Thursday, 24 February 2011

25 nursing bras to be won!

In March, we turn 25. For quarter of a century we have been making maternity and nursing bras to help mums get the comfortable support they need, without breaking the bank. We're really proud of this. To celebrate our birthday, we're giving away presents, rather than getting them.

Come back on 1 March to find out how you can win one of 25 of our fab new Next Generation nursing bras - so comfy you'll never want to take it off.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Calling all retailers! Help us celebrate our 25th anniversary and win

In March we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. That's 25 years of making comfortable, supportive and affordable lingerie for new and expectant mums. Can we get a Woohoo! or at least a big cake with candles?

To celebrate, we’re inviting all of our online stockists to send us a link to the Emma-Jane product page on their website. An independent consultant will view the pages and the stockist who they think most accurately reflects the Emma-Jane ethos of comfort, support and affordability will win a £250 prize to spend with us. That's £250 worth of free Emma-Jane stock for you to sell, with the profits all going to you!

Stockists can simply leave a link to their page in the comments section below or post it onto the wall of our Facebook page by 31 March to be included. Winners will receive exposure on this very blog - and on Facebook and Twitter.

For mums, watch this space because during the month of March we will be giving away 25 - yes 25! - of our new Next Generation nursing bras. Come back on 1 March to find out how to enter. 

Monday, 21 February 2011

Conflicting advice on when to wean - a mum shares her story

In January, a report came out which went against the WHOs recommendation that all babies should be exclusively breastfed for six months. We wrote about it here. It's easy to look at all the different arguments from a distance and see the different points of view. But when you are a new mum and you have hormones raging through your body and you're not 100% sure what you should be doing but you know you want to do what's right, conflicting advice can be very upsetting and confusing.

Helen, a mum with a now 10 month old son, writes a blog at She was kind enough to share her experience of receiving conflicting advice about weaning onto solids.

What we take from her story - and what we hope other mums will take from it - is to listen to all the opinions out there and then make your own mind up. You know your baby best so read his cues. Every baby is different. There isn't a one size fits all answer. So don't beat yourself up if you think you've got something wrong. It's a learning curve.

Helen's story
When my son was born I felt so overwhelmed with joy and happiness. I was unsure before as to whether I would breastfeed but when I saw him for the first time I knew that I wanted to breastfeed him for as long as possible. 

I was kept overnight because I had stitches and my son had a little help with the ventouse which left his head rather sore, but also they wanted to make sure I could breastfeed him without any trouble. I thought all I had to do was show him where the nipple was and he’d be enjoying breast milk. It was not that simple one bit! It was a learning curve for both him and I, neither of us really had a clue what we were doing. I was very lucky to have had a midwife who specialises in breastfeeding and would help any mum with advice, showing them how to position yourself and baby and so on. Once I had shown the midwife I could do it on my own I was discharged and able to go home.

Everything had been going well and he had been perfectly healthy. I suffered with sore nipples and felt like giving up a month later, but we bought some cream and nipple guards which helped give my nipples a bit of rest. At the age of 5 months old for a week I was having trouble keeping him on the breast and found him pushing me away and crying loudly. I was confused and when I asked for help seemed I wasn’t doing anything incorrect and was suggested to see my Health Visitor. I did just that and he had lost nearly 2lbs in weight. She suggested I see my GP right now and almost instantly I had swapped rooms and was getting my boy checked by the doctor. She saw nothing wrong with him, but noticed signs of teething and desire to be weaned. I felt so stupid for not noticing these signs before and rushed off to get some baby food, juices, everything you need for weaning. I expressed milk using a manual pump but over time I found myself making less and less milk until finally I was barely making enough to make a bottle for him.

One week later I returned to make sure he was gaining weight again. He had not only gained it but had also put another 2lbs on top of what he lost! I was so relieved and happy to know the problem had been resolved. Sadly my Health Visitor was not happy. The moment I told her I was feeding him food and no longer able to breastfeed him she went off on one. She was not only angry at the doctor, who she said should not have told me to wean so early, but made me out to be a bad parent. When I asked what I should do now her words were “well the damage is done now, continue what you are doing”.

