I thought I would review this breast pump in detail for those of you who are considering buying this. I personally love my Elvie. This is the only pump I have that I can go on walks with, use discreetly in a restaurant, or do household chores while using, and I absolutely LOVE that. I feel super awkward using a hands free pumping bra out in public but that is just me. I am in full support of free the nipple but, my nipples look weird AF being suctioned into little cones. I would rather the entire world not see that. The Elvie pump fits very nicely in my bra and it is super quiet which I absolutely love. I chose the Elvie over the Willow pump after extensive research pointing me in the direction of Elvie and I am honestly glad I chose it. I also think this will work really well for me at work as a school nurse when I return to work in the fall. I will be able to pump more frequently, without extra breaks.
I would like to include that, I do not think the Elvie (or Willow) is a good fit for someone as a primary pump. I personally recommend the Spectra S1 as a primary pump (In another post, I will be reviewing Medela vs Spectra in detail as well). I say this because the Elvie absolutely does not drain you as well as a regular closed system pump would. If you are exclusively pumping then you likely will run into issues with clogged ducts by using just the Elvie. I do think Elvie is an amazing secondary pump though.
(Above: Me excited to get My Elvie)
There is another option: The Willow
I don't have any personal experience with the Willow pump but, I am sure that may be the better option for some other people. After watching extensive youtube videos, I chose the Elvie over Willow. I personally didn’t select the Willow because it doesn't come with as much stuff, I don't feel the need to lay down or do yoga while pumping, and from what I read neither pump would get me through my type of workout sessions without leaking. I also don't like the idea of purchasing bags at 50 cents a piece and I read that the reusable container you can purchase is not as nice as the Elvie container. Some of you may have more interest in the Willow and I would highly recommend checking out some youtube reviews comparing the two before making a decision!
Pros of the Elvie Pump
Pumping in public! This is easily the best pro for me. I can simply slide Elvie in my bra and it will get out roughly 3-4 ounces of milk for me as a replacement feed or 1-2 ounces in addition between scheduled feeds. (My spectra S1 will drain 5-6 ounces for a replaced feed and 2-4 ounces in between feeds in the same amount of time)
So much included! Elvie includes 2 flange sizes and 4 bottles with lids which is amazing. This is more than the willow would include for the same price. I also loved that it came with little bra extender clips. After trial and error, I learned that I absolutely need to use these clips every time to make the pumps sit right in my bra.
Customer support is amazing! I contacted customer support after suction issues and it turned out I had some warped parts causing reduced suction. They literally overnighted me extra parts! I didn’t have to pay anything extra at all. There is a 90 day warranty included for parts and a two year warranty on the hub (Willow is 90 days for parts but only a one year warranty on the hubs). They were SO EASY to work with. 5 stars to the customer service team at Elvie.
Option to buy 1 or 2: Honestly I bought both hubs but one hub would be enough if you did not want to spend 500 dollars you could spend 275 and just get one! With Willow you do not have this option.
Super quiet! This pump is VERY quiet. Honestly this is a huge perk if you're awkward but, I don't really give a crap if people can hear my pump. To each their own though! This is a huge perk for some
The Places I have successfully pumped so far: While driving, Folding Laundry, Doing Light household chores, On walks (hit or miss, i'll go into this in cons), In restaurants, while curling my hair, While carrying the baby on my side, While being lazy watching TV, reading or blogging, and even while working on landscaping outside!
Marks on flanges: this is a huge perk for me. It very clearly marks where your nipple should fit to give you the right size. I love that this pump came with more than one size flange
Comes with bra expander clips: For people with big boobs and not enough bra space these clips are a MUST have. Willow does not provide this but, I promise if you have big boobs you'll need them to make the pump sit right
Adjustable settings: I love that you can adjust settings to what you prefer. Willow automically changes modes based on let down and I didn't want that. My reasoning being that I pump more if I stay in letdown mode with my spectra so I want control.
It is FSA and HSA eligible! This was huge for me because we have to use this money anyways. I wouldn't have spent money on it without one of these accounts. I might have bought one hub but definitely not two.
Cons of the Elvie Pump:
You can't do crazy exercise with these or lay down. I have heard with willow you can lay down and do yoga if you use the disposable bags. I would research willow if you want to do this. The workouts I do involve bouncing tits which is NOT suitable for either pump. But if you wanna pump while in downward doggie I would say go for the Willow. I do not exclusively pump so I don't feel the need to pump while sleeping either.
Bouncing boobs are a no go: So this is the biggest struggle for me. I have big boobs and this pump will lose suction when my boobs are bouncy. This makes walks kind of hard for me sometimes. It took me a lot of trial and error to go on walks with my pump in. Overall, I am fine with this because I prefer to use my willow when out and about, not while on a walk. I will get roughly 1-3 ounces out while on a walk. This is far less than when I am doing light activities.
Expensive! The Elvie pump and Willow pump cost the same. Both of these pumps and thier replacement parts cost more than they are worth in my opinion. They do not work as well as Spectra or Medela but they cost significantly more. They are SO worth it for exclusive pumpers though to have as a secondary pump. If you exclusively breastfeed and aren't working, don't spend the money.
Learning Curve: There is a huge learning curve with the Elvie pump. It took me weeks to figure it out. Like I said customer service was SO helpful for me. I learned that there cannot be a drop of water on any part or it won't suction. Parts can warp if not cared for properly, and you do NOT need to press the pumps tightly against your breast to work. There was a lot of trial and error before I was able to really use this pump and that was SUPER frustrating for me.
Warping parts: You cannot sterilize the silicone parts in a microwave bag or they won't sit flat on the flange and they can warp. I recommend just washing in hot water and spraying or wiping with sterilization spray made for breaspumps.
The app: So many people complain the app doesn't accurately give you the amount of milk in your containers. From personal experience, it is never accurate when you pump while walking around. However, if you are sitting down it is usually no more than a half ounce off from the actual amount.
(Above: 4 ounces pumped between a feed while doing laundry: SCORE!)
Honestly, I love my Elvie but it's definitely not for everyone. If I couldn't use health savings funds, I would not have bought it. It is good to have but, it is not worth buying over a standard pump if you can only have one pump covered by insurance. I like my Elvie for being out and about but my spectra pump drains me fully and does it SO much faster than my Elvie. I would say get this pump as a secondary pump if you want to build a stash in between feeds and just to have for days away from the baby OR if you are exclusively pumping. Personally, I think I would have pumped longer with my daughter if I had this pump since I was an exclusive pumper with her. I also think it is great for working moms to pump discreetly. Personally I would not buy this if you need to constantly bend over or lift things at work though. For example, this will work in my role as a school nurse because I have a decent amount of work to do from a desk throughout the day. It also would have worked for me while working in the NICU because I was mostly upright but, I would never have been able to manage this pump as a nurse on a busy adult or pediatric floor. If you happen to be in a role like this I would opt for the Willow over the Elvie pump based on what I have seen in reviews (like I said I have no personal experience with Willow). This pump is perfect as a secondary pump for me and I am excited to get a lot of use out of it while on my trip to Atlanta next weekend.
I hope this will be helpful for someone! Stay tuned for my comparison of the Medela pump in Style and the Spectra S1