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Myth Busting: Debunking Common Breast Wearable Pump Misconceptions

Myth Busting: Debunking Common Breast Wearable Pump Misconceptions

What’s true and false when it comes to breast pumps? We’ve got answers. 

When it comes to breast pumps, there’s a ton of misinformation (and judgment) that can make its way to moms’ Google searches and Instagram feeds. This is especially true if you’re looking for a wearable! (Think: Wearable pumps sacrifice comfort and output, wearable pumps will damage your supply, etc…)

Below, we’re busting some of these most commonly held myths, and giving you the facts you need to pump with clarity and confidence.

Myth: Wearable pumps won’t give you as much milk 

The truth? Many wearable pumps are optimized for output and can give you as much milk as a traditional pump, if not more. 

Focusing on the fit of your wearable is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re seeing great output. When we talk about fit, we’re referring to the way that the flange, a cone-shaped funnel, seals over your nipple and breast. (If you’re pumping with Willow, a good flange fit is a close flange fit!)

A flange that’s too big can result in less stimulation of your nipple, which may mean that you leave milk behind. This can directly decrease your supply over time. On the other hand, a flange that’s too small might cause your nipple to rub against the tunnel of the pump and compress your milk ducts. This can also restrict emptying, and decrease your supply over time. 

Suction strength is also critical here. You’ll want to pick a wearable with multiple levels of hospital-strength suction, and ideally, one that makes it possible to customize this suction per breast. 

The bottom line: Wearable pumps can empty your breasts as thoroughly and efficiently as a traditional pump. Just make sure that you’ve got a good fit and strong suction. 

Myth: Wearable pumps aren’t safe to use and will damage my breasts 

The truth? Many wearable pumps have FDA clearance and have gone through clinical tests and trials to prove their safety and efficacy. (We check both of these boxes at Willow.) You can search for this information on the website of whatever pump you’re considering!

Beyond tests and trials, many wearables have been designed to put safety and comfort at the forefront. At Willow, we do this with a longer continuous flange tunnel that fits more nipple sizes (preventing rubbing and abrasion), and a rounded flange edge that won’t pinch or compress skin. 

And of course, no matter which pump you pick, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using the proper charger for your pump (and avoiding overcharging) so that it doesn’t get too hot. 

The bottom line: Wearable pumps can be safe and comfortable, but you need to do your research. 

Myth: A wearable pump can’t be my “primary” pump 

The truth? A wearable pump can absolutely be your primary pump. Why be plugged into the wall or forced to clip a motor to your pants if you can experience fully in-bra freedom? Again, the most important thing is to make sure you’re choosing a pump that’s built with hospital-grade suction and designed to keep your breasts safe. 

You’ll also want to make sure that the pump you choose offers options for capacity, like the Willow Go (compatible with both 5 oz or 7 oz containers). You’ll need more room for higher output sessions, like your early morning pump! 

The bottom line: Wearable pumps are a great everyday option, and the proof is in the numbers. According to our 2024 pump user study, 7/10 moms use Willow go as their primary pump — meaning they choose it over a traditional pump or another wearable. 

Myth: I don’t need a wearable until I go back to work 

The truth? Pumping freedom is life changing no matter how old your baby is or how you spend your days. There’s no reason to wait until you’re returning to the office to get a wearable.  

Pumps can be a great way to deal with underproduction in the early days, and a wearable pump can offer unparalleled flexibility if you need to pump when newly postpartum — especially if you have a baby in the NICU or need to pump while juggling both newborn and toddler care at home.  

And even if you’re not struggling with your supply, the convenience that wearable pumps offer can make it easier to pump more often, and increase your chances of breastfeeding for longer. In our 2024 pump user study, 7/10 moms said that Willow Go has made their early postpartum life easier. 

The bottom line: The freedom and flexibility offered by wearables can contribute to more pumping success at any stage of your feeding journey. 

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Myth: Wearable pumps are unaffordable 

The truth? Just like traditional pumps, most wearable pumps are covered by insurance. 

As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation in 2010, your health insurance plan must cover the cost of a breast pump. It may have guidelines on factors like whether the covered pump is manual or electric, rental or personal, the length of the rental, when you’ll receive it (before or after birth), and so on — but in most cases, wearables are covered at least partially! 

You’ll find wearable pumps on insurance platforms like Aeroflow, which make it easy to browse pumps that are covered, and you can also navigate the reimbursement process through the brand that you’re making a pump purchase from. 

At Willow, moms usually save up to $159 when they purchase their Willow through their plan. Getting coverage is easy — all you’ll need is a signed prescription from your OBGYN and your insurance card to start the verification process. 

Additionally, you can put your HSA and FSA funds towards most wearable pump purchases. Many brands also offer payment plans so that you can split the cost across multiple payments.

The bottom line: Most wearable pumps are covered, at least partially, by insurance. You can also use your HSA/FSA funds or pay in multiple installations. 

Do your research! 

One of the best things you can do when you’re getting ready to embark on a feeding and pumping journey is research. Helping moms make empowered choices based on facts — not myths or misconceptions — is what we’re all about.