I was hit hard by those words. As I walked back home I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. It took me weeks to get over what she said to me, but now I feel confident that I did the right thing for my boy, who is very healthy and happy now at the age of 10 months.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience that I suggest all mums-to-be to try. I won’t pretend it wasn’t a struggle and you probably will have sore nipples for the first few weeks, but with the right help and a supportive family you can get through all that and follow on until your baby is ready for food.

Have you had a similar experience? We'd love to hear your breastfeeding stories - whether you exclusively breastfed for 6 months or whether you weaned early. It really helps new mums know what other new mums have gone through so they realise how different everyone is.

And it goes without saying that if you are breastfeeding, you'll be needing some nursing bras, so do check out our range!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Scared of breastfeeding? One mum shares her fears

Breastfeeding. It's a subject that seems to cause so much controversy. But one mum - Kelly - who writes her blog 'A place of my own' - was brave enough to express the fears she has about breastfeeding her second baby. After reading it, we asked her if we could repost it here because we believe it's important for new mums to be honest about how they're feeling so that they can get the support and comfort they need. Kelly has already received lots of great feedback and support on her blog, but we hope that our readers might have some encouraging words of advice for her too.


Tears and confusion

I cried in Boots today. How utterly embarrassing. I stood there, all wrapped up in my parka, with Piran in the Xplory and big tears started sliding down my face. I had gone in to buy Piran shampoo but that wasn't what set me off. As I weaved my way between the baby aisles I noticed the Tommee Tippee bottles and stopped to have a look.

It is not the bottles and it is not the fact there will be a small baby. It is that I am scared. I am not scared of having a second child. I am not scared of the hard work, the sleep deprivation or the intense changes that we have coming up in the next few months. I am scared of breastfeeding.

I am also scared of writing this post, although it is in my head, crowding out all thoughts a lot of the time. This is my place, where I can write and vent and let go but breastfeeding is such an emotive subject that I am afraid of what people will think of me if I say all this. It has to be done though, so please just remember that this is how I feel about my situation. I have to get it out, that is for sure, I cannot just wander round sobbing in public.

I wrote this post The F-Word 12 weeks after Piran was born. It explains our journey with feeding and how he ended up being bottlefed. I can't actually read it back the whole way through at the moment.

There is a lot behind it, all tied in with him being ill and such a strong willed hungry little man but in its simplest form for many reasons when I tried to breastfeed Piran it did not go so well and in the end I found myself angry at him, resenting him, full of horrible bad feelings towards my own baby son. So I stopped breastfeeding. I stopped trying to breastfeed. I did express as much milk as I could and gave him every last drop until after two weeks my milk dried up.

Over the past 18 months I have come to terms with all of that. He is a beautiful, healthy wonderful child and as far as I can tell formula has done him no harm. I am happy and completely convinced gave him the best start that I was able to give.

But now I am here again. Thumper is growing, kicking, moving, making her presence known. In a few short months all being well I will hold her in my arms. I am dealing with my fears about birth, but ever present and unable to ignore is my fear of breastfeeding.

I know it is not meant to be easy. It is not simple and both of us will have to learn how to do it. But what if it is too hard. I am afraid to try. I am afraid that all those feelings will come back. I don't want to start feeling the way I did about Piran again. Those were dark, evil, terrible feelings that I never ever want again.

So what do I do? Do I simply admit that the fear is too much and just bottlefeed from day one, supplementing with expressed breastmilk for as long as I can. Do I give her the same start I gave Piran? That is what made me cry today. I was looking at bottles, mentally calculating how many we will need and I realised that part of me assumes I will be bottle feeding again.

Or do I try? Do I fully commit myself to breastfeeding this time. It may go okay. If it does how will I feel then? That I am somehow giving her more than I could give Piran. Also, I only know what it is like to have a bottle fed baby, so Mr C could feed Piran and give me a break. I got whole nights of sleep on occasion, will I be able to deal with the fact that if I breastfeed I don't get a break. How will Piran react, will he understand? How will I breastfeed and manage a toddler home alone during the day. How do people do it?

I am scared of what to say to the midwife when she speaks to me about it. I am not sure I can admit face to face any of this. How do you say I am afraid to breastfeed as I am scared it will make me hate my baby. It doesn't make sense, and how would you react if someone said that to you? I know that it is a bit blunt but it is the basic truth. God, if I say that they will probably just take the baby straight off me when it arrives.

