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Have you ever heard of the Haakaa breast pump? If you haven't, allow me to introduce you to the breast-milk-extracting wonder that has mothers raving. Some moms even claim they can pump more using this simple manual tool than they can with their electric pumps. No wonder the Haakaa, a dirt-cheap soft silicone pump that's about the size of a water bottle, has made such waves in the pump market. It requires no power, is totally silent, and works remarkably well. Here are all the details on the Haakaa and my own test drive.
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Nursing moms love the Haakaa
Better than electric?
Moms in the our site Community have been buzzing about the Haakaa for a while. The first woman to post on a thread about the Haakaa shared a photo of a completely full pump, writing:
"I don't know if this existed when I had my other babies, but I only discovered it this year. It's freaking awesome! It's a soft silicone pump (sort of?) that you squeeze and put on your boob. The suction pumps milk out. Here's what I just got from using it while my little one nursed on the other side."
How to use the Haakaa
It's a multirole pump.
It seems there are a number of ways the Haakaa can be useful to breastfeeding moms. Many prefer to use it while they're nursing, to collect milk from the other breast that would have otherwise leaked and been absorbed into a breast pad. Others use it mainly to relieve engorgement.
"It helped so much with my engorgement and usually gives me enough milk throughout the day to fill a 6-oz freezer bag and a 4-oz bottle for my husband to do a feed so I can nap," one mom wrote. "No extra time and super easy to clean. P.S., we are 6 days postpartum."
Still others squeeze the base, using suction like they would with any manual pump to build a milk stash.
"I'm at 15 days postpartum and I already have about 70 oz in my freezer, and that's just from using it a couple of times per day," another mom wrote.
I tried the Haakaa
And here's what happened
After seeing the Haakaa pop up again and again on breastfeeding support groups that I follow, I knew I had to test it out.
It's made from 100 percent medical-grade silicone. And the best part? It's all one piece, making it super easy to set up (just grab it and pop it on your breast!) and clean (it's dishwasher safe, or can be sterilized with boiling water).
Because it has zero parts to assemble, the Haakaa is incredibly portable and therefore great for vacations, taking to work, or just tossing in your purse when you're on the go. It would be perfect, too, for discreet pumping on an airplane or handy during a long car drive, if you don't have access to an outlet. As a marathon runner, I would even consider carrying one with me during a race, if I had a younger baby and my breasts were filling more quickly.
How does the Haakaa work?
It's all about suction.
According to Haakaa's website, you "simply suction to your breast and let the pump do the work for you as it draws your milk using suction ... Once the pump is secure and comfortable, you can squeeze the base of the pump (not interfering with the top/suction) to create some movement."
For me, it seemed to work best when my daughter was nursing out of one breast and the Haakaa was suctioned to the other. After a couple of minutes – and with a little bit of squeezing the pump base – I was able to get a nice flow going. (I didn't try to pump too much because I don't actually need to build a stash for my 17-month-old.)
It's silent, too. So you can pump even if your little one happens to fall asleep on the boob without having to worry about the whirring of an electric pump awakening your snoozing cherub.
Here's the icing on the cake: You can snag one of these nifty pumps on Amazon for less than $13. For that price, it seems silly not to try one out, especially if other pumps haven't been working well for you. (Note: There is also a selection of lids, stoppers, and bases for the pump to suit your needs.)
Whether you are trying to save every last ounce of liquid gold during regular nursing sessions, need a pump for traveling, or are desperate to find a pump that actually works for you, the Haakaa could be a good option for you. This breastfeeding mama gives it two thumbs up.
The Haakaa's success has meant that competitors have sprung up. Here's what we've seen and what we think.
Haakaa Manual Breast Pump
The easy-to-use original
For under $13, the original Haakaa is a wonderful, portable, low-stress helper that's great to have around.
Available at Amazon starting at $12.94
Haakaa Generation 3 Manual Breast Pump & Bottle
A time-saving improvement
If you're willing to pay a bit more (about $40), Haakaa now offers a Generation 3 silicone breast pump that allows moms to pump directly into a detachable silicone bottle. No need to transfer milk (and potentially spill some of your precious hard-earned stash). Just screw the pump part off the bottle, screw on the (included) top with nipple, and feed. You can buy the Gen 3 in 5- or 8-ounce sizes.
Available at Amazon starting at $42.99
Lansinoh Breast-Milk Collector
Neck strap keeps things together
This model from Lansinoh is very similar to the Haakaa, but adds a little twist with a neck strap that makes sure the pump won't fall off and spill if you should move the wrong way, and a cap that fits on the top if you need to walk away before you can empty your milk from the pump into a bottle or storage container.
Available at Amazon starting at $14.99
Dr. Brown's Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump
The maker of the famous colic-soothing baby bottles sweetens the deal for its one-piece manual pump by including an Options+ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle and a travel bag to keep everything handy. The Options+ bottle comes with one of Dr. Brown's air-venting tubes, but you can use the bottle with or without the tube (thus, options).
Available at Amazon starting at $14.99
Nuby Comfort Portable & Lightweight All-Silicone Breast Pump
Suctions to your table
It's not as widely available as some of the other competitors on this list, but the Nuby pump is an even greater bargain – under $10! – and comes with a stopper to keep the milk inside. The bottom is a suction cup, too, to keep it secure on a table until you can empty out the milk.
Available at Amazon starting at $9.99
NatureBond Manual Breast Pump
Great manual flattens the learning curve
NatureBond pulls together everything a silicone-pump user could ask for, with a stopper, snap-on cap, and neck strap, with a velvety bag to keep it all together. It also includes a nice clear manual with lots of pictures, which new users may find particularly useful.
Available at Amazon starting at $13.99
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Michelle Stein is a journalist who lives in the Midwest with her husband, four kids, and two obnoxious, but sweet kitties. This Millennial mom tries, fails and sometimes succeeds at this whole career/motherhood balancing act.
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