Tuesday 31 January 2012

Why Every Mum should own some HOTmilk

From now until Valentines Day I am running a sale on Hotmilk Lingerie which includes their nursing bras, matching bikini briefs and nursing camisoles.  All Hotmilk styles at BoobieMilk will be an extra 15% off regular prices.

You won't need to enter a code or do anything different, the prices are as marked.

I wanted to take this time to tell you more about Hotmilk and their products, and why I love them so much.

Hotmilk Lingerie came into being after company co-founder Lisa Ebbing became pregnant and couldn't find any lingerie that compared to the lingerie she was used to wearing, so with co-founder Ange Crosbie Hotmilk was born in New Zealand.  In very few years the company has grown and Hotmilk Materity Lingerie is now available all over the globe.  Pregnant and breastfeeding women everywhere have embraced lingerie that makes them feel confident, comfortable yet still sexy. 

As you know, I only stock nursing bras and products that I personally use, so let me tell you why I have chosen to stock Hotmilk and why every pregnant and breastfeeding woman should own their own Hotmilk Lingerie.

Hotmilk is GREAT for pregnancy!

Who wouldn't want to look like this when pregnant?  But really, for the majority of us pregnancy is a time when we are forced to wear clothes that don't fit that well and don't look that good.  I spent my whole pregnancy pulling up trousers that refused to remain in place and ended up around my knees whenever I had my hands full.  Enter Hotmilk and their stunning lingerie.  Wearing this jet black bikini with diamante embelishment you wouldn't even care that your trousers are round your ankles, it covers everything you want it to and looks amazing.  The design fits under your pregnant belly and still looks great once you've lost that baby weight after all that breastfeeding.

The Hotmilk nursing bras are ideal for pregnancy and breastfeeding and with a little bit of luck and expert fitting you can get good wear out of them.  The nursing bras are designed with 6 lots of hooks and eye fittings in the band which are there to allow for changes in rib cage size over your pregnancy.  Typically, the baby pushes up into your rib cage during your pregnancy.  Being able to loosen the band a number of hooks means that you get more wear out of it, and you also have the option to tighten the band once the baby is born.  

Hotmilk is GREAT for breastfeeding!

Hotmilk lingerie is great for breastfeeding because of the easy one-handed clips that open for easy access to the breast for feeding.  It is so much more though.  The 100% cotton lining feels amazing against delicate skin, and the straps haven't been forgotten.  The straps on the Hotmilk Radiance nursing bra are slightly cushioned and also lined with 100% cotton for a great, comfortable feel.  The full cup style is really great for keeping your breasts in check during the day and night by providing excellent coverage and support.  The last thing you want is for your boobs to fall out (the 4 boob look is not great for breastfeeding), and the full cup and the correct size keep this to a minimum.

Hotmilk makes you feel AMAZING!

I know from my own experience that being pregnant and having a baby can change the way you feel about your self image.  It can take a knock if you put on a few extra pounds (that you need to) during pregnancy, and when you are trying to lose that weight after the baby arrives (which can take time).  You also have a new baby to take care of and may not have as much time to spend on yourself.  You'll also find that your body changes and it may take time to be able to wear your "before baby" clothes.  You'll also have to think about nursing in your clothes, so you'll find yourself wearing the same clothes week after week because they are comfortable and accessible.  A beautiful set of lingerie that is comfortable to wear and functional for nursing is a great gift for a new Mum.  It can give that ego a boost and make you feel "you" again.

Hotmilk is Comfortable to Wear!

The materials used to make Hotmilk Lingerie and Clothing are specifically chosen to provide the utmost in comfort.  As I mentioned previously, the nursing bras are all lined in 100% cotton to make them as comfortable as possible.  Pregnancy and breastfeeding can result in sensitive breast tissue and nipples.  The last thing you want to wear is a nursing bra that makes this sensitivity worse.  The cotton modal used for the Hotmilk Shine nursing camisole is super soft against the skin, and the beaujolais is a really pretty colour for any pregnant or breastfeeding woman.  The straps widen as the sizes and cups increase to provide more gentle support on the shoulders.  Please read a review here.

Hotmilk is SEXY!

