Saturday 13 October 2012

Win Tickets to The Baby Show Earls Court, London!!

BoobieMilk will be fitting and selling nursing bras at The Baby Show Earls Court London and we are super excited (and a little scared).  We would love to see you there and help you find a comfy new nursing bra so do come along and say hello, we will be at stand G18 in the MumsClub Enterprise Zone (over to the right as you enter).  Our stand isn't the biggest but we have dedicated 1/3 of the stand to a fitting room so that you can go home happy with your purchase.

The Baby Show Earls Court London -

Friday 26th October 9:30-5:30pm
Saturday 27th October 9:30-5:30pm
Sunday 28th October 9:30-5:30pm

It's a great place to try everything out for the new baby and make sure that you are getting exactly what you need for the big arrival.  I remember back when I was pregnant with William and we were deciding on prams.  It's so hard to buy over the internet or by going store to store to try them all individually.  I actually rented a car while at a conference in California to drive to a shop to test out a buggy I had seen online.  We did end up making an amazing choice for what we needed.  A lightweight buggy that folded down one-handed umbrella style and had a pram addition which we still have.  It fitted really well in our small car and takes up little room.  Come and see me at G18 to find out which buggy we went for in the end!

As we found out just last week in Bluewater the transitional nursing bras are really popular.  BoobieMilk stocks a range of nursing bras which make pregnancy and breastfeeding so much more comfortable.  You won't even know you are wearing them.  The wide band is super comfortable under the bust and with a growing belly doesn't dig in anywhere!  The seamless design makes them comfortable all day and all night, so the perfect sleeping bra too.  The flexible cups allow for an increase in cup size which is great when your boobs are constantly changing size during pregnancy and then between feeds when you are breastfeeding.

As well as nursing bras, sleep bras and nursing vests I will also be taking maternity leggings and tights, post maternity leggings and washable breast pads in black and white.  I had a few requests for belly support bands so we will be bringing 2 types of bands from Carriwell as well as some lovely Lactivist goodies (infant T-shirts and Hats) with witty breastfeeding messages on them.

If I don't have something you would like in stock on the day you will have the opportunity to order from me and save on shipping.  If you decide to enter the BoobieMilk competition for some great breastfeeding goodies over the weekend you will receive 10% off your purchase or order.  Book ahead of time by emailing me at and you'll save 15% on your purchase on the day.  You'll also be able to book an appointment for a fitting on the day, just ask to put your name down and come back after doing some shopping.  My Mum will be in charge of the appointment slots so please be gentle with her, she hates to disappoint when I am running behind.

My Mum wearing our new BoobieMilk T-shirts expertly printed locally by Casebournes

If you would like to visit The Baby Show Earls Court London then you will definitely want to enter this competition to win a FREE pair of tickets.  I have two pairs of tickets to give away and tickets are usually priced at £20 each.  Winning them will give you more money to spend at the show!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Finding a Place to Express Breastmilk at Work

For many families both parents going to work is a necessity and maternity pay is not 100% and doesn't last forever.  You have spen the last few months learning how to breastfeed and it has become a huge part of your life and your baby's life.  Breastfeeding will also help smooth the transition back to work because it will be an amazing way for you and your baby to get to know each other after each day at work and it will give you both time to unwind after a long day at work/nursery.  Breastfeeding is also a great way to keep you boss happy!
  • Women who are accomodated at work to express their milk show more loyalty towards their employer.
  • Women who express their milk at work have fewer days off with sick children because breastfed children have fewer childhood illnesses and recover more quickly.
Some information on this is here, and the Health and Safety Executive guidelines are here.  You may have noticed that these are only recommendations and not legal requirements but that doesn't mean that it cannot be discussed before you return to work.  Your employer is legally required to provide somewhere for you to rest when you return to work so surely there is no reason why you cannot express milk during this time of relaxation.  Now we just need to work out where you are going to express.  You might find it easier to have something in mind before you approach your human resources (you can't expect them to do all of the work LOL!).

My Dream Breastfeeding/Expressing Room

A temperature controlled room with a window that opens and a door that locks.  There is at least one comfy chair with a table nearby.  The walls are covered with great pictures to look at, maybe scenes of wonderful landscapes that where we can dream about being, and there is maybe a corkboard for me and other Mums to post pictures of our babies to help with let-down.  On the table there is a hospital grade pump for everyone to use while at work, and all I've had to do is supply my own collection kit.  In the corner is a sink to wash my equipment, a microwave to sterilize if needed, and a small fridge to keep my milk cool during the day.  A radio would be nice to distract me while pumping, and a magazine rack in the corner can be stocked by all the Mums using the room.

 I have heard rumours of such rooms existing at the NSA, The Pentagon and The Maryland DHMH.  My last employer had quite a nice facility too.  Reality is a little different though.  Someone working at a fast food restaurant would have completely different options to someone working in an office setting for instance.  Think of it as a problem solving exercise and then use it on your CV as an amazing skill "Excellent at problem solving". 

Minimum requirements - 
  • A clean, private area that isn't a bathroom/toilet.
  • A chair near an electrical outlet to plug your pump into.
  • Access to a sink to wash your equipment and a fridge to store your milk.
 So, let's get out thinking hats on, where can you find this at your place of work?

