Keeping a promise PLUS a BoobieMilk giveaway

The bra

I made two aesthetic promises to myself in the final weeks before I gave birth to Talitha: 1) I would resist the urge, no matter how strong, to shave my head, no matter how hideous my hair got postnatally, and 2) I would only wear nursing bras that made me feel pretty.

So far so good on both counts. I still have my hair and I’ve recently added another HOTmilk bra to my nursing lingerie collection courtesy BoobieMilk.

My small back size and large cup size usually mean that I’m stuck with a bra that either doesn’t fit properly, looks like something from my great grandmother’s generation or, if I’m really unfortunate, both.

Stylish doesn’t usually come in my size, especially not if I’m looking for a bra to breastfeed in.

The HOTmilk Luminous, however, puts the “sexy” in nursing bra. Serious attention has gone into the detailing of this bra.

The frills are fun and girlish. Even the diamanté centrepiece, which would normally be over the top for me, makes me feel like I’m treating myself by just getting dressed.

I put it on, got in front of the mirror and marvelled at how good a well-fitting, well-made bra can instantly make me feel.

The support is fantastic: no sore back, no digging straps. This is hugely because HOTmilk offers a fantastically wide selection of sizes and Karen McCully, BoobieMilk’s director, proved knowledgeable in helping me find the perfect fit.

I explained my issues with the bras I owned at the time and she skillfully helped me work out what my size probably was. Apparently BoobieMilk’s online customers can exchange items until they find the right fit. Handy.

As for clipping and unclipping to feed, it’s quick and painless (though this was a skill I did have to practice back when I’d just given birth).

I honestly tried to think of something I don’t like about this bra but I can’t think of anything. I even like the brand name HOTmilk. I think it’s hilarious. It conveys a message I agree with. Breastfeeding is beautiful but hard work. Feeling attractive and physically supported is the least you can do for you and your breasts.

So I’m pleased to offer you a chance to win a BoobieMilk voucher to spend on a nursing bra or on any other nursing or maternity lingerie that catches your fancy. More about that at the end.

The breastfeeding chat

First, I want to tell you a bit about Karen because she’s been so involved in breastfeeding support, an interest we share.

Karen’s passion for breastfeeding started during her Masters degree in Nutrition at Glasgow University. She returned to Kent in 2010 after spending about eight years in Baltimore. While her husband pursued his PhD, Karen ran a local government program there which provided free services such as breastfeeding classes, peer support, pumps and a lactation consultant.

Karen said: “I also initiated a pilot scheme that provided free nursing bras to those women that chose to exclusively breastfeed and receive no formula from our program. We fitted and issued free nursing bras for every three months of exclusive breastfeeding that they achieved.” Clearly, she knows her stuff when it comes to nursing bras.

I wondered why Karen started her nursing bra retail business, BoobieMilk. Like a lot of mothers, she was looking for a flexible working arrangement which allowed her to look after her children. BoobieMilk has allowed her to marry this with her breastfeeding passion. Her flexibility also lets her volunteer as a breastfeeding peer supporter.

“I am able to work around my daughter’s nap schedule while my older son is at pre-school, and I am able to do a lot of the volunteering with Ellie in-tow. I get a lot of pleasure out of my work, and I find volunteering as a breast buddy really rewarding.”

I asked Karen to name her favourite breastfeeding product. Instead of diving head-first into the bras, lots and lots of bras, she gave a response I admire: “I have been to a lot of breastfeeding conferences over the last 6 years and seen some crazy breastfeeding products. How many shapes can a breastfeeding pillow come in? I think the great thing about breastfeeding is that it is so convenient, just grab the baby and go.” I wish more mothers-to-be (myself included!) realised this.

She illustrated with a personal experience I directly identify with: “In the beginning with my son, I was trapped in the house a lot because I got into the habit of using a nursing pillow. It’s not really convenient to carry a huge pillow around in public, and you get some really odd looks from people, so I spent a lot of time weaning myself from using it… If you only want to spend the minimum on breastfeeding and get the most out of it, I would say 3 comfy nursing bras. One nursing bra to wear, one in the drawer and one in the wash.”

Her favourite, though, is the seamless transitional bra because it accommodates small changes in size. (Come to think of it, a friend in my breastfeeding group mentioned that problem a few weeks ago. I must tell her about this.) She also recommends a nursing vest in place of a bra to provide tummy coverage (personally these just don’t work for me as my mammaries as disproportionately bigger than my frame – but I recognise not everyone has this issue!).

And her favourite breastfeeding product she doesn’t sell is a sling. Ah, woman after my own heart! As you’ve probably worked out, Karen loves to talk breastfeeding. I highly recommend you go check out her blog, starting with this brilliantly informative post on breastfeeding in public. It’s got some great photos on how to use a ring sling while breastfeeding.

