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Every breastfeeding mom needs to know *this* hack to get rid of clogs

The Haakaa hack involves a manual pump and 15 minutes of your time.

Mom + baby

I've been either pregnant or exclusively pumping for the last three years (yes, you read that correctly) and nothing has kept me up more at night than the fear of getting mastitis while also having to care for three kids under 3.

Mastitis is one of the many unsexy things they don't tell you about when you first become a mom. It's basically an infection in your breast with symptoms much like the flu (fever, body chills, generally feeling unwell). It requires antibiotics to treat. The step prior to getting mastitis is often having a clog in your breast, which is a sign of milk not moving properly through the ducts. It can make the affected breast sore, red, lumpy and warm, or like you have a marble stuck in your breast.


When I was pumping for my first baby, I never experienced anything beyond morning engorgement and leaking, so I was totally clueless when I started to get clogs while pumping for my twins. I think one of the main factors for me was that I'm making way more milk than I was with my son, and so if I skip a pumping session or space them out more than usual, my boobs are not happy. To be fair, it's really hard to predict how the day is going to go with three little ones so sometimes pumping is left for whenever it's humanly possible.

When I felt my first clog, I panicked. I turned to Google, which gave me not-so-helpful ways to treat it: place the baby on the breast more often and aim their chin towards the clog—great, except neither of my babies latch, so that was out the window. Take a warm shower and pump right after—that didn't even nudge my clog. If everything else fails, have your partner try to suck it out—this was received with giggles and a hard nope from my husband.

In desperation, I asked a bunch of strangers in a huge pumping moms of twins Facebook group for advice and almost in unison they said, "Have you tried the Haakaa hack?"

I hadn't because I didn't know about it, but I'm so glad I know now because it was the only thing that worked with my clog (and subsequent others). Now I need to spread the word about this hack so that every breastfeeding or pumping mama has it in their repertoire of options when treating a clog.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Add one to two tablespoons of Epsom salts to your Haakaa pump.
  2. Fill it up with warm water all the way up so your nipple touches it.
  3. Attach the Haakaa to your affected breast and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. You may need to repeat this multiple times throughout the day for more stubborn clogs.
  4. Watch in awe as the clog comes out.

It took me three tries and suddenly my boob was back to being normal. I was able to stop obsessing about it and looking at my husband with that oh no it's still there look. It was also so cool to watch the milk come out into the water and see the stringier and thicker milk from the clog float around in the salty water.

Remember that if you have any concerns, never hesitate to reach out to your medical provider or a lactation consultant for help!

Here's what you need to buy to remove clogs:

Haakaa pump

 Haakaa Manual Breast Pump 4oz/100ml

Regardless of whether you suffer from clogs or not, you should have one of these bad boys at home to relieve your boobs when you can't breastfeed or pump. You can also collect milk from the boob you are not feeding on and use it to build your freezer stash.

$12.94

Epsom salts

Solimo Epsom Salt Soak, Magnesium Sulfate USP, 8 Pound

I used these for soaking in a tub when I was heavily pregnant with my twins and so glad I had some leftover. I highly recommend having these at home for baths, relaxing your feet or soaking boobs back to health.

$8.99

Sunflower lecithin

Legendairy Milk\u00ae Sunflower Lecithin, 1200mg of Organic Sunflower Lecithin per Softgel, 200 count bottle

These pills claim to improve milk flow and help loosen fatty clogs. I up my dosage when I feel a clog coming and they always always always work. Remember to consult with your provider before starting any new supplements.

$19.99

Lactation massager

 LaVie Lactation Massager, Teal, Breastfeeding Support for Clogged Ducts, Mastitis, Improve Milk Flow, Engorgement, Medical Grade

For more stubborn clogs that need some extra help dislodging, this lactation massager basically vibrates clogs out. You can also use it while pumping to help more milk be extracted.

$34.95

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Janod wooden doll stroller

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Detective set

Plan Toys detective set

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Plan Toys sand set

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Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

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Plan Toys mini golf set

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Janod retro scooter balance bike

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$121

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plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

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$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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