In the world of breast pumps, it’s hard to know which one is the right choice for you. There are stationary pumps, manual pumps, hospital-grade pumps, travel pumps, and hand-free pumps.
When it comes to hands-free pumps, Willow is a leading contender, but does it live up to the hype?
Is the Willow Go breast pump worth it? The Willow Go is highly rated by consumers and is one of the leading hands-free breast pumps on the market. It is a comfortable, semi-discrete, easy-to-use device that does not restrain the user. Users report that the Willow Go breast pump lives up to its claims and functional expectations.
Overall, our conclusion is that the Willow Go breast pump is worth the cost so long as it aligns with personal priorities.
Right now, you can save $25 on a Willow Go™ Wearable Breast Pump when you sign up for their email newsletter. View all current offers, here.
Keep reading to learn more about the praises, concerns, and common issues with the Willow Go breast pump.
How Does Willow Go Work?
The Willow Go is a rechargeable hands-free breast pump. It’s both portable and wireless, so it can be worn on the go.
The Willow Go is meant to be placed inside the bra for easy pumping. It’s designed to be quieter than normal breast pumps, making it a discreet alternative to a hand pump or travel pump.
Willow Go Pump Best Features
When it comes to the Willow Go, moms who’ve used them rave about the ease of use. The best features are the wireless design and the Willow Go application.
Being wireless allowed moms on the move to wear the pump without being tied down to one place. When partnered with the application, it’s easy to see what stimulation level the pumps are set to and the total time elapsed for the current pump session, as well as battery level.
Willow Go App
Willow released an application for smartphones that is meant to be used alongside the Willow Go. The Willow Go app provides all of the following functions:
- Helpful tips and videos on breastfeeding and pumping with the Willow Go
- Displays the pumps battery level
- Manages and displays current session information
- Suction level
- Pumping mode
- Pumping speed
- Available modes
- Session Time
- Battery Level (by pump)
Can You Use Willow Go Without App?
According to Willow, you do not have to use the application to use the pump. However, in doing so, your pump will not receive software updates and you won’t be able to utilize new features.
In addition, you’ll miss out on all of the great tools located in the application.
Willow Go Modes
Willow Go offers two modes of suction, each with varying patterns. The pump starts in stimulation mode and, after two minutes, transitions to expression mode.
Stimulation mode is designed to stimulate the nipples and encourage the flow of milk. While there are six different levels of stimulation to flip through, the pump always begins at stimulation level one. This is the lowest level.
Expression mode is designed to draw milk out from deep within the breast. The suction pattern differs from stimulation in that it’s slower and stronger.
For this mode, there are nine levels of expression. Level one is the lowest and is what’s transitioned to following stimulation of any level.
Willow Go Suction
The Willow Go offers two modes of function with varying levels of suction in each. Stimulation mode has six levels while expression mode has nine.
If you’re having trouble with Willow Go suction, troubleshoot the pump using the following methods:
- Check to make sure it’s actually reduced suction.
- If you notice suction issues in only one of the two pumps, switch breasts to ensure it’s the correct fit.
- If you use an oil or cream, try one use without to ensure that you’re not mistaking comfort for decreased suction.
- Check your output. If you’re meeting the needed or expected milk volume, there’s no need to increase suction.
- Check the age of your pump parts. The Willow Go has been tested for effectiveness with parts up to three months old.
- If your parts are less than three months old, it’s likely a problem with your container valve.
Is the Willow Go Hospital Grade?
Yes, the Willow Go is a hospital-grade breast pump. However, it’s important to note that there are no regulations on what can be designated as such.
Many times, when a pump is referred to as hospital grade, it’s denoting a powerful motor.
In this case, the Willow Go has up to 280 mmHg strength. For comparison, this is more than most personal pump vacuum strengths but less than the 713 mmHg pump that’s used in most hospitals.
Willow Go Parts
The Willow Go is a fairly simple machine that is comprised of seven parts.