The giveaway

TO ENTER TO WIN A £20 VOUCHER TO SPEND AT BOOBIEMILK:

– Leave a comment below, telling me what made you decide to breastfeed

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES:

– Tweet: “Win a BoobieMilk voucher to spend on nursing lingerie http://circusqueen.co.uk/2012/04/boobiemilk-giveaway via @AdeleJK” (comment separately here to let me know you’ve done that)
– Like the Circus Queen Facebook page (comment separately here to let me know you’ve done that)

Giveaway closes on Tuesday 24th April, 2012 at 8pm.

The winner will be announced here and on the Circus Queen Facebook page the day following the completion of the giveaway.

Giveaway open to UK residents only.

Winner will be randomly selected.

Competition now closed. The winner is Tracy. Congratulations!

Visit the BoobieMilk website and Facebook Page.

BoobieMilk sent me a nursing bra with a matching pair of pants. Obviously, I’m nothing if not honest.

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions


mother • freelance writer • home educator • #revillagingpodcast • breastfeeding counsellor • no dig farm @soul.farm • Trini in Cornwall [she/her]

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104 comments
  • Would love to win as I’m currently nursing!
    When I was pregnant with my first baby, I tried to keep an open mind on feeding options and didn’t want to commit to any style until my baby was actually born – there was an awful lot of pressure for me to decide and particularly decide on breast feeding. I don’t think you can make that decision until your baby is here and you see how you feel. Thinking about breastfeeding before I had my baby made me feel a bit uncomfortable and strange but I’m quite an “organic” foodie and like to avoid certain chemicals so I tended towards breastfeeding.
    When my son was born I tried to feed him myself – it did actually feel natural and I wanted to do it – it took 9 weeks to establish breastfeeding properly! I kept feeding him until 18months!
    When I had my second baby, I’d already decided I wanted to breastfeed but I knew it might not be easy – it turned out that my daughter took to it within minutes and I’m still feeding her 9months on- hoping to reach 18months!

    Emma xx (@beachpebble)

  • With my first daughter, I don’t think I had even considered the possibility of not breastfeeding.  It just seemed like the natural thing to do.  I ended up having to introduce a bottle relatively early (in my mind) but managed to keep the breastfeeding up for 7 months.  This time, knowing lots of mummies, I’m a bit more open to the idea that it ‘may’ not come naturally but I really hope it does.

  • I decided to breastfeed because it just seemed natural to me. I suppose I thought I’d make it to about 4 months but actually continued to 18 months! I’m pregnant again and can’t wait for that bond.
    I only wish I’d ditched M&S & discovered Hot Milk sooner last time!

  • Why did I decide to breastfeed?

    I had boobies with golden milk dripping out of them.
    I had a tiny baby who was hungry for milk.
    That’s all.

  • I decided to breastfeed as I believe it’s the best start you can give a baby and it seemed that was my job as a parent.

  • After suffering PND with my first baby I really wanted to do everything I could to get a good bond early on with my second. I do believe bfing made so much difference 🙂

  • We have a history of Asthma in our family and I wanted my son to have the best from the second he was born. I fed him straight away after birth despite being very ill and he is an amazingly healthy, happy boy.

  • I breastfed my babies because it helps them build an awesome immune system, is free, helps to create a wonderful bond, acts as a comforter as well as an incredible food source, and because it is the most amazing stuff ever… fact!

  • I breastfed because I just felt that it was what nature intended. I was lucky that it came relatively easily for me and I have gone on to breastfeed for the past four and a half years non stop! I think I really deserve a new bra! 😉 x

  • I breast feed by bottle (not many people “get” pumping!) because I wanted my son to have the best start… (although I’m not a fan of the breast-Nazi approach used by many midwives!) 🙂

  • I decided to breast feed because I believe it is the best for the child and that is why we women produce milk.  It wasn’t easy at first but I wasn’t going to give up.  Also as a child I suffered from asthama and I was bottle fed.

  • i decided to breastfeed as i wanted to give the best start to my children.  3 of my children were born prem, so i wanted to help them as much as i could. i loved the closeness, just a shame it didnt last for long, as i had milk problems. @emmajlowe

  • Oh how lovely, I’ve already decided how I’ll spend the voucher, so hoping I win!

    I breastfed/breastfeed my babies because I was breastfed, all my friends breastfeed (where possible) and I’d have a lot of explaining to do if I chose to bottle feed without giving the breast a good go! Actually, I’ve never even thought about it before, just knew that breast was best for them (and who doesn’t want the best for their little ones) and boobie milk is much cheaper and more convenient than formula. Also, I’ve really enjoyed the breastfeeds – exclusive me and baby time, to be close and quiet together.

  • I decided to breastfeed no2 as in my eyes I failed my first son by not managing too so this time around I was stubbornly determined there wouldn’t be any formula passing his lips, and there hasn’t been for 9 months now! 

  • As selfish as it was I made the decision to breastfeed my oldest (she is 18) now as it was the least hassle and cheaper.  I have breastfed all 5 of mine and sdore the closeness of it all.  It is not always been plain sailing and my youngest is just getting teeth which I know can be an awkward time, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!.  A new pretty nursing bra would really make my day!!

