How to Use Willow Pump — Everything You Need to Know
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Willow Pump: How to Use It, Plus Your FAQs Answered
Wondering how to use the Willow Pump? If you’re thinking about getting this wireless electric breast pump, you might have a few questions about it.
Pumping can be a huge hassle, whether you’re working outside the home or staying at home with your new little one. The fact that most pumps require the use of your hands only adds to the pain.
Even the hands-free systems typically keep you tethered to an outlet for the duration of your pumping session, whether that’s twenty minutes or forty-five.
Willow Pump, on the other hand, is a hands-free, cordless breast pump that allows you to work on other tasks while expressing milk.
But how, exactly, does it work? Let’s find out.
How Does the Willow Pump Work?
The entire pump consists of two egg-shaped devices that you simply charge up, latch on, and hold in place with your bra. Then you basically let them do the rest of the work while going about your business.
It connects to a smartphone app so that you can measure output. You will have to rely on the app to determine when you’re done pumping, since you can’t see how much milk has been expressed.
When you’re done pumping, you’ll “flip to finish” (detailed below) before either storing the bags of breast milk or pouring it into a container.
How to Use Willow Pump
You’ll follow the below steps when using your Willow 3rd Generation breast pump. When you receive your pump, you’ll also get a manual that has more detailed instructions.
What you’ll receive when you order the Willow Pump:
- (2) Willow Pumps
- (2) 24mm or 27mm Flanges (21mm Flanges ship in a separate box)
- (2) Flextubes™
- (24) 4 oz. Milk Bags
- (2) Cleaning Brushes
Step 1: Clean Your Pump
Before the first use, you’ll want to unassemble and wash your pump parts.
Boil the flange and flextube only before the first use. Boil for ten minutes, then place on a clean surface to air dry.
After each use, immediately rinse the parts and let them soak for five minutes in warm, soapy water.
Using the two cleaning brushes provided, you’ll then wash them for a minimum of sixty seconds each, and then brush the openings for a minimum of thirty seconds each.
Step 2: Assemble the Parts
Before using your pump, be sure that both parts are fully charged. Only one charger is provided, so you’ll have to charge them separately.
Connect the flextube to the flange, making sure the edges are flush. You should hear a click.
Then slide the flange door up and open it to attach the milk bag. Drape a milk bag over the flange with “THIS SIDE UP” facing toward you.
Press the milk bag’s one way valve onto the flextube’s collar, making sure the valve is securely attached to the collar.
Tuck the bag into the flange and close the door. The top of the milk bag will fold back over — don’t cut it off!
Then connect the flange to the pump, making sure that the milk bag is completely inside the pump.
Step 3: Latch Your Pump
First of all, you’ll want to wear a full-coverage nursing bra that’s snug enough to keep Willow in place.
Open up your bra, moving any fabric out of the way, and lean forward. Make sure to bring the pump toward your breast in the direction that your nipple points, centering it in the flange tunnel. It shouldn’t touch the sides at all.
Holding the pump firmly against your breast, press the Pump button to initiate latch and begin pumping. Continue holding it firmly against your breast while securing your bra over it. Repeat with the other breast.
You’ll start out in Stimulation Phase. Lean back to encourage letdown and, once you’re in Expression Phase, you can move around freely.
Step 4: Monitor Output on the App
After receiving your pump, you should have set up the Willow Pump app on your smartphone. This is how you will monitor output (since you cannot see how much milk has been expressed).
Step 5: Flip to Finish
Holding the pump with the flange side up, rotate it so the blue thumb pad is pointing toward you. Tilt the top slightly toward you until it starts making a gulping sound.
After approximately 3-4 gulps, you should hear a long slurp, and at this point you’ll tilt it the rest of the way so that the flange side is down and wait until the gulps stop.
There should be a total of eight gulps. It’s normal for a drop or two of milk to remain in the flextube.
