There are a few minimal physical controls on the Willow itself: an on/off button, a mode button, and a plus and minus button for changing the suction level. You always manually turn on the pump to start a session, but you’ll need to have the Willow Go app handy to see what mode or level you’re using (you can feel a difference in that, and the Willow always starts at the lowest level). water level) and how long you have been pumping.
The Willow Go has two pumping modes: a stimulation mode and an expression mode. Both have several suction and rhythm levels to choose from in the app. The Willow Go starts out in stimulation mode for two minutes before switching to expression mode to simulate a baby starting to feed and activating pumping. You can manually switch modes on top of the Willow and in the app, and also change the intensity to find the ideal setting. Each side is controlled separately and you’ll see a timer in the app showing your total pumping time for each pump (but not how long you’ve spent in each mode). It promises hospital-level suction like the classic Medela Advanced Style pump, and I pumped the same number of ounces as my Spectra S1.
I’ve tried the Willow Go with both a sports nursing bra and one of Willow’s own pump bras. Both offer full coverage and a hook to allow the bra to slide all the way down and then secure around the pump and breast. This is something to keep in mind with any bra you use with a wearable pump. It fit well in both bras and was comfortable to wear, but it certainly wasn’t discreet.
Each side of the Willow Go consists of six parts: a reservoir shell, a duckbill valve, a diaphragm, a flange, a reservoir back, and the pump itself, which sits in the middle of all of these parts. In total with two pumps that’s 12 pieces for the pump. The Willow also comes with two USB-A power cords to charge each pump, but no power adapter.
All those pieces and the fact that you’re tucking it into your bra makes it difficult to get a visual idea of how much you’re pumping. If you want to check your progress or find out if you’ve squeezed every ounce of fluid out of your body, you’ll need to tilt your head a little to see if anything is still coming out of the duckbill valve. It’s recommended to pump for around 15 minutes, but after a few uses you should be able to find out how long it takes your body for a pumping session.
While not washing the middle pump, wash the other 10 pieces. That’s no small number, but the Spectra S1 has a similar number of washable parts. But I prefer to wash the pieces from Willow Go. They’re larger, which makes them easier to handle and easier to air or hand dry, unlike some of the smaller breast pump parts that I’m constantly afraid of falling down the drain. I especially like that the container bowl folds out all the way so I can clean it instead of scrubbing yet another baby bottle. These parts are also all dishwasher safe.