Image Source: Haakaa
You'd think that breastfeeding is the kind of activity that only requires two pieces of equipment: a boob and a baby. But once you actually get started, you realize that your life is made a lot easier by a few important pieces of gear. I planned to breastfeed, so prior to the birth of my baby, I stocked up on the necessities — the right breastfeeding pillows (yes, multiple are necessary), nursing bras, special snacks, and nipple cream. Those were all clear needs; your baby needs to rest on something, your boobs need a (much larger) new home, your nipples are about to be gnawed on like a snack, etc. Obvious, right? Well, one of the most important pieces of equipment was a total mystery to me when it was first recommended.
A fellow new mom was insistent that I get a Haakaa pump ($13), and since it was one of the only things she said I had to have, I listened. I asked her why, since I would also be getting an electric pump, and a hand pump seemed slow, unnecessary, and so very analog. She told me it was "for your letdown." Being a first-time mom, I had no idea what letdown meant (aside from sounding like a huge bummer), but I asked no questions, figured she had to be right, and ordered the $13 silicone pump from Amazon.
Once in my hands, I still had no idea what to do with it . . . and it still wasn't clear when my baby was born and I was learning to breastfeed. Maybe it would be great on the go, like I'd seen in Chrissy Teigen's date night pumping post?
Fast forward a couple weeks in, and there I was, still getting the hang of breastfeeding, baby sucking away on a boob, when I spilled an entire glass of water on the other side of my shirt. Nope, scratch that — I hadn't spilled anything, it was just 4 a.m. and I was delirious. Yet I was soaked on one side of my shirt . . . from my other boob leaking breast milk. (Aha: the mysterious letdown.) My instinct was to grab an absorbent breast pad to try to sop up the mess, and I learned to stuff the thing in my bra before a nursing session.
But as any breastfeeding woman will tell you, a sh*tload of milk comes out of the boob you're not nursing on, and it all gets wasted. Again, any breastfeeding woman will tell you how much it pains you to lose any of that "liquid gold" (talk about a letdown! I'm sorry, I've got dad jokes for days now). Enter the Haakaa: instead of shoving a pad over your boob to just absorb the milk, the Haakaa collects it, so none of that precious baby food is wasted. You can then save that milk for later, freeze it and add it to your stash, or just be happy that you've made way less of a mess.
Image Source: Amazon
All you have to do is squeeze the silicone Haakaa, place it on your breast, and then let it go. It will stay on while you nurse (if it falls off, just squeeze and try again — once you make the seal, it's on there good). I keep it on my nightstand at night to just grab and put on right before I feed my baby. I've also grabbed it for an unexpected leak. And, of course, you can always use it as a normal pump if you miss a feed or are traveling without your electric pump.
The Haakaa was a game changer for me, and just might be for you, too. At the very least, you definitely won't cry over spilled (into your bra) milk.