- Rechargeable battery
- Reusable containers
- Sizing inserts
- Duckbill valves
- Pump diaphragms
- Charging cord and block
Everything except the reusable batteries, which is essentially the pump itself, can be replaced. Pump parts should be replaced every three months for optimal performance.
Willow Go Containers
There are two types of carrying containers sold directly from Willow. There are small cases that come in teal, gray, and pink.
The large carrying bags double as a cooler and carrying case. These come in the colors gray and dusty pink. Prices for Willow brand carrying cases differ considerably.
There are several off-brand carrying cases available on Amazon, such as this stylish purple case with lots of room and this discreet, compact case, that are a little more cost-effective.
Does Willow Go Breast Pump Fit Everyone?
Willow states on its website that the Willow Go is made to fit all breast sizes. Willow users ranging from A-cup to FF-cup report that finding the right sizing can be difficult, but once you know your flange or insert size, it’s smooth sailing.
You can order flange sizes 21mm, 24 mm, and 27 mm from Willow’s website or on Amazon. Sizing inserts are available from the same two retailers in sizes 15 mm, 17 mm, and 19 mm.
How To Ensure Proper Fit
To ensure the proper fit you’ll need to measure your nipple. Start by stimulating the nipple. Then, using a ruler, line up the ruler where the edge of the nipple meets the areola.
We’ve included a list of Willow’s recommended sizing based on your measurement:
- 11-13 mm nipple size – you’ll need the 24 mm flange with a 15 mm sizing insert.
- 13-15 mm nipple size – you’ll need the 24 mm flange with a 17 mm sizing insert.
- 15-17 mm nipple size – you’ll need the 24 mm flange and a 19 mm sizing insert.
- 17-19 mm nipple size – you’ll need just a 21 mm flange.
- 20-22 mm nipple size – you’ll need just a 24 mm flange.
- 23-25 mm nipple size – you’ll need just a 27 mm flange.
These are the only size ranges provided on Willow’s website.
How Do You Charge the Willow Go Pump?
The Willow Go comes with two charging cables. All you have to do is plug your pumps into an electrical outlet.
If you’re having trouble with your battery charging or lasting, Willow will help you troubleshoot.
How Long Do the Batteries Last Between Charges?
The color of light on your Willow Go pump indicates the battery status.
- Red means that the battery is insufficiently charged for even one session.
- Orange means that the battery is only capable of running one session.
- Green means that the battery will last enough for three pumping sessions.
Willow claims that the battery should last around two hours. That’s enough for five sessions at 25 minutes a piece.
Does Willow Go Stop When Full?
No, the Willow Go operates based on time rather than capacity. After 25 minutes, the Willow Go will automatically stop suction and turn off.
Standard reusable containers can hold up to 5 ounces of breastmilk. So, if you’re an overproducer, it’s best to check throughout your session. There’s also the option to purchase the larger 7-ounce containers as well.
Does Willow Go Leak?
The Willow Go does not have 360 mobility like other models, meaning that they can leak when bending over and cannot be slept in. They can also leak when overfilled or incorrectly fitted.
How Discreet Is the Willow Go Breast Pump?
The Willow Go breast pump is quiet. Users state that it makes less noise than the Willow 3.0 or Elvie pumps. So, you won’t have to worry about calling attention to yourself auditorily.
However, the Willow Go is bulky, especially on smaller breasts. The top of the pump often sticks out beyond the bra cup. This is a common complaint among users.
Willow Go Insurance
Since the Willow Go is considered a premium pump to most insurance companies, it’s not common for it to be free.
However, you may save around $100 using your insurance. You can go directly through Willow or use a third-party company like Aeroflow.
Regardless of what pump you choose, you should always check to see if you’re eligible for a free or reduced pump through insurance.
How To Use Willow Go
Once the Willow Go has been sterilized and reassembled, it’s fairly easy to use. Start by aligning the flange with your nipple while trying not to let your skin touch the flange tunnel.
There are four control buttons: Power, Increase Suction, Decrease Suction, and Switch Mode.
