Mum's Journey: Introducing Natalia and Sophia
Natalia is a Paedatric Oncology Nurse who holds not only a Masters in Nursing, but is a Yoga Teacher who loves to help mums through their pregnancy, post-partum experiences and beyond.
Medela recently sat down with Natalia to talk about all things motherhood and just why becoming a pumping mum was the best decision she could have made for her family.
Let’s start with the basics. What’s it like being a mum?
Natalia: I love being a mother! Every day I get to wake up next to my best little friend, we eat breakfast together, go for a walk and play. It’s not to say that it’s been easy, there have been many obstacles and challenges that come with motherhood but I’m learning and growing into this new role one step at a time.
We know you love Medela products, tell us which is your favourite and why.
Natalia: This is a tough one… But I’d have to say the Medela Harmony pump. It’s a manual pump that gets the job done fast. I love how comfortable and easy it is to use and, I found it most useful when I was running errands and I needed to pump on the go, I could express both breasts in under 20 mins.
Breastfeeding. We all know it’s hard but tell us why you found it hard and how you overcame those issues.
Natalia: Learning to breastfeed was both rewarding and challenging. Luckily with my job as a registered nurse I had a lot of training on breastfeeding regarding positions and how to help your baby latch properly. Although I had education about breastfeeding I found putting it into practice was another skill that both my baby and I had to learn. With the help of my lactation consultant and the Medela Hydrogel Pads it really helped me to get through the first few weeks of breastfeeding, which I personally found the most challenging.
When did you decide to start your pumping journey? Before or after birth? When did you get your first pump and why? Returning to work or wanting your baby to receive the best nutrition all the time?
Natalia: At 6 weeks postpartum I decided to exclusively pump as we found this worked best for our family. My husband was able to help out more with the feedings and it was super helpful knowing the quantity of milk she was having each day. I received my first pump before birth, as I knew I wanted to start pumping during the postpartum period to build up my milk supply in preparation for when I returned to work. The thought of not being with my baby when I returned to work was heartbreaking, but one thing that made me feel calm was knowing that I was still providing for her and although we weren’t physically connected, we were still connected through my breastmilk.
You are doing an amazing job as the mother of a young kid and you’re killing it at work. How have you found that sweet spot of balance?
Natalia: It’s been a challenge returning to work and the first few weeks were tough. You feel a bit torn between the desire to be with your child all day every day and getting back to your career. I was lucky in that I got to spend 9 months with my baby before returning to work, after which I was able to work part time (I’m a paediatric oncology nurse). So, this flexibility gave me the balance I needed between my career and motherhood. In saying that, I always found solace knowing that by pumping I could still provide for my child even if I’m at work and not physically with her.
How does your partner help you out with the new baby?
Natalia: He is the best father and partner. He was supportive throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum. When we decided to exclusively pump, he would help with the feedings to let me get some extra sleep. He also made me coffee and breakfast every morning before he went to work. I feel blessed to have him by my side
Did your view on your career change when you became a mum yourself? Those late nights make it hard to feel zen and find the energy to exercise. How can we push past that feeling?
Natalia: My career definitely changed after birth, my passion is to help women prepare for birth by educating them with prenatal yoga, breathwork and to heal their diastasis recti (split tummy muscles) after pregnancy. The newborn stage is a rollercoaster of learning, loving and becoming a mother. You lose yourself in motherhood but somehow find yourself again as you grow with your children. To find a balance I always took nap time as me time. It was when I could really dedicate 20 minutes to working out, listening to my own music and connecting back with my body felt good for the soul. The motivation wasn’t always there but knowing how good I would feel after each yoga class was enough strength to pull me onto my mat.
Tell us three words you would use to describe Medela:
Natalia: Comfortable, supportive, community
Give us your top nutrition tips to keep your supply and your body healthy!
Natalia: It is essential that you fuel your body with nutrient dense food during the postpartum period that will help your body to heal and provide the energy needed to create breastmilk. One of my favourite snacks that I would make during this period were smoothies. I would blend up bananas, peanut butter and dates, along with oat milk and have this with breakfast or lunch. Dates are an amazing fruit that help your body to produce a hormone called prolactin which encourages your body to produce more milk.
If you can give the mums out there reading this interview one piece of motherly advice, what would it be?
Natalia: Just remember, your worth is not defined in how many ounces of breastmilk you make, or the amount of hours your baby sleeps, or how many loads of laundry you get done. You’re children won’t remember that. They will remember that with you, they are loved and safe.
You can follow Natalia for more amazing tips and tricks on Instagram @natalia_carmen