Oh it is all so jumbled in my head. It is not even making sense on the page. I am not sure whether writing this has helped or whether I am more confused than I was. It could well be the latter.

Visit Kelly's blog to read the comments she's received but feel free to leave her some here too. If there are any other mums out there who are feeling the same way or who have a positive second time around story to share with us, please let us know.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Woohoo! Our soft nursing bra has got an award

There are some things in life that just need to be kept simple. No fuss or fanciness. Just soft, comfortable and simple. And that's exactly what our soft nursing bra (style 411) is. Recently it was reviewed by mums for BizzieBaby and it was given a Silver Award, scoring 5/5, 4.8/5 and 4/5 respectively.

This is it (teamed up with our 512 briefs):

You can read the full reviews here  but we've pulled out some of the highlights:

"It is so comfortable to wear, in fact I am still wearing it and am no longer breast feeding! This really helps make breast feeding easier, it is easy to use and very comfortable. Overall, an invaluable product that is excellent for feeding!"

"I liked the style and found it really comfortable to wear, it’s also very easy to open and it doesn’t get in the way when getting baby into position. This makes it easier to be discreet when feeding in public."  

"A good fitting quality bra made of lovely material.  Fits well and looks like like your normal lingerie.  The fastenings make it very easy to feed baby and very comfortable to wear. Certainly made breast feeding easy and just so comfy to wear.  Good value for money and will probably still wear after I have stopped feeding for a while.  When you find a good quality product like this you keep going back for more." 

What we found most interesting, is that all three reviewers said that they liked it so much, that they would continue to wear it once they'd stopped breastfeeding. We think that happens often with our products. They become that item in your wardrobe that you turn to day after day because you know it will fit and be comfortable. Those fancier, racier, more pricey items stay tucked in the draw for that special occasion, but it's your Emma-Janes you turn to daily. Like an old friend. We love that.

So tell us, do you still wear your nursing bras now that you're no longer breastfeeding?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

And the winner is.....

We hope you had a fantastic Valentine's Day yesterday with your loved one. But more importantly, we hope that our Love Yourself blog posts have made all the mums and mums-to-be out there realise just how amazing they are.

We put every person who commented on our posts and all the people who liked us on Facebook into a random number generator. And the lucky number was 15 - Becky Taylor! Becky we've got in touch via Facebook and we'll get these chocolates sent to you.  Congratulations.

To everyone else, thanks for your support. If you haven't joined us on Facebook yet, please do. We'd love to hear from you. If you know of any mums in need of a pick me up, who perhaps is being hard on herself or feeling less than gorgeous, please send her this way as we're always here to give a little bit of comfort and support. And if it's your breasts or bump that need comfort and support, check out our range here. Keep on loving yourself ladies!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Love Yourself - Valentine's Day - A whole new you

Due to a technical glitch, this post was meant to go out yesterday. But it's just as relevant today. Because it's all about loving the new you - even if you're not quite sure of who you are anymore. This is the culmination of our Valentine's Day Love Yourself campaign. If you haven't been following it, read back over the last two weeks worth of posts for plenty of reasons why mums-to-be and new mums should love themselves.

So today we wish everyone a very happy Valentine's Day. And while you are sending out cards, kisses, cuddles and love to the special people in your life, don't forget to Love Yourself too.

Day 13 - A whole new you
It is impossible to understand how your life changes once you've had a baby until you've had one. Many people say it won't change them. And perhaps it won't. But they'll be the exception rather than the rule. For most women, becoming a mother changes everything.

It's not just the changes in your body or how often you can go out. It's not just that your friends change, as do your holidays. It's not just your career, which often gets put on hold or stopped altogether.  It's not just how your relationship with your partner gets altered. What really changes most is you.

You realise that you see the world through different eyes. Those things discussed on the news about schooling and health care now mean something. You understand the importance of having a network of friends and family so much more. You feel fear like you've never known before and joy beyond anything you could have previously imagined. You sacrifice so much because you want to be the best mum you can, to the extent that you completely lose sight of who you originally were. That pre-mummy person becomes a distant memory.