Hotmilk is SEXY!  Yes, you can feel and look sexy when you are pregnant or breastfeeding (or both).  The satin, lace and microfibre fabrics give great quality and finish to the lingerie, the diamante accents add just that little bit of bling, and you can even add a sexy nightie to the mix.

Hotmilk make Fabulous Matching Undies!

Hotmilk Luminous Nursing Bra (32-42 B-H) - £28.05* each
Something I missed when I had my first child was matching lingerie.  You just feel more put together when you have a matching bra and knicker set, and wear them on the same day of course.  I remember back to the first time I wore my Hotmilk matching lingerie and it was a revelation to me.  After having children you can let a go a little and stop worrying about what you are wearing because you have a baby to take care of, spit up and poop to clean up.  Even if you decide to wear this lingerie under your loungewear you will feel amazing, and it will bring back a twinkle to your eye.  You partner will LOVE it.

Hotmilk is not your usual breastfeeding lingerie!

Hotmilk is definitely like no breastfeeding lingerie you have ever worn before.
  • It has matching knickers
  • It is comfortable day and night
  • Your husband will be glad to see you in it
  • You won't ever be embarassed to be seen wearing it
  • It is great quality
  • It has bling
  • It'll make you feel a million dollars
  • It fits around your pregnancy bump
Basically...... There is no reason not to wear Hotmilk.

*prices are correct 31/01/12-14/02/12

Friday 27 January 2012

Breastfeeding In Public - Your Questions Answered

Nursing in Public has been a hot topic recently with lots of media attention in the UK, Canada and the US.  It is something that can make the difference between someone being successful at breastfeeding or stopping breastfeeding earlier than they had planned.  A mother who is too scared or embarassed to leave the house with a new baby because they may get hungry while out can leave a Mum feeling isolated and alone at a time when they need support the most.

I have breastfed my children for a total of four years and counting.  I have breastfed in the airport, on the bus, in the Federal building in Baltimore, at the zoo, at nursery, at the cinema...........  I am in no way an expert on the subject, but I have spent a lot of time talking about different ways to do it with lots of pregnant and nursing mothers.

During a recent Twitter competition I asked fellow Tweeters to tell me the funniest places they had nursed and received the following responses:

notre dame cathedral, top of the eiffel tower, a beach in croatia, just to name a few!"

At the top of the Eiffel Tower,my baby was so hungry,I had no chance. I fed her in the Ergo noone noticed ;)"

walking around London Zoo feeding Bubby D while the Wee Man kept up a running commentary to the monkeys"

Whilst walking 5km at … :D"

On t loo,tube,walking round Tesco w her in a sling,in my wedding dress outside the church...Where hvnt I wld get shrter answer!"

" Not sure if it qualifies as "interesting" but "dentist's chair" is definitely the weirdest place I have nursed!"

I went to a funeral last Thursday. And breastfed in the hearse. Poor funeral director took it in his stride.lol"

most interesting place ive nursed is the lotus f1 team (now caterham) factory :) x"

funniest place was in lawyer's office - only funny though cause i forgot to put boob away after!"

on the waterbus (engine powered open top boat) at in the rain going past the giraffes and capuchins

" in terms of awkward places I think that's on a par with the visitor room at Wormwood Scrubs where I had to feed once"

at my daughter's nativity concert ..... Rosie started crying when they sang 'Away in a manger' , so off we went!"

erm! The funniest place was perched on top of a small child's rocking horse! Does that count as the weirdest as well?!"

it's got to have been a grotty tyre garage! The baby was hungry! ;-) x"

"in lift at James St train station in LiverPool. Spud in sling and guzzling v.loudly :D 

my husbands work boardroom I hope there wasnt CCTV !!!"

Nev of A Lime Less Ordinary agreed to photograph myself and little Ellie last weekend at Tonbridge Park so that I can show you some of the many ways that you can nurse in public.

If you are nervous about nursing in public for the first time here are a few tips to get you started:

1.  Practise at home before you leave the house.  You may want to practise in front of a mirror or another person who can assure you that you are not showing anything that you don't want to.  In the early days it can be more difficult for baby to latch on quickly and quietly, so practise makes perfect.

