I have sometimes resented, disliked, or felt fed up about the whole clothing issue surrounding breastfeeding. Not just the horrible nursing bras with no support and saggy boobs down to your waist, but also the limitations to what you can wear over the top of said bras when boobs need to be readily available.
I know this is not the sort of thing I should admit to. As with so many aspects of motherhood, we are expected to keep quiet about anything where we put our own individual needs before that of our child. Obviously I got over the fact that I resented the clothing issue, because I have breastfed for now approaching ten months, and have no intention of stopping before Ollie is over a year old.
However, it has bugged me.
When Ollie first started latching I was so overjoyed that he was finally doing it that I didn't mind at all that I was unable to wear my usual winter outfit of long jumper dress, woolly tights and boots. I accepted that I needed to wear nursing bras with no underwire which made my boobs look horrendous and layers of short tops which could be whipped up and whipped down. I wasn't prepared to buy specially designed nursing tops because I found them a) normally slightly hideous, b) not remotely fashion forward and c) expensive. So I stuck with lycra strappy tops form h&m layered underneath my normal tops and jumpers and it worked okay. I gave up on the jumper dress idea during the winter, long tunics and leggings in the spring, and my favourite maxi-dresses in summer. That was fine. I got over it. Only slightly begrudgingly. Just show me the happy face of my son nursing and I'd walk around naked if I needed to.
What did really bother me though was the fact that so many shops, including the likes of good old Marks and Spencers' and other supposedly reliable retailers, fail to stock pretty nursing bras over the size of a DD cup. It seemed ridiculous to me that women with larger breasts weren't able to at least look moderately attractive in their underwear whilst nursing.
And this is not about looking attractive for a partner, but looking attractive for yourself.
I think most women would agree that when you wear a pretty bra, it makes you feel that little bit more pretty. Plain, granny-style nursing bras do nothing for the soul. And that's a big problem. When you've just had a baby, and you're feeling in the worst physical state you've ever been in your life and are sleep deprived and sore and overwhelmed, wearing a bra that makes you feel pretty makes a BIG DIFFERENCE.
Anyway, I digress.
The other week I was given the opportunity to review a nursing bra by Bravado and the minute I saw it I jumped at the chance.
Here's why I absolutely love it.
1. It's leopard print. Finally a nursing bra that's a little bit out there. That's patterned, vibrant, fun and PRETTY.
2. It's built like a sports bra and therefore mindblowingly comfortable. I feel like some sort of sporty goddess in it.
3. It comes in a full range of NORMAL sizes, from a B to a H cup.
4. Possibly the best bit, it comes with simple instructions and little clasp things which can convert it from a nursing bra to a non-nursing sports bra when you're done. Which is a completely ingenious idea because of course all nursing bras have a shelf life and all mothers wearing them are one day going to return to a world without nipple pads and nursing bra clips.
I love it, and strongly implore you to check out Bravado's website. They go up to a G/H cup and have a range of designs from simple and pretty (the essential 'embrace' bra) to lacey and sexy (the 'sublime' bra), all geared towards nursing. Finally a bra company who have thought about what us mummies really need!
How have you dealt with the clothing issue of breastfeeding? What is your favourite nursing bra company?