Wardrobe staples: the boob friendly skater dress

My first review is going to be of my favourite breastfeeding friendly item of clothing so far. This dress is *technically* maternity wear but with its cut, I’d say it’s nursing friendly with the added bonus that you could wear it whilst pregnant, rather than the other way around!

Plus points for me are:

  • Nice and stretchy. If you are unsure of sizing, you could go for the smaller size and get away with it!
  • Comes in at the smallest part of the waist
  • Flattering v-neck – some ladies may prefer to wear a crop top or vest top underneath for modesty (not me though! 😆)
  • Stretchy enough to accommodate a large bosom!
  • Easy to pull down to get a boob out
  • Could be worn as casual or smart
  • Available in many different arm lengths/colours/patterns
  • Long enough to wear without leggings, short enough to not look frumpy
  • I’ve found it to be flattering on the mummy tummy where there is a good amount of material at the front
  • CHEAP!

I’m yet to find any against points but the largest size is an 18 although if you are a small 20 you could probably squeeze in ok.

I bought two dresses in different colours and arm lengths:

Black sleeveless dress
Black sleeveless dress

Purple short sleeve dress
Purple short sleeve dress

Easy boobing!
I am a size 16 and I think I could’ve fit a 14 but not sure I would’ve had the extra material available to flatter the tummy and bum/legs.

**edit** NEGATIVE POINT:With the purple one in particular I found that even water leaves the fabric a slightly different colour once wet (and dried). Not sure if this effects other colours but the black one seems to be fine. 

This dress seems to be a generic style across many different sellers on both eBay and Amazon. They can be found by using the search term ‘maternity skater dress’ but here are some links to make it easier for you:

eBay – Happy Mama (short sleeved, plain colours)

eBay – Happy Mama (sleeveless, plain colours)

Happy Mama Boutique eBay shop

Amazon – Zeta Ville (sleeveless, plain colours)

Amazon – Zeta Ville (short sleeved, plain colours)

Amazon – Zeta Ville shop

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An open letter to high street clothing retailers

I swear shopping never used to be this much of a chore. Before having a baby I could walk into the shop knowing all I needed to do was find something I liked the look of which was also flattering for my body (which at times could be a challenge in itself). Now that I’m a breastfeeding mother (who has trouble enough concentrating at the task on hand with that tricky baby brain and a potentially grumpy child to contend with), browsing a high street shop is becoming a chore rather than an enjoyable experience.

Many stores have a maternity section with nursing friendly maternity clothing. I’m sure your thought process goes something along the lines of: “well pregnant ladies will buy our maternity wear and have the additional feature of it being nursing friendly when baby is born”. Great, except I’m not currently pregnant. I have a 9 month old. I don’t want to wear maternity clothing. I want nice well fitting clothing which I can also get a boob out of when my baby is hungry. Colours which are forgiving on leaky boobs and baby drool are always a winner too!

I’m not asking that you create a new range of nursing wear (some of you already have a small selection of nursing wear already available), that would be asking too much. Many of us mothers like shopping online for our clothing. Then we can put our full focus onto finding the perfect outfit whilst baby is asleep.

So, what would be REALLY handy, and this is SO simple, within your online shops, is a search filter that tells us if the clothing item is ‘breastfeeding friendly’. To fall under this category a top or dress could potentially be easily (and discreetly as a bonus!) breastfed in without having to just ‘lift it up’ and give the world a sneak peak of our jelly bellies. Yes we could wear vests underneath all of our tops but not so practical when we get those hot days!

The first shop to adopt this feature will gain a LOT of business and support from the breastfeeding community. There are currently 3500+ UK women waiting for this feature to be implemented in the Can I Breastfeed In It? UK Facebook group alone.

So please, do a little more research on your breastfeeding customer base. It’ll pay off! It will not only be a positive for your sales and nursing mothers, but it would also be another (albeit small) step in normalising breastfeeding in our society. It would help mothers realise they don’t need to be wearing frumpy or boring/repetitive clothing!

The advice about nursing bras I wish I had whilst I was still pregnant…

So, you’re pregnant! Congratulations! Or maybe you’ve just had a baby! Either way, you are most probably hoping to feed your baby in the most natural way possible – with your breasts. You may have heard that taking formula into hospital is potentially setting yourself up to fail at breastfeeding (which it pretty much is but that’s another blog post for another time!), well on the other end of the spectrum, buying a comfortable nursing bra in advance could be considered setting yourself to WIN at breastfeeding.

Hospital-Bag

From the birth of your baby, your boobs will be doing some pretty amazing stuff. At first they will be providing colostrum (aka liquid gold) to your newborn baby to give them that vital boost they need after they transition from your womb into the big wide world! At the colostrum stage, you probably won’t feel like you are providing much in the way of nutrients but chances are you are doing a grand job. If you are worried at this stage, please do seek help from a midwife or peer support worker. Your baby will need feeding for most of the time they spend awake so your boobs will basically need to be available 24/7 and very easily accessible (for your sake!). Then, once your milk comes in (usually around 3-5 days but can vary mother to mother), your boob size will be all over the place. For this reason, I recommend a ‘one size fits all’ sleep bra during this time. A definite hospital bag ‘must have’. Click here for link to bras on Amazon. UPDATE: Anita soft bras half price (without clips) here.

