Mama, how can you increase your milk supply? Top Tips from a Midwife

Aliza Carr is a midwife and mental health specialist, who founded the online platform Bumpnbub to educate, support and connect new parents.

Hello lovelies, I absolutely love being a part of the Haakaa family! A group of incredibly supportive women encouraging each other just to do their best, as that is enough.

I’d like to start with this extremely accurate quote:

“Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day.” - La Leche League.

Breastfeeding can come with its fair share of challenges, so it’s important to have the knowledge to help overcome some of these. Grab a cup of tea and read below for some of my top tips that can help with your milk supply:

1. Has baby attached correctly?

The crucial first step! Is there pain when your baby feeds? Do you still feel like your breasts are full even after your baby has finished feeding? Does your babe get an upset stomach and lots of gas (sucking air as opposed to breast tissue)? Is bub putting on weight each week? If you are unsure of these answers, please check with your midwife or a lactation consultant.

2. Supply and Demand

Breastmilk works based on supply and demand, meaning the more milk you extract, the more milk your body creates. The number one tip to produce more milk is to pump or feed more frequently. Try to feed your baby every 3-4 hours, especially in those early months. If bub is not interested, try pumping after a feed to stimulate further milk production. The more milk you extract, the more you will make. Ensure your baby is draining one breast completely, before offering the next one. Always offer both breasts if you feel your supply is low. 

SO many of you (and Mamas all over the world) are obsessed with the Haakaa Breast Pump - and I can understand why. Everything Haakaa does is so incredible!

The Haakaa pump requires no electricity, no cords, makes no noise and fits in your handbag. It’s also made of 100% silicone, so it’s completely non-toxic (yay for no plastic and sustainability)!

The pump attaches purely with suction and can be used (left on) to completely drain and pump the breast. It can also be used simply to catch the let-down reflex from the opposite breast to which you’re feeding on - so much saved milk! Magic.


3. Hydration and Nutrition

Mama, aim to drink about 3 litres of water per day. Think of it like this - your body needs fluid in order to make fluid. Try to eat hydrating, healthy foods - fuel your body the best you can. Your body is using extra energy and calories to create milk for your baby, so remember to nourish your body as much as you possibly can. Another way to optimize hydration is by drinking electrolyte filled drinks, such as coconut water.

4. Skin to skin with your baby

Our bodies know to start producing milk when our baby is close, which is incredible! Lying with your naked baby on your bare chest is a great milk stimulator. Skin to skin also helps your body to create those beautiful milk-making hormones, as well as promoting bonding for you both! Remember, we are all just mammals at the end of the day.

5. Let-down reflex!
Did you know the calmer you are, the easier your ‘let-down reflex’ will kick in? Find yourself a calm space, take some deep breaths, play relaxing music if you need - anything that helps your milk let-down reflex. If you are not physically with your baby and need to pump, look at videos or images of your bub. This will help your body know what to do.

Self-care also plays a big part - of course this can be very difficult with a newborn baby, but if you can take 10-15 minutes for yourself each day, this will positively impact your mental wellness and milk stimulation.

6. Galactagogues foods

These are ingredients and foods that can help to increase your milk supply and have been used for hundreds of years to do so. These can be whole foods such as leafy greens, wholegrains and nuts and seeds. There are also some amazing lactation products like teas and cookies that women swear by!  

7. Lactation Consultant

Do not hesitate to see a lactation consultant! No matter where you are in your feeding journey, you are not a failure. Remember to listen to your body and be kind to yourself mama’s - your baby adores you no matter what. A fed baby is the best baby.

Connect with us on Instagram and let us know if you have any other amazing tips that worked well for you!

Aliza Carr,

@bumpnbub

Majit Himel
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How do I stop using single-use plastic?

Plastic - it’s an incredibly popular material that we use in almost every product we touch due to how cheap and versatile it is. Single-use plastics are especially common – these are items that are made for temporary use before they are disposed of. They include plastic straws, bags, bottles, cutlery and food containers, most (if not all) of which we are quite familiar with in our busy day-to-day lives!

Despite their convenience, our extensive use of plastic comes with harsh consequences. Did you know that less than 10% of plastics are recycled? 12% is incinerated and 79% of plastics go straight to landfill! Plastic waste takes thousands of years to decompose, which leads to devastating impacts on the environment, affecting the future of the planet for our young ones. Furthermore, plastic that pollutes our soil and water has been proven to disrupt our endocrine system, which is incredibly harmful to human health – particularly during the vital, early developmental stages of a child.

It is essential we change our habits now for the good of our future generations. There are many affordable, plastic-free options that you can explore to reduce wastage from single-use plastics for the benefit of yourself, your baby and the planet. This was the vision Haakaa was founded on, so we’d like to share our tips and eco-friendly product solutions to help you move towards a sustainable future.  

What Are Some Alternatives to Plastic Straws?

Plastic straws are one of the biggest culprits in creating plastic waste that pollutes our beaches and oceans, with more than half a billion being used every day around the world. Many businesses are taking action to counter this, with big names such as Starbucks, McDonald’s and Hyatt looking to phase out their use of plastic straws over the coming years.

If you want to cut down on single-use plastic straws, Stainless Steel Straws offer a fantastic alternative that can be used by both adults and kids alike, time and time again. Because they are incredibly durable, they are also super safe! To clean, simply use the brush that comes with the product and put the straw into the dishwasher. Our Stainless Steel Straws also come with an easy-carry bag, making them portable and convenient for when you’re on the go.

Silicone Straws are another convenient, eco-friendly option to replace plastic straws. Their fun, bright colours and soft bendy silicone make them perfect for children’s mouths! You can take apart our detachable Silicone Straws to get a short, straight straw or put them together to get a long, curved straw.


Which Food Containers and Lunchboxes Are Safe to Use?