2.  You may want to choose a breastfeeding support group as your first outing.  Everyone else will be breastfeeding there, you won't look out of place, and you may pick up some great tips from the other Mothers there.  Local Sure Start Children's Centres, La Leche League, Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, Baby Cafes, and the NCT may have these groups, usually run by volunteers or local breastfeeding health professionals.

3.  Going out with a friend or family member can be really great for morale and help you take your mind off of the people around you.  If you are nursing and having a conversation at the same time you will not be looking around nervously, wondering if anyone is staring at you.  In all honesty, people rarely even realise what you are doing, but your mind plays tricks on you sometimes.

4.  Be aware of the time.  You may decide to feed baby a little early so that baby doesn't cry to be fed.

5.  Plan your first few trips so that you know where you might feed the baby.  There are lots of coffee shops and pubs with nice comfy chairs, a park bench is also a great place to sit on warmer days.  If you prefer more privacy you can aim for a department store or mall that has a feeding room or a favourite shop with a nice changing room which always have a seat.  Furniture shops are also full of lovely comfy places to feed the baby, and once the first salesman comes up to you and realises what you are doing, they usually spread the word and you get a nice peaceful rest with no interruptions.  When you become more confident, you will find that anywhere with a seat is good enough, I'm pretty happy on the floor also if not too dirty or in the way.

Now, here are the photos.  Please keep in mind that it was a cold, windy day in January, but the park was very busy that day with what looked like five football matches going on and lots of kids playing in the playground.  I wasn't sure that Ellie would even be interested in nursing for the entire shoot, but she was a trooper and then slept all the way home.

Nursing using a loose top (my usual pose)

The lose fitting top (this one is from the Monsoon sale) covers your shoulder while nursing but allows you to lift it up from the bottom to get at the breast.  You can use the neck line to look under the top to check that baby is latching on correctly.  As you can see there is very little skin exposed, and once baby is latched you can drop the top back down to cover as much of your breast as you want to.  As the baby grows she will also cover any of your stomach on show as well as any boob.  I put my leg up like this in place of a pillow.  It gives me somewhere to rest my arm while nursing and helps bring Ellie up to the right height.  Sorry about the serious face.  Monsoon is one of the only places I have shopped since being back in the UK because I received a gift card for Christmas.  I have found a good selection of loose fitting tops and also tops that button down at the front.  I also have a great dress I found at TKMAXX with a crossover at the front which gives me just enough give to get a boob out at a formal occasion.  If you look hard enough, you'll find lots of clothes that can easily be worn while breastfeeding.

A strategically placed hand helps cover any skin on show, and if baby is distracted for any reason, the loose fitting top will probably drop on its own to cover your breast, but your hand can do the same job.

Wearing a nursing vest under a loose fitting top

If you find that the loose fitting top does not provide enough coverage for you under the breast and you have lots of stretch marks (like me), you may feel more comfortable wearing a nursing vest instead of a nursing bra under your top.  The nursing vest will also keep you warm when your top is lifted to feed.  Nursing vests usually have a built in nursing bra or support shelf, so can be worn without an additional nursing bra.

Again, there is very little on show, and on a cold day (as it was) my belly remained nice and toasty.

A Nursing Vest on it's own

A nursing vest is a versatile piece of wardrobe.  It's great for layering, wearing on it's own and I love to wear mine in bed.  I decided to brave the cold to show nursing with a nursing vest alone.  There are two main styles of nursing vest available as with nursing bras, and they are a side-sling and an a-frame.  The nursing vest shown here is by Hotmilk and has an a-frame.  When the cup is opened for nursing the breast is still surrounded by material and the breast comes through a circle cut in the fabric.  A side sling exposes the entire breast with a piece or material attaching the strap to the top running down the outer side of the breast only.  You may feel more exposed using a side sling, but you do get more skin to skin contact with the baby, and some may find it more easy to latch on with a larger surface area of breast to work with.

OK, here we go.......
So I chickened out, it was really cold and I had to throw a coat over my shoulders.  As you can see there is a lot more skin exposed with the vest only.  But this does show that you can use something to cover your shoulders to provide a little bit more privacy and coverage while nursing.  If I was on a train for instance next to the window, just the jacket over the shoulder would prevent the person seated next to me from seeing much.  I have nursed many times on the train in to London.  I am not normally this discreet, but you do generally find that people would rather see you nursing a baby than listen to a baby crying.

