The Willow Pump Review

My Willow Pump Review

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I’m so excited today to be finally sharing my review of the Willow Pump! For those that don’t know, the willow pump is new(er) on the market, and is the first wearable, mobile and tubeless/bottle-less pump!

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I first found out about the Willow at the end of my breastfeeding journey with my middle son and was so jealous of those who were currently pregnant and able to try the willow! Fast forward a year later, and I was pregnant again! I was looking forward to trying the Willow pump when I had my baby. I remembered how hard it was to manage my time and make time to pump when I was away from baby with only two kids (much less three!). I knew this pump could only help me, especially going into “zonal defense” of raising three boys under the age of 5.

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Breastfeeding is probably one of the hardest (mentally & physically), but also the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. The bond I had with my sons through nursing was truly incredible. BUT the thing about breastfeeding that I dislike the most is …..

The pumping. The time it takes. The cleaning of the parts. The sound. Being tied down every couple hours.

Although I had gotten pretty good at multi tasking and figuring out how to be more efficient, I still hated pumping and dreaded it. Trying to juggle work, meetings, events for my older son…it was crazy, I feel like ½ the time I would have to pump in the car (using my ultimate favorite hands free Ollie Gray bra!)

Other times I would come home from being at work, or running an errand to find that the baby coulden’t wait and needed to be fed, regardless of how I tried to time it. This ultimately meant that the babysitter would be leaving me with an awake baby, needing to pump!  Trying to pump while being plugged into a wall with a  2 year old and a newborn is virtually impossible if you’re on your own. AND, yeah, sure you can pump while your kids sleep. But really?  Using your time while the kids are napping to pump is not really high on your list of things you want to do during that time!  

Imagine being able to live a life where you could make dinner while you pumped. Fold clothes. Hang up laundry. Put your makeup on. Blow dry your hair. Go for a walk.

You can.

Enter the Willow.

How does it work? You simply put it together (minimal parts), wait the initial 3-5 min stimulation phase, and you’re on your way once you hit expression (let down).

FREE TO DO ALL OF THE THINGS. Even lay down #winning.

I thought I would break down pros/cons of the Willow, if I like it better than my hospital grade, and my ultimate thoughts on the pump and whether it is worth getting.

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Pros of the Willow Pump:

1.     It’s wireless. You can literally pump anywhere, anytime! Rejoice, mama’s! Go for a walk? Yes. Clean? Yes. Read a book to your toddler? Yes. Prepare a snack or meal? Yes. ANYTHING you want to do, you can do.

2.     Not many parts and easy to clean: I love this about it, its so easy to clean and no super small part to lose.

3.     The bags are easy, and take up less room: I like the bag for the purpose of storage in the fridge, also when traveling I could fit more in a cooler than I could with the bottles!

4.     It’s Quiet: Anyone else feel like their pump sings to them? Do you have to press mute if you’re on a conference call while pumping because yours is so loud? Not with the willow!

5.     It’s Smart: Willow has an awesome app that helps you keep track of how much you’re pumping, what phase you’re in, how much battery life is left as well as great support If you have issues.

6.     Customer Service: The customer service and support team is excellent if you have any issues. There are so many different avenues available for assistance whether its chat, text or phone. Also, there is support on the app.

7.     Battery life is really good: I took the pump with me to NYC for the day and didn’t have to charge it all day and I used it 4-5 times!

8.     Compact & Easy to Travel with: As I mentioned above, I travelled with this pump to NYC (as well as Florida) and It was such a relief to not have my huge hospital grade pump. I swear I have to have a bag JUST for my pump and bottles! The willow can fit this in my purse/backpack and its so compact and much more lightweight. LOVE.

9.     FREEDOM!!! Need I say more?!

 

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Cons of the Willow pump:

1.     The learning curve is REAL. This took me a good 3-4 weeks to get the hang of and I am experienced with nursing and pumping. I could see if you are a new mom this could be hard to get at first. However, as I mentioned above, they do have good support and help via their app, phone, and text. Stick with it! Its worth it!

2.     It’s pricy: This pump is not covered by health insurance. However, if you have a HSA/FSA, you can purchase the willow using that (this is what I did so it wasn’t out of pocket)

3.     Bags: The Willow 2.0 holds 5 oz, so if you’re an over supplier like me, it can be frustrating to have to stop and put a new bag in. Usually this only affects me in the mornings when I have more milk. The bags are also a little expensive and can only be used once.

4.     Stimulation/Expression: The stimulation setting is already set and you can’t change in manually. For those that don’t understand, this is the phase before your milk lets down. This is probably the most frustrating part for me and what I wish I could change. I find I need a lot of suction during stimulation and I can’t adjust the suction until I’m in the expression mode.

5.     Charging: You can only charge one side at a time. I really wish that you could charge two in one with the charger.