Scientific studies have shown that chemicals are still able to enter food stored in plastic containers or bags, especially when they are heated. This is particularly worrying combined with the knowledge there is a lack of regulation concerning the chemicals used in plastic food containers, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To protect our young ones and reduce our impact on the planet, we suggest using alternative reusable materials to store your food such as silicone, glass or stainless steel. At Haakaa, we have created the 100% food grade Silicone Breast Milk and Food Containers, which are a fantastic eco-friendly product for storing food and freezing breast milk. You can also safely reheat these in the microwave without any harmful chemicals leaching into the nutritious food you’ll be feeding your child.

We also have the Silicone Collapsible Food Storage Container which not only safely stores food and leftovers but also collapses down flat for convenient storage and packing! When making lunches for kids on the go, you can use the Silicone Food Container – 2 Compartment Lunchbox. These silicone food containers are heat and freeze-resistant, dishwasher and microwave safe and keep your food contamination-free.


How Can I Stop Using Plastic Cups?

The world uses 500 billion plastic cups a year. A single plastic cup takes 50-80 years to decompose. Like plastic drink bottles, plastic cups can also leach chemicals into what we drink when reused. These alarming facts all show that we must find a reusable alternative to plastic cups – however, it can be challenging to find an option that is not only safe and eco-friendly but easy for toddlers to use as well!

This is where Haakaa’s Stainless Steel Cups come in. Our stainless steel is durable and virtually drop-proof, but is still light enough for your toddler to hold. These are a great way to start teaching your child how to drink from a cup! They also come with a neoprene sleeve that makes them easy to grip and a drawstring & toggle for convenient packing.

Top Tip: Multi-purpose this product by using our Silicone Sippy Top and Stainless Steel Straws to turn it into an environmentally-friendly sippy cup - perfect for younger kids transitioning from bottle to cup!

Are Reusable Plastic Bottles Safe?

As a busy mama, it’s vitally important to stay hydrated whether you’re at work, on the go or at home taking care of your little ones. Choosing the right reusable bottle for yourself can be a tough decision. Which material is best? How much should I spend? How long will it last?

Plastic bottles are often popular because they are affordable and light to carry. However, many reusable plastic bottles contain toxic chemicals that over time can leach into the water you drink! Other options like glass can be heavy to carry and easily break. What else is left?

Metal bottles like the Thermal Stainless Steel Drink Bottle are a fantastic choice for environmentally conscious shoppers. These bottles are 100% non-toxic, durable yet lightweight, leak-proof and great for both your health and the planet! The wide neck for drinking makes it easy to stay hydrated, and they keep liquids hot or cold for up to 6 hours. They are perfect for when you’re on the move and need to keep things at a particular temperature.


Fortunately, in recent years we have been seeing a growing trend of people shifting towards the use of environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic. The amount of plastic waste we produce during our lifetime is tremendous, so it is incredibly vital that we try to reduce our usage as much as we can. By taking action now and moving towards an eco-friendly lifestyle, we can help preserve the planet for the futures of our little ones!

Majit Himel
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Reading to your baby

Reading to your baby creates some of the most cherished first memories for your child. Not only does it promote the development of your baby’s brain, but it also helps to create a stronger bond between you and your bub! Because we at Haakaa want to see both you and your baby flourish, we’ve answered some common questions mamas might have about reading to your little ones.

Why should I read to my baby?

As well as creating a closer bonding experience between you and your baby, reading can also become an activity that you two share across the rest of their childhood. It promotes your bub’s brain development, even if they can’t understand what you’re saying yet! It also establishes memory, listening and vocabulary skills, which teaches your baby about communication so they become better at it later on in their lives. While your baby listens to the different emotions and expressive sounds you make as you read, they also further their social and emotional development. By reading, you’re basically helping them set up their people skills for the rest of their lives!

The more you read to your baby, the better they learn the sounds they need to speak. More sounds learned means they can eventually pick up and understand more words, which leads to a better ability to talk – and we all know how eager we are to hear our little ones babble out those first words! Reading can also help with your child’s learning and education later on. It introduces important concepts like letters, numbers, colours and shapes in a fun and engaging manner, and lets babies learn more about the world around them.

Finally, reading nursery rhymes and singing lullabies is a time-old method for soothing your infant – and for a good reason! Your bub enjoys the sound of your voice, especially when it’s combined with cuddling up to you. If your baby is having difficulty falling asleep, there’s no better remedy than swaddling them close and reading them a sweet bedtime story to make them feel safe, warm and connected to you.

When should I start reading to my baby?

Although it might not make much sense, there are a lot of benefits to reading to your bub even before they can understand what you’re saying. The main point of reading to babies from birth up to six months is for them to listen to the tone of your voice while being in your arms. If they get bored, you can stop reading and take a break – you don’t have to finish the book every time! The most important thing is to help them to build a positive association with the routine of reading.

You might even want to read to your baby every day. It’s best to do so when you know your baby is fed, alert and has a clean nappy. By making sure they’re happy and comfortable, they’ll continue building these positive associations with reading. You can also try reading right before they sleep, which will establish a routine and soon make reading a soothing activity for your child. It offers an easy way to calm them down before putting them to bed so you can get some rest for yourself!

What kind of books should I read to my baby?

When you start to read to your baby, up to the age of 6 months, you should begin with choosing books that have little or no text with big and bright pictures. Some good ideas can include interactive books, such as those with different textures and flaps, to help promote your child’s sensory development as well as their visual development. Books with familiar, repetitive or rhyming text are also appealing to your baby during this stage.

As your baby grows between the age of 6-12 months, your baby will start learning that pictures represent things in real life. They might show signs that they like specific pictures, pages or stories more than others, and respond to you reading by grabbing the book or making different sounds. Try acting out the story with your face, hands and voice to keep them engaged and build their social skills. If you’re lucky, your baby may even start to understand some of the words being read to them – important and meaningful words like “mummy”, “daddy” and “milk”!

After their first birthday, your baby might start interacting with the book more by pointing at or touching objects on the page, turning the pages themselves and repeating what you read. You can engage them even more by asking them questions about the story where they have to point to the answer, to help build their comprehension abilities. If they can’t respond, don’t worry! You can answer for them, and help them develop the foundations for verbal responses. Later on, they may even be able to answer by themselves with a word. Your child might ask for the same book over and over again – although it may get repetitive and boring for you, to them, the familiarity is reassuring and calming. Plus, it helps them to remember the words you’re reading to them.