The thing is, having a baby gives you the opportunity to become a whole new you. It's virtually impossible to stay the person you were. But it is important to hold onto some of the things that made you what you are. Don't lose all of your former self. Don't feel guilty about doing something for you. Do use this life changing time to redefine who you want to be. Don't be afraid to try something new. Be confident, even if you don't feel it.  Realise that you are changed and embrace the change. Love the person you have become.

It's your last chance to leave us a comment (we'd love to hear how motherhood has changed you) or Like Us on Facebook to be entered into our draw to win these fab choccies. We'll announce the winner tomorrow.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Love yourself - day 12 - Relationships

We're almost there - just two days to go until you're swamped in flowers and jewels and chocolate from your beloved, with a lavish night out at an expensive restaurant. Or possibly not. Perhaps just a quiet night in front of the telly with a mug of cocoa and the gift of a him doing the night feed. In today's Emma-Jane Valentine's Day Love Yourself post, we're looking at relationships.

Day 12 - Loving yourself, loving your man
Before you had a baby, you were Alice and Bob (or insert your own names here). Two individuals in love. Then along comes a baby. And all of a sudden things change.

All those kisses and cuddles you used to give to him, now get doled out on the baby. You stop talking about whether to go to Fiji or Barbados for your next holiday, and instead discuss the contents of this morning's nappy. Sleep is infinitely more appealing than sex. You start to resent that it's always you who has to pack the change bag and that it's you who never gets to leave the house while he heads out the door to work in the morning. You actually consider smothering him with a pillow when he merrily snores through the baby crying - again.

Before you know it, you start to wonder if you even love each other anymore. You realise that you've become a resentful nag who looks like a frump and you wouldn't be surprised if he was off chasing secretaries at the office, because what the hell would he see in you right now? And quite frankly, you're not even sure you care. But you do and you feel rubbish about it.

You blame yourself (well you also blame him but deep down you blame yourself). You start to think if only I looked better. If only we could go back to what we used to be like. I wish we could communicate more. And you once again beat yourself up about where you're going wrong. Worst of all, you think it's just you two that are having these problems while all those other smug, married parents are blissfully happy.

They're not. Almost every couple goes through a massive period of readjustment after a baby is born. Each of them is a new person (more on this subject tomorrow). They have new roles. And they're trying to figure out how to overlay these two new roles onto their existing selves. It takes a while. A long while. The key is to communicate. That can be much harder than it sounds. After months of sniping about whose turn it is to get up in the morning, you've probably forgotten how to just talk like you used.

So practice, whenever you can. Try to get out as a couple regularly - or simply spend an evening playing a board game and chatting over a glass of wine at home. You need to learn to love him in his new role. And you need to learn to love yourself in your new role. Give it time. Most importantly though, you need to realise that this is normal. Believe in yourself and you as a couple and it will be alright in the end.

Just in case you need something to nibble on while spending a romantic evening talking to your partner on Valentine's Day, leave us a comment below on how having a baby has affected your relationship or Like Us on Facebook, to be entered into our draw.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Love Yourself - Day 11 - That stubborn baby weight

We want mums to love themselves this Valentine's Day - and today's subject is probably one of the biggest reasons mums feel bad about themselves.

Day 11 - Shifting that stubborn baby weight
According to the experts at BabyCentre the average mums can expect to be 12.5kg (27.6lbs) heavier by the time they're due to give birth. Once you've had the baby, you should lose most of that weight and have about 4kgs of extra fat stored to give you energy for breastfeeding. So in theory, once you've stopped breastfeeding, those extra kilograms should disappear.

But as most mums know, shifting those last few stubborn pounds is no piece of cake (indeed, that's what might have caused those extra pounds). And in the first few months of motherhood, eating a healthy balanced diet is important - but so is being able to say, 'I deserve a biscuit with my tea while I'm breastfeeding thank you very much. I had a baby you know.'

But there comes a time when you've stopped breastfeeding and your baby's first birthday is approaching and you still aren't back into those pre-pregnancy jeans. And that's when you start beating yourself up, thinking, 'I really should be back to normal by now.'

Firstly - it does take your body about nine months to recover fully from effects of pregnancy and birth. Secondly, many babies only start to sleep through the night at around nine months (we know the books say six weeks but in the real world, it's often a lot longer). Third - you've spent nine to twelve months having to get your head around a million new things that you had no idea about before. Like when to wean and what is safe to give them. Whether something is sterilised properly. How to change nappies with one hand. How to drink a cup of tea that is stone cold. How to get out of the house in under an hour and only one bag. All the words to the Wheels on the Bus....

