I tend to do a lot of research and question asking when it comes to buying pretty much anything. Breast pumps though, well, really most baby products, I feel like was on a whole other level for me. I will say though, once I learned about the Elvie from a great friend of mine, the decision was quite easy.
A couple of things that were important to me when looking at all of the (many) different options: I wanted something cordless, easy to clean/sanitize, and something that I could use hands free.
A lot of my friends either have the Spectra or the Medela and overall, I think they did/do the job well for them. But when I found out that there are options on the market that are completely cordless and tubeless which makes them much easier to clean, that narrowed the options down drastically for me.
The two options that I learned about are the Elvie and the Willow breast pumps. They are both cordless, tubeless, and can be used hands free. The main difference between the two is that the Willow requires bags which are about $24 for a 48. Ain’t nobody got time for that! The Elvie comes ready to use out of the box so Willow… Out. ** Update: Willow has a bagless version but I’m still happy with the Elvie!
Both the Willow and Elvie are $500. Yeah, they’re expensive. Stephen and I both agreed though that this was worth us investing in for the hands free convenience (a big deal to us) and the ease of cleaning.
A lot of insurance companies will pay for breast pumps which is great! Each one will do things a bit differently so you’ll have to check with your provider. For Tricare Prime, they will completely cover a lot of pumps and even breast milk storage bags. If you have Tricare and want to get a breast pump for free, you can go easily through one of these sites (among others) to do that:
The Elvie is not completely covered, however, because it is considered an upgrade. Tricare Prime will cover a good chunk of the cost though. It says HERE that they’ll cover $312.84 but from what I’ve learned, those rates change and it also depends on the pump. For the Elvie, Tricare covered $219.30 of it which means I paid $280.70 out of pocket. My friend that paid the full amount for the Elvie says that it was worth paying the $500 for so the fact that we could get something back we thought was good.
Tricare also covers storage bags! I ordered the Kiinde Twist Pouches by filling out this form through Baby Pavilion. I suggest ordering your pump through them too because if you do, you’ll be able to get the entire Kiinde system (which you’ll most likely need anyway) for free, not just the storage bags. I filled the form out the day Ellie was born and the bags were waiting on our doorstep when we arrived home from the hospital two days later. We use them all the time. They are super convenient! Just store your pumped breastmilk in one of the Kiinde bags, stick that in the fridge or freezer, then pop in the Kiinde bottle system when you’re ready to feed.
Baby Pavilion’s customer service is exceptional. If you do end up using them, tell them I sent you! I gain nothing whatsoever from it! It would just make them happy to hear.
I have been using the Elvie for about a month now (I used it for weeks leading up to delivery) and I really love it. It’s very user-friendly, easy to clean + sanitize, and extremely convenient to use. There’s an even app you can use to track how much you have pumped (although – I don’t find the need for it). I have never used any other type of pump so I can’t compare it to anything else but in terms of how powerful it is, it does the job well for me! I don’t feel like I need something more powerful but I do know that it’s less powerful than a medical grade pump. It took a little practice to get efficient at putting it on but after a while it became easy. I love that I can get so much work done while pumping and if I didn’t mention it, you’d probably have no idea that I was doing both (my mom had no clue until I told her!). I feel like I could do an entire workout while wearing the thing… Only partially kidding.
I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions by commenting on this post or messaging me on Instagram at @jordyjean! Stay well, friends.
I know I am a little late to the game for when this was initially posted, however, I found this extremely helpful. I will be Exclusively Pumping and was curious as to how you think the Elvie would hold up?
The Elvie should last you (it also comes with a 2 year warranty) and will definitely be convenient. My SIL exclusively pumped and it worked well for her to have the Elvie as well as a Spectra. She was extra thankful for the Elvie especially with her second baby!
Thank you for writing this!! I just submitted my claim for the Elvie and Tricare said they weren’t able to approve it because my Dr didn’t write a diagnosis code on the perception. She wrote “breastfeeding >6 months” but didn’t add the code. Do you know if your Dr put a code on your prescription? I’m going in next week to get another prescription made.
Hi Megan! I wish I knew what she wrote but I don’t. I’m really sorry!
Hey Jordan, I know this is a post from over a year ago but I found it very helpful. I wanted to update you and anyone who might come across your blog post that baby pavilion will no longer allow supplies to be bought through their company unless the breast pump is bought through them. The representative said this changed in April 2021. I was sad to hear I can’t get my bags and compression socks through them since I bought my pump outside of their company.
Well anyhow, I will look at the other two places you recommended. Thank you for taking the time to help other mamas to be!
Oh no! Thank you for sharing! I will update the post!
Hi Jordan! This is very helpful! I am a new mama, due in early March and looking at these options through Tricare! Do you have another pump besides the Elvie? Or do you think just having the Elvie is sufficient enough?
I just have the Elvie! I also did a live talking about this on my insta @jordyjean! 🙂
[…] Elvie breast pump – I shared in depth on this in this post! […]
Did you just get one or two elvie pumps? That’s the one I want but not sure if tricare just supplies one or both?
I bought both for the $500 and then they reimbursed the $200something (exact number in the post)!
Your blog was so helpful! I work in healthcare and being able to leave and pump multiple times a day is just not an option! I have Tricare so I was anticipating having to buy an Elvie/Willow out of pocket. This was so helpful! Just placed my order on Baby Pavillion for the pump and Kiinde bags and am so grateful to have stumbled across your blog!
Oh my goodness Marissa I’m SO GLAD this helped! The Elvie will work great for you to stay hands free. Thank you for all you do!
Wanted to stop by and say thank you for writing this post. I was debating whether or not to get the Elvie because or the cost but after finding out Tricare covers some of the cost definitely made me okay with buying it. I tried medela with my first and didn’t like having to sit still and be stationary several times out of the day. I literally finished placing my order for the Elvie pump with the kiinde storage bags through Baby Pavilion.
You’re so welcome, Faye!!! I’m so glad you found it helpful!
did you have any out of pocket expense with this pump? I went through baby pavillion and was told it is not 100% covered and would have to pay and upgrade fee.
Yes. If you read through the post I explain exactly what I paid.
Hey Jordan! Thank you for sharing! I am wondering what kind of Tricare you have. Tricare Prime? My husband is active duty but I opted for Tricare Standard so I could deliver off base/choose my own care provider! Just curious if the reimbursement for the pump was for prime or standard! Thank you!!
I have prime!
Prime! They let me deliver off base and choose my provider with it too.
The Willow now has a container option and they have a 20% off for cyber monday deals. Is there a reason you went through baby pavilliona/areflow companies instead of directly buying from the manufacturer? I have Tricare too and plan to do this process to try and get partial reimbursement. Thank you !
I replied via email! 🙂 For anyone else though – you should also be able to get it directly from the site and get reimbursed from Tricare. Elvie is also having a Black Friday sale! I would definitely fill out the form with Baby Pavilion though to get the Kiinde bags for storage!