After their second birthday, your toddler might be ready for normal children’s books with an engaging plot. You can ask them things like what they think will happen next, or how certain characters might feel – make them feel a connection between the book and their own life! You can also even try reading them non-fiction stories to help them figure out how the vast world works.

Reading is a great way to connect with your baby and offers them so much in terms of helping them prepare for the later stages of their life. We hope that our tips for reading help to strengthen your bond together, and that you can set your little ones up to be avid readers so you can live out your own happily-ever-afters!

Majit Himel
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Travelling With Your Baby

After nine long months, your baby has finally come into the world. It might be a few months or even a year before you finally find the time to take a well-deserved vacation with your little one. Travelling with a baby may seem slightly more daunting than when you didn’t have a little person to watch over 24/7, but this does not mean it has to be an exhausting experience! Here is our guide to travelling with your baby so you can create some beautiful memories together while you’re on holiday.

How do I prepare for travelling with my baby?

First things first, the health of your baby is always going to be your number one priority, no matter where you are. Be sure to check with a doctor before you travel, to see if your child needs any particular immunisations and such for where you’re going. Doctors will most likely recommend that you wait until your baby’s immune system is more developed before travelling. If you are unsure about whether your baby is fit for the journey, always ask for medical advice first.

If you are travelling via plane/rail/sea, be sure to check with your carrier for their specific rules and policies about travelling with infants and toddlers. They may ask you to provide your own car seat for your child’s safety, or they may provide amenities for you to use – it will vary from company to company, so double check because you don’t want to carry less or more than you need.

Travel insurance is also essential when you’re venturing out with your baby – you never know what might happen. It’s much better to have that extra reassurance, so find a company that provides coverage for any of your potential concerns.

What should I bring when travelling with a baby? 

When you’ve got a baby, your baby’s bag and your own personal luggage to carry, your hands can be too full to do anything else! The best thing to do when thinking about what your child might need on the trip is to keep things simple so you can pack as light as possible. For example, you don’t have to pack a whole stock of diapers and wipes – just bring enough for the journey there based on the time it’ll take, and once you’ve arrived, you can buy them at your destination for the duration of your stay.

One thing you might want to consider is bringing an extra set of clothes in your carry-on for any accidents(!) that might happen during your journey to your destination – for both baby and parent. Other carry-on essentials include easy-to-carry toys to entertain your child so they don’t get too bored and grumpy, snacks for babies that have started solids, a baby blanket for sleeping and a spare trash bag those emergencies.

Because of some strict security regulations – particularly for flying – bringing enough milk for your baby during the journey can be difficult. Our Generation 3 Silicone Breast Pump is perfect for pumping mothers on-the-go. As a manual pump that relies on the power of natural suction, it is absolutely silent compared to noisy electric pumps. This allows for discreet pumping during those long journeys. Once you have finished expressing, swap the top to the Silicone Bottle Anti-Colic Nipple and feed your baby! Alternatively, pop on the Silicone Breast Pump Cap to protect your liquid gold from spilling out in times of turbulence and keep it for later on in the journey. You can also use it when you’ve arrived at your destination to express milk while out and about with your bub. It is an absolute lifesaver when travelling!


Of course, during the journey, you’ll need to take care of yourself as well. It is vital to stay hydrated no matter where you are, but it is particularly important in environments such as planes where the air is incredibly dry. Bring a water bottle – like our Thermal Stainless Steel Drink Bottle – so you can keep sipping throughout your journey. (If flying, you can fill up your bottle at the terminal or on the plane itself.)

We also recommend that you bring our Nanosilver Silicone Dummy for travelling with your bub when they want something to suck on. Silver is known for killing germs and being naturally anti-bacterial, and the microscopic silver fragments in this silicone dummy do exactly just that – maintaining cleanliness of up to 99.9%! This makes it perfect for when you’re travelling on a carrier with many other people, which can cause germs and other nasties to spread easily. It’s also great to give your baby during plane take-offs and landings, when the changes in air pressure can cause discomfort. Since babies can’t swallow or yawn to relieve the pressure, giving them this to suck on is one way to help them cope.

If you’re taking a dummy or teether for your baby with you, it might also be a wise idea to bring a Dummy and Teether Holder. This holder prevents your baby from losing anything attached if they decide to drop it or throw it away for no good reason! This will be particularly useful if you’re in an unfamiliar destination and can’t retrace your steps, leaving your baby’s teether or pacifier gone forever.


Trying to keep up with feeding your baby solids while out and about can be tricky – you have to bring separate food containers, spoons and things to clean up after your baby’s messy eating. That’s all too much to deal with on a relaxing vacation! At Haakaa, we have created the Silicone Baby Food Dispensing Spoon to solve these issues while you’re away from home. Just fill the tube with baby food that you’ve brought with you or purchased locally and keep it in your bag until its time to feed your baby. The leak-proof seal will prevent any potential messes while carrying it around.


Other things to think about putting in your checked luggage include baby clothes and shoes, medical supplies (medicines, creams, sunscreen, bandages), jarred/canned baby food and a portable crib. We hope this guide has helped you prepare for travelling with your new bub – go out there and make some fantastic first memories together!

Majit Himel
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Preparing for the Fourth Trimester: Talking about the 12 weeks after birth

Aliza Carr is a midwife and mental health specialist, who founded the online platform Bumpnbub to educate, support and connect new parents.

We typically segment pregnancy into three trimesters, but today we want to chat about the period of time after you've given birth - "the fourth trimester." As a midwife, I believe that being prepared for your little one's arrival has a direct link to better coping with the life transition that follows after your beautiful baby is born. 