Flip it back over so the flange side is facing upward, squeeze the two buttons on either side of the flange, and slowly lift it. Now you can remove the full bag of milk.
Here’s a detailed video that walks you through exactly how to use the Willow Pump:
Pro Mom Tip: To ensure that you’re getting the real deal (and any promotional offers from Willow!) I recommend ordering your Willow Pump through their official website.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you lay down with Willow Pump attached?
Absolutely! Most pumps rely on gravity and typically leak when you recline, but Willow has a proprietary system that allows you to express milk in any position you like, as long as you’re using their spill-proof milk bags.
And even if you opt for the reusable milk container, you’ll still have more mobility than when using standard breast pumps.
2. How long does it take to charge Willow Pump?
It takes about two hours to fully charge, and the charge should last for about five sessions.
However, keep in mind that the pumps only come with one charger, so unless you grab a second one, you’ll only be able to charge one side at a time.
If you need to use it sooner than that, a twenty minute charge should be enough to last one full pumping session.
3. Is the Willow Pump a closed system?
Willow Pump is a closed system with backflow protection. This means that there is a barrier between your breast milk and the pump, preventing your milk from leaking into the pump.
A closed system ensures that breast milk travels through a completely sanitary system.
4. How much milk does the Willow Pump hold?
Willow Pump capacity is four ounces of milk per side, so between the two sides, it holds a total of eight ounces of milk.
5. Can you use Willow Pump without bags?
You cannot pump directly into the device. You can either use the single-use milk bags, or you can get some reusable milk containers like these.
6. Where can I buy Willow Pump bags?
You can stock up on spill-proof milk bags at retailers like Target, or you can order online through either the official Willow site or Amazon.com.
7. Can you reuse Willow Pump bags?
Are Willow pump bags reusable? No, they’re one-time use only. However, you could alternatively get a reusable milk container to use in place of the milk bags.
8. Does Willow Pump hurt?
Pumping shouldn’t ever hurt. There might be a little bit of discomfort in the beginning if you’re brand new to it, but that should subside over time.
If it’s painful, though, you will need to troubleshoot. Unlatching the pump and re-latching is a good starting point. You might also need to try a different flange size.
9. Does Willow Pump work for large breasts?
Yes, it was designed for ALL breast sizes! The size of your nipples is actually more important than your breast size.
You’ll need to figure out which is the correct flange size for your nipples.
Your Willow Pump will come with three different flange sizes: 21mm, 24mm, and 27mm. When aligning the flange with your nipple, it shouldn’t be smooshed or touch the sides.
10. How much does Willow Pump cost?
This hands-free, cordless breast pump sells for $499.99 at the time of publishing this post.
However, they frequently run promotions, so you’ll want to check out the official Willow Pump website for current promotions and pricing.
11. Does insurance cover Willow Pump?
If you have NOT recently received a breast pump through your insurance, you may be eligible to purchase your pump at a discounted price.
- A signed prescription
- Insurance card
- Your OBGYN’s information
Does the Willow Pump Actually Work?
While this type of breast pump comes with a bit of a learning curve, lots of pumping mommas have found success with Willow, and love the convenience of a wireless pump.
You can read their reviews (which include both the good and the bad) right here.
And there you have it! How to use Willow Pump, plus the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Have you tried this cordless breast pump yet, or are you considering it? Share your questions and comments below!
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I wish I’d been able to try the Willow pump, I didn’t know it existed previously. Being that I commuted and worked while pumping it would have been nice to have something more portable. Alas, my pumping days are over…I ended up with the Spectra 2 which I loved. but something about breast pumps and strollers…I always wanted to try them all! LOL but, we’ve found our perfect “fit” for family size so we are done. Thank you for sharing such awesome information! Had I come across this info before buying the Spectra I would have thought twice!
Seems like there’s always something new and “better” on the market! Although, I’m sure the Willow would have been really nice for you when you were pumping for the twins. I can’t imagine how much work that was!