I made two aesthetic promises to myself in the final weeks before I gave birth to Talitha: 1) I would resist the urge, no matter how strong, to shave my head, no matter how hideous my hair got postnatally, and 2) I would only wear nursing bras that made me feel pretty.
So far so good on both counts. I still have my hair and I’ve recently added another HOTmilk bra to my nursing lingerie collection courtesy BoobieMilk.
My small back size and large cup size usually mean that I’m stuck with a bra that either doesn’t fit properly, looks like something from my great grandmother’s generation or, if I’m really unfortunate, both.
Stylish doesn’t usually come in my size, especially not if I’m looking for a bra to breastfeed in.
The HOTmilk Luminous, however, puts the “sexy” in nursing bra. Serious attention has gone into the detailing of this bra.
The frills are fun and girlish. Even the diamanté centrepiece, which would normally be over the top for me, makes me feel like I’m treating myself by just getting dressed.
I put it on, got in front of the mirror and marvelled at how good a well-fitting, well-made bra can instantly make me feel.
The support is fantastic: no sore back, no digging straps. This is hugely because HOTmilk offers a fantastically wide selection of sizes and Karen McCully, BoobieMilk’s director, proved knowledgeable in helping me find the perfect fit.
I explained my issues with the bras I owned at the time and she skillfully helped me work out what my size probably was. Apparently BoobieMilk’s online customers can exchange items until they find the right fit. Handy.
As for clipping and unclipping to feed, it’s quick and painless (though this was a skill I did have to practice back when I’d just given birth).
I honestly tried to think of something I don’t like about this bra but I can’t think of anything. I even like the brand name HOTmilk. I think it’s hilarious. It conveys a message I agree with. Breastfeeding is beautiful but hard work. Feeling attractive and physically supported is the least you can do for you and your breasts.
So I’m pleased to offer you a chance to win a BoobieMilk voucher to spend on a nursing bra or on any other nursing or maternity lingerie that catches your fancy. More about that at the end.
The breastfeeding chat
First, I want to tell you a bit about Karen because she’s been so involved in breastfeeding support, an interest we share.
Karen’s passion for breastfeeding started during her Masters degree in Nutrition at Glasgow University. She returned to Kent in 2010 after spending about eight years in Baltimore. While her husband pursued his PhD, Karen ran a local government program there which provided free services such as breastfeeding classes, peer support, pumps and a lactation consultant.
Karen said: “I also initiated a pilot scheme that provided free nursing bras to those women that chose to exclusively breastfeed and receive no formula from our program. We fitted and issued free nursing bras for every three months of exclusive breastfeeding that they achieved.” Clearly, she knows her stuff when it comes to nursing bras.
I wondered why Karen started her nursing bra retail business, BoobieMilk. Like a lot of mothers, she was looking for a flexible working arrangement which allowed her to look after her children. BoobieMilk has allowed her to marry this with her breastfeeding passion. Her flexibility also lets her volunteer as a breastfeeding peer supporter.
“I am able to work around my daughter’s nap schedule while my older son is at pre-school, and I am able to do a lot of the volunteering with Ellie in-tow. I get a lot of pleasure out of my work, and I find volunteering as a breast buddy really rewarding.”
I asked Karen to name her favourite breastfeeding product. Instead of diving head-first into the bras, lots and lots of bras, she gave a response I admire: “I have been to a lot of breastfeeding conferences over the last 6 years and seen some crazy breastfeeding products. How many shapes can a breastfeeding pillow come in? I think the great thing about breastfeeding is that it is so convenient, just grab the baby and go.” I wish more mothers-to-be (myself included!) realised this.
She illustrated with a personal experience I directly identify with: “In the beginning with my son, I was trapped in the house a lot because I got into the habit of using a nursing pillow. It’s not really convenient to carry a huge pillow around in public, and you get some really odd looks from people, so I spent a lot of time weaning myself from using it… If you only want to spend the minimum on breastfeeding and get the most out of it, I would say 3 comfy nursing bras. One nursing bra to wear, one in the drawer and one in the wash.”
Her favourite, though, is the seamless transitional bra because it accommodates small changes in size. (Come to think of it, a friend in my breastfeeding group mentioned that problem a few weeks ago. I must tell her about this.) She also recommends a nursing vest in place of a bra to provide tummy coverage (personally these just don’t work for me as my mammaries as disproportionately bigger than my frame – but I recognise not everyone has this issue!).
And her favourite breastfeeding product she doesn’t sell is a sling. Ah, woman after my own heart! As you’ve probably worked out, Karen loves to talk breastfeeding. I highly recommend you go check out her blog, starting with this brilliantly informative post on breastfeeding in public. It’s got some great photos on how to use a ring sling while breastfeeding.
TO ENTER TO WIN A £20 VOUCHER TO SPEND AT BOOBIEMILK:
– Leave a comment below, telling me what made you decide to breastfeed
FOR EXTRA ENTRIES:
– Tweet: “Win a BoobieMilk voucher to spend on nursing lingerie http://circusqueen.co.uk/2012/04/boobiemilk-giveaway via @AdeleJK” (comment separately here to let me know you’ve done that)
– Like the Circus Queen Facebook page (comment separately here to let me know you’ve done that)
Giveaway closes on Tuesday 24th April, 2012 at 8pm.
The winner will be announced here and on the Circus Queen Facebook page the day following the completion of the giveaway.
Giveaway open to UK residents only.
Winner will be randomly selected.
Competition now closed. The winner is Tracy. Congratulations!
BoobieMilk sent me a nursing bra with a matching pair of pants. Obviously, I’m nothing if not honest.