The Haakaa Pump: Every Breastfeeding Mama’s New Best Friend!

Last Updated: February 9, 2024
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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Curious about the Haakaa pump? This little silicone hand pump is changing the game for veteran breastfeeders and brand-new moms alike!

This handy device helps you build a freezer stash while you’re nursing baby, clears clogged ducts, relieves engorgement, and may even help build your supply.

The thing about the Haakaa pump that I always like to tell moms – it’s actually not really even a pump! Not in the traditional sense anyway.

It works with gentle suction to collect or enhance what your body is naturally doing during a letdown or feed! You pop it on the boob, and the milk collection (or clogged duct clearing) magic begins.

Let’s dive into ALL the details about the amazing Haakaa pump and get to the bottom of why I think it’s a must-have for every breastfeeding mom.

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Haakaa pump at a glance

The Haakaa was created in New Zealand and truly is a one-of-a-kind device. It’s a simple, one-piece pump made entirely from silicone. That means it’s totally non-toxic and there’s no risk of leeching chemicals like BPAs, phthalates, etc.

The top opening looks like the flange part of a traditional pump, but that flange is connected to the collection container. This makes it really easy to clean and use!

The bottom of the pump has a suction cup, which is perfect for preventing spills when you finishing using it and need to place it down. It also comes with a cap that seals over the top flange, which means it’s easy to transport your collected breastmilk without worrying about leaks.

Because it works entirely on suction, once you get your Haakaa positioned on the boob, it’s hands-free.

This means you can literally feed baby on one side, collect milk for later on the other, and scroll Instagram at the exact same time!

When and how to use the Haakaa pump?

The really cool thing about the Haakaa is just how many uses it has! For sure, the most popular way to use the Haakaa is the one I described above. That is, using it to collect milk on the opposite breast while you’re feeding baby.

In most tutorials and reviews, that’s how you will see mamas using their Haakaa, and honestly, that’s primarily how you’ll probably use it, too! But, I wanted to give you a complete list of ways to use your Haakaa – Haakaa hacks, if you will ?

Best ways to use a Haakaa

  • As a manual pump when you’re away from baby and don’t want to use a double electric pump for any reason
  • On the opposite breast while you use a more traditional hand pump on the other side (perfect for when you need to pump efficiently but have no electricity – like on a camping trip!)
  • To relieve engorgement if baby goes longer than expected between feedings (sleeping long during the night, teething, general fussiness). The gentle suction is just enough to take off the edge without needing to do a full pumping session and signaling your body to make more milk
  • To catch milk while you’re feeding baby and slowly build a supply without full pumping sessions or risking an oversupply (for those that are susceptible)
  • To clear a clogged milk duct! Do this by filling your Haakaa with enough warm water to make contact with your nipple, then add 1-2 tbsp of Epsom salt. Attach the Haakaa to your boob for 10-15 minutes, and let the combo of heat, salts, and suction help remove the clog. Repeat as needed!
  • To relieve sore nipples you can fill your Haakaa with warm saline water until the liquid reaches your nipples. This can provide soothing relief if you’re suffering!

Related Reading: What to do When Breastfeeding Hurts?

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How to use your Haakaa

Using the Haakaa is so easy compared to electric pumps, hands-free pumps, and even traditional hand pumps! Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Flip the edge of the flange up
  2. Squeeze the collection bottle to remove all air
  3. Position the flange opening over the center of your nipple
  4. Flip the flange edges back out to connect with your breast
  5. Release your squeeze on the bottle to allow suction
  6. You can give the collection bottle a few squeezes to ensure a good suction
  7. Now just let it hang and let the magic start!

Related Reading: A Complete Guide to Hand Expressing Breastmilk

What I love about it: Haakaa pros!

I used my Haakaa almost every day for the first few months to collect milk on the opposite breast while I was nursing my baby.

I’m someone who ALWAYS lets down on both sides when baby is feeding, and the thought of wasting the milk on the other side to a breast pad, or soaked into my bra always made me want to cry.

When I discovered the Haakaa as a way to collect that milk, I never looked back. Let’s take a look at the pros.

Really affordable price point

Overall, the Haakaa is super affordable, with three different options and price points in the $12 to $40 range. Here’s a quick rundown of the options:

  • Haakaa Gen 1: This is the most basic and least expensive option. It includes the one-piece collection bottle and flange and is available in two collection sizes, 3.5 oz, and 4 oz. It does not include a suction cup base or storage lid
  • Haakaa Gen 2: This version has a suction cup base and leak-proof silicone storage lid. It’s available in two collection sizes, 4oz, and 5oz
  • Haakaa Gen 3: This is the most expensive option and is actually two pieces. The top flange threads onto the collection chamber. It comes with a bottle topper piece that allows you to feed baby right from the collection base

In my opinion, the Haakaa Gen 2 is the way to go! This is the one I had, and the one I most recommend to mamas who will primarily use it to collect milk while nursing baby. If your budget is tight, Gen 1 is still a great option.

Convenience and ease of use

Because it’s one piece, it makes it super easy to wash this little guy and have it ready for the next use. If you’ve worked with pump parts before, washing them can be a total pain. And breastmilk has a way of leaving a sort of oily residue that is tough to clean!

Also, the fact that it’s hands-free, and requires no electricity really can’t be beat.

Versatility in what it can do

Earlier in the article, I shared all of the different ways you can use your Haakaa – it’s really pretty amazing! So, yeah, versatility is definitely a big pro for the Haakaa.

It doesn’t just collect the foremilk!

So other “milk catchers” on the market, that simply catch your dripping letdown on the opposite side, get a bad rap because they only catch the foremilk. Without getting too into the composition of breast milk, basically, your milk contains foremilk (more water content) and hindmilk (higher fat content).

What’s cool about the Haakaa, is that because it attaches to your boob with suction, you will get the fatty hindmilk in addition to the more watery foremilk while you are feeding baby on the other side.

Lots of mamas have compared the milk they collect with the Haakaa to their pump, and found similar fat content – pretty cool!

Related Reading: Breastfeeding Essentials Every Mom Needs

Drawbacks to the Haakaa pump

The only real con to the Haakaa that I see is that it can’t take the place of a traditional pump. That might not surprise some of you, but I don’t want anyone to read this and think they can get away with only getting a Haakaa.

Sure, there are moms that exclusively breastfeed, don’t pump, and can have just this. But if you plan to pump regularly, are heading back to work, or will regularly be away from baby for extended periods of time, you’re going to need a traditional pump, too.

Related Reading: Is the Willow Pump Worth the Cost?

Looking for more breastfeeding and pumping info?

Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about the Haakaa, check out some of our other articles!

We can help you rock the breastfeeding days, whether you’re researching before you’re due or already in the throes of it – we’ve got you!

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Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve spent countless hours with women who felt anxious — even fearful — about giving birth. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way for you!

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