What else can I throw over my shoulder?

There are many different variations along the same theme.  You could wear a nursing vest under a button down shirt or blouse for a more formal look, or use a cardigan to get the same effect.  A blanket or a muslin are also pretty handy and I find that if you tuck it into your nursing vest strap or nursing bra strap then they are less likely to fall off.  A scarf of some kind would work similarly and would look more natural if it goes with your outfit.

So, here we are modelling a lovely pink blanket tucked into my nursing vest strap, which was useful because as I mentioned previously it was really windy that day.  The first time I nursed in public with my first baby was like this.  I was sitting at BWI airport (Baltimore & Washington International) waiting for my brother to arrive.  I was sitting directly in front of the arrivals exit of the international terminal.  I was the first person everyone saw when they exited baggage claim and customs.  We had been waiting quite a while and William became a little bored and hungry.  Of course everyone around me began to tell me that he was hungry and I should feed him (as they do).  The blanket lasted for exactly 3 seconds before William decided he didn't want to be covered up and would rather be able to see what was going on.  I believe it was also the first time that my brother had seen any part of my breasts!

I just love this picture, it's such a magical experience when you can nurse and look into your baby's eyes, and the first time she smiles back at you will be a moment you will never forget.

I completely see a place for a nursing cover.  If you continue to breastfeed successfully and reach your breastfeeding goals, and would not have done it without the use of a breastfeeding cover, then they have a place.  I don't personally like nursing covers, and have never used one, and don't own one.  Because of this I did not have one to use for this article, so we improvised.  

As you can see, Ellie likes to have a good look around when nursing.  My main reasons for not liking nursing covers is that they are expensive, lots of babies do not like being covered up, they attract attention, and when someone gets one out of their bag to use at a support group, the other Mothers tend to think they need to cover up too which saddens me.  There are some really lovely nursing covers available, some with hideous names, but there are also lots of covers that look hideous.  I've seen two companies selling covers in the last year that would not have looked out of place at a hair salon or dentists office.  In fact, at a popular baby show just last year my Mother and I were walking past one such cover and when my Mother was approached by the salesperson and shown the nursing cover my Mother couldn't help but say very loudly "but it's so ugly!".  My Mother speaks the truth, it was ugly, but I kept on walking in fits of giggles.

Nursing in a sling

I have owned a few slings in the last few years, but I keep coming back to two of my favourites.  I love the Maya wrap which is a ring sling for a newborn.  It keeps baby upright and snuggles close to Mummy, and is really versatile for older kids, nursing.........

The hardest part about breastfeeding in a sling is getting the boob and the head at the same height.  It just takes practise, and if you use a sling everyday you'll soon get the hang of it.  Nursing in a sling has so many advantages.  I have done many a weekly shop at the supermarket with Ellie feeding in the sling.  It leaves me at least one hand to push the trolley and pick up food.  With practise you can have both hands free to grab small toddlers with when they decide to run away to look at the toys and pack your shopping with.  I have also found a sling great for growth spurts and cluster feeding when I need to do things other than sit on the couch or lie in bed.  I can read my 4 year old a story and get dinner ready.

The Maya wrap is extremely versatile for positioning and you can pick different lengths of fabric and use the tail to keep baby warm or cover up if needed.

I get loads of compliments on this sling, I think mainly because it's the first time that many people have seen a baby in a sling and not a buggy.

The tail piece of fabric has a pocket for a nappy and your keys, so mind out when you cover baby with it because keys can be sharp! (LOL)  I use the tail as a cover when Ellie falls asleep.

You can also use the tail like this so that baby can still see the World and you while nursing.

I love to wear my Mei Tai, which is my sling of choice right now.  It's so easy to use and it gives me two free hands to do shopping or push a pushchair, or travel through London.  I don't usually nurse in this sling but it is totally possible.

