WIL­LOW The Wil­low Pump

Fast Company - - Innovation By Design -



Wire­less tech­nol­ogy al­lows us to talk on the phone, lis­ten to mu­sic, and print spread­sheets with­out us­ing a cord. But women who pump breast milk find them­selves iso­lated in a room and teth­ered by tubes to a ma­chine, with sets of bot­tles dan­gling from their chests. Wil­low, a pair of light­weight, bat­tery-pow­ered pumps, of­fers a so­lu­tion. Each bra-cup-shaped de­vice slips into a nurs­ing bra—no un­dress­ing re­quired—and holds a 4-ounce, Bpa-free stor­age bag. With one two-hour charge, the pump can last up to five ses­sions, and through an app, moth­ers can track milk ex­pres­sion, com­pare data across pump­ing ses­sions, or­der ad­di­tional bags, and set timers and alerts. Wil­low CEO Naomi Kel­man plans to re­lease the pump this fall.


Work­ing with Ideo, Wil­low con­ducted dozens of in­ter­views with moth­ers and re­al­ized that they think of pumps as per­sonal-care items rather than milk-de­liv­ery sys­tems. So the ex­te­rior of each cup fea­tures a sleek con­trol pad and a tex­ture “like fine linen,” Kel­man says. Her ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive is to al­low women to pro­vide for ba­bies with­out hav­ing to pause their ev­ery­day lives—or choose be­tween breast­feed­ing and work, since only 10% of nurs­ing moth­ers em­ployed full time con­tinue breast­feed­ing for six months. “We re­ally want to sup­port moms in es­tab­lish­ing what­ever goals they set for them­selves,” Kel­man says, “and not step out of life to pump.”

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