By Taye K
I have not put pen to paper in a long time now. I haven't been physically well, and writing goes from relaxing to taxing when the simple act of holding the laptop drains me to the point of needing sleep. But, in my typical fashion, I won't speak too much about the less than happy moments of life.
As I am beyond sure you know, we are a family that believes breast is best! (No debate invited or accepted.)
I am so proud and fulfilled to be approaching the two-year mark with Baby Namaste and our nursing journey, and while I preferred latching and feeding him directly, we did end up using bottles as well.
I pumped from the start. While latching my little bear, I pumped to provide milk for our other special little angel that we had adopted 6 weeks before the birth of my little bear.
We latched exclusively until I absolutely needed a bottle for him, so Dad could tend to him while I gradually began working again. A Google search led me to mimijumi's site. I was impressed, because the bottle actually does look like a breast! It doesn't have a fussy design, but it's still cute. I decided to contact them about collaborating and see if they would partner with me for a review--and they did. (More in-depth details here!)
Note: We have purchased several more since then, because our son loved them so much. They are worth every penny. Always remember: You get what you pay for, tribe!
Much to our amazement, our little bear took to the bottle almost instantly. The mimijumi is designed like a real breast, and the bottle's nipple is textured just like skin. If the baby does not latch and suckle as they would at the breast, there should be no milk flow. These bottles are designed to mimic breastfeeding as perfectly as possible, and I can attest that they hit their mark!
I was skeptical at first. mimijumi is accepted by over 90% of babies--but my son tends be a rarity. This time he fit the majority. Observe, the picky baby at 8 months old, holding his "mimis." This was taken a few days before our journey took a pretty drastic turn: I got very sick.
When my baby was about 8 months old, I developed pneumonia. The fevers were giving me tremors, y'all. I was too weak to eat, let alone nurse my little bear. I had a hands-free pump, so I could at least express milk for him. I didn't want to hold him because I was burning up. That fever plus the body aches and constant barking cough were more than enough to make me thank my lucky stars for my pump and our mimi.
During those two weeks, I was entirely miserable. I was on the bare minimum of medication so I could continue to nurse my little bear. Even if he wasn't latching, I was determined to give him my milk only.
Fast forward: we made it! I credit this bottle with saving my nursing journey, because when I was lying there with a temp of 103, the last thing I wanted was to latch my baby and risk him getting sick. I know babies get immunity from mother's milk, but I was too weak to even hold him. I could pump, though, and Hubby Namaste was able to continue giving him the wonderful liquid gold.
Our mimijumi saved us in another respect too: Our son never developed a nipple preference. (Nipple preference is often called nipple confusion--which is inaccurate. The baby is not "confused" about the nipple! He simply wants the easier route to receive milk. Breastfeeding requires more than just suckling. Most bottles, however, do not--that's why they drip so badly if you leave them uncapped! I unabashedly do cry over spilled (breast) milk, so I promptly eschew any container that does not keep that milk safe.) The mimijumi is a zero-flow nipple, which means the milk does not flow unless baby is latched and suckling. If baby is not correctly latched, nothing comes out. Also, the holes in the nipple more closely resemble those on an actual mother's nipple--there are not very many. (We used the slow flow, and it has one tiny hole.)
When my mimijumi coordinator Lauren emailed me again to ask about testing out a new mimi product, you know I was on board!
The mimijumi nipple is flesh-colored. It's simple beige, nothing fussy. Lauren had a cool surprise for me, though...
The mimijumi geniuses had decided it was time to create a dark nipple for the already-popular bottle, and because I've been pretty vocal about it (the mimi is still my cover photo on my blog's FB page), she wanted to invite me personally to try it with my baby!
We were honored. Not only would the bottle feel like mom, now it would look more like mom too! When I gave him the dark nipple.... well, a picture is worth a thousand words.
...the dude abideth, times ten-eth.
To be a part of the dark launch is incredible. Now mimijumi is taking care to ensure all moms can provide their babies with a bottle without structurally OR visually disturbing their nursing routines.
Prior to the mimi, I hadn't seen a bottle so carefully created to replicate the nursing experience for baby. More importantly, I had never gotten the kind of customer service they provided. We got an email full of tips and recommendations. The team was always available!
...But when they contacted me about launching the dark nipple, my heart swelled. As I have said, Black and Brown moms are not as well represented as we need to be. I felt really proud to be at the proverbial helm of this product launch and test run because here we have a company that sells millions without changing a thing and then took the extra step to see a need to make their product even more inclusive.
Also, when a product launches an ethnic variation, it is not generally "in tone" for us more deeply-browned cookies.
When I opened my darker skin mimi and held it next to my skin, I couldn't help but get misty-eyed. The dark is a shade or two beyond me, but I was just so full of joy to see myself represented by this company. I couldn't show anyone the launch product, but I have never ached so badly to show someone a bottle! It was the toughest, most wonderful secret to keep.
This has been just another wonderful benefit of working with such a conscientious, caring and involved company. No other bottle comes with a dark nipple, y'all. From personal experience, I know that in the Black community the lack of breastfeeding information, guidance and/or products that feel inclusive to us can, and often are, the last nails in the breastfeeding coffin. mimijumi has taken a step to include us! While millions of baby bottles have nourished millions of babies, no other company has been present enough to consider providing more than just a standard nipple.
I cannot WAIT to use these with our next baby. We will absolutely 100% be breastfeeding again, and we will have our mimis for the moments when we need the option of a bottle.
How do I feel about it?
-- Tayè K. ❤