3 February 2019


*This is a paid Brand Collaboration with ARDO! I was gifted all of the ARDO products mentioned below but all words, opinions and images are my own and are honest and have not been influenced by the brand. I will only recommend products I use and love and I am grateful for this partnership*  

Breastfeeding is hard! I'm sure some people don't find it as hard as others but for me it's so hard. Firstly, my breasts are constantly huge, uncomfortable and I hate how they look. I also don't know why but my body struggles to shift the weight when breastfeeding too. It's so weird! On one hand I hate a lot of things about breastfeeding but that's all down to being body conscious! On the other hand I LOVE breastfeeding, the bond I have with Iris (and Rufus) is so different to Lucas'. Now don't get me wrong Lucas and I are super close, we love each other dearly but he doesn't necessarily come to me first if he gets hurt, is poorly and is very much a Nanna's boy if anything. Whereas with Iris she wants me, i'm the first person 95% of the time she goes to when she's poorly, hurt or just wants a cuddle. Rufus of course wants me. When he cries, it's usually for me, not even because he necessarily wants a feed, he just wants me. 

Of course, i'm absolutely not saying if you can't, don't want or didn't breastfeed that you cannot have this bond with your little ones, Lucas was formula fed and i'd never judge anyone for not breastfeeding as with Lucas it didn't work out and in all honesty I don't regret or feel bad for formula feeding him. Let's be honest if you looked at all my children in a row would you truthfully be able to spot which two were breastfed and which one was formula fed? I mean if Rufus was in a line now it might be obvious as he's usually found attached to a boob! Haha. Either way what i'm saying is that if you don't breastfeed you're absolutely still okay in my books! No judgement either way but I personally have found it's given me a different kind of bond with Iris and most likely Rufus too (he's still a bit young to know whether it's just because i'm his Mama and he's attached to my scent).

My breastfeeding journey has been difficult, Rufus just was not gaining weight at the beginning, he was dropping weight and then stayed static for ages. Now, if you've followed me for a long time you'll know my breastfeeding journey with Iris started off a little slow too and she lost weight and went static but by 16 days old she was back up to birth weight and gaining. Rufus didn't get back up to birth weight until 6 weeks old and then lost weight.

I'd worried about a potential dairy allergy, he was ticking a lot of the boxes with the symptoms, for a while and then at 6 weeks we were advised he could have reflux and to add gaviscon to some expressed milk or formula. So I ordered some formula as well as starting to get my body to start producing more milk for pumping and started topping him up with 2/3 ounces of formula and gaviscon in the Morning and the same in the evening and he was getting so much worse! sickness was getting worse, he was getting super uncomfortable and that was the week he lost weight. At his 7 week weigh in, he'd lost weight! how? How could a baby lose weight when they're having more milk?

I instantly stopped the formula and started hardcore expressing! thank you to Ardo for the double pump!! I also cut the dairy out of my diet and we'll see if this was the problem when we speak to the paediatrician in a few weeks but for now he's more settled, the sickness is basically non existent and he has finally gained, so heres to hoping this continues!

So my pumping journey has been made so much easier thanks to Ardo! I've been using the calypso double pump which when you've got to get a good amount of milk for top ups is a complete time saver. Pumping one side and then the other side is time consuming and can make pumping a chore. Pumping is tedious and I don't like it at all really.

The electrical pump part is straight forward! It has the on and off button, the vacuum setting, cycle setting and a screen to see it. Something I was told in order to get the best out of your pumping experience is to start off with the vacuum low and cycle high, until the milk starts to flow then put the vacuum high and the cycle low! I suppose that mimics your baby's feeding style. Most baby's will start of sucking a lot and not very hard for the fore-milk which is a lot more watery and then the hind-milk is thicker and requires baby to suck harder and slower.

It is also the quietest electric pump on the market and NHS approved! You can either plug it in to the mains or use batteries! The ardo pump comes with different size breast shells which are great and unlike other pumps i've tried comes with a soft massage insert which makes it more comfortable whilst pumping which I LOVE! Comfortable pumping is so great.

You can obviously use the pump as a single of double pump! I have made a makeshift bra thing that keeps both the pumps in place without me holding them out of an old belly band. I prefer using both at the same time as it gets it done quicker.

If you want to buy the double pump separately without the kit then you can HERE 

You also get a hand pump which, i'll be honest with you about, I hate hand pumps. It's not the ardo one in particular I just do not like hand pumps, they make my wrist sore, they're uncomfortable to use and I just don't like them! That being said some people swear by hand pumps. I would use the hand pump if Rufus was sleeping for a bit longer one day and I felt sore and full and I don't want to pump properly, so I could relieve the fullness a little and make myself feel a bit better! Or if i'm popping out for a few hours and don't want to bring the whole electrical device but know he'll be missing a feed.

