• our nursing journey featuring the willow pump

    This post is sponsored by Willow.

    Getting the most vulnerable I’ve gone before via the internet, so if you can’t handle boob talk, this may not be a post for you. But if you’ve struggled with breastfeeding and feel alone... I’m here with you, sister.


    Breastfeeding can be such a controversial topic. It was always a “hush hush” topic as I was trying to learn more about it throughout my pregnancy... which I always found so strange! It’s such a natural and amazing thing, to be the source of food and life for your child. But in my opinion, they don’t talk enough about how extremely hard it can be. Going into my labor, I was positive I wanted to nurse my son and do my damnedest to make sure I succeed! Majority of the people I would talk to and all the stories floating around google made it seem like such an easy transition. When my baby had troubles throughout the first few weeks with his latch, I felt a heavy cloud over my head and guilt that I didn’t have that perfect latch and wasn’t comfortable every second he nursed. The pressure to be a perfect breastfeeding mom began to consume my thoughts and I cried every time he ate. He was definitely eating and gaining the perfect amount of weight, but I was miserable and in so much pain! Scabs would form on top of other scabs, I bled after each blister would finally heal and I was the more sore than I ever knew I could feel. They say after a couple weeks, those feelings should subside and everything should be healed and then there would be smooth sailing.


    Four weeks go by.

    Five weeks go by.


    Nothing had changed. Consultant after consultant and pediatrician after pediatrician, I just decided to go with my heart on what I thought was best. I know my baby and I know what will work for him. So I began my first pump session to prepare him for his first bottle. WOW was that the weirdest 15 minutes of my life... if you know, you know.. haha!


    Finally at six weeks old, we gave Wilde his first bottle.. which I was SO worried about. So many consultants pushed for me to not give him a pacifier or a bottle to ensure he wouldn’t get “nipple confusion” and as a first mom, of course I’m going to take whatever advice they will give me! I had always heard fabulous things about Como Tomo bottles being very similar to how the breast would feel, so it encourages the baby to not prefer a bottle over the breast. And guess what! He took the bottle just fine, and my boob just the same. HOME FREE! This is the second I realized I really needed to relax and listen to my gut feeling rather than by the book rules. No two babies are the same, so why are there so many rules?! And then this is when I started really getting my superhero power.. mama tuition. 


    I didn’t have any intention to pump for the duration of my son’s first year of life. Boy oh boy does life throw you curves :) and here I am, pumping my life away as my son is newly three months old. Since this day, I decided to breastfeed 50% of the day and bottle feed 50% of the day with my pumped milk. That way, Andrew was able to bond with Wilde by feeding him and I was able to give myself a little break to heal faster. This is also the day I began my relationship with my bedroom wall. Picture this: a cow latched onto some tubes, tethered to the wall. This was me (and a lot of other mamas, too!) Lovely. I did this four or five times a day for 40 minutes at a time. How much of a party does THAT sound to y’all?! Suddenly my very rare minutes of free time (ya know, the time where I was able to take a two minute shower, brush my teeth or get a painting in) was robbed by a little black bag that plugged into the wall that made the most horrendous “whomp..whomp..whomp” sound. You can truly lose the sense of your sanity while pumping, I guarantee it. Almost like watching paint dry, but worse. Get how crappy it is yet? Haha.


    It was all completely worth it to me. I would remind myself, I am so lucky to even produce enough milk for my son. I am so fortunate to even HAVE a healthy son. I constantly had to keep myself in uplifted spirits or else I knew I would start on the downward spiral of postpartum depression, which is a song I do NOT want to dance to. I cried after every feeding from the pain, but immediately wiped them away to snap myself out of it. I cried every day from the feeling of failure but my husband would console me and remind me I am doing my best. So I continued to pump and came to terms that this was my life for now and that is okay.


    My days went a like this: Morning pump after baby eats, nurse, put baby down for a nap, pump, try and squeeze in some work (yeah right), bottle feed baby, back down for a nap, pump, pump, pump. During his 3 or 4 night feedings I exclusively nursed. The cycle went on and on and onnnn. Literally a merry go round. Not much “me” time during these days so I spent a lot of time in my robe and week long braids in my hair. But I figured, these were those hard newborn days they tell you about!


    And suddenly, the heavens opened. Willow Pump fell into my lap and it was like all my teeny prayers had been answered. I remember vaguely scanning the internet and came across Willow organically beforehand, I was immediately impressed.  There was no hesitation in my desire to get to know this life changing product. 


    After discussing this sponsorship with the lovely ladies at Willow, the product was shipped promptly in the worlds prettiest packaging! Things like this just make me all sorts of giddy. I appreciate a good eye for minimal and classy packaging, y’all. Sue me. It came in a large box with the two pumps, travel bags for the pumps, brush cleaners, Flextubes and instruction manual. At first, looking at the two individual pumps can be a bit overwhelming since they are such a foreign piece of machinery. This is where their app comes in handy. I’m extremely stubborn and would rather learn on my own than be told how to do something, so their little videos in the app help give visuals on how to use, clean and assemble... as well as show the amount of ounces you are currently pumping. Andrew super loves that feature for some reason, haha! Either way, it’s fun to have your husband be stoked about a pump as much as you. 


    Willow also provides coaches you can call/text for any sort of question or concern that is very prompt and genuine in their responses. They even offer video calls to give that extra peace of mind knowing you are getting all the benefits Willow has to offer! I’ve definitely taken advantage of this, and I’m positive any one who’s new to this product should too.


    My Experience -


    I have used the Willow Pump for about a month and a half now and I feel like I am finally getting the hang of it. Just like anything new in life, it’s taken some time to get to used to, especially after a few phone calls for my concerns. 


    I have only good things to say about this pump. I’ve seen the pumps be worn by others and you can’t even tell there is anything in their shirts, which is incredible. You can literally grocery shop and pump at the same time and no one would suspect a thing! Not to mention, you are completely hands free and you have your free time back. For me, I look a bit like a Pamela Anderson lookalike with mine in my shirt (due to the larger chest breastfeeding has provided me, hah), so I just put a nursing cover on while I pump in public and it helps me feel less exposed! Last week I literally pumped while I was getting my hair done at the salon. It’s a great conversation piece when you whip these boob shaped things out of your bag, hah! So if it wasn’t obvious, I am unbelievably grateful for a pump that has zero external tubes, quiet with no “whomp..whomp..whomp”s, and allows me to be mobile, even while I need to hold my son and get things done around the house.


    Prrretty cool and life changing considering I was literally plugged into the wall for the first weeks of my pumping journey and could slowly feel the spirit of my soul slip away. I use my Willow every single day and plan to for as long as my body will allow!


    Thank you, Willow for changing the future for pumping mama’s and helping me feel like I can be a functioning human again. I can be the best mom I can be for my son, knowing I am happy in my skin and not a cow attached to the wall. I am proud to be a sponsor of this company and will recommend Willow through and through.


    And for the many that have asked - for maximum amount of success in my pumping with Willow, I take Legendairy Milk supplements alongside my daily prenatals!

    {{to all the mamas who choose to exclusively nurse, bottle feed, or formula feed.. you are amazing. There is no lesser type of mom however you choose to nurture your child! This was the number one question I was asked when I was pregnant, if I were planning on breastfeeding, and I thought it was such a personal thing to ask.. but I always happily answered "i'm definitely going to try!". I always found this strange that people thought of it as such a non chalant thing to ask, especially to someone who hasn't joined motherhood yet and knows just about jack squat* about how to raise a child. So with that being said, we are all trying our best. You are incredible and your baby loves you no matter what you do}}

    xoxo celo

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