The Willow can require somewhat of a learning curve when you first get it. Here are the best Willow pump tips and hacks that I have found to be super helpful when learning how to use the pump.
The convenience of this pump can be a lifesaver. When I started using the Willow, pumping more often became so much easier because I could multitask while pumping.
It was such a relief to not be stuck sitting on the couch while pumping. I loved how I could cook, clean, and chase after my toddler and still fit in my pumping sessions.
Below are the top 5 Willow pump tips and hacks for getting the most out of your Willow.
Tip 5: How Do I Pump More With Willow?
One of the first things you can try is to make sure your flanges are properly sized. You may need to use a smaller flange size than what you would use if you are pumping with a standard pump.
You can check out the flange sizing guide here.
Most moms who use a standard pump and flanges, like those that came with a Spectra, Motif, or Medela, probably use the 24mm or 27mm flanges that came in the box with the pump.
However, even if you use 24mm flanges with another pump, you most likely need a smaller size to pump the most milk with the Willow.
One of the most important things is to measure yourself precisely. This is a really great ruler (on Amazon) that you can use to measure.
With the Willow, you will want to take your exact measurement in millimeters, and only add 1 – 2 millimeters to the diameter to get your correct size.
Be sure to measure the right side and the left side. It is completely normal to need different sizes on your right and left sides.
Most moms will want to purchase the 24mm Willow, and then buy smaller inserts to get a more precise fit. The majority of moms will need smaller inserts to get the Willow to pump the most milk.
Even though the Willow only comes in a few standard sizes, you have a few options if you need a smaller size or if you are in between sizes. You can use inserts made for the Freemie like these ones (link to Amazon).
Another option is to use beaugen cushions that you can find here on Amazon. These cushions will make the flange size slightly smaller.
It is also very important to use a great bra when pumping with a wearable pump like the Willow. This is my favorite bra that keeps the pump secure.
You may also be able to pump more with Willow simply because it is so convenient. You can even pump with Willow while laying down or sleeping.
Tip 4: How To Save The Most Money On A Willow
Go here to check out the current promotions on a Willow pump. Sometimes Willow will run promotions for free accessories that can help to cut down on the cost of the pump.
As another tip to save money, I would also recommend buying a set of pump containers. This can help reduce the cost because you won’t need to keep buying the disposable milk bags each time you pump.
You can also check here to see if your insurance plan, HSA, or FSA plans will help to cover the cost of a pump.
If you’ve already used your insurance benefit, your HSA or FSA may also cover the cost of milk storage bags or containers.
There are some more tips on using your insurance plan below.
Tip 3: How Do You Get A Willow Pump Out of Stimulation?
The Willow pump should go out of stimulation mode after you’ve pumped about 1 ounce.
When you’re pumping, you should check the volume that you have pumped in the app and make sure the amount that you are pumping keeps increasing.
If the pump is still stuck in stimulation mode, then try pausing and re-latching the willow pump.
When you try to re-latch the pumps, you will want to make sure that your alignment is correct and the pump is centered.
Another problem that can happen is when you are pumping, you may end up with a lot of air in the milk bag while being stuck in stimulation mode.
If this is the case, you probably need a bra that fits more snugly when you are pumping.
The bra here is my favorite bra to use while pumping with the willow. As a bonus, you can use this link and code LISA15 for a special discount on your order!
Tip 2: Can You Reuse Willow Pump Bags?
It is not recommended to reuse willow pump bags. This is because it isn’t sanitary to re-use breast milk bags as this can introduce contamination from bacteria.
The milk bags are not designed to be emptied and then reused. Mixing cold breast milk with warm milk can also encourage bacteria to grow, and nobody wants to get their baby sick because they did not use the proper sanitization process.
But, buying pumping bags for every pumping session can become pricey, especially if you are pumping several times per day.
Thankfully, Willow offers reusable containers that you can find here. These can be a great cost effective way to save money if you want to pump with the Willow pump.
