Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nursing Clothing Review: Pika Bubi Nursing Top

Price: I bought this on Babysteals (yet again!) and and paid about $30 . . . this was a sale price though, and most prices I've found online currently are more in the $40-$50 range.

Fit: This top is long and loose . . . for sure long enough to cover the belly and back while nursing, bending, reaching, etc. It is actually long enough to be worn during pregnancy, if you so desire, which is nice but gives the unfortunate appearance of, you know, being MATERNITY clothing. I would prefer if this shirt were an inch or two shorter, however, if leggings and tunics are a go-to look for you, you'll likely approve of the extra length. The top consists of a sweetheart neckline shaped panel that fits over the breasts. It covered mine, but just barely. If you're especially large breasted this might not be the top for you.

Fabric: Heavy but comfortable jersey with a nice amount of stretch.

Aesthetics: Downside: looks a bit like maternity clothing. Upside: Flows instead of clinging, so this shirt covers a postpartum belly nicely. Caveat: Postpartum belly + extra tummy covering fabric can = strangers asking when you're due. Never fun!

Ease of Access: Since there is no built in bra, you must unclasp your nursing bra then arrange the shirt so that the openings are positioned over your nipples. Not too difficult, with a bit of practice.

Ease of nursing with discretion: The most discreet top I've reviewed so far. The openings are quite small (the stretch to the fabric makes them easy to use despite their size) and, with Rhys latched on, I had maybe a centimeter of skin showing around his mouth, which his head easily covered. This top is a winner if your primary concern is discretion.

Recommended?: Depends on what you want out of a nursing top. If you're looking for something especially flattering on your postpartum body, this probably isn't it. If you're shy about nursing in public and want something that allows you to nurse with minimal exposure, this may be the nursing top for you.


I was not paid to review or endorse this product.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

(Pumping and) Supply Tip: Angry Birds (No, really.)

Disclaimer regarding supply: True low milk supply is rare. Perceived low milk supply, however, is one of the leading reasons women cite for giving up breastfeeding.

Genuine low milk supply is often the result of a medical condition: hypoplastic tubular breasts, sometimes in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, sometimes in women who have had breast surgery, and sometimes in women with thyroid disorders.

If you don't fall into one of these categories, it is worth considering whether your milk supply issues might be either perceived, or real but fixable!In this series on milk supply, I'm going to offer tips for moms whose supply issues are in the "real but fixable" category.


The release of milk, called "let-down", is facilitated by a complex cocktail of hormones that a mom's body releases in response to her baby's smell, the touch of her baby's skin, seeing her baby . . . all of her senses working in conjunction with each other. It is safe to assume that, for most moms, a breast pump doesn't elicit the same lovey-dovey reaction. The hormonal response difference between what one can expect during the nursing experience and what one can expect during a pumping experience is partial explanation for the difference between the amount of milk a baby probably takes during a nursing session and how much milk a mom may yield during a pumping session.

As a new mom, I remember being told "Your pump volume is a poor indicator of your milk supply. Your baby probably takes more at the breast" and thinking "BULLLLLLLLLLLLLLSHIT!!!" (I'm very ladylike in my head, as you can see.) Now, after my training and having learned, in detail, how my body makes milk and why, I know that's actually true. I don't expect moms to take my word for it . . . I know as a new mom I wouldn't have . . . but you can, is all I'm saying!

So, while pumping, how can you "trick" your body into letting down, if not the same amount of milk it would while nursing, at least more than you've been getting? Lots of ways! Any of the tips in my "Supply Tips" series will help, as will anything you can do to trick your senses into thinking your baby is nearby: photos, holding last night's jammies, watching videos, even just daydreaming about your baby.

Because pumping mamas typically feel the pressure to produce X number of ounces each day, pumping can be a pretty stressful experience. Stress (you guessed it) inhibits let-down. One way to reduce stress while pumping is to distract yourself. You know the expression "A watched pot never boils?" Well, watched milk collection bottles never fill. Some tactics that I've used to help me stop watching the bottles are:

* Wearing a nursing cover while pumping

* Using a hands-free nursing bra and doing other activities, like housework or cooking, while pumping

* Reading

* Checking emails

* Working on the computer

. . . and, most effectively for me (at least this week) . . .

* Playing Angry Birds on my iPhone.

Whatever works, right?

The Meyers could take that fort out in one bird flat.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Nursing Clothing Review: Glamourmom Nursing Bra Tank

Price: I bought this on Babysteals (again!) and (again!) don't remember what I paid. It was probably close to the $20.40 that it is going for now on Glamourmom's site through their "private sales" section (not really private at all, anyone can sign up!)

Honestly? I'm not a fan of the fit of this tank. Momming involves all sorts of bending over, squatting down, leaning, and other behaviors that are likely to cause a shirt to ride up or result in mom flashing her backside. And most new moms wouldn't describe their tummy as their favorite feature. Both of these issues call for a bit of extra length in a shirt, to cover the bum and belly respectively. I think this Glamourmom tank falls short, literally. Go check out my review of the longer Target nursing tank (photographed in the same color even!) and see what you think. I find the Target tank to be much more flattering.

* Remember, nursing bra fit is EXTREMELY important. An overly tight nursing bra can cause plugged ducts, mastitis or reduced milk supply. Keep this in mind when trying on any built-in-bra style nursing clothing.

