The Haakaa Explained

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I've had a couple requests to do a post on the infamous Haakaa, so here we are. For those of you who are new to the Haakaa, it is a silicone breast pump. I would call it hand held, but really you don't even have to hold it. This thing is probably my most used baby product- I use it so much that I purchased 3 of them. I was using it almost every time I nursed so it wasn't able to dry out all the way before her next feed. I also wanted at least two so that I can pump both boobs at the same time when need be. 

 click here to purchase 

The one I linked is the one with the flower stopper and suctioned bottom - Most recommended Haakaa bundle.
There is one for 12.99 but it does not come with a lid or topper and does not suction on the bottom (it spills easily). I purchased that one on accident and don't use it much because I'm clumsy and don't want to be clumsy when it comes to liquid gold. 
I also purchased one with the lid as well as the one with the flower stopper. I hate the lid and love the flower stopper. That doesn't mean you'll hate it.. I have friends that love the lid, but from my experience I cannot apply the lid to the Haakaa with one hand (us moms know how important that is, considering everything we do is one handed) *currently holding baby and typing one handed. 

All of what I am about to explain is from my personal experience and what I have found to be easy. It may not be what works for you, heck you may not even like the Haakaa. It fits my lifestyle though and I am able to provide milk easily for Sawyer as well as still live my life. I can also easily take them places and they are easy to clean. A lot of easys, haha.

So.... How does the Haakaa work?

I did not actually start pumping until the end of week 3. I did not want to take from Sawyer and I did not want to over produce either and mess up what we had going. Also, I was very new to breastfeeding and had no idea what I was doing so pumping was honestly very scary. 

I noticed when I was feeding her on one side that the other boob would leak profusely. I heard about the Haakaa from Jillian Harris @jillian.harris and knew I had to have it. She actually has a segment under her insta highlights called "Haakaa Tips" which was SUPER helpful to me. 

So, basically in order to save the let down milk from the other boob while nursing, I would suction on the Haakaa and let it catch. I did not squeeze, if you squeeze, you're technically pumping. Now, if you want to pump right away, then by all means give it a little squeeze at the bottom and let it works its magic. I was able to get about 1-3 oz a day just catching let down from each feed. I would add it to a bottle in the fridge until I would get a good amount to freeze. Note: don't expect your body to produce tons and tons of milk in the beginning. You don't want it to. Your baby tells your body how much milk to produce. I didn't want to run into over supply, engorgement, clogged ducts and mastitis. On NYE, I got a clogged duct anyway. I thought I would be ok to drink wine, give her a bottle from the frozen stash and never pumped (because I wasn't pumping nor did I really know what I was doing). Clogged ducts hurrrrrtttt, but that's a story for another day. What I should have done was pump out the same amount that she drank from the freezer stash and dumped it since I was drinking. That way my body was on track with baby even though baby didn't physically drink from my boob. 

*FYI, I know its not necessary to pump and dump, but I had 3 glasses of wine and in that case, to save your boobs and yourself from the pain, its necessary to pump and dump, lol. 

*another FYI, you do not want to add freshly expressed milk to cold milk that has been chilling in the fridge. I would use two bottles or just put the cap/stopper on the Haakaa until it was chilled then add the milk to the bottle. Once the bottle reaches 2-3 oz I would then transfer to a freezer bag, label and lay flat in the freezer. 

So, back to the let down milk and my freezer stash. It sounds great and all and I was developing quite the stash BUT the problem with this is.. if you thaw out a bag and use that milk as a meal supplement for the babe, they are only getting foremilk (UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY SQUEEZED THE HAAKAA AND ACTUALLY PUMPED YOUR BREAST) because I wasn't actually pumping (just catching) I was not getting that good fatty milk that the baby needs that's in the back of your breast. When I would feed Sawyer the frozen let down milk, I noticed her poop would be green (TMI sorry). When I googled green poop, I learned that it can happen from time to time when baby isn't getting that fatty hindmilk. Lesson learned. My advice to avoid this would be to mix this batch with pumped milk or if you are supplementing formula with breastmilk to mix this batch with formula (that way baby is getting all of the nutrients they need). Because I was not pumping, or did not want to pump until around 4 weeks, there was really no way to avoid this except for to wait until I was pumping to mix these bags with. However, I caught on to this too late and had already fed her those bags. 

Now, since I'm actually using the Haakaa's as my pump, I'm getting both the foremilk and hindmilk and am able to freeze this and feed to her without mixing with anything. My stash is INSANE you guys!! Sawyer is not even two months old and girl is SET on breastmilk. This not only takes stress off me when I go back to work, but I'm also able to drink alcohol here and there without feeling guilty because I know that she will be fed perfectly good milk regardless. I don't mind digging into my stash because I know the next day I will make plenty to add back to it. I know I'm getting that fatty milk because I can see the divide when I place it in the fridge. When using the Haakaas as your pump it'll take a couple tries to get them figured out. It took me one time to spill 2oz on the couch before I figured out how to keep them suctioned on (just give it a squeeze or two here and there).  I have yet to even touch my electric pump. I do have a hand held pump also but it does the same thing as the Haakaa except with the Haakaa I do not have to use my hands. 

Do I use the Haakaa every time I feed? 
Not anymore. I have since learned my body and when I need to use it and when it's not necessary. For instance, I leak BIG time throughout the night and into the morning hours and also become insanely engorged to the point where it's painful in the middle of the night so I will use the Haakaa's during my late night, early morning and lunch time feeds. I squeeze the Haakaa now so it's draining the opposite boob that she eats from. Another tricky thing with this--- you want to learn when your baby is super hungry and when they are just wanting a snack before a nap. Obviously you want to make sure baby is  fed first before you focus on your stash. I learned quickly that around lunch time is when my supply starts to decrease into the evening hours. How do I know this? she became really antsy on the boob and would act frustrated. If I drain all of the milk out of the opposite boob while she is eating, then I have nothing to give her if she is still hungry because it's all in my Haakaa. This is not a big deal to most.. just give her a bottle of whatever I caught... BUT I do not like washing bottles if I can just give her the boob. So really, it's up to you how you want to do it and you will learn your supply as well as your baby (if you haven't already).. it's all trial and error. The only time that I actually drain the opposite boob completely is in the middle of the night because I know one boob is enough for her during this time due to my huge supply during this time. I also pump with them once a day for 15 min, in the mornings, AFTER she eats all that she wants. 

I hope this wasn't too confusing- I know I probably went in all sorts of circles but if you have any specific questions just drop it in the comments and I will be glad to answer!

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