Not the usual breastfeeding dilemma
I recognise that I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to breastfeed all three of my children. I got off to a difficult start with Joshua when he was a baby because he was unable to latch on (it turned out he had tongue tie) and they kept whisking him away to formula feed him.
My knowledge of breastfeeding being completely non-existent at the time meant that I had no idea that if the demand for breastmilk wasn't there that my milk supply would cease. Thankfully one or two of the midwives did hand express some colostrum from me to feed to Josh and then another midwife made it clear that if I was planning to breast feed then it would be a good idea to go on the pump to express milk and help my milk supply get properly started.
And sure enough it did the trick, I seemed to just ooze milk at every feed from then on.
So I never take it for granted that I have been able to breastfeed. But I also get to the point that I start to want a bit of my freedom back and not be the one who HAS to be their milk supply. For that reason, I was so excited to receive a best pump to try out from Nuby. I had tried different brands of breast pump in the past and didn't really get on well with them, although they did help relieve some of the pressure on the occasions that my breasts became engorged.
I had visions of being able to pump bottlefuls and bottlefuls of milk and then be able to escape for the day for some precious 'me time' without being told "Trinity needs you" (i.e. Trinity needs milk!)
The great thing about breastmilk is that it can be stored in the fridge for several days and in a freezer for several months - so I just wanted to pump, pump, pump to get myself some freedom. Out came the breast pump (I gave it a wash and sterilised it in the microwave steriliser that also comes in the pack), put the thing together (fairly intuitive although it doesn't hurt to have a look at the instructions), and started to pump.
The great thing about this pump is that it can be used as a manual pump, or as an electric pump. It even has a battery operated part so you can either use it with mains electricity or with batteries - particularly handy if you need to express milk when out and about.
I started with it set up as a manual pump. After several minutes of pumping, I could see literally only one drop of milk. So I switched to the electric method and kept going for several more minutes.
I struggled to feel relaxed and I don't think my 'let down' reflex kicked in at all. Apart from the difficult start I had with Josh, breastfeeding has always felt natural and I have never felt like I have had a shortage of milk. My body seems to know that it is time to breastfeed when Trinity latches on. However, with the pump, it was as it my body was screaming 'no - I don't want to do this' - even though I really really wanted this to work.
I think that I am just going to have to accept that whilst some people face the breast vs bottle dilemma, for me the problem is that I am not able to express milk successfully.
Having said all of that, I actually feel that owning a breast pump has given me a peace of mind that I didn't have before. I have experienced painful engorged breasts in the past and knowing that I have a pump to hand to help should that happen is a relief. I also wonder if I had started to express milk sooner whether that would have helped. In the first few months, my milk would ooze out at every feed so perhaps pumping one breast whilst feeding with the other may have worked? At least the 'let down reflex' would have kicked in a bit more strongly.
As well as the breast pump, I was also sent some milk storage bottles which are great. The lids are secure and leak proof and when you are ready to use the milk simply replace the lid with a teat and you can use the same bottle to feed with. The packaging also says that these can be used as snack pots, which I hadn't thought of but I think is a fantastic idea.
Bottle teats are available to purchase separately which is always good to know - especially because as babies get older and those teeth come through, they can start to chew on teats and damage them. Nuby teats seem to be softer and 'wider' based than other teats that we have used. In fact they seem to resemble breast / nipples better than most bottles do and so Trinity does find it easier to drink from than other bottles. She sometimes has a bottle of cooled boiled water to drink from with her meals and she definitely prefers the Nuby teats to other teats.
Breastpads are another breastfeeding essential that I use. Did you know that Nuby made breastpads? I didn't. I have been so brand loyal over the years to my preferred brand of breastpads that I didn't even consider Nuby for breastpads. Anytime I have been tempted to try a different brand of breastpad, I have ended up dissapointed. So when I saw that Nuby had sent me breastpads to review - I was actually nervous about trying them because I just didn't think they would be as good as my usual ones. But thankfully they are! They are just the style of breast pad that I like...large in size to cover a bigger area, not bulky, individually wrapped (so I can pop some spare ones in the changing bag with me) and with a sticky pad to hold them in place.
My only very teeny bit of feedback to Nuby about them would be that my personal preference is to have 2 sticky pads to hold them in place. But that teeny point would not deter me from buying them.
So to sum up - although my breastfeeding journey didn't go 100% according to plan regarding the pumping, I have learnt some valuable lessons and have found some great breastfeeding related products from Nuby that do fit in really well with my life.