Thursday, January 31, 2013

Maternity and Nursing Bra Guide from 12 years of experience

A Maternity and Nursing Bra Guide from 12 years of experience
Congratulations, welcome to the world of motherhood, take care of yourself -- it is as important as taking care of your baby - they need you to be well!  Whether this is your first baby or your sixth baby, it is unique each time.  Our bodies change with each stage of pregnancy, even more reason for added help when finding the right size: a maternity bra, nursing bra or maternity clothing.
Properly fitting bras are especially important for your pregnant and nursing comfort.

8 out of 10 women wear the wrong size bra because it is not easy to know and most stores do not stock a full range of sizes. This is even more true when your body is changing and growing - when you are expecting or breastfeeding your little one!!

We make the best bras, with comfort, support, flexibility and style all sculpted into a beautiful garment for you.  Your safety, health and care at the forefront of our developments. 

Bella Materna bras are built to last, even guaranteed, many moms report our bras are the most practical because they last; not only from pregnancy through nursing, but for the little sisters and brothers that follow. ( No, that cheapo bra will not last, and you will spend more on several cheap ones, than a few high quality ones -- think of bras like tires...very important to get you to your destination.)
3-4 months pregnant = pre-pregnancy band with extender + increase cup 1 size (generally)
We recommend getting a new bra when you are pregnant and cannot fit into your pre-pregnancy bras (about 3-4 months).  Your breast size will out-grow this bra by the end of pregnancy!  But do not fear, you will get back to this size again when your cute little baby starts eating solid foods (World Health Organization recommends this at 6 months).
The extender is very important and allows room for your rib cage to grow.  Ideally when new this bra will be on the 3rd hook of a 6 hook & eye closure at the back of a bra.  You will need the next 3 hook settings, as your rib cage expands.  The growing baby pushes your organs up toward your breasts, which is what makes the rib cage expand, so after delivery the ribs decrease again.
Ideally this bra has breastfeeding access, so you can wear it again when your breasts have decreased back to this size at solids. This enables you to get the most wear out of a bra, and the most for your money.  

6-8 months pregnant = pre-pregnancy band with extender + increase cup 2 size (generally)
Then you will need to increase your bra size again near the last few months before the baby is born.  Since the baby belly is getting big, you will really want to focus on comfort and support.  This bra should be flexible enough to fit throughout the end of maternity, and also the first several months of breastfeeding (until your baby starts solids).   When your milk comes in (a few days after delivery - give or take a few days -- everyone's body is unique), you will increase again in size, usually this is temporary until your body has settled into the rhythm of breastfeeding.  Be sure to have a flexible but supportive bra to fit this range of needs.  The Anytime Bralet is the ideal bra for its flexibility, comfort and support.
This bra should have breastfeeding access, so you can wear it when the baby is born. Then you are not buying a bra for the short term.
Finding your Maternity Bra & Nursing Bra Size – get out the tape measure and put on the best fitting bra you have! Keep in mind, a proper fitting bra will hold the fullest part of your breast mid-way between your elbow and shoulder, when looking at your profile.  The band should not ride up in the back either, as this makes the front less supportive.  A good fitting bra will lift you and reveal that high waistline, this helps reveal your feminine beautiful shape.
Band Size - the foundation: 
First, measure under your breasts; parallel to the floor from the front to back, hold it firmly not loose.  Then, review our size chart for your band size, keep in mind what your pre-pregnancy size.  The extender will add 2 1/2" (about 6cm) in extra length,  hopefully this measure matches in the range of your pre-pregnancy size.
In our 12 years of experience, it is best to purchase your pre-pregnancy band size and wear it with an extender if one is not already sewn on.  This is because after delivery, your rib cage will decrease back quickly (especially because breastfeeding helps burn calories).  The ability to have a firm fitting band will support your breasts better than a loose band that rides up.
My usual metaphor for a loose band is a dump truck, if the band rides up, it dumps the front!