Bleeding 

After birth, it is normal to bleed (this is called lochia) for up to 4-6 weeks (though bleeding is generally less with a C-section). During the first 3-5 days, your bleeding will be heaviest as your uterus contracts a lot. Your midwife or obstetrician will monitor your blood loss, but if you are ever worried, always ask to be checked. Bleeding generally lightens after 1-2 weeks. Be sure to change your pad regularly to minimise the chances of any infections. 

Your Body

When your baby is fully grown, the uterus stretches from a closed fist-size to the size of a fully grown baby. Once bub is born, the uterus contracts back to its pre-baby size over the course of about six weeks. However, a lot of this contracting is done in the first 24-48 hours after birth. You will notice when you breastfeed or pump that your uterus contracts and you feel 'contraction' pain again. Try a warm heat pack during this time as it can help with those strong afterbirth pains. 

Learning to Breastfeed 

If you choose to breastfeed or pump, you may experience tender breasts while your milk comes in. Generally, for the first three days after birth, you will have colostrum - otherwise known as 'liquid gold'. This is thick, yellow-coloured milk, and is incredible for your baby as it is very nutrient-dense and houses all of your antibodies. Between days 3-5 your milk usually comes in. You may find that your baby is frantically feeding on day/night 3 because they are letting your body know they are ready for your milk!

Often Mamas wake up feeling a bit flu-like, with full breasts - all sure signs your milk is in! 

Breastfeeding is a LEARNT skill for you and your baby. Although it is natural, it is not always easy. You and your baby will find your rhythm. If you need help, remember there is ALWAYS help available. A lactation consultant or midwife can assist you - don't be afraid to ask. There are also products that can assist in helping you on your feeding journey such as the Haakaa Nipple Shields and Nipple Aspirators.


Some essential tips for the early days of breastfeeding are: stay hydrated and well-nourished, feed on demand if breastfeeding, skin-to-skin is amazing and rest as much as possible. 

Sleep Deprivation + Hormones

What a combo, hey mama!

Be sure to get rest and sleep when you can. If possible, nap when your baby naps - everything else can wait. If you find your baby isn't settling and you can't even take a shower, try babywearing or swaddling your little one nice and tight. This can give you some much-needed nap time, while baby feels snug and secure. 

Remember mama - you have just given birth, you are producing milk and feeding your baby, all while trying to recover (with a lack of sleep). Talk about an emotional ride! 

Take the time to know and understand your emotions, as a new baby can bring up a huge amount of emotional turbulence for you. Sit with it, acknowledge it and work through it without dismissal.

Baby blues are very common for new mothers. However, it is important for you and your partner to be aware of baby blues progressing into something more. Postnatal depression is a very real and serious issue. If you feel that you may be experiencing this, or any other perinatal mental health issues, speak up. Tell your partner, and book in to discuss this with your GP as soon as possible. 

Your Village 

We all know the quote "It takes a village to raise a child". Nothing could be more accurate than that. Build your community during pregnancy, if not before. Knowing other pregnant mamas or women who have babies is so valuable and important. Having someone to message at 3AM when your baby is nursing and you are exhausted and overwhelmed can be a lifesaver. If you can, try to schedule a daily outing once you are physically able - this will help your mental health enormously. 

You've got this, mama. When it gets too hard, don't be afraid to ask your partner, friends and family for help. Don't be afraid to rest and accept the help of a family member who's offering to cook or clean. Welcome all of the support with open arms. You will be so glad you did! 

Connect with us on Instagram and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. 

Majit Himel
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The Importance of Self-Care for Mamas

Being a mama is tiring; there’s no doubt about it! You’re always busy, and there seems to be a never-ending list of things that need to be taken care of. Your mind is constantly swirling with thoughts and questions you ask yourself: When did I last change the baby’s nappy? Has the laundry finished yet? What should I make for dinner tonight? Am I a good enough mother?

Life can be hectic, but it’s important to take a moment for yourself every once in a while. Breathe. Let yourself recover with some proper self-care so you get back to tackling the challenges of motherhood feeling recharged. Here’s our blog on how important self-care is for busy mamas, and our top tips to help you practice it!

What is self-care?

People often think self-care is about pampering yourself by going to the spa, having an indulgent meal, buying something luxurious for yourself, and so on. While all these can be forms of self-care, they do not wholly define what it encompasses!

Self-care refers to anything we do with the intention of taking care of our mental, emotional and physical health. More importantly, meaningful self-care is a daily commitment to ourselves so that we can be mentally, emotionally and physically ready to take on the unexpected challenges motherhood throws at us.

Why should I practice self-care?

Many mothers don’t prioritise themselves enough. They often put the baby, then other family members first, and then themselves at the very bottom of the list. Mama, you’re the one running the show – it’s essential to take care of yourself too! You can’t leave your body running on empty, with brain fog from the lack of sleep, and expect to have enough energy to do everything you need to for the day. Show yourself the same love and care you give your little one. 🥰

Self-care lets you put yourself in a better position for your duties and role as a mother. If you’re taking proper care of yourself, you will find that you will have more energy to fulfil your mama duties as best you can!

How can I be a happier mother?

There’s so much about being a mother that makes the whole journey worth it. Nothing makes our hearts fuller than watching our bubs grow up to be their own little people! However, because motherhood is so complicated, there are little things here and there within ourselves that can hinder how fulfilled we are.

You might feel guilty about spending time doing things for yourself when you consider what else you could have accomplished during that time. This is a totally natural mama instinct, but it can hold back your self-care. Try your best to ignore the guilt, because it’s actually necessary for you to spend the time taking care of yourself so that you can properly accomplish the tasks you need to take care of your little one.

Another way to be happier is to stop comparing yourself to other mothers that you might see. Just as every child is different, so is every mother’s journey. Things don’t always go smoothly, and everyone is bound to have their ups and downs – even if they don’t always show it. You don’t have to feed your tot gourmet, free-range organic baby food every day and buy them the most extravagant, expensive toys to be the perfect mum. As long as you are trying your best, you are doing enough.

How do I make time for myself as a mother?