A Mei Tai may suit you better if you like a specific way of carrying.  The Maya Wrap is more abstract in how you wear the baby and never feels the same way twice.  The Mei Tai has a square piece of fabric with 4 straps, which can be easier to get your head around.  When my son got older I wore him on my back in the Mei Tai for hikes and general days out.  Again, the hardest part is getting the head and boob at the same level.  I usually wear Ellie a little higher, and that's probably why I don't nurse in this sling very much.  You can't help but get lots of cuddles in a sling, but if I had moved my hand away, there is no way she would be going anywhere, it's very very safe when done correctly.

As with the Maya Wrap there is not a lot on show while nursing.  The loose fitting top I was wearing had a little tie at the top which allowed me to bring my boob out over the neckline.  If that is not possible then you can lift up your top from the bottom also.  If the sling does not cover your belly then you can wear a nursing vest, or if you are still wearing your maternity trousers with a wide band then that will do the same job.  In the Maya wrap I have also used the tail to cover my belly, it is so versatile.

Had to put this one in because it is just such a gorgeous photo of Ellie.

I hope I have given you a few suggestions and that you are now armed with the knowledge and skills to venture out into the World and nurse in public.  Remember, you have every right to breastfeed your baby in any public place you choose and you cannot be descriminated against because you are breastfeeding.  You can take as much or as little from this article to use as you wish.  I have tried to show you how nursing in different clothing and in different positions can be done and which provide the most breast coverage.  However, if like me you lost the ability to be embarassed after giving birth in a hospital room filled with 10 people staring at your "lady bits", maybe you'll just have got a laugh out of seeing a picture of me nursing my baby under an apron in Tonbridge park after magically changing from wearing a top and bra to a nursing vest all without the use of the public toilets or a changing room.  I do not believe that you have to be discrete, but I respect that all women have different levels of modesty.  I hope that this article can help just one person feel they have the courage to nurse in public rather than have to express, sterilize and heat her milk when she goes out, or indeed not go out at all.

Many thanks to Nev for taking these amazing pictures and to Ellie for being so patient.

You can find nursing bras and nursing camisoles to buy on my website from Hotmilk, Emma-Jane and Carriwell.  You can also find more information on local breastfeeding resources in West Kent on my resources page.

Saturday 7 January 2012

Hotmilk - Luminous Nursing Bra Review

The Hotmilk Luminous nursing bra is possibly the most supportive bra that I have ever owned (sports bras not included).

The Luminous nursing bra is a champagne coloured full cup nursing bra with A-frame support.  This bra is made from microfibre and lace with diamante accents.  The lining is 100% cotton and super comfy against the skin, and as usual there are 6 sets of eyes so that you have a lot of flexibility in the band size.  The nursing bra and bikini are designed to be worn throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.  The band can accomodate increases in size during pregnancy, decreases in size after delivery and then still has room for tightening after the fabric stretches over time.  The bikini sits low enough to go under the bump during pregnancy and then wears well after delivery.  The bikini also gives great coverage of the buttocks, and a french knicker is available if that is a preferred style.

The Luminous nursing bra is part of the Hotmilk Essential range and is available during all seasons. The nursing bra is available is sizes 32-42 and cups B-H.  The bikini is available in sizes S-XXL.

I love love love this nursing bra.  It is amazingly beautiful, the lace and diamante accent make it the prettiest nursing bra that I own, although the Seemingly Unaware comes a close second (the same style in a deep pink).  There are a number of features that make this nursing bra so great to wear and functional to use. 

The full cup keeps everything in its place.  I'm a pretty active Mum, I don't stand up straight all day, I get the occasional nap.  The full cup keeps my breasts where I want them.  The full coverage means that no matter what I am doing there is no breast tissue leaking out the side or front of the bra.  Having two boobs can be hard enough, but having four is inexcusable, and not great for the milk ducts either.

The A-frame can be something you really like or really hate.  I haven't been able to narrow down the reason for the hatred in some Mothers, but I love it.  I'm happy to wear a side sling, but I can see lots of advantages to the A-frame too.  The A-frame for those that have not heard of it before is where a hole is revealed once the cup is opened to nurse.  A side sling has a piece of material from the strap down the side of the breast to the band which holds the bra together and supports the breast when the cup is open.  An A-frame provides more coverage of the breast when the cup is open, so can provide additional coverage for those that feel too exposed when nursing in public with a side sling nursing bra.  The cup doesn't open fully with  this A-frame in the case of the Luminous nursing bra, so you may want to get a bit of practise in before you start wearing it out with the baby, but I have never had any problems myself.