Cup Size - the house: 
Most women increase 2 cup sizes by the end of pregnancy.  i.e. If you were a 34D pre-pregnancy we recommend a 34F with an extender. (yes F means Fantastic! Do not be afraid of larger cup sizes - these are not test scores!!)  Measure over the fullest part of your bust.  Keep in mind, a proper fitting bra will place the fullest part mid-way between your elbow and shoulder. If your bra does not fit well, this measurement will be smaller than it should be, and you might buy too small of a cup size.  Compare this measure according to your matching band size.  
Bella Materna Bra Guide:
Anytime Collection - this is suited to flex and be comfortable, it is designed to be worn day or night, while you are expecting or you are nursing.  Heck, my mom loves this bra and she is a grandma!

T-Shirt Bras - these bras are for looking your best out and about, while they certainly should be comfortable and supportive they are a firmer fit and will elevate you the best - always try them on with a shirt!  These are best for getting showing your under-bust and waistline, your feminine shape is beautiful show your curves. Feel free to call us to chat about what you need.

Sexy Bras - these bras are the secret beneath it all.  Especially in this time when everything is changing it is great to feel confident and know that you are doing the important work of motherhood!  Honestly, this kept my spirits up when I needed it most, and fueled me to love the body I am in.  Of course, your partner will be happy because you are happy!

Loungewear - in your new body you will need new pieces to fit your changing needs and shape.  Our collection is designed for while expecting and has functionality to meet your needs through nursing.
Feel free to contact us, we are here for you!! or Toll Free 1-888-700-8438 M-F 9am 5pm PST

Your Bella Materna Team President - Anne Dimond

Friday, January 18, 2013

{Anne chime in: I wanted to post this to help us all remember to be vigilant!}

Reposted from 

This year's flu season is the worst that our country has seen in decades. Just last week the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that it has officially hit epidemic levels. With the outbreak spread throughout the entire country, it is important that we protect ourselves and our family from the virus. 

Children, who have weaker immune systems than adults, are especially at risk with such a widespread virus. {Anne: Pregnant moms too!}

Dr. Philip Tierno, who is also known as Dr. Germ, says that there are ways that our family can lessen the chances of getting the flu. There are many ways that we can protect ourselves and others.

{Anne chime in: always good to be reminded of these measures to inspire us before we get sick or sick again!} 

Flu Fighting Tips for Families  

Arm your family (and caregivers) against the flu by getting the flu vaccine. Even if the cold & flu season didn't affect your family last year, being proactive is still the best offense, as the flu virus will still remain a threat for several months.

Hand-washing is of the utmost importance in fighting the flu. Several studies confirm that routinely washing your hands and avoiding touching your face can greatly reduce your chances of spreading the virus. Be conscious and persistent in hand hygiene, especially if you have young children.

Disinfect all shared surfaces in your home (like the bathroom, living room) with disinfecting spray, such as Lysol, to eliminate the spread of germs that cause infection.

Combat dry winter air and elevated indoor temperatures by increasing your hydrating efforts. It’s no secret that you should keep fluids flowing through your body to remain healthy, but increasing your water intake can serve as an extra line of defense.

Getting outside to exercise may be difficult during harsh winter conditions, but make sure your family is engaged in at least one hour of exercise everyday, even if it is walking,  biking or using elliptical machines, indoors or outside, etc . Take advantage of warm fronts that are trending across the nation or encourage daily activities to ensure everyone is getting their blood pumping at least an hour a day.

Restore your energy and ability to fight the flu with at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. A lack of sleep can be just as debilitating as stress, so urge your family to refuel their immune systems by getting enough sleep. Shorter days during the winter months are the perfect excuse to push for an earlier bedtime.

{Anne chime in: scientifically we know the virus do not attack until they have enough members to actually have an effective attack!  It is a war for your body!} 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Breastfeeding vs Erectile Dysfunction!

This informative article highlights some steps forward for mothers! I recommend reading the whole article.