Other things to know:

1.     You can only buy their items online (bags, flanges, etc.) on their website.

2.     The flanges only come in two sizes!

3.     I’ve found the most important part of the learning curve is figuring out your alignment! Once you have that down pat, it should be smooth sailing.

4.    Your bra matters. They have a few different ones on their website that they recommend, but I love the Cake Maternity Bra and the Ollie Gray’s nursing/pumping bra!

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So what pump do I like the best?

I find that I rotate and use both my Willow and my hospital grade for various reasons (as listed above). As most of you know, you get a pump through your insurance (hello, free!!) and regardless of whether or not you plan on using it, I would definitely get the hospital grade pump even if you think you only want to use the willow.

VERDICT:

All in all, I think the Willow pump is seriously the most amazing, incredible concept and feel so fortunate to be able to utilize one of these pumps! The fact that I can go for a walk, do household chores, drive, etc. while pumping makes me so much happier of a mom and less stressed. All in all, while the willow has some areas it can improve (which I’m sure they will- its only been out for a short time!), this pump is such an empowering tool for breastfeeding moms. Anything that makes #momlife and #nursinglife easier is a WIN in my book.

I definitely recommend this pump to anyone who feels they are going to be giving their baby a bottle 3-4 days a week. I still use my hospital grade pump at work because I’m usually sitting at a desk anyway, and its cheaper (no need to buy bags like with the willow) but I use my Willow on average once a day at home. I use it in instances where I need to do extra pumping session or if I’ve been out running errands. It allows me to not miss a beat taking care of my baby, older children, as well as do ALL OF THINGS we mamas do while still providing milk for my baby which I’m so grateful for!

Happy Pumping friends! Xo

Alex

** This post is not sponsored or affiliated with the Willow Pump. All thoughts & opinions are solely my own.

-Last Minute Valentines Day Gifts for Kids-

Last Minute Valentines Gifts for Kids

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Hey y’all, hope you had a good weekend! Not much happening over here ((what else is new lol)) My weekend consisted of the usual... nursing, changing diapers and playing referee to my two older kids. Because I haven’t been able to get out as much as usual (( or like.. at all)) for obvious reasons I’ve done some ordering on amazon prime for a Valentine’s Day! 

I don’t know about you guys, but having kids makes Valentines Day that much more FUN and special! They get so into the holiday with their crafts, valentines, and school events! I

I thought I would share some of my picks for cute gifts for your little ones - that are delivered right to your door in time for Valentine’s Day- without any stress! 

| Melissa and Doug Train Conductor costume/dress up. My boys love to play dress up!!! |Melissa and Doug Race Car driver costume/ dress up |Girl Heart Jammies |Shopping Cart ||Dyson kids vacuum | Play Doh |I know the Grinch is another holiday..but if you don’t love Xmas all year round WHO ARE YOU. lol. My kids loved this movie and I might snag it for them for V-Day | How amazing is it that the caboodles for girls are back?!!!|These confetti crayons look so fun|Both of my boys are obsessed with these lego books|Gas n Go mower- both my kids love these! |Walkie Talkies for kids | V Tech Interactive walker |Candy Land Board Game|Duck and Goose Valentine Book| Minnie’s Valentine Book | Franklin’s Valentines Book

Hope you all have a great day!

xo Alex

What I packed: Hospital Bag for Baby #3!

Hospital Bag Packing 101!

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AHHHH! It’s almost time. I feel like the last 9 months have flown by and I can’t believe I’m going to have another baby! I wanted to share what you REALLY need in your hospital bag because after doing this two times…I know the drill ladies! If there’s anything you think I’ve missed let me know and add in comments.

Keep in mind there are a few items that I have on here that are strictly for C-sections ((but they are lifesavers)) so if you know you are having a section, get them!!

Here we go:

For Baby:

Honestly, the hospital provides SO much. Diapers, wipes (basically use a cloth with water), vaseline, little tops for them to wear while in the hospital, receiving/swaddle blankets, etc. So you honestly don’t need a lot.

Just a going home outfit including a hat-I usually pack 2 or 3. One in Newborn, and one in 0-3 months because you don’t know how big they are going to be! My last two boys were almost 9 lb but did fit into NB for the first week. I also pack 2 of the NB outfits because tbh they poop so much that sometimes they might get poop on their outfit before you actually leave ha! It happened to me with Max so I am glad I packed two outfits!

I pack these swaddles because I am not great at swaddling. They have velcro and are super easy to use, especially when you get home and you don’t have the nurses help 24-7! I also pack paci’s for the way home, and I packed this baby shusher-it was great with Seb when he was a baby. Nothing worse than baby crying in the car!