Once you’ve secured the position of the breast pump, press and hold the power button for 1 second. Adjust the pump settings to your preferred milk extraction method.
Once finished, you can tip the milk-filled device upside down into a cup, bag, or container. Alternatively, you remove the reusable container and empty it into a milk storage component.
How To Clean Willow Go Pump
The Willow Go does not come sterilized, so every piece that will make contact with the milk must be sterilized. This means that, prior to the first use, you’ll need to disassemble the pump and separate the reusable parts from the electric motor.
There are five washable parts: the container bowl, the container back, the flange, the duckbill valve, and the pump diaphragm.
These parts will have to be boiled in a pot of water and constantly stirred to avoid damage. After they’ve boiled for five minutes, allow them to air dry. Then they’re ready for the first use.
After each use, you’ll need to either rinse the washable parts with hot soapy water or place them in the top rack of the dishwasher. Once they’re clean, they will need to air dry and be reassembled.
Willow warns that the pump itself is not washable, but it can be wiped down with 70-90% isopropyl alcohol. Additionally, they warn that the washable parts should not be washed with chemical sanitizers and shouldn’t be steamed.
How Often To Clean Willow Go Pump
Willow recommends cleaning the Willow Go pump after each use. This is not only to keep it free of bacteria but to extend the life of the parts.
It’s recommended that parts be replaced every three months for optimal performance, but many users suggest that they can last longer when taken care of properly.
Who Should Consider the Willow Go Pump
The Willow Go pump is ideal for someone who values mobility and vacuum strength. Busy moms and overproduces might find particular benefits from this pump.
The Willow Go pump is moderately priced and can be covered partially or wholly by medical insurance.
Willow Go vs. Willow 3.0
According to the company, both the Willow Go and the Willow 3.0 fit comfortably in the bra making the product quiet, discreet, wireless, and hands free.
In addition, both products can be connected to the Willow application, though only 3.0 users can control the pump from their phone. However, the products differ in other ways:
- The Willow 3.0 has 360-degree mobility. This means it could be worn in most situations like bending over or laying in bed.
- The Willow 3.0 has two parts to clean whereas the Willow Go has five.
- The Willow 3.0 comes with leak-proof bags.
Elvie Stride vs. Willow Go
Here is what we’ve found the majority consensus to be on common purchase factors:
- Lower Cost: Elvie Stride costs less.
- Stronger Suction: Willow Go because it has 280 mmHg compared to the Elvie Stride at 270 mmHg.
- Mobility: Willow Go because there are no wires.
- Comfort: Willow Go because there’s no centerpiece between the breasts.
- Volume: Willow Go because of the 7-ounce milk-storage option.
- Features: Elvie Stride because it can be controlled through the application.
- Ease of Use: Willow Go because the buttons are on the device and can be monitored through the application.
- Storage: Willow Go because storage containers are more compact than the Elvie Stride.
- Cleaning: Willow Go because there are fewer parts to clean.
- Replacement Parts: Elvie Stride because parts are easier to obtain and are received quicker. The cost of replacement parts is similar.
- Warranty: Elvie Stride because they offer a two-year warranty on the hub, whereas Willow only offers one year. Both brands offer a 90-day warranty on replaceable parts.
- Battery Life: Elvie Stride because it lasts for five 30-minute sessions rather than five 25-minute sessions.
Overall, the Willow Go seems to be the more favored hands-free portable breast pump.
The Willow Go breast pump is a fantastic option for modern mothers. It allows freedom of movement, hospital-grade suction, and ease of use.
That said, the Willow Go stands out from other low-cost hands-free breast pumps. It should be considered by anyone who is constantly on the run, struggles to make time for themselves, or overproduces milk.
Current Willow Offers and Promotions
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Charley is a mother of three with a passion for raising good humans. With her children in tow, she studies English and has made a career creating content about motherhood. In her free time, she enjoys traveling within the states to kayak, camp, and hike.