If you are new to pumping with your Willow, you might be wondering, “How do I pump more with Willow?” Here are a few tips and tricks to pumping the most milk with the Willow pump.
These tips will help you to get the most milk when using your new pump.
If you haven’t purchased your Willow yet, get more info in this article: Is The Willow Pump Worth It? All the Pros and Cons.
Also, don’t forget to check this link for any current promotions or deals for the Willow.
Tips To Help You Pump More With Willow
The first set of tips have to do specifically with the Willow pump.
There’s a bit of a learning curve when you use this pump, so hopefully reading through these tips will help to shorten that learning curve.
There are some small details that you can tweak to make the most out of your pump and to help you pump more with Willow.
1. You May Need To Practice More With The Willow
Your body needs to get used to the suction pattern of the Willow. If you are first starting out with this pump, you may need to give it a little time. This is because your body may be used to breastfeeding or using another pump.
If you are new to pumping, your body will need to become conditioned on how to let down with a pump instead of a baby.
Similarly, if you have used a different pump in the past, your body may need to become used to the sucking pattern of the Willow.
If you are looking to start pumping before going back to work, one thing you can try is to pump with Willow on one side while you are nursing your baby on the other side.
This will help train your body to let down on the side with the Willow.
If you are exclusively pumping and want to start with the Willow, you can single pump on one side with the Willow while you pump on the other side with your normal pump (like your Spectra or Medela).
Similar to nursing, this can help train your body to respond to the Willow.
2. Use the Correct Flange, Container or Insert Size For Willow
The next tip to make sure you are using the right flange size. A lot of moms need a smaller size when they pump with Willow than when they use a different kind of pump.
This is because the flange is shaped a little differently than the flanges for a traditional pump.
If you have, for example, the 24 mm flange, you can use these inserts (link to Amazon) to see if the next smaller size would work better for you.
Willow does also make 21, 24 and 27 mm flanges and container inserts. You can find the smaller sizes here (link to Willow).
With Willow, it is best to pump with the size that matches you as closely as possible. This ruler (on Amazon) is really helpful to measure and help you to figure out the correct flange size for your body.
If you are going to purchase inserts, it is usually best to buy the Willow with the 24mm flange. Then, select the inserts to fit you directly.
This will end up saving you money in the long run instead of buying a bunch of different flanges.
3. Make Sure You Are Using The Best Bra For Willow
When pumping with the Willow, you will want to make sure you are using the right bra. The Willow is unique that it slips directly into your bra.
You do not need a “traditional” pumping bra when you use the Willow because of the pump’s unique design.
You may need a larger bra cup size than your normal size to accommodate the extra space from the Willow. You also need to keep in mind to be sure that the bra is tight enough to hold the Willow firmly against you.
You will also want to make sure that the nursing bra does not have an underwire.
The bra should not have padding, have removable padding, or only have a tiny bit of padding. A stretchy nursing bra works well. Here is a link to my favorite bra for pumping with Willow.
When you wear the bra, you should make sure that the pump is held firmly against you so you get a good latch and seal for the pump.
Pro Tip: Using the correct bra (like this one) and the correct size inserts (like these inserts on Amazon) are the top reasons that help moms to maximize the amount of milk they are able to pump with the Willow.
4. Check The Position Of The Pump
When you are pumping, check that there isn’t anything in between the pump and your skin.
You will want to be sure there isn’t any fabric from your nursing bra in between your skin and the pump. (This is a common problem!)
If there is a little bit of fabric from your bra in between your skin and the pump, it can keep the pump from getting the right suction and latch. It will not allow the pump to seal and prevent the pump from working properly.
5. Check If You Get To Expression Within 2 Minutes
If you are using a Willow Gen 3 pump, you should get into Expression Mode within 2 minutes of starting your pumping session.
If you are having trouble getting out of Stimulation Mode, you can try leaning back. You will want to make sure you aren’t just sitting back.
You will need to really lean back. Think of it how your back should be at a 45 degree angle. This can help you move to Expression Mode more quickly.
