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Manual breast pumps are a popular tool in a mama’s breastfeeding toolbox. A manual breast pump can be used daily to supplement your feeds, drain off milk when you’re at work or away from baby, or just for occasional use to avoid blockages and mastitis.

Here, we’ll take a look at the Haakaa pump vs Medela and Elvie pumps, three of the most popular manual breast pumps on the market. We’ll compare their features, performance, and benefits to help you decide which is best for your needs.

In this article, we're going to discuss:

First, the basics of manual breast pumps- 3 types of pumps to choose

Manual breast pumps are a simple, comfortable, and convenient way to pump milk. They are inexpensive in many situations, even if you’re pumping daily.

If you’re exclusively pumping for every feed, you may wish to try an electric pump for speed, but otherwise, consider a manual pump to capture all that liquid gold.

Manual breast pumps are:

  • Portable and lighter than an electric pump
  • Have fewer components and are easy to clean
  • Quiet and discreet, you can even pump at work
  • To build up a milk stash or if you want to have some feeds with a bottle
  • Can be fitted into a pumping bra to double pump
  • Relatively inexpensive types of manual breast pumps

Types of Manual Breast Pumps

There are three main types of manual breast pumps: hand-powered pumps, vacuum-sealed pumps, and shell collectors.

1. A manual hand-powered pump has a handle that you can squeeze to stimulate milk production.

 

These pumps mimic the baby’s sucking action to stimulate your letdown and get the milk flowing.

2. A vacuum seal pump like the Haakaa is a newer technology made with soft silicone.

Haakaa Breast Pumps 100ml Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump

You squeeze the pump before sealing the flange on your breast, creating a vacuum seal.

This vacuum draws out the milk from your breast and doesn’t require manual pumping.

Once placed on your breast, you are hands-free and can go about your day while collecting milk.

3. Milk collectors like the Haaka Ladybug and Elvie Curve.

These also use a vacuum seal to draw milk out but have a very slight, gentle suction.

They are smaller and fit in your bra, and are used to catch letdown and excess milk.

Related Guide: How to fix Breast Milk Oversupply with the Haakaa Ladybug

Which breast pump company is best?

This is a question we get asked all the time, and the answer is – it depends!

The companies who make the breast pumps we are reviewing here are all reputable companies making great products for breastfeeding and pumping.

It’s no secret that we absolutely love the Haakaa brand. All their products are comfortable, useful and well-priced, and we love that they are constantly innovating and pushing to create better products.

Below, we compare some popular manual pumps; all of them are great, but the right one will depend on how you want to use it.

Medela Harmony

The Medela Harmony is a manual hand pump that gets lots of great reviews from users.

The flange is designed to be comfortable and put less pressure on your milk ducts.

The specially designed hand pump gives two options. You can start with the short quick sucks, mimicking baby’s first sucks to stimulate letdown, then move onto longer, slower suckling as baby would on the breast, drawing out the milk from deeper in the breast.

As it is a hand pump design, you are more likely to use this kind of pump when you’re sitting down and focused on pumping.

Is the Medela breast pump worth the money?

At RRP $69.95, it is on the pricey side but is well worth the cost if you regularly pump.

The Medela Harmony comes with a 24mm flange; other sizes are sold separately. It also comes with 2x 150 ml bottles.

Use the Medela Harmony:

  • To build up a milk stash or if you want to have some feeds with a bottle
  • If you pump between feeds
  • On one side while baby is feeding on the other
  • At work or if you will be away from baby for an extended time
  • Regularly or as a one-off

Haakaa Manual Breast Pump

Haakaa Breast Pumps 100ml Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump

The Haakaa is such a versatile little helper. A hands-free pump with vacuum suction, you can use it as a manual breast pump on its own while you’re feeding on the other side or to collect milk throughout the day.

It’s small, quiet and easy to clean and to pop in your bag and take on the go.

The Haakaa Silicone Pump is available in two sizes, and at $27.90 for 100ml and $29.90 for 150ml, it is a relatively affordable option and great as a trial to see if pumping is for you.

Popular accessories such as the Haakaa Cap, Flower Stopper and Pump Strap are available separately. Check out our full range.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Best Silicone Pump Available!

This pump is a 10/10. It’s the third I’ve purchased after making sure all my boobing Mumma friends have one too. If you’ve got another brand equivalent and am thinking of getting a haakaa. Just do it. Your boobs will thank you. It’s so comfortable and doesn’t knock off at all.

- Grace

Why use a Haakaa instead of a pump?

Many lactating mamas use the Haakaa instead of a pump as it’s such an easy device.

Being hands-free allows you to easily breastfeed bub (or scroll on your phone) while pumping on the other side.

Watch for wriggly little legs that want to kick it off! You can settle the pump into a nursing bra for extra hold while feeding the baby.

Does Haakaa pump cause oversupply?

Not necessarily. The Haakaa can be really useful to capture letdown and excess milk to help you build a milk stash.

But if you’re getting a very strong letdown where baby is choking as they try to feed or you are dealing with oversupply and engorgement, you may want to reconsider how much you’re using your Haakaa (or any breast pump).

With under or over-supply issues, it’s helpful to talk to a lactation consultant to tweak your routine so that baby is getting what they need and your breasts are not clogging.

Use the Haakaa breast pump

  • To build up a milk stash or if you want to have some feeds with a bottle
  • If you pump between feeds
  • On one side while the baby is feeding on the other
  • At work or if you will be away from baby for an extended time
  • Regularly or as a one-off

Elvie Curve

The Elvie Curve is a nifty little contraption similar to the Haakaa Ladybug.

These manual breast pumps are also known as milk collectors (a.k.a. collection shells or silicone breast pumps).

They are designed to capture a small amount of breast milk, and don’t provide a lot of suction, so they aren’t for building up supply or collecting an entire feed.

They are fantastic for capturing natural leakage, letdown and the occasional extra breast milk, often while breastfeeding your baby on the opposite breast.

Milk collectors sit in your bra as you go about your day, collecting every precious drop that would otherwise be soaked into a nursing pad.

Is the Elvie Curve better than the Haakaa?

The Haakaa pump is a more versatile pump than the Elvie Curve or Haakaa Ladybug.

They are used for different reasons, and many mamas would own both. The milk collector shells are more like an eco-friendly nursing pad that saves milk.

Milk collectors like the Elvie Curve or Haakaa Ladybug can be combined with your pump. We review and compare milk collectors here.

Use the Elvie Curve:

  • To capture a small amount of excess milk
  • Early morning when most people have excess milk production
  • Before your breasts regulate
  • If you’re prone to leakage
  • Collect leaks from the other breast while baby is feeding
  • If you are away from your baby and your breasts are ready for a feed

Remember, breast milk is safe to store at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

You need to empty your collection shells after 2-3 hours wear and refrigerate your milk in appropriate containers. 


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