Any mom who has pumped before knows how tedious and inconvenient the process can be. Not only is there tons of gear you need (from wires to bags to bottles) but until just a couple years ago, when wireless pumps were introduced, you had to be tethered to a wall or bulky machine to extract the milk you needed. Willow's smart, hands-free breast pump is one innovation that, albeit pricey, gives moms the freedom to pump and be mobile simultaneously, and now the company offers reusable milk containers to be used with the Willow that makes using the useful gadget a little more affordable.
If you’re unfamiliar with the hands-free Willow Wearable Breast Pump ($500), here’s how it works: Just pop each pump on your breast (or just use one at a time), secure it in place inside your bra, and you’re off. No wires, no loud machines. The all-in-one unit allows you to move around and resume life, all the while pumping and crushing your day, whether you’re carpooling or in back-to-back meetings.
The new milk container ($50) has just three parts to clean — and they're all dishwasher safe, too. It’s made from food-grade materials, and everything that comes into contact with your breast milk is BPA-free. Compared to the 4-ounce spill-proof milk bags that you once had to use with the Willow pump, the reusable milk containers drastically cut the cost of using a Willow — plus it's way more eco-friendly. Just pump directly into the reusable container and pour the milk into a bottle or separate storage bag to use later.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 4 out of 5 newborns started out breastfeeding. That’s an incredible 83.2 precent, but that number drops to just under half (46.9 percent) who are exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months of age. It’s not too hard to figure out what happens — women return to work, and it can be challenging to balance scheduling breaks to pump breast milk with the demands of work. And even though about half (49 percent) of workplaces offer workplace lactation support programs, it can be awkward to have to share your pumping schedule with your coworkers and boss.
I’ve boobed all four of my babies, and I can’t even begin to count the strange places (and positions) I’ve had to get into to find an outlet and pump in peace. In fact, not having to deal with the issues of pumping was by far one of the biggest reasons why I left my job right after my son was born. And apparently, I’m not alone. Stress about pumping at work is reported as the second most common reason why women do not return to their job following maternity leave, according to Ovia Health.
“We reimagined the breast pump to help women pump longer and with less stress, and the Container is our latest —and most highly requested— innovation to help moms do that,” Vickie Bond Mrva, mom to two and Willow President and CMO, said in a press release. “At Willow, our core mission is to improve the lives of moms, and we’re so proud of the real impact we are having.”
So if the idea of being completely independent, mobile (and still be able to pump your breast milk) makes you want to do a somersault, you totally can. You won’t have to worry about leaks, since the Willow Wearable Breast Pump’s Milk Container has a patented no-spill technology. We can hardly contain our excitement, either.