Breastfeeding dysfunction vs Erectile dysfunction! (both health issues). This comparison is actually causing the change we moms need for healthcare (ie Viagra is covered but Lactation Consulting was/is not!)

Ask your OB your healthcare provider, does s/he offer Lactation consulting as part of her services or at least refer?  Demanding this can be your early steps in parenting (as my doula/coach reminded me)! 

On a sensitive note: we are here to support each other- if you are struggling - reach out! Breastfeeding is awesome but not always easy, we try our best, these health care changes can offer more support. 

Also - if you try your best and your baby needs more-- in my personal opinion supplement with formula! THAT is what is is FOR to supplement as necessary! You are still giving your baby breast milk (of course - you need good nursing bras for that....wahlah Bella Materna...)


Here is a link to the article - I also pasted it below.


Is the Medical Community Failing Breastfeeding Moms?

Is the Medical Community Failing Breastfeeding Moms?

The doctor blamed it on the baby. “She’s not absorbing your milk,” he told Colleen Kelly, in the days after he daughter was born, as the baby lost too much weight and cried constantly. Lactation consultants said, “She’s not latching properly.”
Kelly drove through rural Maine for hours to attend breast-feeding support groups and La Leche League meetings, yet the baby went from eight to six pounds and was diagnosed as “failure to thrive.” The baby’s kidneys were x-rayed and blood taken, but doctors found nothing wrong.
Not once in her travels did someone suggest that perhaps the problem was Kelly herself, rather than her baby or her ability to latch on. She told doctors that her mother hadn’t been able to produce enough breast milk—could that be happening to her?
No, they said. That was an old wives’ tale. But they never even looked at her breasts.
“It was clear that none of the doctors or nurses knew enough about breast-feeding to figure out what was happening,” Kelly says.
That’s because lactation is probably the only bodily function for which modern medicine has almost no training, protocol or knowledge. When women have trouble breast-feeding, they’re either prodded to try harder by well-meaning lactation consultants or told to give up by doctors. They’re almost never told, “Perhaps there’s an underlying medical problem—let’s do some tests.”
When women have trouble breast-feeding, they are often confronted with two divergent directives: well-meaning lactation consultants urge them to try harder, while some doctors might advise them to simply give up and go the bottle-and-formula route. “We just give women a pat on the head and tell them their kids will be fine,” if they don’t breastfeed, says Dr. Alison Stuebe, an OB who treats breast-feeding problems in North Carolina. “Can you imagine if we did that to men with erectile dysfunction?”
ED, she points out, is within the purview of many doctors’ services, and insurance will cover Viagra, but lactation dysfunction? It doesn’t even exist as a diagnosis, no accompanying health insurance code for which doctors can bill. Within the database of federally funded medical research, there are 70 studies on erectile dysfunction; there are 10 on lactation failure.
No one argues that breast is best, but the truth is that breast-feeding is very difficult for many women, and for some, medical problems make it almost impossible without intervention. With the recent bans on giveaways of formula samples in some hospitals, it’s all the more important that the medical community have the tools and knowledge to help mothers breastfeed—or to figure out why they can’t. Until doctors and nurses are properly trained to help, women like Kelly will experience all of the pressure to breastfeed, with none of the support to figure out how.
What do doctors learn about breast-feeding in medical school? “We learned that it’s what’s best for baby,” said my own pediatrician. “But that’s it.” They’re introduced to evidence that prolonged breast-feeding reduces the possibilities of obesity, SIDS and allergies, but the science of it, what’s happening at the anatomical level? Not so much.
“It’s an hour, or a half a day, and [students] don’t remember anything,” says Dr. Todd Wolynn, a Pittsburgh pediatrician and executive director of the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh. There were years, he says, when there was literally nothing said about breast-feeding at all.
Why so little heed? “When most of the people who are currently leaders were in training, breast-feeding was really uncommon,” says Stuebe. Many teaching in medical schools today were raised in the better-living-though-chemistry age, when infant formula was thought to trump the attributes of breast milk. (Formula was certainly an improvement over the non-pasteurized cow’s milk that killed many infants at the turn of the 20th century, when breast-feeding was not in vogue). “It’s generational for doctors to think it would be necessary to know anything about breast-feeding.”