A good way to organise your week so you can make time for yourself is to create a calendar or a schedule that reminds you when to practice self-care. Not only will this help you manage your time and keep on top of things, but it will also give you something to look forward to as well.

If you simply can’t free up any time because you’re doing so much, know that it’s okay to ask and accept help from others. If you have a partner, rotate child duties with them. You can also ask a family member or close friend to lend a helping hand now and then while you rest, or even get a babysitter you trust. Having your own personal time is important, so really try to find a way to make the time for yourself!

How can I practice self-care as a mother?
  1. You’ve probably heard this time and time again, but exercising is an excellent form of self-care. You don’t have to go hard on the machines at the gym. Just do whichever kind of exercise you enjoy the most, whether it’s taking a yoga class, doing tai chi, or going for a run. It’s great not only for our bodies to move around but our mental health as well.
  2. Feed yourself with healthy eating and drink plenty of water. It’s important that you get the right fuel to tackle each day! When you cook, focus on nourishing your body with whole foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. If you struggle to find the time to cook balanced meals every day, you could set some time aside at the beginning of each week to meal prep in advance.
  3. If you haven’t already, start a journal. This is a safe space for you to pour out your feelings and express your emotions. Write about what you’re grateful to have in this life so that you can remind yourself later on when you’re having a rough day.
  4. Go on a walk and practice mindfulness. No need to bring your phone – just focus on being in the present and being in tune with your body. How does the ground below you feel? What sounds can you hear around you? How does the breeze feel against your skin? Research suggests that practising mindfulness helps to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression.
  5. Create! Whether it’s drawing, painting, writing or crafting, a creative outlet is a great way to practice self-care. It’s a fun way of expressing your thoughts and feelings, and allows you to hone your artistic talents as well. Creating also helps to boost your self-esteem because it inspires you to reach new levels of skill, which gives you a sense of fulfilment and achievement.
  6. Do a digital detox. Stop checking your phone and social media so you can get some peace and quiet from the hustle and bustle of digital disruptions. Although it might seem almost impossible in this day and age, staying away from our technological devices can do so much good for our mental health as it allows us to focus on the good things around us.

Mama, you do so many amazing things every day during motherhood, so don’t forget to look after yourself as well as your little one. We hope our self-care tips can help you improve your wellbeing while you watch your child grow up.

Majit Himel
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Which Haakaa Pump is best for me?

Which Haakaa Pump is best for me? 

So you're going to be a mum! Welcome to the most beautiful, exciting, life-changing journey you'll ever experience. Congratulations, lovely!

It probably won't take long for you to realise just how bombarded with choices you are, and preparing for bub's arrival can become somewhat overwhelming… there are SO many decisions to make. One of those decisions is "Which breast pump should I choose to use?"

You may have seen that there are three generations of Haakaa pumps plus a Milk Collector. Each has its advantages, but how can you be sure about which one is right for you? Don't worry, mama! We're here to break it down for you and hopefully make your choice an easy one!


Any questions?

We hope this information helps – but if you have you have any questions at all, or would like to chat more about which Haakaa pump might best suit your needs.

Majit Himel
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Early Signs of Pregnancy - Could you be expecting?

Aliza Carr is a midwife and mental health specialist, who founded the online platform Bumpnbub to educate, support and connect new parents.

Here are some common early indications of a bun in the oven – AKA pregnancy! Some women experience symptoms as early as one week after conception, while others may only experience these after a few weeks, or even months! It's important that you know what to look out for. If you are trying, you may be hyper-aware of everything in your body. If this baby is a surprise, you may only notice once symptoms start!

Exhaustion

Pregnancy fatigue is so real - and it can be tough to manage when you need to go about your day-to-day life. Generally speaking, most women tend to feel completely exhausted all the time during the first trimester. Your body is working in overdrive to develop and nurture your baby - what a job! Did you know that in the first trimester, all your baby's essential organs are formed? No wonder you're feeling tired, mama!

Tip: If you're able to take a 10-minute timeout, take some deep breaths and sip on a hydrating drink - coconut water is excellent! 

No period?

A missed period is generally one of the very first signs you might be pregnant. Your period won't return during your pregnancy, as when a woman is pregnant, she does not continue to ovulate. For some women with irregular cycles, they might be used to experiencing delayed and infrequent periods which can make this symptom a bit tricky to identify. We recommend that if this is the case, it might be time to pull out that pregnancy test!

Sensitive breasts 

Your breasts may feel extremely tender or even bruised and painful. Why are my breasts so sore? It's because when you become pregnant, your body produces higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone, the hormones that help make your pregnancy possible. These hormones prepare your breasts for nursing – and they can also make them sore and sensitive, just as they are around your period. 

Nausea

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, or morning sickness (actually all-day sickness) can be a terrible experience for many expectant mothers. 1-3% of women face excessive vomiting and nausea, often leading to hospitalisation. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum - the most severe form of morning sickness.

For mothers with regular morning sickness, here are some popular tips that women find to be effective:

  • Ginger (even the smell can help with nausea)
  • Peppermint (tea/sweets)
  • Bedside water and crackers (to eat as soon as you wake, as often having an empty tummy causes nausea to worsen)
  • Lemons (a squeeze in water)
  • Breathing exercises 
  • Take prenatal vitamins with food
  • Eat frequent small meals (keeping food in the stomach throughout the day can assist with reducing nausea)
  • Prescribed medications (if you cannot keep food and fluids down, please seek medical help)

Cramping 

Another indicator of pregnancy is cramping that seems to come and go, which is unusual at this point in your cycle. This could be implantation cramping - an early sign of pregnancy. This generally occurs 12-16 days after ovulation and might be coupled with light spotting ranging in colour from peach to pink, to red. This is known as implantation spotting. It happens when the egg and sperm, which have conjoined into a blastocyst, burrow deep into the uterine lining to prepare for that sweet baby to grow. Some women can mistake spotting as their period coming, so this is an important symptom to remember.

Mood Changes 

Are you feeling up and down emotionally? This is very normal and is due to the hormonal fluctuations occurring in your body. It's a very common sign of early pregnancy - be kind to yourself during this time!

