Monday, 29 November 2010

Should companies provide private breastfeeding areas at work?

You've probably seen the numerous articles on a new white paper by the government which encourages businesses to adopt "breastfeeding-friendly employment policies". The paper suggests that firms should set up private areas where mums can breastfeed or express milk, with facilities to store it for later use. They also want employers to give mothers greater flexibility around taking their breaks so that they can return home to breastfeed their baby. This is a particular issue for women in manual jobs as apparently only 66% of these women breastfeed in comparison to 88% of professionals.

The government hopes that the new initiatives will make it easier for mums to continue to breastfeed, giving their children the best nutritional start in life. But small business owners say that it adds further pressure, costs and legislation on them, which could end up with fewer mums being employed.

There's also the question of how this would work in practice. How many women live close enough to work to pop home to feed? Could they have someone bring the baby to their office/workplace? Perhaps the expressing route is the best bet - so mums can continue to maintain their milk supply and have steady supply of stored breastmilk for their baby while they're in the office.
We'd love to get your thoughts on this. Do you think it would make more mums breastfeed for longer? Would a private space like this be an option in your company? Let us know what you think.
Be sure to visit us on Facebook too and share your thoughts and experiences. Anyone who 'Likes' us on Facebook before 10 Dec will be put into a draw to win one of our fab breastfeeding tops

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

What people are saying about our new Seamfree nursing bras

Our new nursing bra styles are getting some rave reviews. This is what people are saying about styles 361 and 365, our new Next Generation seamfree bras that cost from just £10:

From Babyworld
The Emma Jane 361 nursing bra is a pleasure to wear day and night! It is seamfree and stretchy so very comfortable and discrete under clothing. I love the fact that it allows lower necklines thanks to it's ruched center. The 4 rows of hooks at the back allow adjustement for change in the body size and a bra extender is even available! Each cup individually open but when one is open the rest of the bra stays nicely in place. It is very easy to open,and to refasten,even with one hand,you don't even have to look at them!..great for discrete nursing in public. I can't talk much about support as I have small breast. Overall I found it to be a quality garment at a great price. Reviewed by Olivia


Love this bra. Being that the up size covers from B-F it's great to wear straight after birth as milk supply settles as your size can vary hugely during this time! It's not what I'd call super supportive for the larger lady but certainly better than I expected from such a soft cup bra. The ruched center works well and adds nice detail and the knitted underband is very comfortable. Each cup has a clip so can be dropped independantly while still maintainging support on the other side. It's a great bra in my opinion! Reviewed by Rachael

Meanwhile, one of our retailers sent us this customer feedback about the 365:
"I have just fitted new bra 365 for the first time today. Customer's verdict - supremely comfortable and didn't want to take it off."

While one of our Scandinavian customers said this:
"We need more 365s - this has sold very well."

So if you haven't tried our new seamfree bras yet, ask for them! You can find a full list of our retailers online here. To find out more about them, take a closer look here including a video of the new styles on the catwalk.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Thinking of extended breastfeeding?

This week's guest blog post is written by Katie Gunn, an Irish mum of three, whose blog is Kate Takes 5. She's got some great advice for mums who want to do extended breastfeeding but who might feel under pressure - for whatever reason - to give up.

Six and a half years ago I gave birth for the first time. Whilst still in the delivery room, amidst the pain, exhaustion and confusion I managed to successfully breastfeed my baby daughter Kaya for the first time. Since that moment I have never looked back.

Fortunately I was one of the really lucky ones who never experienced any problems with feeding - so I kept going with it, and going, and going...

Initially I had thought that I would have to stop feeding as soon as I returned to work. But with the helpful advice of a local nurse I realised that I could wean Kaya off her day feeds and keep going with the night time ones.

Most of my fellow work mums thought I was crazy and looked at me in bemused bewilderment each time they asked 'Still feeding then?'. But it was more than worth it for me. Being able to continue that special bond with my daughter, despite the fact that I wasn't able to be around during the day was, for me, irreplaceable.

When Kaya reached 20 months and I was 4 months pregnant with my second child I finally decided that it was time to take a break. Though it wasn't for long! My second son came along 5 months later and was breastfed until 14 months, when he decided he just wasn't that interested in it anymore (it took me awhile to get over that one!). My third boy is now 2 years old and is still feeding at night.

