Our Breastfeeding Journey
Very few of my friends or relatives are aware of my breastfeeding situation with K2. I guess it’s not really something most people openly talk about. And if your nursing journey ends up like mine has – let’s be honest, here – you may end up feeling like a failure.
You see, when my youngest daughter (K2) was born, my milk came in fast and heavy. I nursed and pumped back-and-forth almost constantly in the first few days because she was born about 4 weeks early and the nurses were adamant that she needed as many calories as possible with little to no calories spent (nursing can require a lot more effort than sucking down an easy-flowing bottle). So when I started making 150 mL each time I pumped, I was ecstatic! And when that 150 mL bumped up to 250 mL, I was even happier.
K2 has been a hefty eater since birth. She knew exactly what to do after she was born, latching on to breast immediately. It was surprising considering how early she was (read more about that here)! The ease in which we started this breastfeeding journey was amazing; I was on cloud nine thinking that nursing would be a breeze for the first year of her life!
I didn’t know how wrong I would be.
When I Nursed my Oldest
With my first and oldest daughter (K1), breastfeeding didn’t start off as easy, BUT it lasted the entire first year. Which is funny because K1 has never been much of an eater. It’s a daily battle to try and get her to eat anything that doesn’t include donuts! As a baby, she nursed well enough, but as soon as she started eating more solids and laying off the breast milk, she started dropping off the growth chart.
As first time parents, my ex-husband and I became a little concerned with how her growth slowed so dramatically when she weaned. And when we moved from military life to civilian life, our new pediatrician kind of freaked when she examined her – simply because she was just so tiny.
She had us run test after test after test and nothing came up as abnormal. The pediatrician finally realized and let us know that K1 was perfectly normal – she just had very small parents (Dad is 5’6″ and Mom is 5’1″) and was going to be a very small person.
This is definitely not the case with K2.
Different Baby, Different Needs
K2 has been a big, healthy baby. Growing from the 25th percentile as a preemie up to 50th percentile for weight within a month. At 6 months, she’s continued at the 50th percentile for weight, and is now 90th percentile for height and 80th percentile for head circumference.
She is a fantastic eater and will try to eat anything you put in front of her!
While this is a wonderful development – I’m so happy that she’s growing so well! – her insatiable appetite, combined with her very colicky first few months (read all about our battle with colic here), spelled doom when it came to our breastfeeding relationship…
The more she cried (and she cried a lot) the more stressed my body became, and the less milk I seemed to produce. It certainly surprised me – I thought that a baby crying was supposed to make your body produce more! Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
The older she got, the bigger she grew, and the more her appetite demanded.
While I was producing a considerable amount in the beginning (more than enough to nurse her every time she was hungry and pump extra on top of it) eventually that supply dwindled. Oh how I wish I had built a better stockpile!
And once I got back to work – although this time from home – the stress of having a colicky baby combined with the stress that came from building my own business and staying up all hours of the night to get things done while my baby slept… well… I’m sure you can guess what happened to my milk supply.
My baby was hungry and my body wasn’t producing enough to make her happy and keep her full. And when she wasn’t getting enough milk every mouthful, she’d scream even harder. I remember feeling so frustrated at times, that I’d cry right along with her.
So we finally decided to start supplementing with formula.
Baby Led Weaning
Unfortunately the more I supplemented, the less my body made, and the less interested in breast she became. I tried to pump on the side, but by that point whenever I would try to pump, nothing would come out! (And we had a darn good breast pump). I’d keep myself hooked up to the machine for 30 to 45 minutes and nothing – literally, nothing – would come out. While I could hand express milk, so I knew my body was still making something, this only frustrated me more. I was fed up with the amount of energy it was taking to try and keep my supply up.
And now, we’re to the point where my body is barely making any milk at all. Consequently, K2 is more interested in bottles. Somehow our struggles gradually morphed into early baby led weaning… And yes – it is disappointing.
I miss breastfeeding…
While I’m happy that K2 is still getting the nutrients she needs (that’s what’s important) from soy formula, I miss the bond that nursing encourages between Mommy and Baby.
Sometimes I hold K2 while feeding her a bottle and I feel so defeated. There’s something so special about nursing your baby – something that strengthens your relationship like nothing else. Knowing that I had that relationship with K1 for an entire year makes me wish I had been able to continue with K2.
Now, I’m not in the business of throwing pity parties all the time and feeling sorry for myself, so to combat this feeling and try to find another way to develop a stronger bond with my youngest daughter, I went in search for a bottle that more closely resembled mom, that would help us both transition to full-time bottle feeding.