Food Cravings 

This one may affect you more later on in pregnancy. An old wives' tale says that if you crave sweets, like chocolate, it is said you will have a girl. If you are more inclined to salty flavours, it is believed you will have a boy. Ooh, what's bub going to be, mama?

Smells!

You may find some smells that you used to love - like your favourite perfume - all of a sudden makes you feel nauseous. 

Pregnancy has all sorts of symptoms and signs, but our bodies are incredible in the way that they tell us something is different. If you think you might be pregnant, the best thing to do is take an early pregnancy test and/or pay a visit to your midwife or doctor to arrange for a blood screening to confirm pregnancy. Early care is so important, so be sure not to wait! 

Majit Himel
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Getting Through Lockdown

Motherhood is certainly challenging as it is – and being in a country that’s locked down doesn’t help either! It’s a period filled with worry and uncertainty for everyone, but most especially for our children who might not fully understand everything that’s happening. Being stuck at home under such strict rules might be daunting for many mamas, especially as you might have more tasks to juggle than ever. At Haakaa, we want to tell you that you’re not alone during this time and that our community of mothers and women will always be here to support you. Here are some of our tips to help you keep your little ones calm and content for the rest of this time of unpredictability. Hopefully this will make things just a little bit easier to cope with as we get through things together. 💖

How do I keep my children happy during the lockdown? 

Now that your regular schedules have been completely turned upside down, it might be a good idea to set up new routines for your children to keep to. This lets them know what to expect during a period where everything else seems to uncertain, creating a sense of calm and stability at home. It’ll also allow you to organise your days so that you have time to keep your little ones company, as well as your own personal time – whether that’s for work, home duties or self-care.

What can I do with my kids while self-isolating? 

Being forced to stay at home might feel restricting, but it can be turned into a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the newfound time you and your children now share. There are so many ideas in terms of activities you can do together! Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Be creative. Children have some of the most amazing imaginations, so you might as well nurture their creativity! Not only do creative activities make for fantastic bonding experiences between you and your child, but it also helps to build their cognitive skills. One thing you could try is drawing or painting, which can be fun for both children adults alike. Maybe you and your little one can create a new masterpiece together to brighten up your home? Another option might be to write a story together. Think of some ideas, lay out your setting, create your characters and let the events unfold. When you’ve finished, you can add illustrations, a title, a cover and print it out. Put it on the bookshelf and encourage your little one to read it to you, or share it with your family and friends to keep them entertained while they're in their own homes too.

  2. Enjoy some music together. You could play some rhythm games with your child, or find a sing-along video online. You might even have a pyjama dance party in your living room! Whatever it is, there are so many ways to have fun and bond while listening to music with your little one.

  3. Let your children join you in the kitchen as you’re cooking or baking. Kids love having a hands-on involvement in things! Get them to help you out with measuring or preparing ingredients, and let them just enjoy being in the kitchen. You can even use this as an opportunity to teach them about healthy eating and creating nutritional food! Just make sure they are kept safe away from anything dangerous and always supervise them.

  4. Just because there’s no school anymore doesn’t mean that your kids have to stop learning! There are so many fun things you can do at home with your kids to help them discover more about the world around them. There are educational videos that you can watch together on YouTube, nature and wildlife documentaries you can stream online, or you could find some exciting science experiments to do – such as making an erupting model volcano!

  5. If your kids can’t keep still, you might think about taking them outside for some exercise. Remember to stick to your local area, and not to stray too far out from your home. A walk can be a great idea as it not only helps our bodies to stay active, but it benefits our mental health too. It’s also great fun for the kids to find at all the teddy bears displayed around your neighbourhood!

The lockdown has been a difficult time for all of us, but we’ll get through it together. Be kind, show empathy. This sudden change in day-to-day life can be a scary time for many children who have never experienced anything like this before. You don’t have to be the perfect parent – as long as you are there for your children, to reassure and comfort them, that is enough!

Majit Himel
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Caring For Your Breasts While Breastfeeding

Congratulations! You’ve given birth to a beautiful baby after what has felt like a very long and exhausting pregnancy. It is vital that you take care of your body as you undergo the journey of motherhood – especially if you are breastfeeding your little one! We at Haakaa have compiled this guide to help those mamas – particularly first-time ones – look after their adjusting postpartum bodies and milk supply so they can better care for their young ones.

How do my breasts change after I start breastfeeding?

It’s normal for breasts to become larger and feel heavier during the first few days after birth. You may experience warmth, tenderness or throbbing, and your breasts and nipples will feel harder to touch. This is called engorgement and occurs as a result of an increased blood supply being directed to your breasts, to help your body to produce milk. To help reduce engorgement, you might want to empty your breasts through feeding or pumping. You can use a warm washcloth to soften the breast if it is too hard before your child latches on for feeding. You may also apply a cold compress once you have finished feeding to reduce inflammation and pain.

Top tip: The Haakaa Generation 3 Silicone Breast Pump is super handy for those looking to express milk to help reduce engorgement, without having to wake up your bub for a feed. Our Generation 3 Pump allows you to express directly into a detachable silicone container which you can then use as a baby bottle when the time for feeding does come around! Simply twist off the breast pump flange and switch to the Anti-Colic Nipple to feed your bub your expressed milk when you’re ready.

When you start breastfeeding, your nipples grow larger and become more sensitive. This can create new and strange sensations, especially for first-time mothers, when your baby starts feeding from them. Breastfeeding sessions can take a long time (up to one hour!), and your baby may feed up to 13 times a day. As a result, it is not uncommon for your nipples to feel sore when you start breastfeeding! Your body should soon become accustomed to this within the first few weeks. If the nipple soreness continues for a prolonged period, this may be an indication of feeding incorrectly – perhaps your baby is not latching on properly or is in an incorrect position for feeding. If the nipples start to crack, bleed or are unbearably sore, seek professional advice from a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding specialist.

How do I treat sore and dry nipples from breastfeeding?

