Archive for the ‘Nursing Support’ Category

Product Review: AM Nursing Tankini

July 9, 2009

swimsuit_fullview3Front Twist Tankini in Black
Retail Price: $63.00 USD

When it comes to nursing apparel, it seems that many makers haven’t gotten the message that mothers can be very sexy.  I rarely bother purchasing any nursing wear because a lot of times all items on the rack looked like something my grandmother would wear.  I may be a nursing mother, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost my edge.  In fact, I’d argue that nursing is one of the most beautiful expressions of womanhood, and so it should be celebrated with both form and function.

Thankfully some designers and retailers, like Annee Matthew and A Mother’s Boutique, agree with me on that one.  Matthew has designed a gorgeous, luxurious nursing tankini (pictured here worn by yours truly) that is just as beautiful as it is functional.  You’d never guess by looking at it that this hot little number is really designed to make discreet nursing, even in a swimsuit, a snap.  The nylon/spandex blend feels like silk against your skin, and has just the right amount of give to both accentuate and also support all your womanly curves.

swimsuit_backviewThe part that I really loved about this suit was that the bottoms tied on both sides, which makes for a perfect fit.  You won’t find any “muffin-top” here.  Thanks to a couple of babies in a couple of years, I have some residual padding hanging around that does not play well with most swim suit bottoms, but with a suit like this that ties, you can easily adjust it so that it’s comfortable and flattering. I will warn you that the bottoms are a bit on the skimpy side, but my husband was quite excited about that feature.  If you’re looking for extra coverage, you may want to go a size up.

The tankini also helps accentuate your curves while covering whatever little tummy issues may be causing you to shy away from a two-piece suit.  A Mom’s Boutique carries this item in both black and teal, along with a full line of beautiful, flattering, and functional swimwear, and their Christmas in July sale is going on right now!

I’m headed to Mexico with the family in two weeks, and I think I may live in my Annee Matthew Nursing Tankini the whole time I’m there.  Viva la Mother’s Boutique!

~TFS

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Wanna win this nursing swimsuit for yourself?  You’re in luck!  One lucky TFS reader will win this Annee Matthew Front Twist Nursing Tankini courtesy of A Mother’s Boutique!  There are three ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment below telling us why you’d like nursing swimwear.
  2. Post a link to this review on your blog – then leave a comment with a link to your post.
  3. Tweet a link to this review as follows: Nursing Tankini Review & Giveaway @feministshopper http://bit.ly/eExmu #tfsamtreview

You can enter once per method (so that’s three entries total.)  Contest ends on Wednesday, July 15th at Midnight CST and the winner will be notified shortly thereafter.  Contest open to U.S. and Canada residents only.  Void where prohibited, and all that jazz.  One winner will be drawn at random from all the entries.  Good luck!

Product Review: PumpEase™ Pumping Bra

July 1, 2009

pumpeaseHandsfree Pumping Support Bra
Retail Price: $38 CAD

If you are a mother who works outside the house, chances are you are going to be pumping breastmilk at your job – a lot.  If you work a full time job, you’ll be pumping a few times a day, and maybe even adding some pumping sessions at night to keep your supply up.  Alternatively, if you’re a mother who is exclusively pumping (not feeding baby at breast), or pumping to donate milk, you’ll also be spending hours a day hooked up to the breast pump.  That is a lot of time spent holding plastic horns up to your chest.  If you have other kids to look after, or other things to do, you need your hands free.

Nothing made me hate pumping more than the feeling of being stuck for a half hour at a time, hands tied, unable to do anything else.  My arms got tired, and I grew bored of staring at the wall in front of me.  I had seen pumping bras at my local baby store, but they seemed so blandly utilitarian, and looked a bit too much like a corset for my feminist taste.

A month after I came back to work, I stumbled upon the PumpEase™ Handsfree Pumping Support Bra, and ordered one straight away.  The colors and styles really caught my eye, and the price put the product within reach.  I figure time is money, so if I could free up my hands to do more with my time, then the bra would pay for itself pretty quickly.