You see. You've been busy. So the fact that you're still carrying a bit of extra weight is ok. Really. If it's bothering you, then swap those biscuits for an apple and go for a power walk with your baby in his buggy. But don't put pressure on yourself to look perfect. There will come a day when you have the strength and desire and will power to return to your former self. Or you many never manage to. Doesn't matter. As long as you're healthy, all is well. Learn to love your new self.

And while we know this prize isn't exactly going to help shift that baby weight, the occasional treat is just fine. So if you fancy being in with a shot of winning these chocolates, simply leave us a comment or Like Us on Facebook to be entered into the draw.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Love yourself - day 10 - Sleep deprivation

Well if you've missed it so far, we're counting down the days till Valentine's Day by giving all you mums and mums-to-be a daily reason why you should Love Yourself.

Day 10 - Sleep deprivation
Most people think a lack of sleep only starts once the baby arrives. Wrong. During the last trimester of pregnancy, many women find it difficult to get comfortable enough to get a full night's sleep. Then there is the physical exhaustion and loss of sleep during the birth process (check out day 7 for more on that). And then there are the repeated broken nights as you wake to feed your baby. Or try to settle an uncomfortable baby.

We found this information on that shows the impact sleep deprivation has on a person over time:

Night 1. Most people are capable of going without sleep for a night. The experience is tolerable if uncomfortable.
Night 2. The urge to sleep is much stronger, particularly between 3-5 a.m., when the body temperature is at its lowest.
Night 3. Tasks requiring sustained attention and mental calculations become seriously impaired. This is particularly the case if the task is repetitious and boring. Again, the early hours are the most crucial to needing sleep.
Night 4. From this night onwards, periods of micro-sleep occur. People stop what they are doing and stare into space for up to three seconds. The end of micro-sleep is accompanied by a return to full awareness. Confusion, irritability, misperception and the 'hat phenomenon' occur. In this, a tightening around the head is felt as though a hat too small for the head is being worn.
Night 5. On top of the effects previously mentioned, delusions (false beliefs) may be experienced. Intellectual and problem-solving abilities are largely unimpaired.
Night 6. Symptoms of depersonalization occur and a clear sense of identity is lost. This is called sleep deprivation psychosis.

Now most mothers manage to get some sleep so it's highly unlikely they'd go for 6 full days without sleep, but the relentlessness of months of broken nights and significantly less rest than you need, adds up. It's not too surprising that mums start to feel irritable, down in the dumps, have low self-esteem and are generally unhappy. But here's the thing: this phase does pass. And remarkably, we can catch up with sleep in a much shorter time than was lost through deprivation.

While you are in this sleep deprived state though, don't be too hard on yourself to be perfect. The fact that you're functioning at all is a good thing. Don't lament your messy house or less than perfect hair or the fact that you have lived on ready meals. Sleep when you can (we recommend a sleep bra if you're breastfeeding) and ignore the rest. You are a sleep deprivation survivor. That's something to be proud of.

If you're suffering from a lack of sleep and need a little pick me up, how about some chocolate? Simply leave us a comment below or Like Us on Facebook and you'll be entered in our draw to win these:

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Love yourself - Day 9 - Stretchmarks

Hey mums - When last did you stop and say: 'Wow, I'm amazing!' We bet not often. We bet you're more likely to be finding fault with yourself or feeling guilty about something and saving all that love for your family. Our Love Yourself Valentine's Day campaign is here to remind you to love yourself too.

Day 9 - Stretchmarks
What the heck is there to love about stretchmarks, we hear you cry. Those silvery or red streaks that suddenly appear on your belly or breasts in the late stages of pregnancy. They don't look especially good then and once your belly has shrunk back to its normal size and your breasts aren't straining your bra cups, they add a fetching puckered look to skin.

They take some getting used to don't they?

But you know what? They're normal and they say something really important about you. That prune-like skin and those little tiger-like stripes are the badges mothers get to wear. A badge that says: I've done it. I've created a baby. I've given birth. I've survived the sleep deprivation. I've learnt a million new skills. I know what real love is.