After the pump switches over to Expression Mode, you can sit up straight again and go along with your day.
6. Try Aligning The Willow Flange Before Attaching The Pump
This tip is completely genius. Aligning the pump is much easier when you can see what you are doing. If the flange is attached to the pump, you cannot see the alignment of the pump.
To combat this, first, try aligning the flange on your skin. You can see the alignment because the flange or container is clear. After checking alignment first, then attach the pump to the flange.
7. Try Using A Lubricant On The Willow Flange
Sometimes the pump can be more effective if you have a lubricant on the flange.
You will want to make sure you choose one that is safe for baby. This is because small amounts of the lubricant will end up in the milk that your baby will drink eventually.
A couple lubricants you can try are coconut oil (food grade), or lanolin. Personally I prefer this type of coconut oil (link to Amazon) because it comes in a convenient spray bottle which makes it easy to apply.
I personally did not like to use lanolin when pumping. Even though it is safe for baby, lanolin can be very sticky and just add more friction when pumping.
In my experience it is better to use coconut oil while pumping and then use lanolin to help with any soreness after pumping.
Tips For Increasing Milk Supply When Pumping With Willow
These tips can impact your overall milk supply when you are pumping with Willow. They are great to keep in mind to make sure you have the right physical and mental state to pump the most milk for your baby.
8. Check Your Diet and Hydration Level
When you are pumping, you will want to make sure you are eating enough calories and drinking enough water. Your milk supply can be affected if you do not eat enough or if you are not hydrated.
One trick I used was to drink electrolyte drinks to keep my milk supply up. I liked to drink Body Armor drinks to help my milk supply.
Another drink I liked to add in were protein shakes. My favorite flavor was the Fudge Brownie from MilkDust.
9. Think About Your Stress Levels
A high amount of stress can inhibit your let down. It is possible if you recently returned to work, you may have more stress than if you were at home with your baby.
This extra stress can lead to a lower milk supply. Think about a few things that you can do to help reduce your stress while you are pumping.
Maybe it is leaning back or laying down and pumping with Willow. Try closing your eyes or listening to relaxing music during your pumping session.
10. Make Sure You Feel Empty After Pumping
The next thing to look into is if you feel empty after your pumping session. If you do not feel empty, then there are a few things you can try.
The Willow has a timer and will pause after 25 minutes. You may need to pump longer than these 25 minutes if you do not feel empty.
The second thing you can try is to increase suction. Generally the appropriate amount of suction is the highest level that is not painful.
You can try increasing the suction up to where it is painful and then turn it down one level so it is not painful anymore.
The last thing to check if you still feel full, is to try realigning to the pump.
If you are not aligned properly, the pump may not empty you completely. Try going back to tip #6 to make sure that you are properly aligned when you start to pump.
11. Identify If You Have Different Patterns While Using Another Pump
Here are a few things to think about if you usually pump more milk when you use a different pump. Think about if you have different routines or patterns when you are using a traditional pump.
If you normally watch videos of your baby with the other pump, try doing the same thing when you are pumping with Willow.
You also may massage while pumping and you can also do that when you are pumping with Willow. If you switch back and forth from stimulation to expression modes during the middle of your pumping session, then try to mimic that pattern.
It is possible that your body became conditioned to these types of routines while pumping. Mimicking them while pumping with Willow can help you to have more let downs and to pump more milk.
Following these tips should help you to pump more milk with your Willow. Try them out and see how they work for you.
More Pumping Tips
If you are looking to save some money on the Willow pump, check out the current promotions by clicking here.
If you have tried all of these tips and still are looking to increase your milk supply, you may want to check out this awesome product I found on Etsy. It really helped to increase my milk supply.
Here are a few more articles so you can learn more about the Willow pump.
- 5 Easy Tips And Hacks For The Willow Pump
- Willow Vs. Freemie (Tips To Choose A Hands Free Pump)
- Is The Willow Pump Worth It? All The Pros And Cons