You can purchase the Kombikit accessory separately if you don't want to purchase the set HERE

 I also have a separate mini freezer bag which is amazing. Especially if you pump to feed your baby and you need to keep that milk cold for the feeds on a day trip! I'll also be using this bag to store my sandwiches in (or pina colada; joking)
I think this is a great touch, especially as i'm a photographer and when photographing weddings, they're all day things and I will need to pump when out to make sure i'm not getting full to exploding or getting the dreaded mastitis!
So, I can take this to the reception desk and ask them to keep it in their fridge for me.
I remember photographing weddings when Iris was little and having "Photographers milk" written on freezer bags in sharpie handed back to me by poor young boys/men looking a little awkward! Haha. I will NEVER pump and dump my liquid gold.

You can purchase this separately if you don't want to purchase this full kit HERE

Talking of freezer bags, the Ardo ones are yet to be trialled due to this unsureness of a dairy allergy and until I have dairy completely out of my system then I can't give him this milk in a few weeks time but as soon as I have had it eliminated I will definitely be building up a freezer stash! Next to the frozen fruit. Even breastfeeding Mums need some alone and out of the house. You can also attach these straight onto you pump too so you don't need to transfer from bottle to bag! 

Now, lets talk nipple balm. It's a necessity for new Mums. With Iris I used LOADS of balm, with Rufus I haven't needed to use any really but when pumping for a long time I can get sore so it' s been my saviour for those days and a little tip, it works amazingly well as a lip balm!! Those frosty, snowy, winter days ruining your lips... solved with a nipple cream. I've also been using it around my finger nails as the cold weather is killing them off too! Nipple cream is amazing and the Ardo one has been really good too! The best thing is there is no need to remove it before feeding too! 

All of this came in the ardo bag which can clip on your pram. So you can use as a changing bag or to take your pump away with you in. I HATE throwing it in the bottom of a changing bag as it's usually filled with toddler crumbs like mini cheddars and raisins and I like to keep this as clean and hygenic as I can considering its used to pump milk for my under 6 month old currently. The bag has so many compartments and is really easy to carry.

You can buy the bag separately HERE too if you don't want to buy the set together.

The other two products that have helped my breastfeeding journey amazing is the mimijumi bottle. This was lent to me by a friend of mine and it's amazing! It's a pricey bottle but if you're only giving one or two bottles a day then it's not too bad as you wont need loads of them! Rufus took to it amazingly and it's got to be the closest teat to a nipple i've ever seen!  It's really good and I highly recommend this bottle if your baby wont take any other bottle.

Also the Haakaa pump is a must have for any breastfeeding Mother. You know when you latch your baby on for a feed and instantly feel the other breast tingle and the let down go and you just feel the leakage... yep! Catch it with the Haakaa. It's amazing and sometimes during Rufus' evening feed i've caught 50mls in 30 minutes and thats his top up sorted for that feed. I bought it when Iris was little and it's served me so well that i'm using it for Rufus now. It is literally a silicon pump that you suction onto your breast! Easy peasy.

Pumping was always something I wanted to do as I love building up a freezer stash. I find pumping satisfying seeing how much milk you can pump! Please, please remember that if you're breastfeeding and can't pump anything that doesn't mean you don't have a good milk supply, pumping is not a good indicator of how much breastmilk you have!
I am VERY lucky that I get a good amount when I pump, I used to get so much more when I pumped with Iris but I started pumping in the earlier days and I pumped everyday whereas with Rufus i'm a lot more hit and miss and some days it's been manic and i'm ill or tired and I can't bring myself to pump as I just want to get into bed. I also started pumping later with Rufus. Iris was 10 days old when I pumped for her whereas I think Rufus was 4 weeks old? So later. I still get about 120mls and Rufus' top ups are 45mls each so thats still nearly 3 top ups!

It has meant that Brad can help out and contribute to feeds which he loves and although there are soooo many ways for Dad's to bond with their babys, Brad personally finds it a really important way to bond. He'd never make me pump if I didn't want to just so he could give Rufus a feed as he knows him feeding from me is important but when I do pump he does love that he can help.
You can hear more from Brad about how he feels regarding my breastfeeding journey and the pumping journey in the video linked below!

Overall, I really recommend the Ardo Calypso, especially the Calypso-To-Go double electric pump package which you can buy HERE. It is a great investment and comes with so much. You can purchase the freezer bags separately HERE (They don't come in the package) and the nipple balm HERE (Also doesn't come in the package)
This kit is great value for money and is a great set!

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