How to Use the Haakaa (From a Breastfeeding Mama of Two)

Last Updated on February 5, 2023

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’ve probably heard of the Haakaa breast pump. It’s a silicone suction cup that attaches to your breast and collects milk on the opposite side as your baby nurses. If you’re new to Haaka, I’m going to be going over how to use a Haakaa step by step.

This little invention has been a godsend for many nursing moms and helps you save those drops of liquid gold.

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When I was nursing my eldest daughter, I would have to grab a towel or a nursing breast pad to put on my opposite side when nursing because it would drench my entire bra and shirt. Fast-forward to my second child when I was gifted one by a friend, I learned how to use the Haakaa and I don’t know how I nursed without it the first time!

If you’re new to breastfeeding, the Haakaa, or just want to learn a few tricks, you’ve come to the right place.

After years of use, I’ve mastered all the tips and tricks of this amazing gadget that no nursing mom should live without.

What is a Haakaa Breast Pump?

First things first, what the hell is a Haakaa? Simply put, it’s a silicone suction pump to help you draw out milk.

But really, I like to call it a “milk catcher” more than a pump.

As you can see from the picture, you attach this to the breast you’re not nursing or pumping on, and it collects milk by creating a suction or vacuum effect. This will then catch the milk during the letdown so you don’t let that beautiful breast milk go to waste.

How Much Milk Does the Haakaa Save?

I have been a very low milk producer, so this helped me save every single drop so that I had enough of a stash to go back to work. Surprisingly, I would usually get about 1/2 to 1 ounce of breast milk that would have otherwise been wasted!

That may not seem like a lot, but when you do this every time you nurse around 4-5 times per day, it could save enough for at least one feeding session every day. Which is HUGE because it takes like no effort.

But that’s just me. Many women I have talked to will get up to 3, 4, or even 5 ounces PER SESSION which sounds unreal.

Now, let me get in to how you use this thing.

Why Do Breastfeeding Moms LOVE the Haakaa?

In case I haven’t made it clear, I love this product along with millions of other moms. Here’s what’s so great about it:

  • It’s a much easier alternative then setting up and messing with your electric pump to save milk while nursing.
  • It’s small, portable, and you can throw it in your purse or diaper bag when you’re on the go.
  • It’s extremely easy to clean.
  • The lid allows you to cover it and throw it in the fridge when you’re done.
  • It’s hands-free, so you can nurse and still scroll on your phone as you’re nursing.
  • Keeps things moving. I suffered from a lot of clogged ducts. This is just my personal opinion, but when you keep milk flowing out at every feed I noticed I was a lot less likely to get clogged up.

How to Use the Haakaa

Now, the Haakaa website gives you two methods to attach the pump. I’ve heard people do it both ways, so whichever one works best for you.

Option 1: Directly Attach the Pump

Here’s how to directly attach it:

Step 1: Squeeze the bulb at the bottom

Step 2: Place it on your breast, you will want you nipple to be in the middle of the opening so the milk can fall down to the bottom.

Step 3: Once it’s place, let go of the bulb and it should be firmly suctioned/attached.

When it’s attached you should notice your nipple is open to the bottom. Also, sometimes I would do this too hard or too light and the suction wasn’t just right. Just play around with it or try it again until you get what’s comfortable for you.

Option 2: Invert the Haakaa Pump Flange

If you want to get a tighter suction or be able to better visualize where the “opening is”, then you this may be a better option for you. Here’s how to invert the flaps.

Step 1: Invert the pump flange by pulling it inside out and hold it back.

Step 2: Squeeze the bulb.

Step 3: Place it on your breast with the nipple in the middle.

Step 4: Let go of the bulb and pull the flap back out.

You should have a successful seal when doing this.

Alright, now that you know how attach the Haakaa, time to learn some tips and tricks to get the most out of it.

The Direction

You may be wondering, well which way should it point? It honestly doesn’t matter, and really changes depending on how your sitting or laying down. I always place it in the way that the bottom will be parallel to the ground, but there’s no wrong way. As a breastfeeding mama, you’re probably going to throw it on as quick as you can after you get the hang of it.

Haakaa Hacks and Tricks

1. You May Need to Empty the Haakaa After a Few Ounces or Make Sure It’s Supported as Your Nursing

Now, this is just what happened to me, but sometimes (despite a good seal) when the Haakaa was getting full and heavy, it would lose it’s seal and fall off. This only happened once in a while, but I got in the habit of recognizing when it was getting too heavy or the seal was loosening and either holding it or emptying it before it fell off.

2. Use it Every Time You BreastFeed

If you’re looking to maximize your milk stash then use the haakaa every time you sit down to nurse. It’s a milk collector, so even if you’re only getting a half-ounce, that adds up very quickly to build your stash over time. Also, if you’re prone to getting a clogged milk duct, every movement helps.