Also, I love Little Giraffe blankets—they are so warm and cuddly (pricy but I got as a gift and LOVE). I also splurged and bought these little Ugg boots for him because its so cold :) . When you leave, be sure to bring diapers, vaseline, receiving blankets home with you (they are great for wiping spit up, spraying and leaking boobs…for everything lol) Basically what I’m saying is take stuff from the hospital home with you!!!

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For Mama

OK, so as I said earlier I might pack a tad bit more because I am in the hospital longer/have a few extra products but I think its always better to be prepared!

  1. Most important item: nipple cream. Yall don’t even KNOW how sore the girls are gonna get. I plan on doing a post on breastfeeding (fingers crossed this guy latches smoothly) to give my tips. Its SO HARD the first 2 weeks. You are so tired, boobs hurt, and everytime they latch it feels like a thousand needles! USE THE NIPPLE CREAM. every time after you nurse!!!

  2. Comfy Jammies-I ordered these. They are so soft and comfy and run pretty big. Great for nursing.

  3. Warm socks-hospitals can be cold!

  4. Slippers-these are the uggs I have.

  5. Nursing Bras- I have the Cake lingerie bra and its great for nighttime and right when your milk is coming in. My all time favorite are the Ollie Gray’s Bras! Great support, cute, easy to use, comfy!

  6. Nursing Tanks- easy access and can be layered!

  7. Boppy Pillow- my tried and true boppy makes nursing soooo much easier. I bring this with me to the hospital. I coulden’t have lived without this nursing my two boys each for over a year.

  8. Diaper Bag- I love my skip hop bag. I even get compliments when I’m not with the kids. They have other colors, but I’m obsessed with this mauve color. Tons of compartments to keep things organized and has a back area for laptop/ipads/magazines!

  9. Makeup wipes & My travel size Tula products

  10. Flip flops for using the shower!

  11. Super long iphone charger for hospital room (and when you go home and you’re stuck under a sleeping baby! lol)

  12. Going home outfit: I love this flowy three dots top (I’ve shared before), and the Nordstrom wrap top is great too (I will be wearing to hospital). My anthro joggers are still in stock and prob what I’ll be wearing home. My Steve Madden sneaks are super fun and easy to get on and off!

  13. I love these basic nursing tops from asos- I packed one of these for the hospital.

  14. Fuji instax camera- for instant photos of the babe!

  15. Leopard print comfy joggers from H & M! So fun and I live in them right now…will be wearing to hospital!

  16. C Section items: The C-Panty are great for postpartum incision healing. They are WORTH THE PRICE. They have a silicone spot to go over your incision so there isn’t any rubbing or irritation, and they have compression in them as well. I have 3-4 pairs and wore them every day for the first 2 weeks. Keep in mind you might not need them at the hospital just because you’ll be wearing the hospital granny underwear (and want to wear the granny underwear because…yeah…lots going on down there yikes).

    I also ALWAYS wear a Belly Bandit Postpartum. THIS definitely helped my stomach go down and gave me support through the midsection (you are like the pilsbury dough boy after giving birth! Stomach is mush!!! LOL)

    .I swear you can see a difference in wearing it for just like 6 hours. I’ve also purchased for the first time the Belly Bandit C Section Panty version-I’m hoping this is more comfy for my C-section while giving me the compression and support that the Belly Bandit gave me for the first week or so when my incision is so fresh and healing.

  17. I pack my own hospital gowns for post surgery. If you are delivering natural, you can wear these from the get go! I love that they are cute, but the back is CLOSED. Also, they have snap buttons on the sides to make it really easy to nurse. Usually that first day I don’t even get dressed so I just throw this on and feel totally covered and at least somewhat cute. I do have to wear the hospital provided gown for my surgery for obvious reasons. (scroll down and I linked the one I have comes in tons of designs)

  18. I always have my Medela pump readily available incase baby doesn’t latch, along with my fave nursing pads for leaking. I also pack a latch assister from Lanisoh- my left boob happens to be a bit harder for my babies to latch on to so it just pulls it out. Sorry TMI but I thought I would share because you never know if someone else is having the same problem! I also pack a nipple shield (sometimes I need this for my left boob as well. See below for all of these products! I linked all these below on amazon.

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A few other things to pack:

-Makeup/toiletries
-Towel (the towels are always small at the hospital so i always bring one of my own!)
-Any snacks you need/want
-Computer/Ipad, charger
-Magazines
-Water Bottle- Water is crucial for recovery as well as for breastfeeding!!
-Hair ties- these are my tried and trues!!
-I linked my suitcase here. It is great for organization, 4 way roller, and I get compliments every time I travel with it!!
I totally recommend bringing home everything from the hospital like PADS (they are huge and amazing lol), granny underwear that they provide, bath sitzer if you give birth vaginally…) Trust me!!!