You work in an office setting - 
  • Use your own office if you do not share, you can lock the door or put a sign up so that noone disturbs you.
  • Use an empty office or a friends office at a designated time each day.
  • Use the conference room when it is available.
  • Use the tea-room at non-break times and put a sign on the door.
  • Use a divider in any of these areas where there is no designated time that you can use it by yourself.  If concerned of privacy use a nursing cover.
  • Can an unused closet be converted or cleared out so that a chair can fit in there to make it a comfortable space to pump?
You work in a retail setting - 
  • Use an unused office or use the store managers office at designated times agreed with them.
  • Use the lunch room/area when it isn't in use by others with a sign on the door.
  • Use a customer changing room nearest the power outlet for the hoover.  It should have a seat and a door that locks.  Often there is a larger room for those with families or wheelchairs.
You work in Hospitality/Restaurant - 
  • Use an unused office or use the managers office at designated times agreed with them.
  • Use an unused function room/area with a sign on the door.
  • Use an unused guest room.
  • Pump in your car with a nursing cover.
There are many more scenarios that you may have to think about such as working on the road and working at different locations each day.  Explain the benefits to your employer and work with them to find the best solution for both of you.  If electricity is an issue, you can find pumps that use a battery pack or can be plugged into your car.  You are entitled to at least a 20 minute break if you work 6 hours or more, and you do not have to remain at work during your break.  Think outside the box and keep the channels of communication open with your employer.  Good Luck!

I've mentioned previously some useful items for expressing milk at work and I'll mention them again.  If you are  planning to use a pump then I would recommend purchasing a pump from a company with integrity that adheres to the WHO code on Marketing breastmilk Substitutes - ARDO who sell a range of manual and electric pumps and accessories.

If you'd like to be able to pump hands-free then I love the hands-free pumping bra from Simple Wishes which holds the flanges in place so that you can read, text or use the telephone while pumping.

For those Mums that would like a garment that provides great support, has easy access for nursing and pumping and provides warmth and coverage for those stretch marks then a nursing vest is a great addition to your wardrobe.  Check out my range of nursing vests from Emma-Jane and Hotmilk for pregnancy and breastfeeding at BoobieMIlk.

Monday 1 October 2012

Back To Work and Not Enough Expressed Milk?

So you've returned to work and you are expressing your breastmilk.  Only problem is that you are going through your freezer milk stash lightening fast and you're concerned that you cannot keep up with the demand.  You don't want to introduce formula, what can you do?

Using your freezer stash is a sure fire way of telling that something is amiss.  Your first day back at work is the day that you use milk from your stash.  During your first day at work you should express at least enough for day two and so on.
  1. Read my last post about bottle feeding a breast fed baby.  It is very common for a breastfed baby to take more from a bottle because the carer is using a typical bottle feeding technique.
  2. Freezing your expressed milk in smaller portions will reduce the possibility that milk will be thrown away at the end of a feed.  Freeze your milk in 1-3oz portions so that additional ounzes can be added quickly if more is needed.
  3. Have a frank discussion with your childs carer about normal breastfed infant behaviour.  Choose a carer who is happy to respond to your childs needs in a way that you would like (I found that some carers respond to crying with a bottle, but my son was usually just bored).
If you are happy that these have been addressed then here are some ways to ramp up your expressing schedule. 

Find some time at work to express an additional time to increase your supply and output.  You could do this in a number of ways;
  • Arrive early or leave a little late.
  • Pump at the beginning of your lunch break AND at the end .
  • If you are expressing one breast at a time, think about expressing both using an electric pump.
Consider renting a hospital grade electric breastpump to make sure that you are using the most effective equipment (find what works best for you, for some hand expressing is the most effective).  Check the flanges on the pump to make sure they are not rubbing and are the right size for you, you may need to change them after a few months so keep any eye on that (I went from 27mm to 29mm through my pumping career).

Express milk at home when baby goes to bed or over the weekend.  If you can express between 1am and 5am you can take advantage of your milk making hormone levels being high.  Pumping in the morning can yield larger amounts of milk.

Give your supply a boost by completing a power hour every day for a week.  Choose a 1 hour tv show with commercials.  Pump or express during every commercial using the same equipment.

Consider moving your baby closer to your place of employment so that you can feed right before work and right after work, and also have the option of nursing at lunch.  I did this with my son which meant I pumped less (in a 10 hour work day I usually pumped 2-3 times in addition to the lunch feed).

Use your hands to remove as much milk as possible with each expression.  Massage your breasts before you express to help with let-down, massage your breasts during expression to help move the milk towards the nipple, and then continue to hand express after you have finished pumping to make sure you've got everything possible and to increase stimulation of the breast.

As always,  stay well hydrated and remember to eat.  Taking a multi-vitamin probably wouldn't hurt either.

Pumping when back at work can be hard to do, both emotionally and physically.  You need to make it a priority and make an effort to pump when you need to.  Your work has to take a little bit of a step back and balancing a baby, work and pumping can be challenging.  I was very lucky when I returned to work that my employers were very encouraging and accomodating.  I was able to pump in my own office and I pumped at many work meetings and functions.  I think my next post wil be about finding places to pump at work and all that goes with that.

For many reasons that I won't go into right now, I only pumped one breast at a time when I returned to work.  This made it possible for me to make phone calls and check emails while pumping (not recommended and not the reason for it).  Double pumping takes less time and can yield more milk but can take both hands to achieve.  One item that makes it easier to double pump and still read a good book or magazine is a hands free pumping bra from Simple Wishes.  It is a bustier than holds the flanges in place so that you don't have to.

When pumping at work I would wear a loose fitting top and lift it up to pump.  The top then draped over the pump and nothing much showed.  Wearing a nursing vest made sure that noone could see my stretch marks.  Nursing vests are a really versatile nursing garments which can be used as as an additional bra as they have a built-in support shelf (save on laundry), but can also be worn on their own in hot weather.  They look great under blouses and see-through tops, and can also be worn in bed for easy access for nursing at night.  Emma-Jane make a selection of nursing vests for every occasion.  There are long vests for taller gals or with leggings which can be worn during pregnancy to cover bump.  There are also thicker fabrics that are warmer to wear and the thicker white lets nothing show through.  Take a look at the range of nursing vests available at BoobieMilk.