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Life with Baby

This New Breast Pump Could Be a Game Changer

The new Willow Breast Pump claims it will let moms express breast milk pretty much anywhere

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It's rare that a new technology invention has the power to make moms weep with joy, but a new breast pump coming out in the spring may do just that.

The Willow Pump aims to be quiet, discreet, and most amazing of all-doesn't require you to be in a private place to use it. The pump slides inside a regular bra and mimics the sucking action of a nursing child. Milk is expressed through tubes into four-ounce storage bags that fit inside. Meanwhile, mom's hands are free to cook dinner, attend a meeting, take a phone call, or multitask any which way (though we're guessing it's not great for running).
"I stopped breastfeeding when I returned to work full time," says mom of two, Kate Farley. "The main reason I stopped was because I didn't want to deal with the hassle of pumping at work. A pump like this might have helped on that front."

While recent advances have made breast pumps lighter and more portable, you usually still need to be in a private place to attach the funnels and express milk. With this pump, everything is inside your bra: press the button to start the suction and go about your day. At least that's how it's supposed to work.

"It's a cool concept in theory," says Krista Ruhe, a mom of one who is currently nursing her 2-year-old. But she's skeptical the new pump would work for her. "In order to get a sufficient amount of milk pumped, I need to massage my breasts to stimulate the flow. That part would be tricky with this pump."

Another concern: What happens if you pump more than four ounces per breast? Apparently, Willow automatically stops either when the milk bag is full, or when it has reached 25 minutes. There's even a connected app that tracks the amount of milk pumped from each breast, as well as the number and length of sessions.

"We knew there had to be a better solution," said John Chang, Chief Technology Officer for Willow. "We are a mission-driven group of mothers, fathers and experienced inventors who created a better solution for moms' needs." Their goal was to create a pump women could wear while still dressed and without being tethered to an electrical plug.

The new pump is slated for spring availability and will cost around $429. (Like many breast pumps, it is expensive, but the cost usually pays for itself in formula savings.) And while it might not be perfect, it's a big step. Or, as Allison Lord, mom of one, says: "Having just been stuck on an airplane for hours and then stuck at an airport where the only option to pump was in a dirty bathroom, this sounds promising."