Updated August 2023
A few weekends ago, I spent two whole nights away from my 20-month-old nursling. It was glorious … and leaky. The Monarch Mommy and I took a road trip to Edmonton to take our Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) training, and we took our milk with us. I no longer pump my milk on a regular basis, so this was the only chance for me to try out a compact little product that’s been intriguing me ever since Natasha at The Baby Footprint brought it in.
This is the Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump. It’s my new favourite thing out of New Zealand. (Move over, Hiphopopotamus!)
Does it puzzle you? I was puzzled myself! How does it work? Does it work? I had to find out, so I tossed my Haakaa in an AppleCheeks Mini Zip and away we went to Edmonton in our rented Fiat 500, The Monarch Mommy at the wheel and the S-Town podcast coming out the speakers.
By the time we checked into our hotel room, I’d missed one feed with Little Miss Cub and I needed to relieve some pressure before heading to our first class. I got comfy on the queen-sized bed and attached the Haakaa. Nothing to plug in, no tubes to connect, no shields to attach … squeeze the base of the Haakaa pump and it suctions onto your breast like an algae eater in an aquarium. There’s no need for a pumping bra, either: the Haakaa stays stuck to your breast until you break the suction.
You don’t actually do anything once the Haakaa is attached. It provides constant suction, and my milk started coming out in large drops. By massaging my breast in the way I would to manually express milk, I was able to stimulate a let down, and milk sprayed out.
Pumping with the Haakaa is not as fast as using an electric pump, nor as effective, but that’s no surprise. It’s not designed for full-time pumping, but as a complement to full-time breastfeeding. In my case, it was just what I needed to keep me from exploding all over my CPST-training classmates during my weekend away.
The Haakaa is ultra portable. I used it sitting in the aforementioned Fiat while waiting for our table at Red Lobster. I used it in the shower … the glorious, uninterrupted shower I enjoyed in the hotel bathroom. Even while I was washing, the Haakaa stayed attached. I got milk out while I was drying my hair!
This doesn’t happen anymore, but in the first six months of nursing, each time I’d feed my daughter, I’d leak ounces out the other breast. You can attach the Haakaa to your non-feeding breast, collecting the leaked milk so you can save it for later … or at least not soak through your nursing pads.
I didn’t feel like I was able to completely empty my breasts using the Haakaa, but that that wasn’t my objective. (That’s what my Medela Freestyle is for.) It was perfect for expressing a few ounces in the morning and the evening while I was away from my daughter, and I even used it midday during our car seat clinic when rock-hard tatas were cramping my style. I can think of many times when my kids were younger and I had to be away from them for a few hours, and I would try to hand-express in a bathroom sink for lack of a better solution. The Haakaa IS the solution.
If you’re not able to express your milk easily by hand or with a pump, the Haakaa may not work well for you. It’s only going to work well when your breasts are full. If you only need a pump to relieve occasional pressure, catch leaks and fill a couple of bottles, this is the only pump you’ll need! It’s one easy-to-sterilize piece. It’s pretty much unbreakable. It fits easily in your purse, and you can use it totally hands-free without needing a pumping bra. I wish I’d had one from day one!