Easing the Transition from Breast to Bottle
Lucky for us – and I mean really lucky – NUK contacted us to review their Simply Natural baby bottles just in time.
Have you guys checked these out before?? They’ve been a serious godsend.
I’ll dive into all the things I love and don’t love about the bottles to help you decide if you’d like to try them out, too!
This was the package NUK delivered:
It contained two small bottles (5oz. each), two large bottles (9oz. each), six different bottle nipples ranging from 3 to 9 hole sizes (determining milk flow), as well as three orthodontic pacifiers – one 100% silicone newborn pacifier, and two panda-faced ones for 6-18 months.
One thing I love most about Simply Natural bottles is the overall design.
The plastic they’re made out of is higher quality than all the other bottles we’ve tried so far. While plastic, they aren’t thin and cheap – they almost look like glass, minus the dangerously breakable part – and of course are BPA free. Their shape is natural to hold, and the nipple design is super flexible, just like mom’s breast, to help baby stay latched. Plus, the nipple is made of extra soft silicone so that it feels more like Mommy, so it’s more natural and comfortable.
The wide open tops make it easier to pour formula in, which is a must for me. (Unlike the bottles that came with our breast pump – those make me spill powder formula all over the counter! But I suppose that’s because they’re meant to hook up to the breast pump and not be used for formula.)
This is the first time I’ve ever found a bottle that had more than one nipple hole, because Mom’s breast does too! NUK Simply Natural bottles have 3, 6 or 9 nipple holes (the more holes, the faster it flows) to more closely resemble a mother’s breast. Um, why has no one thought of this before?? They’re even shaped more like Mom. And since the number of nipple holes determines the flow rate, we can change the level as she grows.
And if you’re worried about milk spilling everywhere when you try to shake these babies up? Don’t be. Instead of using your finger to cover the holes, use the lid the bottles come with. They’re specifically designed to cover the entire tip so that nothing leaks out.
If you’re wanting to try out Simply Natural bottles for your baby, one thing you should know beforehand is that if your baby dislikes orthodontic style pacifiers (where one side is flat and the other is rounded to better fit in a baby’s mouth) then you may have trouble with these. That’s exactly how they styled the nipple tips. It’s not drastic like the pacifiers, but it is that style.
My mother comes over a couple of days a week to help take care of K2 while I blog, and she said it’s the only thing she doesn’t like about them. Personally, I haven’t found any issue with it.
K2 didn’t like orthodontic pacifiers when she was younger but we have been using them since she hit the six-month mark. And honestly, she’s loving the orthodontic style pacifiers that came with Simply Natural bottles! They say they’re supposed to be better for your babies teeth development, and since I was a child with severely crooked teeth due to sucking my thumb for years, I am all about anything that will help teeth and orthodontic development.
While it’s only been a week since we discovered NUK Simply Natural bottles, K2 seems to love them just as much as I do. The transition from breast to bottle can be difficult for some babies, but thankfully the design of these promotes that close-to-mom feeling and helps maintain the special mother-baby bond I was so worried about losing, so the transition has been much more natural for us.
No matter how much I might love a bottle – any bottle – if it didn’t help develop the bond I was so afraid of missing out on, I wouldn’t like using them. Thankfully, this is exactly what NUK was focusing on when they developed these. I love cuddling up with my baby girl and feeding her with the Simply Natural bottle. Although I hate not being able to nurse my baby like I wanted, these bottles allow us to continue to bond naturally.
Where to Find Them
Whether you’re looking for a baby bottle that promotes that special mother-baby bond, or if breastfeeding just isn’t working for you… if you want to try NUK Simply Natural bottles for yourself, you can find them at very reasonable prices here:
NUK’s website: NUK Simply Natural Bottle, (9 oz OR 5 oz) 3 pack $17.99
Walmart: NUK Simply Natural Bottle, (5 oz OR 9 oz) 3 pack $15.98
NUK Simply Natural Freemie Collection Cups (if you can still produce milk at this point) $59.98
Target: NUK Simply Natural Bottle, (5 oz OR 9 oz) 3 pack $16.99
Buy the whole kit for yourself: NUK Simply Natural Bottle Gift Set 2 pack $26.99
What about you?
Have you had any trouble breastfeeding when it came to colic and stress? Were you able to go back to work and continue pumping?
If you and your little one try out NUK’s Simply Natural bottles, let me know what you think in the comments!
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