Friday, April 25, 2008

Tired, and some Breastfeeding Advice

Sorry for my absence! Nothing major going on here; just normal busy. I think my lack of sleep has been catching up to me, though. Wow, last night I was . . .

OK, so that was as far as I got yesterday. Now it's Saturday morning. I was going to tell you about being catatonic Thursday evening, wishing that Littleman and Sweetcheeks could brush their own teeth and put themselves to bed. They, on the other hand, were positively bouncing off the walls. Seriously. I mean, that always seemed like a typically exaggerated cliche to me, until I watched my boys springing around the living room Thursday evening. They really looked like escapees from a pinball machine. As long as they weren't endangering themselves, the lamps or the TV, it was pretty much OK- so I conserved my energy and left them to it.

Anyhow, I've been barely keeping up with the normal details, let alone finding the time to blog. I miss it! Blogging's really become a part of my days. I wish I had time to keep up with it more, and read others' blogs more. Ah, well. Perhaps in the near future.

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I've been meaning to offer up a small insight for breastfeeding moms: the nursing tank top. See, with my first son I started out using a cover-up when I tried nursing in public. (Another popular brand are the Hooter Hiders- LOL!) Just a step up from throwing a blanket over baby and mom, the cover-ups are pretty self explanatory. I didn't like them. It was a bit of a hassle, I felt conspicuous and embarrassed, and Littleman kept yanking them out of place. I found I preferred to hide in the car to nurse rather than struggle with the cover-up. (Three babies later I care a lot less about being modest, but I am also more comfortable breastfeeding in general- with the first baby, I was still learning how to breastfeed successfully, and it was too much to have to worry about my appearance at the same time.)

When Sweetcheeks came along, I definitely wanted a better alternative. Next in line to try was a nursing shirt. I shopped and for some basic tops I could mix and match in my wardrobe. Score! I loved them. They were comfortable, well-made, hassle-free and no matter how squirmy Mr. Sweetcheeks was, I could easily be discreet. A long sleeved shirt and a couple T-shirts were enough to get me by for awhile. Soon however, I was running into some problems with this solution: first of all, they are quite expensive. (Not as big a deal for me, since I practice extended breastfeeding and I planned on having more children. It's less cost-effective for someone who wouldn't get that much use out of them). Second, with so few nursing shirts at hand it was hard to keep up with laundry fast enough to always have a clean one ready. And of course, there was a certain lack of variety in my wardrobe. As I became more and more comfortable breastfeeding in public, I would simply wear whatever I wanted, and find a corner that was somewhat out of the way to lift my shirt. The more comfortable and confident my demeanor, the less anyone noticed what I was doing. That worked fine- I certainly never had any disgusted looks or negative comments like some nursing moms have to endure. However, I was still a bit self conscious, especially about that leftover baby fat on my torso. Who wants to show off her pale, pale stretchmarked love handles just to be able to feed her baby?

So with Babyman, I decided to try something new: a Glamourmom nursing tank. I'd heard good things about them, but balked at the price. When I got a chance to try some secondhand, I snapped them up. Turns out, there's a reason for the buzz. On the site all the models were pictured wearing the tank top on it's own, which works OK. But it's real value is as an undershirt. Take any top in your wardrobe, put it on over a nursing tank and voila! Instant nursing shirt. Lift the top layer to nurse, while keeping your torso fully covered. It's been great for me. So my new recommendation for nursing moms is to buy a few nursing tank tops, and call your nursing wardrobe complete.

OK, OK, it's not quite as simple as that- it can still take a little experimentation to find a variety of clothing combinations you are happy with. After all, this suggestion does nothing to make your pre-pregnancy clothes fit you properly again. Nor is it ideal when it's summer here in GA, and wearing two shirts would be torture. If you want a nursing tank top to wear by itself, the Glamourmom is OK. But the BEST nursing tank I've found is the Bravado nursing bra tank. This tank top is SO flattering. It has a real bra's support, not just a "shelf" bra like the Glamourmom and other nursing tanks I've seen. Best of all, it's slightly flared shape just skims the body for a nice, slimming silhouette. Other tanks I've tried hug the body- good as an undershirt, not usually so attractive on it's own. The only two downsides to this tank (besides the price, again) are that it is too thick (IMO) to comfortably wear under other clothes, and it has no coverage at all for the breast when you unclip it to feed. Minor quibbles, since when I wear it I feel pretty!

SO. Nursing moms looking for some comfortable, discreet options for breastfeeding in public: Get a couple nursing tanks to wear under your clothes, and if you think you might want to wear a tank top by itself (or under a jacket) get a Bravado nursing bra tank. But really, the best camouflage is a relaxed, confident demeanor. You have every right to feed your baby, wherever you may be. I just like to hide my squishy tummy while I'm at it, LOL! :)

Thumbs up to the Bravado nursing bra tank!


S said...

I totally agree with wearing a tank with a built in bra. I bought two Bravado tanks with this pregnancy though and I never wear them. They make me look like I have a uni-boob. I haven't found a nursing tank that works for larger breasts so I just stuck with my regular Bali cami with underwire and I pull my arm out of the strap to nurse. I wish they'd make a nursing bra with an underwire. I've got a hooter hider too, but I only used it twice. :)

Kit said...

Ah yes, I am a bit smaller in the boob department than many women- I should have specified that when making a recommendation, because it can make a huge difference! Too bad the bravado doesn't work as well for you. I don't have any underwire recommendations, because I can't stand underwire bras these days. :)

You know, I have heard that some women take their favorite bras to an alterations shop, and just have the seamstress there add nursing bra clips to the straps. Which is fabulous, especially if they have a hard time finding a good fit in a nursing bra! Maybe you know someone that could alter your underwire tank tops?

Kit said...

Oh, and an added note for anyone who is interested in buying a Glamourmom nursing tank: you probably need to buy one size larger than their sizing chart recommends. The second-hand tanks I bought should have fit me perfectly (according to their sizing chart), but were really too tight. When I bought a new one, I bought the next size up. The fit was perfect! I have heard this same complaint from other mamas, too.

One more thing- the Bravado tank's fit is very subjective apparently- another friend who has a larger bust said she LOVES the Bravado's fit. So it might be worth a try, even for those of bigger cup sizes.