I was so thrilled when it arrived – finally, I was liberated!  The first thing I loved was that the bra so pretty – not that anyone would ever see it, but it still made me feel better, just like any pretty under garments would.  The second thing I loved was that it helped me go completely hands-free, leaving me to type emails, or read a book, even play cards with myself.  I had my hands back!  Maybe I had to pump breast milk every few hours, but that didn’t mean my life had to be put on hold for a half hour at a time.  I could be plenty productive at work while still providing the optimal nutrition for my child at home.

I also really loved how easy it was to put on and take off.  You just pull it around your chest,  fasten a few hooks, and you’re ready to go.  It was surprisingly secure.  The bra, combined with the suction of the breast pump, held full bottles of milk to my chest without any help from me.

After a year of pumping at work I’ve officially hung up the horns, but I’m sure I’ll be right back here pumping after my next baby, and when the time comes, I’m glad I have my PumpEase™ handy.  I couldn’t imagine pumping several times a day without it.  Thanks PumpEase™!

~TFS

FOR A LIMITED TIME: Get 10% off PumpEase™ Handsfree Pumping Support Bra with the coupon code FEMSHOP10 – now through July 15, 2009.

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Wanna win some handsfree support for yourself?  You’re in luck!  One lucky TFS reader will win a PumpEase™ Handsfree Pumping Support Bra of their very own!  There are three ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. Post a link to this review on your blog – then leave a comment with a link to your post.
  3. Tweet a link to this review with the hashtag #tfsphfdreview

You can enter once per method (so that’s three entries total.)  Contest ends on Wednesday, July 8th at Midnight CST and the winner will be notified shortly thereafter.  Contest open to all so my international readers are welcome to enter!  Void where prohibited, and all that jazz.  One winner will be drawn at random from all the entries.  Good luck!

WINNER! Congrats to Carolyn from Washington DC for winning this contest!  Keep reading The Feminist Shopper for more chances to win great prizes.

Product Review: CatBird Baby Mei Tai Carrier

June 3, 2009

catbirdbaby_meitaiAsian-Style Baby Carrier
Retail Price: $90 USD

Between two kids, I’ve had my fair share of experience with baby-wearing devices.  When I was pregnant with my first son in 2006, we registered for the Infantino SlingRider.   I had never actually seen anyone do any baby wearing, but I liked the picture on the product in the store, and it seemed like a pretty good idea.  Well, the first time I put my brand new son in this carrier was the last time.  It folded him up like a taco, and I was terrified that he’d suffocate to death.  Honestly, I don’t know how anyone uses this for a small baby, and clearly the reviews on the product indicate that a lot of others agree with me.  So we returned that and bought the Evenflo Snugli which was basically the cheaper version of the Baby Bjorn.  Well, I hated that thing too.  It was terribly uncomfortable, and seemed to suspend baby from his crotch, rather than cradle him against my body.

After that I gave up on baby wearing for the time being.  I had no idea that other, more natural styles of baby wearing devices existed until my Mexican-born nanny started wearing our son around the house in a Rebozo.  I hadn’t seen that before, and before I got a chance to figure out where to get one of those, we moved away from her.  I didn’t see that type of thing again until my doula brought one over during one of her visits.  After my second son was born, with the Rebozo still on temporary loan, I tucked my 6-day-old in and went for a walk with my family.  I loved the concept, and wearing my baby close to me seemed very natural, but wasn’t totally sold on the style of the Rebozo.  However, it sparked my interest in finding other wraps or carriers that would keep my back from aching, and keep my baby comfy.  I searched around and settled on making myself a homemade version of the Moby Wrap.  I couldn’t afford the real thing at the time, and the fact that I could make a “no-sew” version for about $8 made it quite appealing to me.  It worked well when my son was small, and it’s a very comfortable carrier, but my rapidly growing son quickly became too heavy for it.   The search was back on. 

