A silicone pump like the Haakaa is a great tool for any breastfeeding parent! Here’s how to use a Haakaa milk catcher, what it can be used for, and which silicone pump you should get.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll be compensated at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I love! More info here.
What is a Haakaa?
A Haakaa is a silicone pump that uses natural suction. All you have to do is suction it on to your breast, and it will pull milk out.
Many people use a Haakaa primarily to “catch” and pull out extra milk on one side, while pumping or nursing on the other.
How do you use a Haakaa pump?
Here’s how to use a silicone breast pump.
1. Evert the flange
Push the flange down all the way around.
2. Put your nipple in the flange
Position your nipple in the center of the everted flange.
3. Press the bulb of the pump
Once your nipple is positioned in the middle of the flange, press the bottom part of the pump together. This creates the suction that holds the pump in place and pulls milk out.
4. Gently pull the flange into place
Adjust the flange from the everted position so that it covers your areola and breast.
How can a Haakaa be useful?
There are lots of different ways to use a Haakaa! Here are some of the most common.
1. Pulling out extra milk while nursing or pumping on the other side
This is the most common use for a Haakaa.
When you pump or nurse, your milk usually lets down on both sides at once. The “let down milk” on the side that you’re not nursing or pumping on would normally leak onto your shirt or get lost in a breast pad.
When you use a Haakaa on that side, you can not only collect that initial milk that leaks out, but the pump can pull out additional milk. This can be an easy way to collect and save a little extra milk for a freezer stash.
2. For pumping when you’re short on time or don’t want to bring all your pumping gear out
When you need to pump, it can take a few minutes to get yourself set up. You need to get and assemble all of the parts, put on your hands-free bra, attach the parts to the tubing, etc.
The Haakaa is just one piece and has no accessories, so it can be faster and easier to get started. It’s also easy to pack in a diaper bag.
3. “Catching” random letdown milk
Every time that I took a shower when I was breastfeeding, I would inevitably have a letdown and spray milk all over the place.
If the same thing happens to you (or you have a similar trigger for a letdown), you can use a Haakaa to catch the extra milk when this happens, so that you can save the milk instead of letting it go down the shower drain.
4. For people who struggle to empty
Some people seem to have a hard time getting to “empty” (or getting as much milk as possible) when they pump with an electric pump.
If this is the case for you, using a manual pump, trying hand expression, or using a Haakaa at the end of the session may help get you as close to empty as possible.
5. Getting out clogged ducts
One great use for a Haakaa is to help clear a clogged duct. Lots of people in our Facebook group have found that by putting epsom salts in a silicone pump, they are able to pull out clogs more effectively.
Here’s how to do the clogged duct Haakaa hack:
- Put warm water in a Haakaa so that it’s about half full
- Add a tablespoon of espom salts
- Attach the Haakaa as shown above (your nipple should be submerged)
- Leave attached for 10-15 minutes
Does a Haakaa pump help increase your supply?
Milk supply operates in a system of supply and demand. That means that the more milk you remove from your breasts (the “demand”), the more milk your breasts may make.
Therefore, if using a Haakaa helps you remove more milk, it might help your increase your supply.
(However, just the fact of using a Haakaa won’t help. It has to help you remove more breast milk that you would otherwise.)
What kind of Haakaa should you get?
“Haakaa” is sort of like “Kleenex” – it’s a brand name that is often used universally for the type of product.
When people say “Haakaa,” they usually mean a silicone pump, and many companies besides Haakaa sell silicone pumps. For the most part, they are pretty similar in form and function, but there are some features that can vary from pump to pump.
How much milk it holds
Some pumps hold bigger amounts (up to about 5 oz) than others.
The smallest silicone pumps I’ve seen hold about 2oz.
Suction cup on the bottom
Some silicone pumps have a little suction cup on the bottom that help it stick to the surface that it’s standing on.
(If yours doesn’t have this, you can put it in a coffee cup or something as soon as you’re done with it to avoid spills.
Lid or stopper
Some silicone pumps have a lid or stopper to prevent spilled milk and keep the breastmilk safe.
Hands-free or traditional silicone pump
Have you used a Haakaa? Tell us how you use it and any tips and tricks you have in the comments!