LAS VEGAS A new breast pump startup wants to help new moms take a literal hands-off approach to pumping.
Willow is a set of two breast pump wearables that are meant to be worn inside a woman’s bra. An app on the wearer’s smartphone tracks volume of breast milk and time spent pumping and logs that date for later use.
Women don’t need the app to pump, however the product works entirely on its own to encourage the let-down reflex and then adjusts pumping based on the wearer’s flow. When the bag is full, the pump stops automatically. One charge gets wearers at least five pumping sessions, and in a pinch, can do a single session on 20 minutes of charging.
The idea behind Willow is to allow women to pump while still going about daily activities. But is it discreet enough to be worn out of the house?
Willow Co-founder and CTO John Chang tells Mashable that women who’ve tested the pump can testify that it’s quiet enough for public use.
“Moms have come back to us and, instead of having to hit the mute button on a conference call, they’re having a conference call and nobody knows that they’re pumping,” he said. Indeed, the pump made little noise as we spoke at Willow’s International CES booth.
Chang admitted that because of their larger size, users have said that spouses and coworkers can tell when they’re wearing the pumps. Strangers, however, don’t seem to take notice.
“What we’re hoping is that this is transformative for moms, so that they don’t have to stop or pause their life. They can plug into life, not plug into the wall,” Chang said.
When Willow’s breast pumps launch this spring, they’ll come in just one size. Though Chang claims women “of all shapes and sizes” have had success with the one-size-fits-all model, they plan to release a larger size later this year.
Willow’s pump is FDA approved, and Chang says the company will apply for reimbursement under the Affordable Care Act soon after the product launches.
Naturally, a smart, intuitive breast pump wearable doesn’t come cheap. It will retail for $429.99 when it hits the market, with reusable bags retailing for $0.50 a piece. For reference, a 100 count box of Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags costs only $12.62 (or about $0.13 a bag).