Change the way you look at those lines. They might not be what a vain society equates to perfection, but they represent something so much more beautiful. Love them and love yourself.

How do you feel about your stretchmarks? Tell us below or on Facebook by Liking Us and you'll be entered into a draw to win some scrumptious Valentine's chocolates.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Love yourself - day 8 - Breastfeeding

With just 7 days till Valentine's Day, have you started to Love Yourself yet mums? At Emma-Jane we really want mums to just take five minutes out of giving everyone else kisses and cuddles and love and attention and focus on themselves. Which is why we're giving you one reason every day to love yourself.

Day 8 - Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a subject that causes so much angst amongst mums. It's a battleground women seem determined to beat each other up about. Our view is this: Breastfeeding is what your body is designed to do and is best for your baby. And if you can do it, do it. But if for whatever reason you can't, then don't beat yourself up about it. It's just another reason mums sometimes feel like they've failed. And we're trying to get you to Love Yourself remember, not make you feel worse. So to formula feeding mums, be comfortable with your choice and let it go.

That said, we are a company that makes nursing bras - not baby bottles - so we're obviously more in the breastfeeding camp. To the mums who do choose to breastfeed, we applaud you. We know that it isn't always easy and that there'll be days when you want your breasts back to yourself. It can be sore. It can be frustrating. It can be exhausting. And you might feel like giving up. But you don't. You keep persevering. And you do it. And when you look at that plump, healthy, thriving baby, you know that its entirely down to you and the goodness your body produces.  Just another reason to remember why you're awesome.

Our range of nursing bras and tops are designed to give you the comfort and support you need, while feeding your baby - so do check it out.

Tell us about your breastfeeding stories or simply Like Us on Facebook to be entered into our draw to win these Valentines chocolates.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Love Yourself - Day 7 - Post-baby recovery

We're half way through our Love Yourself Valentine's Day campaign in which we're encouraging mums and mums-to-be to cut themselves some slack and give themselves some love.

Day 7 - Recovery after giving birth
Yesterday we covered that topic: giving birth. But what many people don't discuss is what those first 24 hours are like after you've had a baby. Most mums just think about getting that baby out and they'll deal with whatever comes next then. But those first 24 hours are worth considering.

Just after you've given birth, you will be flooded with adrenalin and endorphins. You'll be on a high, despite being absolutely shattered. You might not have slept for 48 hours before but that doesn't mean you're going to nod off once the baby comes out. For a start, you have a baby!! You'll want to stare at him, hold him, stroke his soft skin. Your emotions will be going loop-de-loop and the incredulity of being the proud owner of a small person will start to hit you.

Then there're the practicalities to deal with. Avert your eyes now if you're squeamish. There may be stitching down below that has to happen. You'll be encouraged to try and breastfeed your baby - and you probably won't have a clue how to do it and it's another new thing to learn while you're tired. Your body will ache as though you've just run a marathon. You will bleed and bleed and bleed. You'll be needing some of these for that.

You'll eventually get to have a much needed bath or shower. Finally the exhaustion will start to overcome everything else and you will want to sleep. And luckily, most babies are just as exhausted by the process as you are and will sleep too. But after a few hours, someone will wake you up and tell you that you need to feed your baby. And even though you could still sleep for another 2 days, you get up and start what will become a bleary-eyed 4 hourly ritual.

Do you realise mums just how awesome an achievement all of this is? Do you ever go back and think 'I managed all that'? Never forget how much you did, how your body was able to recover, even if it felt like it never would, and how even though you had to take a crash course in learning a million new skills - you did it! So love yourself.

We think mums deserve a bit of a treat, so if you fancy some chocolates, simply leave us a comment below or Like Us on Facebook to be entered in our draw.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Love yourself - day 6 - Giving birth

Our aim at Emma-Jane is to give mums and mums-to-be the comfort and support they need through their pregnancy and beyond - and not just through our comfortable and supportive product range. Which is why we're running our Love Yourself Valentine's campaign, to remind mums that they need to love themselves too.  And today's topic is a biggie.

Day 6 - Giving birth
Until you have given birth, then is no way of understanding what is involved. Regardless of whether you give birth naturally or have a c-section, the process of going from being pregnant to holding a baby in your arms is nothing short of miraculous.