  • Wow these look absolutely gorgeous! And so much nicer than the usual ‘rocks in sling’ fair 😀 Lovely review my dear. I chose to BF DD from the get go because it just felt like the right thing to do. We had some tough times at the beginning but I still loved it. Also I was in China when DD was born and all the milk scares terrified me!

  • I didn’t breastfeed my first daughter who is now 5 , due to a difficult labour which ended with her being in the NICU and I in the ICU. I deeply regretted it and blamed myself for everytime she got poorly. That’s why when I became pregnant with my second daughter , Rosie-Faith who is now 6 months old – I promised myself that I would give breastfeeding my very best shot! 
    6 months later and breastfeeding is going so well!
    It is the most precious experience I have ever known and I feel so priviledged to be able to share this with Rosie!

  • Because I knew it was a challenge feeding twins and I love a challenge, but had to do it for the closeness to my children and to give them a good start.
    Fabulous prize x

  • I breastfed as I had read about the benefits to both baby and mother. I always said that if I had problems I would not beat myself up about not being able to breastfeed and would just stop. However, when we had problems at the beginning of breastfeeding I persevered by saying ‘we’ll just get through this week and if its still bad next week we’ll stop’ and I’m glad I did, it’s good to see my baby growing just through my milk alone.

  • I breastfed as I had read about the benefits to both baby and mother. I always said that if I had problems I would not beat myself up about not being able to breastfeed and would just stop. However, when we had problems at the beginning of breastfeeding I persevered by saying ‘we’ll just get through this week and if its still bad next week we’ll stop’ and I’m glad I did, it’s good to see my baby growing just through my milk alone.

  • I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to breastfeed until I tried it. Seeing my little boy snuggled up to me in the hospital bed, so calm and relaxed and drinking like a trooper melted my heart. It was then that I decided breastfeeding was the only way to go!

  • It wasn’t really a decision to breastfeed, I didn’t even really think about the fact that there was a choice. It just seemed the natural way to go – not that it wasn’t without it’s difficulties.

  • I never really made a conscious decision to breastfeed or not, it was just the normal default thing to do for me. I breastfed my son for 13 months in the end and am currently pregnant again and hoping to breastfeed for longer.

  • I’ve decided to breast feed my first baby due in August as it’s meant to be best for baby, a way to bond with your baby and to help lose the baby weight too!

  • I was breastfed, as was my sister and all the babies in my family. I simply couldn’t imagine not breastfeeding. I wanted to bond with my baby and I genuinely believed that however long I breastfed for, even if only a short while, the health benefits were undeniable.

  • Aside from knowing it’s the best food for my baby, it was the fact I can have guilt free cake and still loose the baby weight!

  • How can you say no to giving those innocent things the best start in life? I had to give it a shot and I plan to again with number 2 in the belly 🙂

  • For me it wasn’t really a decision as such. I just always ‘knew’ it was what I wanted to do. Lucky for me, although at first it wasn’t easy, I was able to keep battling away at it and now, 6 months later we are still breastfeeding and both baby and I are very happy! I adore our feeds (maybe not the night ones quite so much!) but knowing that I am in the only person in the world who can do this for my baby makes me feel even more special!

  • It was always something I wanted to do from before I got pregnant. I love the time that I spend feeding my Munchkin, its just so special. I just talk to him all the time he’s feeding & tell him how proud I am that he’s a good little boy, I can’t say much more just I love breast feeding

  • I tried initially to breastfeed with my first child but was unsuccessful.  Before the second child arrived, I had sought out advice and was determined to breastfeed and I felt it would be the best possible start to a newborn.

  • i wanted to breast feed as i feel its giving my children the best start possible. Its easy, theres less to cart around when going out, no sterlising, no messing with the temperature, i only managed 5 months with my first daughter but i hope to continue to a year with my 3 month old so hopefully all will go well. 

  • I decided to Breastfeed as i had done alot of research online whilst pregnant and thought it would give my baby the best start in his life, plus it was a bonding experience for us both.

  • I decided to breastfeed as I feel it was the best start in life I could give my little precious one. She is such a healthy, bonny and content little thing and I love the very special time we spend together during feeding sessions, it really is an incredible bonding experience and makes me feel that I am doing a very special thing for her.

  • I decided to give it a go first time around, making no promises to myself about how long for and just going with the flow… Luckily it worked fine for me and I managed to bf DD for 9 months. Second time around I have the same approach and DS is doing well with his ‘Gold Top’. Breast is definitely best in my opinion.

  • I was living with my mum when i had my first child and she persuaded me to breastfeed. i didn’t want to disappoint her so i thought i would give it a go for a few weeks,  after i had my daughter i had many problems and mastitis, but i carried on through it all and she was breast fed for the first year, did the same with my other 2 children and i am happy to say i breastfed them all through the first year, definitely worth it

  • So many reasons to make me want to breast feed – the bonding, it’s natural, it’s convenient, it’s healthy for the little one, it helps with weight loss lol 🙂