump kit and additional 27 mm flange size) – $519.98
  • Pump kit and additional 15 mm sizing inserts) – $519.98
  • Pump kit and additional 17 mm sizing inserts) – $519.98
  • Pump kit and additional 19 mm sizing inserts) – $519.98

 

What Makes It Special?

  • Cord-free, leak-proof, and in-bra pump for 360° mobility
  • Smart suction that automatically adjusts to help increase the amount of milk you collect
  • Three flange size options (21 mm, 24 mm, 27 mm, plus additional sizing inserts)
  • Two ways to pump and more milk storage options: with reusable containers or the spill-proof, self-sealing milk storage bags
  • Only two parts to clean (box includes cleaning brushes)

 

Key Features & Specifications

  • Material: Plastic
  • Product Safety: Free from toxic chemicals, such as BPA (bisphenol-A)
  • Spill-Proof Cups: Yes
  • Capacity: 4 oz per pump
  • Pump Bags: Yes, spill-proof breast milk bags
  • Apps: Willow app (works with iOS 14 and Android OS 10 or higher)
  • Pump Type: Hands-free, wearable pump
  • Batteries: Rechargeable
  • Portability Options: Yes
  • Pump System: Closed system
  • Grade: Comparable to hospital grade
  • Settings: Adjustable, with nine suction levels
  • Display: None on the pump, but available on the Willow app
  • Pump Strength: Up to 245 mmHg
  • Pump Controls: Buttons on the pump or through the app
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty: One year for the pump, 90 days for the accessories
  • Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
  • Bag and Cooler: None, but this product is small enough to fit in your diaper bag or other bags

 

Pumps & Accessories In The Box

  • Two Willow pumps with rechargeable batteries (that last up to five pumping sessions)
  • Two flanges (additional sizes are available but sold separately)
  • Two Flextubes
  • 24 pcs of 4 oz. recyclable, BPA-free milk bags
  • Two cleaning brushes
  • One charger 

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons & Factors To Consider Before Purchasing

  • Willow 3.0 has a weaker suction strength (only up to 245 mmHg maximum) than Willow Go (up to 280 mmHg).
  • It only has one container size option (4 oz).
  • Despite being more expensive than Willow Go, the standard pump kit for Willow 3.0 only includes one flange size (24 mm). The other sizes are available at an additional cost ($19.99 each).

 

Willow Go

(source: target.com)

 

Price

  • Pump kit with 21 mm and 24 mm flanges – $329.99

 

What Makes It Special?

  • Strong suction strength (up to 280 mmHg maximum)
  • Pump kits already include two flange sizes (21 mm and 24 mm) at no added cost
  • Two milk container sizes (5 oz or 7 oz) 

 

Key Features & Specifications

  • Material: Plastic
  • Product Safety: BPA-free 
  • Spill-Proof Cups: Not 100% spill-proof
  • Capacity: (5 oz or 7 oz) 
  • Pump Bags: None
  • Apps: Willow app (limited in-app options compared to Willow 3.0)
  • Pump Type: Hands-free, wearable pump
  • Batteries: Rechargeable
  • Portability Options: Yes
  • Pump System: Closed system
  • Grade: Comparable to hospital grade
  • Settings: Adjustable, with nine suction levels
  • Display: None on the pump, but available on the Willow app
  • Pump Strength: Up to 280 mmHg
  • Pump Controls: Buttons on the pump or through the app
  • Noise Level: Quiet
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty: One year for the pump, 90 days for the accessories
  • Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
  • Bag and Cooler: None, but it fits in any diaper bag

 

Pumps & Accessories In The Box

  • Two Willow Go pumps
  • Two 24-mm flanges
  • Two 21-mm flanges
  • Two 5-oz container bowls
  • Two container backs
  • Two duckbill valves
  • Two pump diaphragms
  • Two USB charging cables

 

Willow Go doesn’t come with a USB power adapter, but it’s compatible with any 5V, 1-2 AMP USB charging source.

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons & Factors To Consider Before Purchasing

  • Willow Go only offers milk containers for storage options; it can’t be used with breast milk storage bags.
  • It has fewer in-app options than those available for Willow 3.0.

