Thursday 14 February 2013

Comfort Is Everything When Nursing Your Baby – Review of Cantaloop’s Nursing Bra

I’m probably considered by most people to be unusual, because at 2 years of age Jess is still breastfeeding. Our journey together has evolved and changed as the months have passed and she's now showing signs that it probably won’t be long before she self weans. And I’m happy to continue our journey this way until she’s ready to stop.

It wasn’t this way with Sophia. She cut her first teeth early at 4 months and used me as a teether ! Ouch ! It all came to a head when she was about 7 months old; she drew blood. My reaction to it was of shock and pain but sadly what then transpired was a baby who refused to breastfeed. I tried for weeks to reintroduce the breast but she was adamant; it was not what she wanted anymore so I expressed for as long as I could and she stopped having breast milk from about 9 months old. Some will say, “Well, where’s the problem? She was past the recommended 6 months stage.” Yes, she was, but it had always been my want to breastfeed my children until they were 2 years old (as set out in the WHO’sguidelines) if possible. That wasn’t to be with Sophia.

With Jess it's kind of bumbled along really with no specific goal in mind. However, I did almost give up breastfeeding her after 2 weeks. She fed every hour on the hour for those first weeks. It almost killed me. My breasts were so sore, but after chatting to a lactation nurse, expressing for 12 hours to give them a break, I managed to continue on and as tends to be the case, your breasts get used to this new regime, they toughen up and although I have suffered blocked ducts and mastitis along my breastfeeding journey with Jess, it has all been worth it when I now look at her; a fit, healthy toddler who is having her needs met on all levels. My breastfeeding journey with her has been a very intimate one, which I will treasure always. We giggle and share during our times together now. Those times are fewer than before, but they are special moments which I truly wish I’d had with Sophia. Breastfeeding a toddler really is very different and it has been great to experience the contrast in the developing breastfeeding relationship with my second daughter. I would encourage all Mums to consider extending their breastfeeding journey beyond 6 months if they can. It has huge payoffs both physically and emotionally for both mother and child.

So with this information in mind, it’s fair to say that I have definitely tried a nursing bra or three ! And boy do they differ. I’ve seriously yet to find one that is comfortable and doesn’t either lose its shape, end up digging in or just doesn’t give you any shape or support where it’s needed. It’s been a very frustrating journey for me since my days in France. I think I must have tried around 5-6 different makes and none of them have been completely comfortable and if they started off that way, as my breasts have changed through my nursing journey, they have become more and more uncomfortable.

So when I saw the new Cantaloop Nursing bra, I really wanted the chance to road test it, as it looked really comfortable with no seams to dig in, and unlike some seamless bras which seem to have no support at all, the Cantaloop looked to have the extra support required. I approached Cantaloop about the chance of trying one out and they agreed to send me one. I chose my size via their size chart and have to say that when it arrived I was dubious that it was going to fit and wasn’t going to be too small. Their sizing guide does seem to overlap somewhat and they only have 4 sizings: 1S, 2M, 3L, 4XL. However, I trusted my measurements and low and behold it did fit !

The first thing I noticed was how soft and comfortable the bra is. It is made from 91% Polymide and 9% Elastane. It’s true what Cantaloop say, you really don’t realise you are wearing it after first putting it on. At the end of a day, I’m always itching to take my nursing bra off, but I didn’t feel the same need with the Cantaloop. It doesn’t dig in, it gives good support under the bust area which can be lessened or increased as required. It has adjustable straps too, so you can change everything to suit your shape and personal requirements. It is lightweight and has washed up very well. You can wash it on a standard 40 degree C wash which is unusual for a bra. This means it can go in the wash with the kids’ clothes and doesn’t have to be singled out in a separate wash if you don’t want to. This is a plus for a busy Mum.

I’ve also noticed that it’s the only nursing bra I’ve ever owned which has given me a decent shape. Nursing bras tend to be functional, but because the Cantaloop gives gentle support where it’s needed, I get a lovely shape without the need for underwiring which I hate now anyway. My only gripe if I have one is the fasteners. They are different to the normal ones used for nursing bras. I’ve found them a bit fiddly at times, however I think this is really just down to the fact that I’ve had 6 years of wearing a nursing bra which fastens a certain way. Had I known nothing else but the Cantaloop, I wouldn’t be comparing it and would have learnt to use their fasteners instead. It’s a bit like when I changed my car to a left hand drive one in France. I spent several days hitting the window every time I wanted to change gear ! Eventually, your brain relearns and you make new brain connections that tell you to use the other hand. It’s been a bit like that with the Cantaloop nursing bra for me ;0)

All in all I totally recommend this nursing bra. It comes in a cute tub and you can buy them in Boots stores and they retail at about £24.00. Cantaloop also have a pregnancy bra which will be coming out into Boots shops in the near future. You can currently get this one online. Cantaloop also do other nursing tops and pregnancy accessories, so take a look at their website for more information They also have a Facebook page and you can follow then on Twitter: @CantaloopUK

Disclaimer: I was given a Cantaloop Nursing Bra to try out, keep and review for this post. All thoughts, feelings and opinions given are my own and no one else's. I always give my honest feedback.


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