Pumping is awful.
I’ve talked a little bit about pumping on here before, but given that I’m currently a stay at home mom, my relationship with pumping is a little different.
First, Lark had zero issues breastfeeding, unlike Prim, so I didn’t need to start pumping right away. And given my intense milk supply, pumping isn’t really the best thing for me to start up in the first six weeks anyway (because your supply is still regulating itself during that time, and anytime you pump it’s telling your body to produce even MORE milk). Also, since I’m not transitioning back to work, I’m not trying to build up a massive freezer stash of milk. Any milk I freeze right now is just a bank for when I (eventually) want to leave the house without Lark. And given the size of European freezers, there’s no way I can stock up frozen milk the way I did with Prim. Which, to be honest, we ended up purchasing a separate freezer just for breastmilk for her because I had pumped so much before returning to work.
Despite the fact that I was able to build up a pretty awesome freezer stash with Prim (I think it was somewhere in the realm of 600oz), I am not someone who excels at pumping. After having Prim, I had a Medela Pump In Style Advanced which worked fairly well while I was home on maternity leave, but returning to work and pumping was a whole other animal. Pumping at work was stressful and unfamiliar so my output was noticeably less; not to mention that I would regularly have sessions where I couldn’t get a letdown to save my life (it was as if my body was like, THIS ISN’T YOUR BABY WHAT ARE YOU DOING).
I did purchase a breast pump for use after Lark as well — the Ameda Purely Yours (called the Lactaline here in Europe), since I don’t have a converter that will work with the voltage of my Medela PISA and my insurance covered most of the cost of the Ameda. I attempted to use the Ameda a handful of times and simply could not get my body to respond to it. I started getting worried that I would have to either shell out €300 for a new European Medela pump, or I simply would never be able to leave the house without Lark during the first year (yayyyy… sobbing face)
I even started to doubt my supply, wondering whether I simply didn’t have any milk left to pump or was suffering from low supply. But given the amount of Lark’s weight gain (and the number of shirts I’m ruining on a weekly basis), I was fairly certain this wasn’t the case. I settled on the idea that my body simply doesn’t respond very well to pumping. Couple that with the fact that pumping is annoying as hell, means that my motivation to get any milk stashed for a “rainy day” was like… zero.
But then I heard about the Haakaa. I was a little skeptical that something so simple and inexpensive could actually work, but I decided to bite the bullet and try it out. I figured even if it didn’t work then at least I was only out $25.
Once the Haakaa was delivered, I sterilized it and got to reading the directions. I looked up a couple YouTube videos too, thinking that it certainly couldn’t be as simple as the directions made it out to be. (Nothing to plug in? No tiny pieces to fumble with? No PUMP? Surely this was a hoax.) I decided to put it next to my bed and test it out during one of Lark’s morning feeds, since you can use it one one side while your baby nurses on the other.
It’s certainly not going to replace a regular pump for going back to work or skipped nursing sessions, but for those of us who pump just for convenience and to build up a small stash for the occasional outing — I can’t say enough good things about the Haakaa. You suction it onto your breast and leave it there — either while your baby nurses on the other side (which is how I use it) or just by itself. It catches your letdown without any of the actual pumping action (which as any seasoned mama will tell you, IS THE WORST and is so uncomfortable.)
One of the things I’m also super excited about is that it’s so easy to travel with. KC and I are discussing going back to the US for a few weeks in a couple months, and I was sort of dreading having to drag out my Medela pump for the trip (since we would have grandparents around to potentially watch the kiddos, we might actually leave the house sans children!) The Haakaa is perfect for trips like this — I can use it once or twice a day just like I do at home and bank some milk for a day or night out, without having to pack a bulky pump with all the pieces. (Oh yeah, AND somehow find 15-20 minutes each day when one of the two kids is not attached to me or having a meltdown, which, let’s just say that those windows are rare these days.)
In case you’re curious, I use the Haakaa on one side while I nurse Lark on the other — usually during her morning feed(s). I do this once or twice a day and get roughly 50-75ml in about 10 minutes. It’s obviously not as good at draining the breast as a double electric pump, but it helps relieve some of that early morning engorgement and gives me a good amount to build up a small stash in the freezer. Not to mention that it’s so much easier and less complicated to use than any other pump I’ve tried.
*This post is not sponsored or anything, I just thought the Haakaa was so awesome I wanted to share!