Understandably this arrangement wouldn't suit everybody - but as a mother it's great to know that there are options available to you - even if you are forced back to work, or are unexpectedly pregnant again, or are feeling pressure to give it up. My advice would be to explore your options fully before making any big decisions.

The bottom line is that whatever feels right for you is right for you - so trust those mothering instincts.
As an aside, and with absolute integrity, I would highly recommend Emma Jane's feeding bras to any mothers who are breastfeeding, or planning to breastfeed their babies. I only discovered them during my third pregnancy and was so impressed I bought one in every colour. They are extremely comfortable and are excellent value. If only I had known about them 6 years ago!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

You're a size what?! Our new nursing bra for bigger busts

We know. You didn't think it was possible for your breasts, which were bursting out of your maternity bra, to get any bigger. But now that you're breastfeeding they've taken on gargantuan proportions. As you edge closer and closer to the middle of the alphabet with your cup size, you might be despairing about ever finding a bra that fits.

Despair no more. Our new nursing bra for bigger busts is now available. Style 431 ranges from size 32DD to 32K. And like all our bras, our main focus is on comfort and support.

This pretty embroidered bra comes with a choice of three detachable straps - clear, cushioned and stretch – so you can find one that gives you the most comfortable support. It also has four back eyes to adapt for a changing shape and clips for easy breastfeeding.


It is available in white only, the RRP is £30 and it is now available from Emma-Jane retailers, a full list of which can be found on our website. Happy feeding!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Should breastfeeding mums give their babies Vitamin D?

When it comes to breastfeeding (or bottle feeding for that matter), there is never a shortage of alarmist, often conflicting, headlines to get mums worried. This one appeared in the US this weekend:

Many breast-fed babies lack vitamin D

According to the article, breastfed babies lack vitamin D and mums should be supplementing with vitamin D drops. Apparently "the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all children, including infants, get 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, an amount that is not possible to get from breast milk alone".

The article has generated over 60 comments, many of whom are from angry moms who argue that breastfeeding is a natural way of feeding your baby and has been since the dawn of time, so why the need to supplement with artificial vitamins.

Clicking through on links within the article show that rickets (a disease brought on by a lack of vitamin D) is on the increase for the first time in many years across the US population. This is due to a number of reasons - dietary changes, more sedentary lifestyles and people being more sun aware, therefore slapping on sunblock which prevents the UV-B rays getting to the skin, which helps your body create vitamin D.

So we did a bit of research and discovered that more than half the UK population has insufficient levels of vitamin D. Possibly something to do with our lack of sunshine?

While most UK websites advise that children aged 6 months plus do need extra vitamin D supplements,  the question about whether breastfed babies need vitamin D supplements was less apparent. But after a bit of digging, we found these two useful articles.

This one explains all you need to know about vitamin D, including symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, who's likely to suffer from it, how much sunlight exposure you need and what foods give you vitamin D. It also states that all breastfed babies should have vitamin D supplements. Bottle-fed babies don't need supplements as the formula already has vitamin D added to it. However, the site does say this:
"Note: there are significant advantages to breast-feeding; you should not stop breast-feeding due to concern about vitamin D levels - your baby can simply have vitamin D supplements as drops by mouth."

This one from the British Dietetic Society suggests that it's only necessary to give your baby vitamin  D supplements from 1 month old if the mother's own vitamin D levels were low during pregnancy.

Two websites. Two bits of conflicting advice. Confused? We are.

Our advice:
  • If you have any concerns, chat to your GP about whether your breastfed baby needs vitamin D supplements.
  • Make sure you eat a balanced diet, take Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and while breastfeeding if you're likely to suffer from low levels of this vitamin.
  • Try to expose your baby to sunshine for short blocks of time as often as there is sunshine, taking care to never let them get burnt.
Let us have your thoughts on this subject. Do you give your breastfed baby vitamin D supplements? Has this subject ever been raised with you by your doctor, health visitor or midwife? We'd love to get your views.