Fabric: All of Glamourmom's tops come in a heavy-weight, stretch jersey. And, this is practically sacrilege if you hang around high end nursing boutiques, but you know what? I don't like the heavy weight fabric. It is high quality, no doubt, but it makes me feel kind of sausage-y. I prefer a lighter weight fabric with more give (like the fabric used in the Target brand nursing tanks).

Too short, not entirely flattering. The integrated bra, however, has a plunge/v-neck shape, which I like.

Ease of Access:
The clasps on this top unclasp fairly easily with one hand, but it takes a bit of practice to learn to refasten them one handed. They aren't as easy to unclasp as the hook style fasteners on the Target brand tanks.

Ease of nursing with discretion: The actual nursing openings are quite small, so the integrated bra covers a good deal of the top of the breast.

Not really. I find the (cheaper) Target nursing tanks to be more comfortable, more flattering and easier to nurse in. It seems Glamourmom is phasing this tank style out, as it is listed on their sale site but not their regular site. The new tanks listed on the main site ARE all longer, so I think Glamourmom has acknowledged that fit issue. I also don't like the clasps. I find hook style clasps to be easier to use (and more secure . . . these clasps have popped open on me once or twice).

I was not paid to review or endorse this product.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For Future Reference . . .

. . . it would be wise to confirm that one's nursing top is clipped before taking a photo with a Disneyland character. Whoopsie.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shame on Similac

I received an email from Babycenter this morning directing me to this shameless bit of propaganda for the formula industry: a list of seventeen foods to avoid while breastfeeding, sponsored (surprise!) by a formula manufacturer and featuring not one but TWO formula ads per page.

Seventeen! My, that's a long list. I'll bet you never knew breastfeeding was so restrictive for mothers.

That's because it isn't.

And it makes me REALLY angry to see formula companies peddling bad information in an effort to convince mothers that breastfeeding is hard, or restrictive, or inconvenient.

Let's break the list down, shall we?

Coffee: I know of only one study that has reviewed the relationship between mom's caffeine intake and baby's behavior. That study suggests that mom limit her caffeine intake to 500mg per day. That translates to 5 cups of regular coffee, 2 cups of Starbucks coffee, 5 bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino, 7 Starbucks lattes or 11 cans of Diet Coke. In other words, lactating mothers shouldn't ingest more caffeine than any other sane person might.

Chocolate: There are about 30mg of caffeine in a chocolate bar. So you can have 16 1/2 before you've got to worry about your caffeine limits. Good luck getting through that many without barfing.

Citrus: The vast majority of moms find that they can drink orange juice to their heart's content without causing any tummy distress for their babies. This one falls into the category of "if it seems to affect your own personal baby, avoid it". There is, however, no scientific evidence that citrus fruits are problematic for breastfeeding babies.

Broccoli: Milk is synthesized from blood. Something must be embodied in your blood in order to express itself in your milk. The extra fiber in broccoli is what causes gas. Fiber that exists in your digestive tract, not in your blood. It is simply impossible that broccoli would be to blame for a gassy baby.

Alcohol: Big fat "duh": You shouldn't binge drink while breastfeeding. It is generally agreed, however, that one drink here or there, especially when timed to be consumed 2-3 hours before baby's next feeding, is of little consequence.

Spicy Foods: As with citrus fruits, "If spicy food bugs your own personal baby, don't eat it". There is, however, no medical reason your baby wouldn't be able to drink your milk after you've eaten spicy foods.

Garlic: This one brought on the LOLZ! The one study I know of regarding garlic and breastfeeding indicated that infants sucked longer and took more milk after mom had eaten garlic. Nice try, Similac.

Peanuts, Wheat, Corn, Shellfish, Eggs: All foods that are worth avoiding if you (duh) or your baby's father have a history of allergies to them. Otherwise? Eat up!

Dairy and Soy: If your baby is excessively gassy and seems to be experiencing tummy pain, and IF you think that gassiness is linked to your diet (rather than to the myriad of other reasons a baby might be gassy), then it is likely the culprit in your diet is either dairy or soy, and it is worth a try to eliminate those two things and see if baby doesn't improve. I find it hilarious that Similac mentioned this without bothering to mention that their (indeed, all) formulas are all either dairy or soy based, both of which are far harder on baby's tummy than breastmilk in the best of times, let alone in instances of diary or soy intolerance. If baby has a dairy or soy allergy, it is ESPECIALLY important that baby be breastfed!

Fish: While it would be prudent for nursing mothers to avoid certain types of fish which are high in mercury (a good list is here), it is important to note that in the studies that have been done, breastfed infants, even those whose mothers consumed significant quantities of mercury, scored better on developmental tests than formula fed babies. Is mercury a good thing in breastmilk? No. But is mercury tainted breastmilk still better for infants than formula? Yep.

Peppermint and Parsley: These are herbs known to reduce milk supply in therapeutic doses. It is unlikely that consuming the amounts typically used in cooking would cause a decrease in milk supply. However, if a mother was trying to maximize her supply, she might want to avoid these as well as a few others, listed here. Avoiding peppermint and parsley certainly isn't mandatory, though.

Breastfeeding isn't rocket science. Moms should use common sense with regards to alcohol, caffeine and environmental contaminants. In the event baby seems fussy after mom eats a certain food, by all means she can try avoiding that food (which may or may not help!). To imply, however, that there is a set in stone list of things (SEVENTEEN THINGS!!!) that nursing mothers mustn't eat is just complete fallacy. For shame, Similac.

Poor, unfortunate monkey whose mama drinks beer and coffee whilst eating peanut butter and ice cream.