Monday, 29 August 2011

Maternity Bras - when to buy, what to get & how to fit

You're pregnant! Congratulations. In no time at all you'll have a lovely bump, but long before that appears, you might start to notice changes to your breasts. First they'll feel tender, similar to how they feel when you're pre-menstrual. This tenderness will last for the first trimester of pregnancy.

At around six to eight weeks, your nipples appear larger and the veins in your breasts appear more prominent. This is because the volume of blood circulating in the body increases throughout the pregnancy. Over time your breasts will get larger, heavier and in need of better support. That's where maternity bras come in.

It is important that you take care of your breasts during pregnancy. As your breasts have only ligaments and no muscles, they could be stretched if they are not properly supported.  A well designed maternity bra is the best way to support your breasts comfortably and preserve your shape.

When to buy?
Most expectant mothers experience growing breasts well before a growing tummy and as soon as your pre-pregnancy bra begins to feel uncomfortable that is the time to buy your first maternity bra – roughly month 4 but possibly a lot earlier than that.

Your breasts will continue to change and grow and you may need to adjust your bra or change bra size throughout your pregnancy. Expect your breasts to weigh an extra 750 grams more and be 5cm bigger!

Avoid regular underwire bras as the wires can cause the milk ducts to become blocked, as your milk comes in, and are more uncomfortable during pregnancy.

What to look for?
Remember these four key things when choosing your maternity bras:
Support :  You will need wider straps, sides and underbust band, with firm elastic straps to eliminate 'bounce' and give you the extra support you need.
Coverage:  More fabric over breast area. This will provide increased comfort as your breasts become more sensitive.
Adjustability: A minimum of 4 rows of back eyes will allow your bra to grow with you.
Comfort : They should have a high cotton content or other microfibre breathable fabric as your breasts will tend to perspire more.

Get the correct fit
Use our size chart  to work out your size or visit one of our retailers for a bra fitting. Important things to remember:
-        When fitting a maternity bra, ensure you have room to grow by fastening the bra on the tightest hook and eye setting. As your rib cage expands, you can adjust it to give yourself extra room.
-        Make sure the straps are wide enough to support you without digging in. They shouldn’t be too stretchy.
-        Ensure the centre seam lies flat against your breast bone and isn’t riding up too high at the back
-        Make sure that the cups fit snugly and smoothly covering most of the breast with no overflow at the top

Our maternity bra style 311 (pictured) is loved by mums as it ticks all the boxes above. See it here or go to our of our retailers to get one. They retail for around £13.95 - so great value for money too.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

What to wear while breastfeeding this Autumn

Summer is sadly drawing to a close. We're now entering that strange in-betweeny season where it's not quite hot or cold. Wearing just a breastfeeding vest on top isn't going to be enough to keep you warm, not unless you layer it with a cardi.

Which is why we have two great breastfeeding tops with three quarter length sleeves, giving your arms more coverage on chillier days.

Styles 841 and 842 are feminine, tummy skimming nursing tops that look great on, while making nursing easy. Made from superior extra soft cotton/elastane, the tops have ruched sides to flatter that post baby belly, and a front that easily lifts open with one hand to give discreet access for breastfeeding. The tops look great with jeans, trousers or skirts.

Style 841 is available in black and white.

Style 842 has a contrasting insert - available in chocolate/turquoise and black/white. 

They're available from a number of our stockists (you can find a full list here). If you're one of our retailers and stock these tops, let our readers know where to find you in the comments section below!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

How Dads Can Help

When two become three – life for new dads will never be the same again!  As a dad you might feel that there isn’t much you can do to help your partner with breastfeeding. But a dad or partner’s role can be vital and make all the difference.

Women are much more likely to breastfeed for longer when they have their partner’s support. This leads to a greater sense of achievement for mum, and health benefits for both mum and baby. It can be a bonding experience for the whole family.

Practical ways you can help

Get the kettle on.  When mum’s feeding she needs to drink, so make sure she has a glass of water and a cup of tea for when she’s finished.  (Passing her the remote control is always a good idea too whether she’s feeding or not as it happens.)

Arrange paternity leave. Mum’s had nine months to get used to the new arrival but for many dads it can be like an alien invader has landed in the house.  Take time out from work to start to get to know your little one.

Take Baby for a Walk  It’s bloomin hard work delivering and caring for a baby and mum will need extra rest in the early days.  Why don’t you take baby out for a walk – it’s great bonding for you and baby and gives mum time to rest.

Do the little things.  Run the hoover round, do a bit of dusting, make the tea, put a load of washing on, change the bed – all of these little jobs mount up so if you can do one or two it makes a huge difference and means you’ll feel like you’re working together without one of you feeling like you’re doing more than your fair share.

Provide some stress-relief. If you already have young children, take the stress away from mum by keeping them entertained while she feeds the baby.

Get to know your baby.  Bathe him, burp him, change nappies, get him dressed ready for the day.  All of these things mean you get to share and really be part of those precious early months.

We’d love to hear how dads got involved with their new arrivals.  What was their most thoughtful act/how did they help/what advice can you give to new dads?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Emma-Jane Makes Award Shortlist!

We are delighted to be shortlisted in Practical Parenting’s Awards 2011 for the Best Feeding Bra.  The Emma-Jane Seamfree nursing bra made the finals thanks to hitting the mark for comfort and cost!  It retails at only £10 and stretches to fit cup sizes b – f which means mums to be can buy a bra, confident in the knowledge it will grow with them. Practical Parenting Awards