Sore and dry nipples are prevalent amongst all mamas when breastfeeding and there’s absolutely no shame in it at all! To take care of irritated or dry nipples after feeding, make sure you let them air-dry or dab at them gently with a towel. You can rub a few drops of your own breast milk onto your nipples for relief, or alternatively, use an ultra-pure lanolin nipple cream. These creams moisturise, soothe and promote healing of the nipple. It is completely harmless for the baby as well, making it ultra-safe to use. When washing yourself, be sure only to use warm water to keep the breasts and nipples clean – do not use soap. This is because the little bumps on the areolae, called the Montgomery glands, release natural oils to keep the nipple and areola clean & moisturised. Using soaps will strip these beneficial oils away.

How do I unclog a plugged milk duct?

Plugged milk ducts may also occur during the period of breastfeeding. These can arise if the breast is not emptied entirely after feeding, and will cause painful lumps. Sometimes your baby may finish feeding before your breast is empty, which is fine! In this case you can use a pump to get the remaining breast milk out and save it for later. If you do get plugged milk ducts and painful lumps, you can try to unplug the ducts by massaging or gently squeezing the breast. You should not wear any tight bras or tops as they can put too much pressure on your breasts.

What can I do to relieve mastitis?

Mastitis is an infection that can come from a clogged milk duct or bacteria entering the breast. It will cause your breast to become sore and you to have flu-like symptoms. If unfortunately, you do get mastitis, you should consult a doctor who can prescribe you antibiotics. It is also important during this time to keep breastfeeding your child to empty the breast, which can help the healing process. Use a warm compress before feeding to assist milk flow and a cold compress afterwards to soothe the breast.

How do I stop my breasts from leaking?

A lot of mothers may experience leaking breasts and unwanted let-down when they are not feeding or pumping. When this happens, many opt to use nursing pads to catch any potential leaks as they are absorbent yet discreet. It is essential to change these nursing pads often, as when they become damp, they can create an environment for yeast and fungal infections to grow, which can cause thrush and other conditions.


How can my baby latch if I have flat or inverted nipples?

There may also be a proportion of mothers with flat or inverted nipples. Fortunately, this does not affect your ability to supply milk, but it can make it more difficult for the baby to latch. Fear not! While you can try to compress your areola while feeding to help your baby, another solution is to use our Silicone Inverted Nipple Aspirator. This will gently pull your nipple outwards using the natural power of suction before feeding, making it less of a struggle for your baby to latch on. 

How can I prevent issues when breastfeeding?

One of the most important things to do to prevent issues when breastfeeding is to make sure the baby is latching on correctly. You can help them by aiming the nipple towards the roof of the mouth when latching, which will allow them to get as much of the areola in their mouth as possible. Having both the nipple and some of the breast tissue in their mouth will help them feed properly. Gently break the suction between them and your breast if you want to remove them from the breast.

Our Breast Massager has been specially designed to help breastfeeding mothers prevent a lot of common issues like plugged milk ducts and mastitis. The massager replaces traditional hand-compression techniques to provide relief to engorged breasts, as well as to improve milk flow and encourage faster let-down. With this breast massager, you can worry less about breast care and focus more on the bonding experience with your baby.

If you have sore, dry nipples that need some time to recover but you still need to breastfeed, you may consider using Haakaa’s Silicone Nipple Shields. These can help mamas with a variety of things, including latching problems or just providing an opportunity for the nipple to heal in the early stages of breastfeeding. These nipple shields are made of super-thin and super-soft silicone, allowing for more skin contact between mother and baby. This further encourages the bond between you and your child.


Continue to check your breasts regularly with self-examinations. Your breasts may feel lumpy when they’re full of milk, but these should go away with breastfeeding, pumping or massaging. We advise you to consult with a doctor if you notice any lumps that do not go away on their own within a few days. Finally, make sure you taking care of yourself by eating, staying hydrated and resting well. If you want to provide care to your baby, you need to stay in good health yourself!

Majit Himel
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Exercising After Pregnancy

Hey mamas! This week, we’re here to remind you that our bodies are AMAZING. They create life and work hard to keep us going, so we can continue tackling the challenges and feats of motherhood every day. That means that it’s super important to take care of our bodies by fuelling them with nutritious food and exercising (when we can)! Not only does being active benefit us physically, but it also improves our mental wellbeing.

Of course, it can be hard to find the time or energy to work out as much as you’d like, especially after going through the difficult journey of pregnancy and you have a new baby to look after. As long as you’re doing the best you can, that is enough! This week, we’ll be going through some common questions that you might have about starting exercise after pregnancy.

Why should I exercise after birth?

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to start exercising after birth – there are just so many benefits to it! Exercise can help your body recover from labour by strengthening and toning your muscles, as well as improving your general level of fitness. It’s also a great outlet to help relieve stress and improve mental wellbeing! When we exercise, our bodies produce endorphins that can trigger positive feelings and improve our moods. It can also help boost our energy levels, letting us recharge to better care for our little ones. Finally, exercise can also improve our quality of sleep – and we all know how precious that is when living with a new baby!

How soon can I exercise after birth?

As a very general rule of thumb, it is recommended to wait six weeks before exercising again after vaginal delivery and eight weeks if you have had a caesarean section. Of course, every pregnancy is different. Some women find they may be able to do super gentle exercises just days after birth – so be sure to check with your medical professional to make sure you’re in the clear before you begin!

Always start by taking it slow. Don’t exert yourself – your body has just given birth to a beautiful new baby after all, and is in the journey of recovering. If you experience any pain whatsoever, you should stop immediately and consult your doctor.

How does my body change after pregnancy?

While we are pregnant, our bodies change and adapt to help carry the new life inside of us. Sometimes, the hormones produced during pregnancy can linger in our bodies for a while postpartum, as our bodies slowly return to their normal states. This includes the hormone relaxin, which softens ligaments and joints during pregnancy in preparation for childbirth. Relaxin can stay in our bodies for up to six months postpartum and can lead to wobbly, unstable joints – putting us at higher risk for injury during this period. This reinforces how important it is to be careful and gentle with yourself during this time!

