Breastfeeding had its beautiful moments for me as a mom, but pumping? There was nothing lovely or endearing or sweet about it. Although I felt like a bad*ss while pumping, I also felt totally unenthusiastic about cleaning the pump parts, storing the milk, and being stuck in one spot for 30 minutes. But the future is now and the Willow Smart Breast Pump is turning the world upside down with its innovative work. Not only is it convenient and great for multi-tasking, but if you know how to increase milk supply using a smart pump, it's an even more amazing tool.
Milk supply is a huge topic for breastfeeding moms. Many worry that they suffer from it and many are hoping to prevent it. According to Kelly Mom, most moms have an adequate milk supply, but there are exceptions, so knowing how to increase it can be a big help. Why is pumping such a great way to do it? Because your milk production is contingent on your milk removal and the frequency of it. It's all about supply and demand — the more milk removed from your breasts, the more milk you will produce. When you pump, you're removing milk in addition to your baby's nursing, which makes your body produce more milk than usual. This is what a lot of moms do to create a freezer stash for their first day back to work or so there are bottles available if mom isn't around or able to breastfeed at any point.
So how does the Willow smart pump increase your milk supply? It's not like any other breast pump, so there are some things to consider here. The Willow smart pump is a small, egg-shape, cordless pump that can slip right into your nursing bra, freeing up your hands and giving you the mobility that traditional, standard breast pumps don't allow. You don't have to sit at your desk or near an outlet — you can wash dishes, take care of your baby, make lunch, go for a walk, or even take on conference calls thanks to the quiet design.
The idea is to give moms a chance to multitask and to not feel like a slave to the pump. And when it comes to increasing milk supply, that could be huge. The assumption is that because you can wear it virtually whenever you want, without thinking about the cords or outlets, you could remove milk more frequently than with a standard pump, helping to increase your supply. Instead of fitting in one or two pumping sessions during the day, the Willow smart pump could give you the freedom to have three or four.
But, unfortunately, there's not much else to go on with the Willow smart pump. Lactation Consultant Tera Kelley Hamann told Romper that there's a lot to see about the Willow smart pump before determining how it can help your milk supply. "It looks like the Willow only uses its own special bags and has several pieces," Hamann says. "Hopefully they will let you order a specific flange size — you typically fit flanges by assessing during pumping and that doesn't look like it's possible with the Willow." Your pump is a huge part of why your milk supply can increase, but it can also be useless if your flanges aren't the right size. According to Kelly Mom, a decreased pumping output can often be contributed to a breast shield that doesn't correctly fit.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Tipper Gallagher, owner of The Boob Geek, agrees with Hamann. "Frequent milk removal is important, but effective milk removal is also important," she says. "I'd hesitate to make any claims about it without seeing it in action in different scenarios." Gallagher wrote on her own website that simply hooking your breasts up to your flanges isn't always the most effective way to remove milk either — massaging your breasts can help stimulate more production. And if you're ever concerned with your pumping output, giving your own pump a tune-up may be just the boost you need.
Until the Willow smart pump is officially released, it's hard to say exactly how it could increase your milk supply other than, hopefully, giving you the chance to pump more often than normal. But one thing's for sure — it sounds like it could be a dream for any mom who hates being glued to a pump and that it could take a lot of stress off of pumping moms, which could directly affect your milk supply. Stress can take a toll on your production, so a gadget that can ease it hopefully becomes a gadget that fills your freezer with milk.