 

Summary & Recommendations

Choose Willow Generation 3.0 (starts at $499.99) if:

  • You prefer a leak-proof, in-bra pump with 360° mobility that lets you pump in any position, including while lying down (when using Willow’s spill-proof milk bags)
  • You need a pump with more flange options (available: 21 mm, 24 mm, 27 mm, plus additional sizing inserts)
  • You want a pump with milk storage options for spill-proof milk bags or reusable containers
  • You like that it has smart pumping options using the Willow app (automatically records sessions, view history options, tracks volume in real time, etc.)
  • You prefer a wearable pump that has fewer parts to clean (only two)
  • You don’t mind its higher price tag
  • You don’t mind that the maximum suction strength is only up to 245 mmHg 

 

Choose Willow Go (starts at $329.99) if:

  • You prefer a cheaper Willow pump
  • You need a pump with a stronger suction strength (up to 280 mmHg)
  • You need one with two different flange sizes (21 mm and 24 mm) already included with the price of the pump kit
  • You prefer a Willow pump with larger milk container sizes (5 oz or 7 oz) 
  • You don’t mind that it has more parts (five) to clean 
  • You don’t mind that it doesn’t have an option for direct pumping into breast milk bags
  • You don’t mind that it has fewer options on the Willow app

 

Willow 3.0 Vs. Willow Go: Which Has Stronger Suction?

Willow Go has a stronger maximum suction strength (up to 280 mmHg) than Willow 3.0 (only up to 245 mmHg).

 

What Capacity Do Willow Pumps Have?

  • Willow 3.0: 4 oz
  • Willow Go: 5 oz or 7 oz

 

Useful Tips

How To Find The Best Willow Size

Willow recommends the following size guide in choosing the right flange size for your pump:

  • 11-13 mm nipple measurement: 24 mm Willow flange with 15 mm additional sizing insert
  • 13-15 mm nipple measurement: 24 mm Willow flange with 17 mm additional sizing insert
  • 15-17 mm nipple measurement: 24 mm Willow flange with 19 mm additional sizing insert
  • 17-20 mm nipple measurement: 21 mm Willow flange
  • 20-23 mm nipple measurement: 24 mm Willow flange 
  • 23-26 mm nipple measurement: 27 mm Willow flange 

 

Willow 3.0 ships with 24 mm breast flanges. Additional flanges ($19.99) are sold separately.

 

Getting Used To A Wearable Pump

You might notice that you aren’t pumping as much as you want to, especially if breastfeeding isn’t fully established yet.

Reading the step-by-step instructions in the breast pump’s user guide is a good idea.

It might take some time before you can get used to a wearable pump. Moms who have tried it recommend continued use until you get the hang of it. Stick with it, mama!

 

Does It Hurt To Pump Using The Willow?

Willow pumps have suction levels similar to other pumps. Like other pumps, they’re designed to work comfortably.

Nipple cracks and fissures can make pumping (and breastfeeding) painful, particularly during the first few weeks. You can use nipple cream to prevent or ease the pain.

 

FAQs

Can I Exclusively Pump With Willow?

Yes. Many moms use their Willow to pump exclusively. It’s one of our recommendations for the best breast pumps for everyday use. However, it’s important to consider its battery life.

According to Willow, the batteries can last up to five pumping sessions per charge, but some reviews on Amazon mention that the battery lasts for around two to three pumping sessions (around 20-30 minutes per session).

During the first few weeks postpartum, you might need to pump around 7-8 times daily. This can drain your battery faster.

If you’re going out, it’s a good idea to bring your charger to keep the batteries charged and ready for your next pumping session.

 

Is It Possible To Use Willow Breast Pumps Anywhere?

Yes, most of the time. Because they’re cordless and wearable, these breast pumps can be used anywhere unless you need to do something that might dislodge them (e.g., strenuous exercise, pilates or yoga, swimming, workout, etc.).

 

How Long Can You Wear A Willow Breast Pump?

You can wear this breast pump until the containers or milk bags get full (the pump automatically shuts off when these are full). 

If you still want to continue pumping, you can replace the milk bag or container.

 

Where Can I Buy Willow Breast Pumps?

  • Willow’s official website (shop.onewillow.com)
  • Aeroflow
  • Byram Healthcare
  • BreastPumps.com
  • Acelleron
  • 1 Natural Way
  • Baby’s on Broadway
  • Milk Moms
  • The Breastfeeding Shop
  • Pumping Essentials
  • The Lactation Network
  • buybuyBABY
  • Target
  • Amazon
  • Babylist
  • FSAStore.com

 

Are Willow Pumps Loud?

Customer reviews for Willow pumps show different experiences and ratings. Many agree that these pumps are generally quiet, although they can make louder sounds at higher or stronger settings.

 

Are Willow Pumps Noticeable While Pumping?

Designed to be worn on your breast while in use, these Willow pumps make your chest look bigger. So, they might be noticeable even if there aren’t any dangling bottles.

Some moms suggest wearing loose-fitting tops if you plan to use these breast pumps in public.

 

Can I Pump With Willow While I Sleep?

Yes, if you’re using the Willow 3.0 with the spill-proof milk bags.

