Tommee Tippee's new 'Made for Me' breastfeeding range was designed specifically with mums' best interest in mind to cater to every kind of feeding journey. The range features three different kinds of breast pumps: electric, manual and silicone, as well as nipple cream and steriliser bags.
Question: Can you share with us the emotional struggles you had with breastfeeding?
Kristie: I always thought breastfeeding would come naturally to me and would be such a beautiful experience right from the beginning. No-one told me it would hurt so much, especially at the start. I had tears streaming down my face with pain and dreaded every feed. I remember crying because Airlie had vomited and I knew I'd have to feed her again to replace that precious milk that she spit up. It was my sister who said 'give it two weeks' and by then both Airlie and I had settled into feeding and knew what we were doing a bit more. It became so much more natural to us both, but in the early days I honestly wanted to give up! I was paying no attention to my own comfort or wellbeing; it was all about the baby. I had a sore neck, back and shoulders for such a long time trying to get the right latch and my nipples were so cracked and sore.
Question: How did you overcome these struggles?
Kristie: I met with the maternal health nurse and had advice from a lactation consultant. I had to learn to trust myself and my body. My baby was healthy and putting on weight so she was getting enough milk. Finding a breastfeeding pillow helped position Airlie so we were both comfortable while feeding too. Nipple cream and a supportive network really were my saviours in those early days! My mum and sister had so much faith in me and kept encouraging me in such a positive way, even when I felt like giving up.
Question: Do you believe these challenges were mostly associated with you prioritising breastfeeding and motherhood over your own wellbeing?
Kristie: Definitely, I had wanted to be a mum for so long and I was desperate to 'get it right'. I put pressure on myself and had extremely high expectations of how motherhood should be. Once I realised everyone has their own journey and its okay to not be perfect, I began to relax and focus on my own wellbeing and self-care when I could too.
Question: How was your breastfeeding journey different, with both children?
Kristie: With my first born, Airlie, I found breastfeeding very challenging, physically and emotionally. I'm not one to 'stop' and some days all I did was feed her. I was so worried about 'doing it right' that I found it difficult to enjoy at the start. Everyone has their own opinion and feels the need to share it too. So many people told me completely different ways to hold her while feeding and I felt so overwhelmed. I didn't have the confidence to feed in public and would plan my day to be home for feeds. I had massive oversupply with Airlie and my breasts were sore a lot. I was living in constant fear of mastitis – that can't be good for your mental health! With Bowen, it has been challenging again, and feeding a newborn and looking after a toddler at the same time is hectic, but I'm a lot more confident with it all. I'll happily feed him wherever and whenever he wants and now I know to take everyone's advice with a grain of salt and just do what works for us. Feeding was painful at the start again but I knew it would be short-lived and pushed though. Now, breastfeeding is such a beautiful experience for us both.
Question: Which of the Tommee Tippee's new 'Made for Me' breastfeeding range, have you been using?
Kristie: I've been using most of the range and loving it! One of my saving graces all along has been my Tommee Tippee silicone breast pump. It catches so much milk from the side I'm not feeding on without pumping (as that produces more milk and makes the oversupply worse). It's so frustrating feeding and having milk dripping from the other side into a breast pad or towel, but the pump catches it all and helps with my freezer stash too! Some feeds I'll collect 60ml in the pump - that would have all been wasted in the breast pad! The electric pump is so handy to fit in my handbag if I go out, too. It's also super quiet which I love. Bowen has been cluster feeding and wanting to feed all day and night, making me so, so sore - nipple cream is my saviour right now.
Question: Where is the strangest place you've used your breast-pump?
Kristie: Definitely at the Oktoberfest beer festival in Melbourne; I was dressed in a traditional German dirndl dress in a hot stuffy portaloo and had to 'pump and dump'.
Question: What advice would you give a mother-to-be, especially one who hopes to breastfeed, exclusively?
Kristie: You can do it! Trust yourself and your body! You are made to do this! Seek as much support as you can if you're having trouble and do what feels right for you. You've got this, Mumma!
Interview by Brooke Hunter