Giving birth naturally will take every ounce of a woman's strength and determination to get through it. You may breathe the baby calmly out or you could yell and scream and curse your whole way through. You will never work harder than while you're in labour. You have to find reserves of courage and stamina and peace of mind you didn't know you had. For c-section mums, it's no picnic either, particularly the fear of the unknown, the worry that all is not well and the painful tummy afterwards.

It's not how you give birth, but that you've done it. And for that you need to pat yourself heartily on the back.

So for every woman who has given birth and to all those women who will give birth in the future, be proud of this achievement. Love the strength and bravery and calm you have lying within you. And if you ever feel less than in love with yourself, just go back to that day when you gave birth - no matter how it happened - and say 'Well done me'.

To be entered into our draw to win these Valentine's chocolatates, just tell us about how giving birth made you feel or Like Us on Facebook. We'll be announcing the winner on 14 February.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Love yourself day 5 - Back up your back

Yesterday's reason for loving yourself in our Valentines campaign was to love your amazing body. But some parts of your body takes more strain that others. Today we're going to give Backs some love.

Day 5 - Back your back up
It's hard to love your body when it aches. In pregnancy - and often post birth - backache can be a major issue. Whether its general back pain or pelvic girdle pain, there are a bunch of things you can do to prevent or reduce it. You can find some great info here. But one way to ease the back strain is by using a support belt.

The Reenie Belt from Emma-Jane supports the abdomen while at the same time relieves pelvic pain and backache. You can also wear it post birth for lingering back ache. Nearly 1/4 million are sold worldwide every year to expectant mothers and as you can read here, they are a lifesaver to some mums.

So if you're having a hard time feeling loving towards your body because you're in too much pain, get yourself a little support. Then repeat after me: I am woman. I am strong. I deserve a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.

Or if you fancy more chocolate than that, leave us a comment or like us on Facebook to be entered into our Valentine's draw to win the chocolates below.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Love yourself - day 4 - Amazing body?

Not sure what our Love Yourself campaign is about? Read the posts from the last three days to catch up. We're celebrating Valentine's Day with mums and mums-to-be by giving 14 reasons why you should love yourself, particularly for those whose confidence has taken a knock.

Day 4 - My amazing body
'I have an amazing body!' It's probably not something you're going to hear many pregnant woman or new mums say. An 'amazing body' normally means a celebrity showing off their bikini-clad curves on a beach in the Med. But every single woman who has given birth has an amazing body.  Just think about what it has done...

It's managed to grow another human being inside it and then (and this is the really clever bit) it knows when that baby needs to come out and your body just gets on with it. Then once that's all over, it returns to normal. Well normal-ish. Sure there may be some wear and tear. But it's worth it for the experience you get from it. A sports car might look better having never been driven, what's the point if you can't get the thrill of the drive?

So when you catch yourself saying 'Urgh, I hate my body' or 'I wish I had a better body' or 'When will my body return to normal?', stop yourself and say instead: 'Well done body. You did good.'

To congratulate your body on being so very clever, you might like give it a few delicious Valentine's chocolates - you deserve them! So be sure to like us on Facebook or leave us a comment below to be entered into our draw to win this Valentine's selection box. To find out how Emma-Jane can support your body throughout your pregnancy and nursing days, visit our website.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Love yourself - day 3 - The glow

Only 11 days till Valentine's Day. Before you rush out to buy a card for your loved one, take five minutes to love yourself.

Day 3 - The glow
There is something special about a pregnant woman. Particularly that second trimester when your bump starts to show, your hair gets thicker and your skin gets that glow. That 'glow' isn't just the contentment radiating out of you (although that's probably part of it). It's caused by the increased volume of blood in your body which creates an attractive blush on your cheeks, plus the increased secretions of oil glands giving skin a waxy sheen. Perhaps all you can see is pigmentation or spots or increased facial hair. But ignore those. Look deeper and you'll see the glow - even if it's just in your eyes.

For new mums, you might feel as though your glow has gone only to be replaced with dark circles under your eyes and hair that's falling out in handfuls. You might wonder if you'll ever feel beautiful again.