Six months later, on a whim, I decided to buy the cheap Jelly Bean sling I saw in Target.  Again – I liked the concept, but that product was ill-fitting, back breaking, and not made well.  So I returned that one, and made up my mind to get serious about finding the right carrier for us before both my sons were too big to bother.  I decided to head to Be By Baby in Chicago because they are the biggest “granola-mama” shop I know of in the city with the biggest selection of slings around.  I was excited to see that I could demo all the devices and that the sales staff was more than happy to help me try everything out.  I was originally thinking of a Ring-Sling, but because of the size of my son, the sales lady suggested either the Mei Tai or an Ergo carrier.  The husband and I both tried each of them on, with both my 32 lb toddler, and with my 25 lb infant.  It only took a few minutes for us to agree that the Mei Tai was the way to go.  It’s so dang comfortable, and we love that there are no buckles to adjust.  I’ve never seen another carrier that fits a small woman and a tall man so comfortably without any cumbersome adjusting.

So now we use our CatBird Baby Mei Tai so much that I’m even thinking of buying another one so we can each wear our boys at the same time.  This carrier supports children up to 40 lbs(!) which means we’ll be able to use this carrier for a lot longer than any other kind on the market.  When my boys are in it, they are content, safe, and have a great view.  I have worn them each all day downtown, for several hours at a time walking through the zoo, and on every trip we take to the store.  It even has a hood that can tie up to help support/shelter baby’s head when they fall asleep (which my younger son often does while being worn in this).  This product has become 100% integrated into our travel as a family.  We use this now more than either of our expensive strollers, and the product is so well-made that I see this lasting through the next several years.  Finally, the search for the perfect carrier for our family is over, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

~TFS

Product Review: Leachco Snoogle Pillow

June 1, 2009

Snoogle Original Total Body PillowOriginal Total Body Pillow
Retail Price: $50

Of all the things I’ve purchased in the last several years to help ease my transition into motherhood, this is, by far, one of the most useful.  Once your belly starts growing to such proportions that you can no longer find any comfortable position in bed, you start looking around for things to prop yourself up with.  First you think a few pillows will do the trick, but with all that new weight you’re sporting you can’t lay on one side for too long before your hip goes numb.  Then comes the invariable tossing and turning, which means you end up rearranging all those pillows every time you move.  And just then, when you’ve finally got yourself into what feels like a luxuriously comfortable position – you have to pee – so you have to haul yourself out of that position, waddle to the bathroom, and then back to the rearranging you go.  Oh, the joys of pregnancy.

So some brilliant person invented pregnancy pillows.  Thank you to whoever that was.  But I’m afraid not all pregnancy pillows are created the same.  I tried a few before I landed on this one (mostly because I’m cheap and I thought “What? $50 for a pillow! What a racket!”) and like with anything, you really get what you pay for.  For the same reason I won’t buy designer maternity clothes, I had a really hard time justifying the purchase of a pillow designed only to be used during the last few months of pregnancy. 

However, even if I had only used this pillow for three or four months, it would have been 110% worth it.  I wouldn’t spend a single night pregnant without this pillow now.  The only way I ever got any sleep was with this fluffy companion tucked in all my newly-formed nooks and crannies.  And as it turns out, this pillow is also hugely useful for breastfeeding too! 

I had such a hard time figuring out how to nurse laying on my side.  I couldn’t manage to get myself situated into a position that didn’t hurt my back or make my arm fall asleep.  It was getting so bad that I went to see an acupuncturist about the chronic back pains I was developing as a result of the nursing discomfort.  Then a friend told me I should buy a Snoogle because it was a great pillow to use while nursing on your side.  I said “I already have a Snoogle!  I had no idea I could use it for that too!  Score!”  So I pulled the Snoogle back out of storage, and I’ve been using it to breastfeed ever since.  It positions your body in just the right way for your baby to reach the goods, while supporting your back, hips and shoulders.  Plus, my husband would be lying if he said he hadn’t tried to snake it away from me on a few occasions.  It really is just a wonderful little sleep aid.  I think, in total, I’ve used this pillow on roughly 600 nights over the last few years.  Not bad for a $50 investment!

~TFS