Haakaa Hacks – Tips and Tricks for Using the Silicone Breast Pump
The Best Ways to Use a Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump
The Haakaa manual breast pump is, in my opinion, one of the best tools for breastfeeding moms. The Haakaa can help you collect milk for your freezer stash, help you relieve engorgement, help you increase your milk supply, and more. At a such an inexpensive price, the Haakaa is a must have for any breastfeeding mom.
What is a Haakaa?
The Haakaa is a silicone breast pump designed to catch the letdown from your opposite breast, while you nurse your baby. All you have to do is attach it to your breast and it will collect milk without any additional effort on your end. I hadn’t heard of the Haakaa when I was breastfeeding Weston, but it was the number one thing on my must have list when I had Elliott. This thing has been a total game changer when it comes to collecting and storing breast milk. Here are some of my favorite Haakaa hacks to get you using this pump like a pro!
Why do You need a Haakaa?
The Haakaa is so easy to use because you can pretty much set it and forget it. Unlike a traditional pump, it just suctions on and collects milk without any actual pumping motion. In the early days of breastfeeding Elliott, I was extremely engorged and struggling with an oversupply. I didn’t want to pump because I didn’t want to fully empty my breast and tell my body to make more milk. Instead, I relied on the Haakaa to express milk and relieve engorgement. This also helped me start building my freezer stash. I probably used the Haakaa three times a day during Elliott’s first month of life, and by the time he was two months old, I had over 300 ounces of milk in our freezer. Because my milk supply has regulated itself and I’m not suffering from constant engorgement, I use it once or twice a day if I’m feeling full. This typically results in anywhere between 2 ounces and 4 ounces of milk for each use.
How to Use a Haakaa
There is a proper way to attach a Haakaa, but I’ll be honest with you, I typically just position it on my breast, squeeze out the excess air, and let it do its thing. However, I have talked to several women who have a hard time getting it attached or getting it to stay put. If you ever struggle with getting the Haakaa to suction, here’s how to properly attach it to your breast from my friend Amy Fields, RN, IBCLC. (Make sure you follow her on Instagram for great breastfeeding tips and support!)
- Invert the flange
- Place Haakaa on your breast
- Squeeze and burp out the air
- Gently evert the flange and let go!
RELATED: How to Pump More Milk
Pumping Bra Haakaa Hack
The older and more acrobatic your baby gets, the trickier it can be to make sure your little one doesn’t accidentally kick the Haakaa off of your other breast. To make sure everything stays in place, you can use a hands free pumping bra. Just put the Haakaa on one side and baby on the other. The bra will hold the Haakaa in place so your milk doesn’t go flying.
Clear a Clogged Milk Duct with a Haakaa and Epsom Salt
This is one of my favorite Haakaa hacks! You can also use the Haakaa to clear a clogged milk duct. Simply fill the Haakaa with warm water (just enough so that you’re still able to attach it) and a tablespoon of Epsom salt and attach it to the affected breast. The combination of warm water, Epsom salt, and suction should pull out the clog. If it doesn’t work on the first try, you can keep trying up to four times a day until the clog has cleared.
Relieve Sore Nipples with a Haakaa
The Haakaa can also be used to relieve sore or cracked nipples. Those early days of breastfeeding can be rough on your nipples. In addition to nipple cream, you can fill a Haakaa with warm saline water and attach so that your nipple sits in the water. This will help heal the nipple and make breastfeeding your little one less painful. (Remember, breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. If you’re experiencing pain, make sure to check your latch and/or meet with a lactation consultant in your area).
Pump without Electricity
Breastfeeding moms know that the key to keeping our milk supply up is to make sure we don’t miss any nursing or pumping sessions. If you’re away from your baby and don’t have access to electricity, this can be tough. By using a manual pump and a Haakaa at the same time, you can create an electricity free double breast pump. I’ve used this at work, on road trips, at weddings, football games, and more. Not only does it help me stay on schedule, I can relax knowing I don’t have to spend the day with engorged and uncomfortable breasts.
RELATED: 6 Reasons Why you Need a Manual Pump
Coffee Cup Haakaa Hack
There are several different options for Haakaas on the market now. There are Haakaas with lids, Haakaas, with stoppers, and Haakaas with a suction bottom. However, I have the original version that’s just the plain old Haakaa. One thing I noticed right away was that it’s very top heavy and can easily tip over. When its full of milk and you need to set it down, it can feel like you’re taking a gamble. That’s when I saw an Instagram post from @azbreastfedbabies. She used a coffee cup to set the Haakaa in to make it more stable. Now, I have a coffee mug permanently sitting on the window sill next to where I nurse. No more crying over spilled milk.
Common Questions about the Haakaa
Can you use a Haakaa without nursing?
You can use the Haakaa without nursing. You can use it while pumping, or if you’re feeling extremely full, you can use it by itself. I have personally had success with this, however, we’re all different. I have suffered from an oversupply, and just the thought of my baby can give me a letdown. Don’t be discouraged if using a Haakaa without nursing doesn’t work for you, but I say its worth a try!
Does the Haakaa Increase your Milk Supply?
Anything that removes milk from your breasts can increase your milk supply. Breast milk works on a supply and demand system. The more milk you demand, the more milk your body will make. If you want to see an increase in milk supply, use the Haakaa as much as possible (removing milk on a frequent basis). Note: I used the Haakaa to relieve engorgement because I knew I needed to remove some milk for comfort. I didn’t want to pump for fear of removing too much milk. Leaving the Haakaa on just through the initial letdown was the perfect solution for me.
How do you Store Milk from a Haakaa?
You can store milk from a Haakaa just as you would from a regular pump. Once you’re finished, you can pour it into a bottle and refrigerate it or put it directly into a milk storage bag and freeze it. Fresh breast milk in the refrigerator should be used or frozen within five days. Frozen breast milk should be used within 6 months from a regular freezer and within a year from a deep freezer.
When should you Start Using the Haakaa?
Most lactation consultants recommend that you refrain from pumping until your milk supply has regulated (around 6 – 8 weeks). However, if you’re suffering from engorgement, need to build a freezer stash before returning to work, or find that your soaking nursing pads, I would recommend using the Haakaa as soon as you’re ready! I used it a week after Elliott was born.
If you’re a breastfeeding mom, I highly recommend the Haakaa. It has made my life so much easier in so many ways. On top of just using it as a milk collector, the Haakaa can help you clear up some of the most common breastfeeding issues. If you use a Haakaa and love it, I hope you learned a few new tricks! Follow me on Instagram for more baby and breastfeeding hacks!