I also plan on running to Target today to get little bags from the Dollar section and filling it with snacks/goodies for the nurses! Those nurses are your besties! Look after them!!

I hope this post helped you guys pack for your trip to the hospital!

xo

Alex

Postpartum Food Plan: Trader Joe's Haul & What my Meal Prep is

“Fourth Trimester” Meal planning!

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Outfit details: Coat | Similar coat | Boots | Sweater | Socks | Hat/gloves (sold out, keep an eye out for restock) | Leggings non maternity version | Similar sweater | Similar Sweater

Today feels like the monday of all mondays!! Had a horrible nights sleep (thanks preggo insomnia!!) which led me to oversleep, woke up to a freezing house and no power for 3 + hours…and then realized when I got to work I lost part of my car key!! Ouch! Rough start.

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Hope you all had a great weekend. I feel like I got soooo much done and I’m feeling so much better with where I’m at REGARDLESS of this morning LOL. Rooms are organized, baby clothes washed, most of my maternity clothes are in bags ready to be donated, and my hospital bag/diaper bag is ((almost))packed.

I wanted to share how I’m approaching food in the immediate 3-4 weeks postpartum (no doubt the hardest period…well..every stage is hard but that is the hardest!!). Obviously I will have help but I do 90% of the cooking in our house so I want to be sure that I have fast, somewhat healthy items readily accessible at my finger tips because life is gonna be reallllll busy with three little boys 4 & under.

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I don’t generally go to Trader Joe’s on a regular basis (strictly due to time) but I went there last njight to grab some items. I really love their frozen meals/veggie dishes that you can easily throw a lean protein in with and call it a meal! I definitely don’t plan on eating those every night but I stocked up on some so 1-2 nights a week we can lean on those to get us through the “fourth trimester”. I’ll also be sharing what I stocked up from BJ’s and Wegmans, and some freezer meals that I want (and hopefully will have time) to make in the next few days.

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Trader Joe’s Haul

So a few things before I list all of this…everything I bought was to try and make things easier for us during this period while still trying to maintain somewhat healthy eating habits. Also, I know some people might look down on frozen veggies, but they are actually just as good as fresh (if not better sometimes) because they are frozen right away and maintain their nutrients! I prefer fresh but when you have a newborn wanting to nurse 24-7 you gotta do what you gotta do!

  1. Seafood Paella- I haven’t tried this but hubby loves Paella so I snagged it.

  2. Their Veggie stir fried rices are AWESOME. These make a great quick lunch or dinner. You can add egg, or shrimp or chicken. I’ve added frozen shrimp in the past and its been so good.

  3. I snagged the chicken stir fried rice just because the veggie one was so good in the past.

  4. I bought this Pad Thai a few months ago and it was good-I added chicken!

  5. I bought this fusilli with veggies and basil for the boys. I thought it was a good change up from the usual plain whole wheat pasta I get them and easy for me to make.

  6. Fast breakfast for the kids if things are hectic- Toaster waffles.

  7. I haven’t tried this one yet but this stir fry looks awesome!

  8. More noodles for the boys-veggie tri color

  9. My hubby loves a good muesli so i snagged this one for him.


    Wegmans & BJ’s

Next: essentials from Wegmans and BJ’s. I have a membership at BJ’s (i totally recommend it if you have multiple kids!) and grabbed some things there to try to plan for quick, healthy eating. I also buy Club Pack’s at Wegmans so i here are snacks/foods I’m stocking up on for the 4th trimester.

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-Wegmans Family Pack Wild Caught Salmon (these actually taste really good for being frozen)
-Eggs (can be eaten at any meal!)
-Yogurt (Chobani from BJ’s)
-Apples -5 lb bag from BJ’s
-Alexia Sweet potato fries in bulk from BJ’s (great side to any lean meat/fish you are serving)
-Chivettas BBQ (big container from BJ’s)-we still grill this time of year and its a fast, healthy meal.
-At Wegman’s I snag any meat thats on sale and freeze it to save for a later date

Freezer Meals

The freezer meals I plan on making the meat/veggies and then freezing it (my hubby can make the rest of it!-all of the recipes from my site are linked here)

  1. Burrito Bowl- I cook the meat and veggies and freeze. That way all we have to do is warm and add fajita sauce and we are good to go!

  2. Bolognase- Make the meat and veggies and freeze-same as above. Add red sauce and some pasta or zucchini noodles and we are good to go

  3. Turkey Meatballs- I already have this frozen and ready to go! Just add pasta (for the kids) or zucchini noodles for us and we are good to go!

  4. Turkey Chili

  5. I have 2 meals from sunbasket coming this week that I’ll be making and storing for when I get home from the hospital or freezing!



I would loved to have had more time to make more and freeze it, but I think this will set us up for at least the first few weeks!! Fingers crossed.

Have a great day! xo

Alex