After you are done pumping, then you can empty milk from the containers into bottles for feeding, or into other breast milk bags for storage.
The containers can be washed and then re-used for the next pumping session.
Tip 1: Does Insurance Cover A Willow Pump?
Many insurance plans do cover a willow pump. They will generally provide a portion of the cost towards a Willow. Then, you can use an HSA or FSA plan to cover the remainder of the cost of the pump.
Of course, be sure to check with your individual insurance plan on coverage. An easy way to do this is to fill out this form at Aeroflow.
They will do all the legwork for you and make it easy for you to see how much the Willow will be after your insurance coverage discount.
A pro tip is that some insurance plans will cover a new pump every plan year. You can either call your insurance carrier or fill out the form here to see if you qualify.
BONUS TIP – Willow Pump Alternative
If you have been debating the Willow pump, but you just cannot justify the price tag, one interesting alternative to the Willow pump is this pump by BabyBuddha (link to site). As a bonus, use code LISA10 to save an extra 10% off your order!
This pump uses traditional flanges but it is very lightweight and easy to use if you want to be more mobile.
It is a good option if you need to be hands-free while pumping, but you do not need to be as discrete.
You can even combine it with the Silicone Collection cups from Legendairy Milk if you don’t want to worry about the traditional flanges.
A few other options are to use either this Haakaa Ladybug catcher or the Elvie Curve (link to Amazon) on the side you are not pumping to catch any letdown on that side.
BONUS TIP #2 Protect Your Willow Pump With A Carrying Case
If you have made the investment in your Willow pump, you will not want to throw the pump into your bag and allow it to bump into things.
One problem that some moms have run into is the case for the pumps becomes cracked. This can happen when the pumps are thrown into a large bag.
If they jostle around into other things in the bag, like a laptop, a lunchbox, or even if your large pumping bag is bumped into a door or wall, the pumps could crack and might not work.
It is super important to protect them and the best way is to make sure they are secure in a hard-shelled carrying case.
My favorite option to protect the pumps is this carrying case made just for wearable pumps like the Willow or Elvie. I love their Lizzy and Norah pump bags and this one was perfect to hold my Willow inside one of the larger bags.
Another option I found is a great carrying case that holds the pump securely and keeps everything neat and organized. You can find it here on Etsy. My favorite part about this bag is when you order, you can pick a fun lining color like pink or turquoise.
More Pumping Tips
Don’t forget to save this article to your Baby or Breastfeeding board on Pinterest so you can find it later!
Check out these articles for more tips and tricks when pumping.
- Is The Willow Pump Worth It (Pros and Cons of the $500 pump)
- Pumping Schedules to Follow If you Are Exclusively Pumping
- How To Increase Your Milk Supply At Night
- Willow Vs Freemie – How To Choose A Hands Free Pump
Must-Have Pumping Gear
Hear are a few of my favorite pumping items that made my life so much easier.
- This is the best pumping bra that is actually comfortable to wear all day long (the Sublime version). Use this link and code Lisa15 for a special discount on your purchase!
- Try the Chocolate Fudge flavor of this yummy milk-boosting protein powder.
- Click here for the best deal on the WillowGo pump!
- These are the best baby bottle labels that will not wash off or wear off. The pineapple design and the whale design are two of my favorites.
- My favorite pumping bag that is roomy enough for my pump, a laptop, a cooler, and a lunch bag. They have so many cute colors and prints but I really love the Floral print.
- These custom baby name onesies I found on Etsy are so adorable I ended up buying them in two different colors. The shop even has a really cute matching mommy and me set.
- I used this tiny mini fridge (link to Amazon) near my pumping station at home so I didn’t have to trek to the kitchen after a middle of the night pumping session.
- This postpartum care box has a couple of my must-have items for the first few months after baby arrives. The tubes that help with engorgement provide so much relief.
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