You may look at this nursing bra and think that it would be uncomfortable, and that you would only use it on a night out which may not even be on your radar right after having a baby.  It's true, this nursing bra is fantastic to wear out on a date because it really does boost your confidence and help you feel like yourself again after wearing maternity clothes for 9+ months.  I wear this nursing bra to feel amazing.  I wear this nursing bra to remind my husband that I am still his wife and not just the mother of his children.  I can also wear this nursing bra, and indeed I do wear this nursing bra all day and all night without any discomfort at all.  The fit is amazing and the 100% cotton lining makes it amazingly comfortable even during a growth spurt when you think that your nipples will never see daylight again.

Hotmilk bras are easy to look after.  I throw mine in a cold wash with like colours and a little detergent and then hang them in the airing cupboard to dry.  I've washed and hung all of my clothes in this way since having a shrinkage issue with heat in the US.

If you are looking for something beautiful during your pregnancy for a special event, a special anniversary or or even to wear under a suit for your office job, Hotmilk is perfect.  If you want to feel normal after all of the hormone fluctuations of pregnancy, wearing something that doesn't feel like a maternity bra, but without the wires that are not recommended by midwives and other health care professionals then Hotmilk is a brand you want to take a look at. 

If bought at the beginning of pregnancy make sure that you have room for your ribcage to expand at least one inch.  If you buy at the end of the pregnancy make sure that you have room to tighten the band after the baby is delivered, and make sure you have a little room in the cups for when your milk volume increases during the first five days after delivery.  You may find that you are not able to wear your Hotmilk nursing bra during the first four weeks of breastfeding because your breasts fluctuate in size between feeds and over the day.  But, with luck on your side you may be able to wear them after your milk supply is established and settles down.  Of course it can never be guaranteed because every woman is different and you may go up 1 cup size or 4 cup sizes, so to make sure that you can wear your Hotmilk nursing bra while nursing as long as possible you may want to be fitted at around 4-6 weeks postnatally.

If you would like to purchase a Hotmilk luminous nursing bra and matching bikini take a look at my online nursing bra shop where you can also contact me is you have any questions or to schedule an in-home nursing bra fitting in the comfort of your own home if you live in West Kent.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Tips for Going Back to Work & Breastfeeding

As baby gets older, you have to start thinking about going back to work.  It is a tough decision for any mother to have to make and you have to take many factors into consideration before making that final decision.  Nursery care is a huge decision for any parent because you will be relying on a stranger in most cases to care for your baby after being the sole carer for such a long time.  It can be hard to find a good nursery (especially in Sevenoaks), so you may decide to start looking before you have your baby.

Here are some tips for you to consider when you are looking for a nursery –
      Would it be easier for you to have the nursery close to your work or home?  When I went back to work full time after my first baby was born I decided to find a nursery close to my work.  It meant that I could nurse when I dropped off in the morning, visit at lunchtime to nurse and then nurse immediately on pick-up.  This meant that I did not need to pump as often, and I was hardly ever delayed getting to work and it was easy for me to pick up in an emergency (snow, illness etc).  This may not work if you commute on a train for a long distance or if someone else will be dropping off or picking up.
          Has the nursery handled breastmilk before?  Breastmilk does not need to be handled in any weird or unusual way, but the carer will need to understand that the milk will separate and need to be shaken before giving it to baby.  I have heard of carers throwing away good milk because it looks separated and must be “off”.  They may also need to know that breast milk comes in different colours (blues, greens, oranges are all common colours).  The best way to warm breastmilk is under a warm running tap, a microwave can create hot spots that will burn your baby’s mouth and excessive heating can damage all the good antibodies in your milk.  Breastmilk that is not eaten at one sitting can generally be saved until the next feeding depending on your comfort level.
          You nursery should allow you to visit at any time, and you then have the legal right to nurse your baby anywhere in the building.  The nursery may provide you with a special place and chair if you ask, but I do recommend nursing in the room that your baby is cared for.  I spent a lot of time with my first baby at nursery and I found it very enlightening.  I got to know all the carers, who were the best, and general knowledge about what was going on during the day there.  The things I heard about might make your toes curl, but at least I knew about them and could make decisions based on what I learned (whose baby went home with the wrong dummy in and which carer was liked by the other carers etc).
          The carers may need to understand that breastfed babies feed more often than formula fed babies and that they will need to feed on demand.  This should not be a problem because there is usually not a whole lot of structure in the infant room, but I was confronted by a carer (one that I and no one else respected) and told that my baby should be getting larger feeds just like the formula fed babies.  When William started nursery he was 3 months old and he needed a lot of stimulation.  My favourite carer (Linda) understood this completely and whenever he got fussy she would give him a new toy, move him to a new position, or knew that he needed to sleep.  Many carers assumed hunger when a baby cried, and they really didn’t last long in the infant room.  I would always call ahead when I was going to visit for a lunch feed so that they could hold off on the bottle until I got there so that William was hungry.