And if you are breastfeeding, don't forget to take a look at our extensive range of nursing bras. They'll give you one less thing to worry about!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Real mums, real experience: Breastfeeding is a journey

At Emma-Jane, we want to share the real stories about what pregancy, birth and breastfeeding are like.  The good, the bad and the ugly so to speak. Because we think it's important to know that you're not alone. This week, Laura, a mum of two and blogger at Yummy Mummy Flabby Tummy is our guest writer. Read Laura's story about her breastfeeding journey - and if you're interested in sharing yours, please leave your details in the comment box and we'll be in touch.
“Are you planning to breastfeed?” asks my midwife. Well, yes I thought I would try. I was handed a leaflet or two about breastfeeding and that was it. As a first time mum I had no idea how hard breastfeeding was going to be. I was naive if I am to be completely honest. You always hear that it’s meant to be the most natural thing on the planet, a mother being able to nourish her baby with her own milk. I thought I would just latch my baby on and off we’d go on a magical bonding experience and a happily ever after Disney ending. When it actually came to it though, it was one of the toughest experiences of my life.
After a long labour filled with pain and drugs, when my son was placed in my arms the last thing I was thinking about was feeding him. I was exhausted, I felt ill and I felt overwhelmed. It was about 3 hours after he was born that I tried to feed him for the first time. It was agony. It was uncomfortable. I was assured my positioning was correct and that the pain I was feeling would subside after a few seconds. It didn’t.
As I continued to try and feed my son, midwife after midwife would tell me different ways of positioning him, whether I should give him both breasts and whether I should wake him up for a feed or wake him if he fell asleep during a feed. My boobs were aching and my nipples were raw. I was surviving on very little sleep and my head was a mess. Conflicting information and advice swirling around my head, I was in tears and honestly didn’t want to be a mum. It was too hard and I was only 2 days in. After 4 days I asked to leave the hospital and go home. After just a week, I gave up and my son was bottle-fed. He was happy and I was happier than I had been.
When I became pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted to try and breastfeed again. During the pregnancy I made sure I read as much as I could and watched videos online giving advice on correct positioning and latching on techniques.
When my daughter was born, she was placed on my chest and within a few minutes she was looking for a feed. She latched on straight away and that pain and discomfort came rushing back. I told myself this was normal. I’m not used to her and she is not used to me. I asked the midwife to check my positioning and latch were correct and when she agreed they were, I asked for no more help. I was going to do this my way. With my son, although I was always asking for help, something inside me told me I was doing it right. I just wasn’t confident enough to know and trust my gut instinct.
I took each day at a time with my daughter. The first few weeks were a daze. I was sleep deprived and drained. Thankfully I had a lot of support from my husband. He was there for the first 4 weeks of our daughter’s life and looked after my toddler which allowed me to give my full attention to my newborn. 
Some nights she would wake every 30 minutes looking for a comfort feed. These were the hardest nights and I longed for sleep. I felt like a zombie. She wouldn’t take a dummy or comforter and refused to have a bottle of expressed milk. The one thing keeping me going was my health visitor telling me my daughter was gaining weight every time she was weighed. It wasn’t just an ounce or 2. It was 8 or 9oz every fortnight. Seeing her growing and thriving from being fed by me just made me feel amazing.
I can’t remember when I started to notice that my daughter was sleeping longer at night and feeding less during the day. Each day seemed to flow into another and each week seemed to become a month in the blink of an eye. It just did get easier. I had more time with my son and I could make a meal or have a shower without having to rush. Trips to the shops were without military planning.
My daughter is now 17 months old and I still feed her in the morning and at night. I originally planned to feed her until she was 6 months old however when it came to that 6 month mark I decided to try another 6 months and so on. I’m not sure when I’ll stop feeding her. Definitely before she turns 2! I’m really happy that breastfeeding has worked out this time.
 If you are thinking about breastfeeding then get yourself as informed as you can. There are tons of resources online or over the phone you can use. If you have a drop in clinic with a breastfeeding support worker, then go to them. It’s sad to say but there isn’t enough support for new mums in every hospital whether they choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed. It would be lovely to have a person in the hospital that would be your go to person for any feeding advice so that anything you were told was consistent. Unfortunately not every hospital can have that luxury and not every midwife you come across will have breastfed their child.
Breastfeeding is something that, with any new baby skill, takes time to learn. Trust your instincts, take each day as it comes and do what makes you happy. A happy mum will make a happy baby.