Many mothers also commonly find that their pelvic floor is weaker after pregnancy – especially after having a large baby or if their delivery took a long time. The pelvic floor includes the muscles and ligaments that support the bladder, uterus and bowel – hence why we hear so many stories of bladder control issues after birth! Although it might seem embarrassing, this is completely normal. One way of strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is to start incorporating a kegel routine. Don’t put too much intra-abdominal pressure on your pelvic floor with crunches or ab exercises – this can prevent healing.

What kind of exercises can I do after giving birth?

If you want to get back into fitness after pregnancy, start by focusing on low-impact exercise. This includes things like walking, stretching and very light strength training. Don’t push yourself too much, because your body has already done a lot over the past nine months!

You could start by taking a short 5-minute walk, and seeing how you feel afterwards. If there is no bleeding or pain, you can gradually increase the length of your walk and go from there – 6 minutes the next day, 7 minutes the day after, and so on. Once you have built up your strength and abilities, you may want to look at trying out some different forms of gentle exercise. Barre, yoga, pilates and water aerobics are all excellent options for the postpartum period, without causing too much strain on your body. You can also exercise from the comfort of your own home, with specially designed postpartum workout videos found online.

How do I look after myself while exercising post-pregnancy?

If you are breastfeeding your baby, your body will need 500 calories a day more than before conception, so you can keep producing milk! As a result, it’s important that you make sure you are eating enough, with a diet filled with plenty of healthy whole foods. It’s also vital during this time to drink plenty of water – and even more if you are exercising – so you stay hydrated.

Should I be concerned about exercising after pregnancy?

The best way to recognise if there is anything wrong is to listen to your body. Pay close attention – are you comfortable? Is the exercise too difficult? How long does it take for you to recover? Is there any bleeding, or any aches and pains? If something doesn’t feel right, always consult a doctor.

Majit Himel
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Breastfeeding: When should you use a Nipple Shield?

There are so many reasons a mother may require a nipple shield. The most common reasons are:

  • To both protect and allow the nipples to heal if they are damaged or sore;
  • Allow a baby to latch easier if they are premature or small; 
  • To help mamas with inverted or flat nipples whose babies are having trouble latching effectively. 

It is important to remember that your journey is completely unique. Every woman's body and every baby is different. As a midwife, I have seen women with inverted nipples and premature babies who have been able to feed successfully without a nipple shield. However, I have also seen how incredibly helpful and transformative a nipple shield can be in enabling and supporting a mum and baby's breastfeeding journey when there are difficulties. 

We know that sometimes on your breastfeeding journey, your nipples and areola can become sore and damaged. This can happen with either a poor latch, if bub bites down when teething or if you have been feeding non-stop around the clock (hello #mumlife). The Haakaa nipple shields allow space between the nipple and bubs mouth meaning that you can continue to feed with ease (and without that toe-curling pain) while your nipples recover.

Another common reason, often in the early days of breastfeeding, that mamas will use a nipple shield is to assist with inverted or flat nipples, where bub is struggling to attach. It is estimated that over 10% of women will have flat or inverted nipples (however, not all these women will require a nipple shield), and it is something I see very regularly as a midwife.

Using a nipple shield allows a larger area for your baby to latch on, meaning it is often easier to get an effective and productive latch. During the feed, the nipple is often drawn out. Our nipple correctors are also great for inverted or flat nipples, have you tried them?

Another reason that nipple shields are commonly used is for premature babies who are often smaller than babies born at full term. A nipple shield can help make the latching process easier for these little bubs. If your baby is in the NICU, you will likely have access to a lactation consultant who will be able to help guide you through this. 

Why am I so obsessed with the Haakaa nipple shield? 

Here are a few reasons:

  • I have seen the incredible results nipple shields have yielded for so many women around the world, allowing a breastfeeding experience that many mamas may not have otherwise been able to experience
  • They are 100% food grade silicone. I love the fact that a baby is NOT sucking on plastic! Silicone also means they are made from an eco-friendly and sustainable material which is so important. 
  • The nipple shield can put physical space between your nipple and baby's mouth, which can be a lifesaver when your nipples are very sore and damaged. 
  • Haakaa has a variety of shapes and bases, meaning mamas can pick what's best for them and their journey. 

Breastfeeding is a learnt skill, so nipple shields are often a short term solution, meaning that once bub is older and has learnt how to latch effectively, they can likely attach without the aid of a shield. This also goes for mums using shields for damaged or sore nipples. Once the latch is corrected, the shields give your nipples time to heal whilst being able to continue breastfeeding your baby. 

As a midwife, I would recommend using a nipple shield in conjunction with advice and guidance from a lactation consultant or midwife, to ensure an adequate latch and a personalised plan for you and bubby. This will also help you feel that you are not alone and there is help for you whenever you need. 

What is the difference between our nipple shields and which one is best for you?

Haakaa offers two base shapes: round and butterfly. Both shapes allow mums to experience the beauty of breastfeeding without the worry of discomfort and pain. 

The round nipple shield has a larger base which suctions onto the breast more easily, making it better suited for mothers who are new to using nipple shields. The butterfly shield has a smaller base which allows for more skin-to-skin contact with your baby, making it better suited for mothers who are more experienced with using nipple shields.

Haakaa offers two teat shapes: the orthodontic teat and the nipple teat. The thumb-shaped orthodontic teat replicates the shape and feel of a mother's nipple during breastfeeding, making it more readily accepted by your baby. The nipple teat replicates the silicone teat of a baby bottle and is better suited to help babies transition from breast to bottle. 

This product is designed for mothers who are physically unable to breastfeed due to sore, cracked nipples, and should only be used in the interim before returning to natural breastfeeding once your nipple has healed. If you are able to breastfeed successfully and experience slight discomfort, we suggest using our traditional nipple shields (nipple not orthodontic) as a protective alternative if your nipples become raw and sore.

Please follow cleaning and storing guidelines on our website.

 

   
Majit Himel
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