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Struggling with breastfeeding - should I buy a Haakaa?

30 replies

newmum234 · 06/05/2020 21:12

I’ve been very unwell since giving birth two weeks ago, and have been in hospital for most of that time undergoing various ops and procedures. I haven’t had the energy to look after my little girl or express much milk (I’ve managed 50ml with the hospital electric pump) and am feeling horrendously guilty. Meanwhile my daughter has been at home with her dad and grandparents for the past week, feeding on formula and is thriving.

I’m due to leave hospital tomorrow and am very keen to breastfeed if it’s still an option for me. I would like to buy a pump as am not confident at all that my daughter will be able to latch or how much milk I even have. I’ve been reading good things about the Haakaa pump - would you say that is a good option for someone in my position?

Any advice would be very welcome.

OP posts:
wineandcheeseplease · 06/05/2020 21:14

I found the haakaa only useful for catching the milk from one side while feeding from the other. Not just to pump on it's own

YippieKayakOtherBuckets · 06/05/2020 21:16

Haakaa isn’t suitable for pumping significant quantities of milk. You need a hospital grade double pump. Ask if the hospital or associated infant feeding team operates a loan or hire scheme - most do.

newmum234 · 06/05/2020 21:20

If I’m not able to loan one, could anyone recommend an electric pump to buy off Amazon?

OP posts:
Wudgy · 06/05/2020 21:20

The haakaa does not stimulate the breast as pp says it just catches the milk really so if definitely recommend an electric double pump and pump regularly ( after every feed) , put her to the breast as much as possible, plenty of skin to skin and get the advice of a lactation consultant If necessary, hope all goes well and hope you are feeling better too! Dont feel guilty at all, you’re doing your absolute best for your daughter and regardless how she gets milk be it formula or breast you being healthy and well is most important!

pjani · 06/05/2020 21:20

You poor thing, sounds like a rough journey. First of all I would say it’s great your baby is thriving on formula.

I would suspect that you might have supply issues so if you really want to try and provide breastmilk I would get a hospital grade double pump and pump for at least 20 minutes every three hours all day and night. I did this as well as breastfeeding every three hours (Breastfeed, then pump) and it is unbelievably gruelling. But it did keep my supply up during the time my sleepy baby wasn’t really feeding or gaining weight and also got us through his periods of breast refusal.

Once I shifted to formula at 7 months I did wonder a bit what I’d killed myself for though... formula is fine. Good luck!

Pinkflipflop85 · 06/05/2020 21:25

I love my haaka pump. You can do more than just collect excess milk with it. There are lots of videos online that show how to use it as a pump.

When I had to pump with my first i used the medela swing.

YippieKayakOtherBuckets · 06/05/2020 21:27

Ardo Calypso or Medela Symphony - but please ask for the details of the infant feeding team first, and consider seeing a lactation consultant. It sounds like you have had a really tough time and you will need support Flowers

Pinkflipflop85 · 06/05/2020 21:31

Agree....very wise advice. Seek some support once you are home. La leche league, nct etc are still there for support and advice. Our local infant feeding team are doing regular zoom drop ins. See if your local one

Gerdticker · 06/05/2020 21:35

Hello lovely

Good for you

Just my thoughts - a good quality pump is essential if you’re going to try, but I found it was amazing how much my results varied due to other factors, nothing to do with the pump.

Some things I learned

  • the more you feed/pump the more your supply increases, so just keep trying
  • if one boob slows or stops, just switch boobs for a few mins until that one slows, then switch back, etc etc. I had to do this for hours with my hungry & huge DC!
  • when expressing, having a photo of your baby or the actual baby nearby can make a big difference to your let-down

  • keep your nipples gently cleaned after every feed/express to help prevent blocked ducts/blebs
  • lansinoh cream is super to prevent/soothe chapped nipples - use it from the start

Ask for help from knowledgeable friends or professionals as often as it takes. It can be seriously tough at the start but it sounds like you’ve got a great chance

Best of luck xx
Gerdticker · 06/05/2020 21:37

P.s I also had an Ardo Calypso Double Plus - it was excellent and very quiet (extra important at 3am!) x

mummabubs · 06/05/2020 21:42

Sorry to hear you've been unwell, equally huge congratulations on the arrival of your little one. I had DS 2.5 years ago and sadly despite trying everything and roping in all sorts of free and private support my fella never learnt to latch properly. I then made the decision to exclusively pump milk for a year (it's a very individual choice, I'm glad I did it because it was right for me at the time but it was also bloody hard and I'm not sure I'd feel able to do it again!) I had a Hakkaa but that only helped to get a small amount of excess milk. My Medela Maxi Swing saw me through all of it. I'd hugely recommend buying the "bra" that goes with it, complete game-changer as it means you can do things with your hands whilst expressing!

MrsClutterbucksbaby · 06/05/2020 21:53

Congratulations on your wee one but sorry you've had such a tough time. Breastfeeding is still very much an option but support is key if you can speak to a IBCLC or breastfeeding counsellor asap. It would also be a really good idea to call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 to discuss it. Lucy Ruddle IBCLC has a book on relactation and also did a video recently which is on the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers facebook page.
The key things are lots and lots of skin to skin with baby and just trying to get her to latch.
Triple feeding can be used to increase supply but it is very hard work. Its basically breastfeeding followed by topping up baby then pumping all within the space of about an hour. A double pump is best if possible. There are some reasonably priced ones on amazon that are actually quite good. Some mums also use supplemental feeding systems so baby is still stimulating the breast while getting their top up. Have a look at paced bottle feeding as well if you can to reduce the chance of bottle preference.

newmum234 · 07/05/2020 08:28

Thanks everyone. Feeling quite despondent and tired today and not sure I can do it Sad

OP posts:
Delbelleber · 07/05/2020 08:37

I got a hakkaa. I've not had my baby yet but if I put it on the suction helps by pulling a bead of colostrum for me to harvest which can be near impossible for me hand expressing!
You've gone through a really tough time. If you feel breastfeeding would reward you then continue with your efforts. If you feel it's too much and getting you down then maybe it's time to stop. You've tried so hard. You know your baby is doing well so don't worry about that. Time to start enjoying these early days.