Things that you may need to consider when returning to work.
          You will need to start expressing your milk at least a week before you return to work.  You will need to be able to leave enough milk for the first day at least.  Pumping one additional time each day will tell your body to start making a little more milk and your body will get used to responding to hand expression or your breast pump.  You may not get very much to begin with because your body is not used to the pump and because at the start you will be pumping leftovers.  Once your body learns that you need an additional feed each day it will begin to make more milk.  Once you are pumping missed feeds when you return to work you will pump full feeds worth of milk.
          When you pump your milk you will need to store it until it is needed.  There are many guidelines out there for breastmilk storage, some more conservative than others ranging from 48 hours in the fridge to 10 days in the fridge, then freezing up to and over a year in a deep freezer.  I am not conservative at all in milk storage, but I will tell you that you will know if your milk has turned because it will smell bad.  If you decide to freeze your milk then remember that it must be used within 24 hours of being thawed in the fridge.
      Store your breastmilk in small quantities so that you can be as flexible as possible.  You can use storage bags or bottles to freeze breastmilk, ice cube trays can even be used to freeze ~1oz portions.  Remove them from the tray and put in a dated plastic freezer bag.  Always use the oldest milk first so that the milk is less likely to go bad.  I never put more than 3-4oz in a bottle for William at nursery.  He was a big 9lb baby and grew on the 97% line of the growth chart.  During a growth spurt he would be a little bit more fussy and feed more during the night, and I took small 1oz portions to nursery for emergencies but they were never used.  So, I would agree that 2-4oz is a normal feed for an infant (after 30 days).  A baby that feeds more often will take less per feed, and a baby that feeds less frequently will take more per feed on average.
           Practise bottle feeding before your baby start nursery.  I should have taken my own advice on this one for my new baby as she will not take a bottle.  You may have heard rumours about babies refusing bottles during the day and nursing all night to make up for it.  This can be true, breastfeeding is so much more than just food for your baby and they can refuse bottles because they really want to breastfeed.  If you are concerned about this you will want to get your baby used to a bottle before you go back to work if you know you will be.  Introducing a bottle should be done after your milk supply has been established but before you go back to work.  It probably isn’t the case in the UK, but it can be very common in the US for new mothers to return to work before their baby is 6 weeks old.  Your milk supply should be established by 4-6 weeks.  A bottle is usually best introduced by someone other than Mummy, and in a way that is more like breastfeeding than you usually see babies being bottle fed in public.  Kellymom describes it here.
          The nursery may ask you to provide feeds made up and ready for feeding.  I provided breastmilk already in the bottles numbered in order of date pumped.  Each part of the bottle was labelled with our name and a number from 1-4.  I carried the milk to nursery in a small cooler with a large ice pack.  I then used the same cooler and ice pack to store any milk I pumped that day and any bottles that weren’t used at nursery on the way home.  I did not use the fridge at work to store milk so I chose a cooler and ice pack that would keep everything cold for the entire day. 
           If you are unable to be with your baby for each feed of the day then you will need to express your milk.  The best times to express your milk are at the same times that the baby receives a bottle, but if you don’t have this information just express as often as you would feed at home.  If you find you are not expressing enough milk you may want to express an additional time during the day to make up for it.  The most important thing to remember is that you need to stimulate your breasts and remove milk the same number of times as you would if you were home with the baby.  If you miss a feed because of a meeting, you need to make it up later with either pumping or feeding the baby (pumping if you need enough milk for tomorrow).  It’s easy to forget to pump or find an excuse not to pump (it’s not the most exciting task).  If you find that you are always needing to dip into your freezer stash to have enough milk for the next day then you need to be proactive about it.  Pump an additional time each day, and if that doesn’t work think about taking herbals to increase your supply (Fenugreek is a common one).  An evening power hour is a good way to get your supply back on track.  Once the baby has gone to bed choose a television show that will last an hour and is not on the BBC.  Pump during each commercial break for the entire hour using the same equipment.  Do this once a day for a week and your supply should improve.
