A month after Joey was born, I sat in my living room crying. I loved my new baby, but I felt trapped. I couldn’t go skiing or rock climbing or swimming. I couldn’t even attend the symphony to see my friend play her violin. I couldn’t do anything without a newborn baby attached to me. The opportunity to review the Nuk Simply Natural Feeding System felt like a window opening for me.
I love breastfeeding and I’ve been blessed to be able to breastfeed all my babies without problems. While breastfeeding has its perks, it also means that (at least for the first six months), I can’t leave baby for very long. I’ve never gotten into a schedule with my babies, so I never really know when baby will want to eat. I’m basically on-call, twenty-four/seven, for baby’s first year. And that can be exhausting.
That’s where having a good support system comes in. I’m so thankful there are many products available today to make breastfeeding easier. Pumping a bottle and letting my husband feed the baby lifts some of the pressure of being perpetually available. I can go downhill skiing with my older girls or a friend, knowing Joey has some milk waiting for him if he wakes up hungry while I’m out.
The Nuk Simply Natural Feeding System has made it easy to transition between breast and bottle with Joey. This innovative system has multiple nipple holes, so that it feels and flows like Mom’s breast for baby. This gives my husband confidence that he can meet Joey’s needs while I’m out.
Of course, bottle-feeding Joey means I need to pump milk for him. Freemie cups make this easier for me by letting me pump hands-free and discretely. This is particularly handy when I’ve got four little girls around the house. I can tuck the cups into my bra, keep my shirt on, and get a bottle ready for Joey without interrupting our usual routine too much. The girls know I’m making a bottle for their brother, but it’s much more modest for me and doesn’t require I hide somewhere while pumping.
To make sure Joey would be okay with his Nuk Simply Natural Feeding System, I pumped and fed him a few bottles myself. This was actually kinda fun, because it let me see just how much he eats. He’s currently chugging back a 5 fl. oz. bottle in one sitting.
Thankfully, Nuk bottles come in two sizes, so as he gets bigger and needs more milk, I can switch to a bigger bottle. The nipples also grow with him; right now, he’s using a nipple with three holes but I’ll switch him to the six-hole and then nine-hole nipples as he gets older. I love how sturdy these bottles are. I actually thought they were glass when I first looked at them.
Pumping and bottle-feeding is also handy for times when I have lots of milk. In the first weeks after Joey’s birth, I pumped a few times just to ease my engorgement. If he has a long nap, I can feel my milk coming in. That’s a good time to pump, as I know I’ll have enough milk to fill a bottle easily.
Sometimes, my milk comes in super fast, leaving Joey choking and spluttering (as milk sprays all over us). It makes a good joke in a play about motherhood, but it’s a bit messy in real life. Pumping then lets me save some milk for Joey for later, while making it easier for him to nurse as well.
Speaking of messy, the Nuk nursing pads are a life saver! Before becoming a mom, I didn’t know that breasts could leak milk just like a bottle turned upside down. I prefer cloth pads to disposable pads. Disposable pads tend to get lumpy as they get full of milk, while cloth pads don’t. I’ve also had disposable pads break on days when I’m really leaking, leaving little absorbent bits all over my breasts. Finally, cloth pads are more economical as you only need to buy about a dozen (or enough to get you from one wash day to the next). These pads should last your entire breastfeeding career.
The Nuk Simply Natural Feeding System has also let the girls get involved in taking care of their little brother. Sunshine (who just turned 10) is willing to help with diaper changes and holding Joey. Lily (almost 8) enjoyed feeding Joey one of his bottles. It was a lot of fun for me to watch her, and assured me that Joey would let someone other than me feed him.
I like keeping some breast milk in the freezer. Usually, I can plan ahead when I’ll be out for a few hours, and pump Joey a bottle. Sometimes, though, I don’t have time to pump—or don’t feel like I have enough milk to pump. It’s nice to have a backup supply of milk in the freezer with the Nuk Seal ‘n Go Breast Milk Bags.
The first three months with a new baby are the hardest. I’m just coming out of that phase now (Joey will be three months this weekend). We’re starting to settle into a routine, he’s sleeping a bit better, and he’s gotten over his fussy stage. Mentally, I knew these months would be the hardest, and I just had to get through them. Emotionally, that knowledge didn’t always help. There were still nights when I’d be rocking him and crying.
If that’s where you are, ask for help. Get your husband or mom to take baby for a bit. Go for a walk—without baby if you can!—or try to find something else that brings you joy. Do some colouring, read a book, call a friend. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your baby.
Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and NUK and have received the Nuk Simply Natural Feeding System and compensation for this post. All opinions in the post are my own.