 

Can I Use The Willow Pumps If I Have Large Breasts?

Yes. Willow can work with larger breast sizes (up to G and H bra cups).

 

Can I Use The Willow Pump If I Have Small Breasts?

Yes. These pumps also work with small breasts. You can pick the flange size based on the guide we shared above.

 

Is The Willow Pump Easy To Clean?

Willow 3.0 only has two parts to clean, while Willow Go has five. Both are dishwasher-safe.

 

How Long Does The Battery Last?

According to Willow, the batteries can last up to five pumping sessions per charge. The battery life can vary depending on how heavily you use the pump. 

 

How Often Should I Replace Willow Breast Pump Parts?

Willow recommends replacing the milk containers and inserts every three months or anytime they show signs of excessive wear.

 

Does Insurance Cover Willow?

Yes. Some insurance providers cover Willow breast pumps. You can also use your HSA (Health Savings Account) or FSA (Flexible Spending Account). 

Note that these wearable breast pumps are considered an upgrade item and require additional out-of-pocket costs. Ask your insurance provider. 

You can also find assistance directly from medical equipment providers licensed to sell breast pumps, including Aeroflow and Byram Healthcare.

 

Willow Vs. Other Breast Pumps

Does Willow Work As Well As Spectra?

It depends on what specific pumps and models you’re trying to compare, but in general, Willow pumps (245-280 mmHg) can work as well as Spectra pumps (270 mmHg).

 

Willow Vs. Freemie

Advantages Of Willow Pumps ($329.99 to $499.99)

  • Cordless, all-in-one, pump + container kit (Freemie pumps have cords, with the motor separate from the containers)
  • Smart app options (Freemie pumps don’t connect to an app)
  • Fewer parts to clean (only two for Willow 3.0)

 

Advantages Of Freemie Pumps ($192.87 to $241.97)

  • Cheaper than Willow pumps
  • More discreet because the pump is tucked into your waistband (Willow pumps are all-in-one kits that make them bulkier)
  • Two flange sizes in the box (Willow Go has two, but Willow 3.0 only has one)
  • Over 100 pump settings
  • Three customizable memory buttons

 

Willow Vs. Elvie Pumps

Which Pump Is Better: Willow 3.0 Or Elvie Pump

Willow 3.0 Advantages ($499.99):

  • Cheaper option (as double breast pump)
  • Stronger pump of up to 245 mmHg (Elvie has a maximum pump strength of 220 mmHg)
  • Only two parts to clean (Elvie has several)

 

Elvie Pump Advantages (single for $299.99, double for $549.99):

  • Available for sale as a single or double hub
  • More discreet (the pump is tucked into your waistband)
  • 5 oz capacity (Willow 3.0 is only available with a 4 oz capacity)
  • 14 intensity settings (Willow only has nine suction levels)
  • Includes two breast flange sizes in the box
  • 2-year warranty (Willow only offers a 1-year warranty)
  • The lights on the pump can be dimmed or brightened, depending on your need.

 

Which Pump Is Better: Willow Go Or Elvie Stride?

Willow Go Advantages ($329.99):

  • Cordless, all-in-one, pump + container kit (Elvie Stride has cords, with the motor separate from the containers)
  • Available in two container sizes: 5 oz or 7 oz (Elvie is only available in 5 oz)

 

Elvie Stride Advantages ($269.99)

  • Stronger pump of up to 300 mmHg (Willow Go only has up to 280 mmHg)
  • More discreet (the pump is tucked into your waistband)
  • More in-app options, including pumping history (Willow Go has limited in-app options)
  • 10 intensity settings (Willow has nine)
  • 2-year warranty (Willow only offers a 1-year warranty)

 

Does Willow Have Better Suction Than Elvie?

Willow 3.0 has better suction than Elvie Pump, but Elvie Stride is stronger than Willow Go.

 

Willow Accessories

For Willow 3.0:

  • Flanges – $29.99
  • Spillproof milk bags (4 oz, 48 bags) – $29.99
  • Milk container set – $49.99
  • Milk container flange inserts – $19.99
  • Flextubes (for pumping into breast milk bags or containers) – $29.99
  • Charger – $29.99

 

For Willow Go:

  • Milk containers (5 oz or 7 oz) – $34.99
  • Flanges – $19.99
  • Pump diaphragm set – $14.99
  • Duckbill valve set – $9.99
  • USB charging cable – $14.99
  • USB dual charger block – $14.99

 

Universal accessories (for use with either breast pump):

  • Sizing inserts – $19.99
  • The Luxe pumping bra – $59.99

 

Essentials for Breastfeeding & Pumping Moms

 

 

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