Blocked milk ducts can be not only super frustrating, but also painful. If not cleared, a clogged milk duct can turn into mastitis or a breast infection. The good news it that most women can treat a blocked duct at home! Read on to learn how to clear a clogged milk duct with a Haakaa Breast Pump.
The Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump has become very popular for breastfeeding and pumping mamas over the past few years. A fantastic tool to collect extra breastmilk while breastfeeding, it also has another lesser known awesome use: you can easily clear a clogged milk duct with a Haakaa!
I struggled with clogged milk ducts on both of my breastfeeding journeys. Both times, I was able to clear a clogged milk duct with my Haakaa! I am a huge fan of this technique, and love recommending it to other new mamas to try, too!
I want to be clear that I’m not a medical professional. I’m just a mama sharing some tips about something that helped me with unclogging blocked milk ducts with both of my boys!
Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products that I personally love and believe in. Full disclaimer here.
What is a clogged or blocked milk duct?
Clogged or blocked milk ducts are hard, tender lumps that form in the milk ducts of the breast. These lumps (or clogs) prevent the flow of breast milk, and are one of the most common problems breastfeeding or pumping mamas face!
What causes a plugged duct?
Clogged milk ducts are super common, and honestly super frustrating. I navigated clog ducts multiple times on both of my breastfeeding journeys!
Clogged ducts are caused by a few different things, like:
Incorrect latch: If your baby is having trouble latching onto your breast or sucking, it can cause him to take in less milk. When milk is left behind, it can cause blockages.
Breast engorgement: It’s easy to miss or skip pumping or feeding sessions sometimes (like when your baby finally sleeps through the night and you are so exhausted you do too). However, when breast milk builds up in your breasts and you wait too long to release it, that can also cause blocked milk ducts. (This can also happen from overproduction.)
Too much pressure on your breasts: A bra or top that is too tight or has underwire while you are breastfeeding can put too much pressure on your breast tissue. This can restrict the flow of milk, leading to clogged milk ducts.
For most women, a clogged milk duct feels like a hard area in their breast that might be tender and hot to the touch. Their breast might look a little bit red in that area too. Another indicator is slower milk flow on one side, or a more painful let down.
How to Use Your Haakaa to Clear a Blocked Milk Duct
A Haakaa is a manual breast pump made of silicone. Originally created as a way for women to manually express breastmilk, Haakaa’s have exploded in popularity over the past few years.
Not only does a Haakaa make it easy to pump manually (which makes it a fantastic option to have in your diaper bag in case of an emergency), they’re also known for being wonderful at catching letdown while breastfeeding from one breast.
I personally learned about the Haakaa when a friend sent me one while I was struggling with my very first clogged milk duct. I was shocked how quickly I was able to feel relief and get my duct unclogged using it!
It’s really simple to use your Haakaa to clear a blocked milk duct. The gentle suction of the Haakaa, combined with the heat from warm water mixed with Epsom salts, can help you effectively and easily clear blocked and clogged milk ducts.
- First, fill the Haakaa with enough warm (not hot!) water to make contact with your nipple. Add 1-2 tablespoons of plain Epsom salts, like these.
- Attach your Haakaa to the affected breast for between 10-15 minutes. The combination of the Epsom salts, heat and suction will work to gently remove the clog.
- Repeat if needed every few hours for stubborn clogs.
If you’ve never attached a Haakaa to your breast before, check out this YouTube video that shows you exactly how to make sure the suction is perfect. The suction is the most important part of using your Haakaa to clear a blocked duct!
Where can I buy a Haakaa breast pump?
The Haakaa breast pump can easily be found at most large stores such as Amazon, Target, Walmart and more! The Haakaa can be found in a variety of price points and sizes. For me personally, I chose a 4oz Haakaa that came with a stopper (so I wouldn’t risk crying over spilled milk!).
You should also be able to find a Haakaa in-store at any of the above retailers or a baby supply store like Buy Buy Baby if you need one right away.
Are there any substitutes for the Haakaa?
There are multiple brands on the market that produce manual silicone breast pumps similar to the Haakaa. Be sure to do a little bit of research and read the reviews of different brands, especially when it comes to different sellers on Amazon.
Related: The Best Breastfeeding Accessories
When to see a doctor
When treated quickly and correctly, a clogged milk duct usually begins to go away within a few days. If the lump doesn’t go away within three days, gets bigger during that time, or you’re experiencing significant discomfort or you develop a fever, you need to call your doctor ASAP.
Left untreated, a clogged milk duct can turn into mastitis or a breast abscess, which is much worse and something you want to avoid.
Blocked milk ducts can be extremely stubborn, but using a Haakaa is a great way to clear a clogged milk duct!
Using a combination of the gentle suction the Haakaa is known for, combined with the warmth of the water mixed with epsom salt, should help bring you relief quickly. Let me know if this Haakaa trick helps you unclog your milk duct!