As the mama of one toddler and two preschoolers, one of my top job titles during the last five years could very well have been "Chief Nourishment Officer." From a cumulative 51 months of breastfeeding to the countless hours replenishing bottles and sippy cups, providing milk to my kids—in one way or another—has been a very big part of my early motherhood experience. All that is to say, you'd better believe I've learned a few baby-feeding tricks and earned some self-care wisdom along the way. First and foremost: Be willing to adjust your expectations while finding tools that support you as you go.
Many parents have a vision of how they see their feeding journey unfolding. And, for many parents, there's often another version of the story with the way things actually play out. Sometimes the expectation and reality are pretty similar—other times call for more agility and acceptance. When my first baby was on the way, I was really shooting in the dark with the bottles and breast pump on my registry. Sure, I'd held babies before, but actively feeding them was going to be new for me. When my son arrived and wanted to eat every other hour around the clock, I quickly realized it would be important to my mental health to introduce bottles so that my husband or someone else could help with feeding. The only problem was my son seemed to get an upset stomach whenever he took a bottle. That's when an experienced mama friend offered up a suggestion that hadn't yet occurred to me: "Why don't you try some new bottles?"

In that lightbulb moment, I realized I should take the time to find products that would support our feeding journey—instead of simply "making do" (and suffering for it) with the pump and bottles I already had. After giving myself that permission, I discovered Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Options+ Bottles, which are clinically proven to reduce colic and mimic the flow my baby was used to from breastfeeding. In other words: total game changer! With my eyes opened to seeing how much better things could be when I found products that worked for my baby and our lifestyle, I became committed to finding the best-of-the-best products—and Dr. Brown's has consistently supported me on that journey. (Another game-changing moment was when my son mastered feeding himself with help from the Dr. Brown's Transition Bottle!) By the time my third baby arrived, my first breast pump (that was always slow and loud) was seriously slow and seriously loud. I was thrilled to discover Dr. Brown's new Customflow Double Electric Breast Pump, which had everything I knew I needed and even more perks that I didn't even know were possible—like flexible silicone SoftShape Shields that were so much more comfortable than the hard shields I used before.

Between the electric pump, the new Dr. Brown's Manual Pump and their leak-proof Breast Milk Storage Bags, I now have my pumping-nursing-bottle routine down to a mastery level. That's all because I was willing to find the feeding tools that worked best for my baby and me. And, honestly, thanks to Dr. Brown's products, it was easier than I ever expected. This post was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.