YippieKayakOtherBuckets · 07/05/2020 08:40

OP, breastfeeding is great and it has many wonderful benefits - but not a single one of them is more important than your baby having a healthy, fully-recovered mum. Please give yourself a break.

onlyreadingneverposting8 · 07/05/2020 08:45

I'm a huge advocate of breastfeeding and have breastfed al my children. However, I do wonder if, having been so very unwell and having had to be away from your baby you'd be better off not putting the extra pressure on yourself to breastfeed now. Pumping is going to take considerable effort, lots of time & put a strain on your body and mind (when you've already been very ill) and I think (if I were you) I would get on with enjoying your baby and spending that time with her and your DH. Good luck whatever you decide! Le leche league has lots of info on breastfeeding and relactation if you go down that route.

FairfaxAikman · 07/05/2020 08:46

It's entirely possible to breastfeed after a gap - I did. He was formula fed for a week and combi for another week while I worked things out.

I did find nipple shields helpful as he was used to latching to a bottle but one day he decided he didn't need them anymore, batted them away and latched like a champ.

Your supply will build with the help of baby. Cluster feeding is a bitch but is a normal way to build supply, it doesn't mean your supply is low.

Just remember that what you get from a pump isn't indicative of supply- some women just don't respond to a pump - but lots of wet and dirty nappies, plus weight gain indicate you are producing enough.

Good luck

Makinglists · 07/05/2020 08:48

Please don't get down. I was determined to breast feed Ds1 we pumped, we had help from a councellor (if you do want to pump the hospital pumps are best), but it was too much for both me and the Ds1 (He lost a lot of weight). I used formula and put him to the breast for a few more weeks. 14 years later he is tall, strong and athletic. I'm happy I tried to BF but to be honest the most important thing is that you and the little one enjoy each other and if BF is causing stress don't worry about it. However you do it a fed baby is a happy baby - enjoy being a mum (before you blink they will be as tall as you and eating you out of house and home)

Bienentrinkwasser · 07/05/2020 08:53

OP I really feel like you’ve been horribly failed by your hospital. Why haven’f they been giving you all of this support and information? Have you asked for help?

As YippieKayak says, whilst breastfeeding is fantastic, having a healthy mother and any trumps this.

The door hasn’t closed but you need to be accessing the support and information, which means doing your research, contacting helplines and support groups, and, if needed, hiring an IBCLC. The Kellymom website, the breastfeeding network, and la leche league would be good places to start.

newmum234 · 07/05/2020 09:51

OP I really feel like you’ve been horribly failed by your hospital.

To be fair they have given me lots of BF advice and support but I’ve just been too ill to express much. I know it sounds silly but I’m feeling so emotional at the thought of my milk potentially drying up (though from what people have said it sounds like there may still be hope) and not being able to experience that special bonding with my daughter. I also feel down on myself for already failing to give her the very best start in life by BF instead of formula feeding.

Maybe I’m just tired and ill and over thinking things. I know I shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself as I’m still physically very weak and she’s doing well and the midwives are very happy. I just can’t seem to switch off these thoughts Sad

OP posts:
Bienentrinkwasser · 07/05/2020 10:01
Maryam18 · 07/05/2020 10:09

I'd recommend the medela freestyle double electric pump. I breastfed and expressed quite a lot and found the medela pump the best.

Don't put to much pressure on yourself as pp said, your baby doesn't care which way she is fed.

Perhaps combi feeding would be a good idea so that you can provide some breast milk and then top up with formula? Sorry to hear you are having a tough time Xx

BikeRunSki · 07/05/2020 10:43

breastfeeding is great and it has many wonderful benefits - but not a single one of them is more important than your baby having a healthy, fully-recovered mum.^

Absolutely this

Darkstar4855 · 07/05/2020 11:16

I used a Medela swing although a hospital grade pump is better if you can afford to hire or buy one. A haakaa is only really useful for catching letdown and won’t be much help you just yet.

My little boy was formula fed for his first four days as we were both too poorly to get breastfeeding established but once we got going we had no problems. I almost gave up but was glad I persevered. Lots of pumping and skin to skin whenever you can will help. 50ml is good for a first try - I never managed to get more than about 100-150mls even when I went back to work!

It’s definitely possible but do consider whether it’s worth the mental and physical effort. This is a hard time to be a mum with the lockdown etc. and there’s no shame in sticking with formula if that’s going to be the best way to help you recover and minimise stress.

Crimblecrumble1990 · 07/05/2020 12:10

Hi, I didn't manage to breastfeed as had a baby in NICU for a few weeks and then it was too stressful for me and him to try and breastfeed him when he got home. I am expressing and have hired a hospital grade pump directly from Medela - they just keep charging you the longer you keep it, it's been amazing. I've now got the Elvie as I wanted my hands free to be able to look after baby while pumping which I would recommend too.

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