What you need to do though, is get your partner or friend to be on standby with a camera. And next time you're feeding your baby and gazing into their eyes and holding their tiny fingers in your hands, get the friend to take a picture of you unawares. Then look at the picture and what you'll see is the most beautiful thing ever - even if you've got uncombed hair and are in your PJs. Because nothing makes a woman more beautiful than being in love. And as a new mum, that's exactly what you'll be.

Tell us about your glow below and don't forget to like us on Facebook to be entered into our Valentine's Draw to win these scrummy chocolates.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Love yourself - day 2 - love your tummy

Yesterday we kicked off our 14 days till Valentine's Day Love Yourself campaign. We know that feeling good about yourself can be hard when your body is a completely different shape, your emotions are in a muddle and sleep is something you dream of. Which is why every day we're going to give you a reason to love your pregnant and new mum self.

Day 2: No need to hold in your tummy
Most women spend a good amount of their lives holding their tummy in. They wear uncomfortable body shaping pants and jeans that need to have the button undone when they sit down. But when you're pregnant you can breathe a sigh of relief. No matter how much you suck it in, that tummy is there. And it's beautiful. Perhaps for the first time in years, you can confidently wear a tight fighting top over your tummy and be proud of how it looks. So stop hiding under the baggy shirts, get yourself a fitted top instead, wear it with pride and most importantly, enjoy not having to hold your tummy in!

For new mums, that post baby belly can take some getting used to. It takes a while to get back to normal - despite what celebrities miraculously manage to do - and it might never return to its previous washboard state (assuming you were lucky enough to have one of those in the first place!) But cut yourself some slack. That belly has taken nine months to grow, don't expect it to shrink in weeks. Love it for what it has achieved and what it has carried. And if you're still not feeling comfortable about it, try one of these nursing tops which are cut long, keeping everything covered while you feed your baby and they're exceptionally comfortable.

So whether you're still carrying your baby or already have your little bundle, love your tummy. And enjoy the occasional treat - like these scrummy Valentine's chocolates which you could win if you just Like Us on Facebook or leave a comment below telling us how you feel about your tummy.

Have a LOVEly day!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Love YOURSELF this Valentine's Day - prize up for grabs

Valentine's Day is just 14 days away. And perhaps right now you feel too exhausted, too fat, too frumpy or just too busy to 'celebrate love and affection between intimate companions' (that's how Wikipedia defines 14 February).

So to celebrate Valentine's Day, we've decided to shift the attention away from romantic love and that holy grail of trying to look sexy while wearing baby spit up or waddling to get your gaviscon.  Instead, we're going to give all you mums-to-be and new mums 14 reasons why you should love yourself.  Some of them are physical. Others run deeper than that.

Come back every day between now and 14 Feb to get a daily reason why you should Love Yourself.  And because we know that you'd probably prefer the box of chocolates pictured below instead of a bunch of overpriced roses, we're offering it to one lovely mum or mum-to-be. Simply Like Us on Facebook and you'll be entered into the draw. For those of you who are already Facebook fans, leave us a comment on one or more of the Love Yourself blog posts and you'll be eligible too!

Day 1: Love your bosoms
We're a bra company so bosoms are a very good place to start. Many women are amazed at how big their breasts get during pregnancy. We know that for some of you, big can mean uncomfortable. But for many women, being pregnant or breastfeeding is the first time you actually have a cleavage. Those scoop necklines have never looked so good. Your husband or partner is secretly in awe and probably sneaks a peek whenever he can. Even if they feel enormous, celebrate them. Because they look gorgeous. And more importantly, they are creating breast milk, a substance that feeds and nourishes your baby. No need for a recipe book - your body just does it all on its own. Pretty clever things breasts.

If you want to show your bosoms some love, get them a supportive and comfortable nursing or maternity bra. You can also try anti-stretchmark oils or creams to keep the skin soft - just ensure they're suitable for breastfeeding.

Once you stop breastfeeding, you may find that your breasts seem to disappear. Having got used to your larger bust, you might feel a bit deflated. Don't. Firstly, remember what an awesome job they just did for you. Plus, they're probably less painful now. They belong to you again. You might even consider letting your husband or partner near them at last! And if all else fails, head to the shops and get yourself a new padded bra.

So go on mums, love your bosoms - no matter their size or shape. They're part of you!

Tell us below why you love your bosoms and don't forget to Like us on Facebook to be entered into our Valentine's draw.