3. Get Ready for the Let Down

Make sure you attach it BEFORE your let-down. The let-down is when your milk starts flowing rapidly and it’s when you’ll see the most milk come out. If you wait to attach it, you’ll lose quite a bit of milk you could have otherwise saved.

4. Use the Suction Base on the Bottom

When you’re done using it, remember there’s a little suction cup at the bottom on the older generations that helps prevent spills. If you have a newer generation, you can ignore this because they were made with a much wider base. Whoever said “don’t cry over spilled milk” clearly has no ideas what they’re talking about.

5. Choose the Right Haakaa Size For You

There’s a few generations of Haakaa’s to choose from, each making some small improvements from the older versions, one being that they hold larger volumes for the high-milk suppliers:

  • Generation 2: 4oz or 5oz options
  • Generation 3: 6oz or 9 oz options

You may think the larger size may always be best, but I think it depends on you. If you’re a higher supplier, of course go with the larger. But if you never pump more than 2-3 ounces at a time, then the smaller ones are more comfortable and convenient.

6. Make Sure the Haakaa and Your Breast is Dry Before Applying

If you don’t want your Haakaa to keep falling off, make sure everything is dry. A silicone breast pump relies on the dry contact to create the best suction possible.

7. Use it To Help Relieve Engorgement

Whenever I’m either out and about, or I’ve pushed back nursing a little longer due to the little one napping, I would use this to relieve a little pressure. Now, this doesn’t always work well because it’s meant to catch the milk during letdown. It doesn’t have the pumping action like a manual pump or electric pump has. But when I attached a strong suction and then pressed against the sides of my breasts, I could relieve a little pressure.

8. Increase Your Milk Supply

If you’re looking to increase your milk supply, it’s good advice to always keep the milk flowing so that your body recognizes the need, and keeps producing more. By adding this on each side, it kept my milk supply up.

And that’s the end of my Haakaa hacks and tricks! I really think having a silicone breast pump is a game-changer. I’ve seen a few common questions getting asked, so read the FAQs below if you still have any lingering questions and happy nursing!

Picture of baby boy because I can’t resist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do you leave Haakaa on?

You can leave the Haakaa on for as long or short as you’d like! I usually left mine on for about 15-20 minutes, but the Haaka pumps only as much as your letdown and breasts allow. The great thing about the Haakaa is that it’s not electric, so you don’t have to worry about a battery or anything.

Should I use the Haakaa at every feeding?

You can use the Haakaa as little or as much as you want. I tried to use it often (at least three times a day), because I wanted to build up my stash as much as possible.

I’m a working mom and pump at work, will I ever use this?

Absolutely! Now when you’re using an electric pump say when you’re at work, you won’t use the Haakaa because the electric pump will draw out a lot more milk when you don’t have your baby with you. I used the Haakaa for my maternity leave all day. Then, when I went back to work, I would use the Haaka in the morning and evenings when nursing my baby.

How do I clean the Haakaa?

As a silicone breast pump, cleaning the Haakaa is a breeze. I usually just do a little soap and warm water so it’s ready for the next session. But it’s also dishwasher-safe. If you need to sterilize it when you first get it, just throw it in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes and that should do the trick.

What’s the difference between a silicone breast pump, manual pump, and electric pump?

If you’re new to pumping, it can get really confusing to know the difference between all the different types of pump. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Silicone Pump: A silicon pump is a suction pump that is made of all silicon. Typically, it’s all one piece, but sometimes it’s broken up into two pieces. It has no battery or pumping mechanism, and uses the basic concept of suction to help collect milk. The haakaa silicone breast pump is a great example of this.
  • Manual Pump: A manual pump is typically made of a plastic bottle, connected to a handheld pump and flange. You squeeze the handle, which allows you to “manually” pump the milk out. This is a lot more effective than a silicone pump, but it’s very tedious and a lot more work.
  • Electric Pump: An electronic pump uses a motor and is either battery-operated or plugged in. This is the most effective breast pump and can completely extract out all of your milk, including hindmilk. This is typically used for moms who can’t breastfeed or for when you’re away from your baby.

I personally have all three types. When I nurse in the morning and evening with my baby, I use a silicone pump (Haakaa). When I’m at work I use by double electric pump. And then when I go out on the weekends (once in a while), I have a small manual pump that fits into my clutch bag so I can pump in the bathroom to prevent a clogged duct.

Do I still need a manual breast pump or an electric pump?

If you need to pump without your baby such as at work or when you’re away, then this won’t replace a manual or electric pump. A manual pump has a mechanism you squeeze to pump milk out. I used on of these when I was out at a restaurant or special event where I didn’t want to bring my massive electric pump.

But the best way to get a lot of milk out and completely empty your breasts is going to be with an electric pump.

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