           I haven’t mentioned pumps yet.  You will need to decide how you are going to express your milk.  Hand Express - If you will be doing it for the odd date night you can easily hand express into a clean bowl/jug/bottle depending on your aim.  You should be taught how to hand express before you leave the hospital, but don’t be afraid to ask your midwife or local breastfeeding counsellor.  It can be quite painful if performed by someone else, it’s kind of like ripping off a plaster, only you know your pain threshold and what is comfortable for you.  You will be able to do it without causing any pain.  I have known women that could hand express better than they could pump so don’t dismiss it just because there is no gadget involved.  Manual Pump – If you are going back to work very occasionally or you would like to go out for the occasional evening and you don’t want to hand express, a manual pump may be all you need.  You can buy one to do single pumping (one breast at a time) or buy two and pump both breasts at the same time.  It is more labour intensive than an electric pump, but very effective.  Single Electric Pump – These are great for those that are going back to work part time.  They can be faster and less labour intensive than manual pumping, but you still have to do one breast at a time (you could buy two and use both at the same time but you might as well buy a double electric pump).  Double Electric Pump – This pump is the most suitable pump if you are planning to go back to work full time (or school).  Double pumping usually yields the largest volumes of milk in the least amount of time.  Hospital Grade Double Electric Pump – If your baby is unable to establish your milk supply due to being sick or unable to latch or a medication you may be taking you really should think about hiring a hospital grade pump.  It is the best chance you will have of establishing your full milk supply until your baby is able to take over.  You can rent a pump from many different places as mentioned here.  You may also want to hire a hospital grade pump if your supply dips when you return to work or if you need to re-lactate/lactate for an adopted baby (produce milk without giving birth).
          When looking for a pump you may want to consider that the best pump manufacturers put a lot of effort, research and expertise into their design.  Companies that sell bottles are often more interested in you bottle feeding than continuing to breastfeed and don’t put a whole lot of effort into their pumps.  The three main companies that I have had the best experience with are Hygeia (not in UK yet), Medela and Ameda.  Each company puts the majority of their efforts into manufacturing a great pump.  I will talk more about this at a later date

      10.   When talking to your human resources contact before you return to work you may want to talk to them about finding the most appropriate place for you to pump and store your milk.  As I mentioned before you may not need a place to store your milk if you are able to find a cold pack that keeps the milk cold all day.  A conference room or office with a door could be a good place to pump.  A dedicated lactation room is the perfect scenario, but may not be possible.  Try to have ideas when discussing this with your employer so that they know you are flexible and committed to pumping.  A part time colleague may leave an office empty on certain days of the week, or your boss might have a regular meeting leaving their office available.  If you work in a retail setting you could consider using a changing room in which to pump, or a breastfeeding room in the mall.  You can pump almost anywhere if you use a nursing cover.  I have pumped in the car as well as in meetings and during lectures.  I’m sure that with just a little imagination you can come up with a solution that meets your needs and your employer’s needs.  Remember, breastfeeding benefits your employer too.  They will have more loyal employees who take less time off work due to childhood illness.

I hope that this information is useful to you and I understand that going back to work is a rollercoaster of emotions for both you and your baby.  Take it one day at a time, and take plenty of tissues with you on your first day back.

If you need new nursing bras for going back to work don’t forget to check out my website for Hotmilk, Emma-Jane and Carriwell nursing bras