A diagram of correct latch to throw in for good measure
A diagram of correct latch to throw in for good measure

Once your milk comes in, feeding your baby can get much easier. This next 3 months will be an important time for both your boobs and your baby. This is because your baby will be placing an order with your areola for how exactly much milk they require. This is why babies can remain suckling at the nipple for long periods whilst seemingly not actually drinking anything – they are merely telling your boobs to get cracking with milk production. It’s amazing how it all works really! During this time, it’s really not worth investing in an expensive bra. If you’re not happy sticking with the sleep bra linked above, then check out the nursing bras in George or Primark – knowing you’ll likely be replacing them by the time your baby is 3 months old.

When you reach the third month of breastfeeding, your supply starts to settle down. You suddenly don’t get that ‘fullness’ feeling you may have experienced before. This leads to many women thinking that they are “running out of milk”. Couldn’t be further from the truth. If you have been letting your baby suckle away and put in that order for milk then at this point you will have just the right amount to accommodate your baby. This will however mean that pumping additionally to nursing will become very difficult! Your boobs will now be back to more or less how they were before you had a baby in terms of how empty you feel. Some women don’t even need breast pads after this time! This means it’s time to go out and treat yourself to some nice nursing bras! Treat yourself after keeping a mini-human alive all by yourself for 3 months!

Most importantly – MEASURE YOURSELF PROPERLY. Don’t get measured in any of the high street shops (there are some exceptions such as Bravissimo) – you’re best doing it yourself. Find out more here.

Some fab places to look for nursing bras are:

Nursing Bra – Shop – Good prices on branded bras.

Hot Milk – a bit pricey but some lovely bras

Figleaves – similar to Hot Milk.

There will be more specific nursing bra posts to follow as well as reviews! Please share this with any friends who are pregnant or in the early stages of breastfeeding 🙂

Introduction

Hi there! Chances are if you’re reading this, you are most probably in the Can I Breastfeed In It UK Facebook group. This would mean you are well aware of what this blog is about and already reaping the rewards the group has to offer within its community 😊

I’ll quickly introduce myself! My name is Natalie. I’m a first time mum to my 9 month old, Brandon Thor. Since becoming a mum, I have become quite the breastfeeding enthusiast/advocate and consider myself a lactivist. I’ve actually never been big on fashion – always just had a static unique style which revolved around finding clothing that flatters my voluptuous size 16 curves. Since starting the Facebook group I’ve learnt a lot about fashion and have developed quite an interest in it. 

If by some twist of fate you have happened to stumble across this blog randomly or you have clicked on a link someone has shared, here’s a quick explanation:

On the highstreet today, there is no such thing as ‘breastfeeding fashion’. We have maternity clothes which have practical features for nursing, we have nursing bras which can kill your libido as quickly as David Cameron (if you are lucky enough to find your size) and we have expensive same-y nursing tops dotted about in specialist shops such as Jojo Maman Bebe. A lot of high street retailers seem to think a nursing mother will be using her maternity wear for the few months she plans on breastfeeding. Ok so yes, the statistics aren’t exactly in our favour (1% of women in the UK exclusively breastfeeding by the time their baby is 6 months) and natural term (2 years +) breastfeeding is considered a bit of a taboo and not really talked about with the exception of negative press, which means a lot of high street retailers are blind to our needs. Note how I haven’t actually mentioned online retailers yet – I’ll get to that later. 

It’s not that we want our own specialist range of nursing clothing with special gaps and zips (although it couldn’t hurt). It’s not JUST about having easy boob access. Hell, we could just all start wearing button down shirts! It’s about going into a shop (whether it be on the highstreet or online) and not having to scour the store for the odd top or dress that answers ‘yes’ to the question that constantly goes through our minds: “Can I breastfeed in it?” 

It could be as simple as retailers adding a nursing friendly filter on their online shops to make the experience that bit more straightforward and quick. The first retailer to figure out that little tweak will gain a nice influx of new customers. There is nice practical BF clothing there on the net – it’s just finding it which can sometimes prove tricky. 

Since creating the Facebook group back in mid March, in the space of just 3 months, we are now counting over 3000 members. If this isn’t a sign of a gap in the market, I don’t know what is! A place where experience, clothing finds, reviews, accessories, new (relevant) businesses and more can be shared with each other! The group is truly a credit to its members. 

A great BF friendly find could consist of many things – it might mean you can easily get a boob out over the top, it might be a top which provides the necessary modesty a new mum might need as she gets to grips with nurturing her child, it might be a dress for a special occasion which whilst being flattering on the mum-tum is also practical for easy boob access or something as simple as a pretty nursing bra.  

  
This is just an experimental post to see whether this is a blog worth putting time into! If it goes down well then I will be on the lookout for guest bloggers, reviewers and I might ask to feature a photo or two from within the group (with permission of course!). Do leave a comment to let me know what you think and whether you’d be interested in reading more 🙂

Thanks for reading!