Breastfeeding, expressing and helping with feeds at night through the eyes of a new dad…!
I think being a parent is one of the hardest things you do even though it’s also one of the best and most rewarding things. There’s a lot of pressure to do things ‘right’ and ‘perfectly’ and I know it can be especially hard from new mums learning how to breast feed and express milk too. It’s not like you can prepare yourself for it and although it’s natural and me and my mates have no issues if Holly needs to breastfeed when we’re out, there are still people out there who throw disapproving looks and can make you and your partner feel even more uncomfortable. That’s definitely something I think needs to stop – feeding babies is important and nobody should be judged whatever way they choose to do it.
I’m a bit clueless when it comes to breastfeeding details – especially the expressing side of it all, so I let Holly take the lead in researching and finding the breast pump she thought was best at the time. I did learn along the way though and we did have quite a few hysterical moments when Holly was using pumps for the first time – nothing really prepares you for that! We started with a Nuby Manual Pump which was what I expected it to look like, small and simple but useful for Holly to have around and I never really had to help with putting that together so that was one thing I wasn’t involved in. We also got a Nuby electric pump which I had to understand how to use to help Holly put it together. I expected something bigger and something that was going to be really loud and distracting which this wasn’t! We’d watched a video (never something I’d thought I’d be doing…) to see how it all worked and it seemed quiet and straight forward but when it came I was more surprised at just how quiet it was.
I’ve put the pump together for Holly a few times now and even though I don’t mind playing with fixing things, I didn’t need to for long with this pump because it was that easy to put together and not much effort was involved at all (even though I’d set aside an afternoon to tackle it). After it’s clean and sterilised it’s easy to reassemble too. If you’re like me and need to see someone visually using something to learn rather than reading a wordy instruction manual, then you can find a step by step video on the Nuby UK YouTube page so I just followed that – now I’m a breast pump assembling champion in this household. Videos are definitely the way forward when you’ve got no clue what you’re doing! There’s always someone else who does!
The electric pump is a good size that makes it easy to carry around too which was a big factor when choosing the pump seeing as Holly needed it for work. It’s also good to have a portable one for when we go out, so we keep it in the change backpack for her too.
I have so much admiration for Holly and love the fact both our children have been breastfed, but I did sometimes wonder if I was missing out on bonding time by not being able to feed them. Obviously, there’s lots of ways to bond but it was nice finally being able to feed Rosie and have some quiet time with her when I was feeding her with bottles of expressed milk. I also felt a bit more helpful to Holly too because she then wasn’t having to do all the feeds herself, every time, day and night. When we’re both needing any sleep we can get, little things like helping with a feed here and there can really make a big difference.
Alex is chief supporter of Holly and Daddy to Ari – aged 3 and Rosie – aged 1. You can see more of Holly and her family as they navigate the world of breastfeeding, co sleeping, sleep deprivation and so much more over on insta @and_rosie_makes_four
*All of these comments are those of Holly and Alex @and_rosie_makes_four and their own experiences and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company.