It didn’t help that formula companies famously sidled up to doctors and nurses and insinuated themselves into hospital protocol; there’s a reason that, until the bans enacted in the last few weeks in some cities, new moms left the hospital with so much Similac swag.
In addition, doctors practicing today don’t know where to place breast-feeding problems—breasts are attached to the women, so shouldn’t they be the province of OBs, say pediatricians. And OBs note that breast-feeding is for infants; shouldn’t the baby’s doctor handle it?
This leaves breast-feeding problems either to the rare family physicians, or more commonly to lactation consultants who can assist with technical issues—improving the baby’s latch and such—but can’t write prescriptions, check hormone levels or offer a diagnosis.
That’s what a breast-feeding doctor—an OB, pediatrician or family physician with a subspecialty in breast-feeding medicine—would have done in Kelly’s case: a complete physical and medical history (yes, in fact, it is relevant if your mother couldn’t make milk) on mom and baby to see if any physical or anatomical factors were affecting supply. In the mother, they might check the shape of her breasts, to see if they were hypoplastic—a tubular shape that can indicate underdevelopment of the glandular tissue needed to make breast milk—or evaluate her hormone levels, ask if her breast size had increased during pregnancy. Perhaps they’d prescribe a galactogogue, a drug that promotes lactation. Today there are 88 physicians in the entire world who are fellows of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and have “demonstrated evidence of advanced knowledge and skills in the fields of breast-feeding and human lactation.”
But Kelly’s doctors weren’t trained in human lactation, and they told her what many women with lactation failure have been told before: “We’ve never seen this before. You’re the only one.”
Yet Kelly is clearly not alone. Dr. Amy Evans, a pediatrician and medical director of the Center for Breastfeeding Medicine in Fresno, CA, says that as many as five percent of all women have underlying medical conditions that prevent or seriously hinder lactation: hypoplasia, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, insufficient glandular tissue, among others. But even Dr. Wolynn, who is also a certified lactation consultant, seemed skeptical when I related Kelly’s tale—usually women struggle because they haven’t had enough support in the first few days after giving birth, in his experience. “Very few women really can’t breastfeed,” he said. “That’s very, very, uncommon.”
It’s a “normal mammalian function,” he said. Almost everyone can do it.
Because the complexities of lactation failure are so little studied and so often misunderstood, women can often feel that they are at fault, rather feeling like they are suffering from a medical issue for which they need and deserve professional help.  Dr. Marianne Neifert writes in her article, Prevention of Breastfeeding Tragedies, “The bold claims made about the infallibility of lactation are not cited about any other physiologic processes. A health care professional would never tell a diabetic woman that ‘every pancreas can make insulin’ or insist to a devastated infertility patient that ‘every woman can get pregnant.’”
Luckily, doctors are beginning to take breast-feeding on. Wolynn, Evans and Stuebe are all  fellows of the physicians’ organization Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM). At Wolynn’s practice, all six of the pediatricians on staff are also certified lactation consultants.
ABM has developed 25 protocols to guide physicians in treating breast-feeding problems. They’ve successfully lobbied to include breast-feeding issues on the exams for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Academy of Pediatrics. And the Affordable Health Care Act advises that, as of August 1, health insurance companies should provide “comprehensive lactation support and counseling, by a trained provider during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period, and costs for renting breast-feeding equipment.”
Of course, we’re low on those trained providers, but there are more every day, as medical schools begin to adopt breast-feeding curricula. “It’s probably the most promising times we’ve seen,” says Wolynn.
“We’re in the early phases of what I’m hoping in the next five to 10 years will be more appreciated and more considered a real subspecialty,” says Evans. “It’s a whole new area of medicine.”
Still, there’s work to be done. Health insurance companies need to reimburse doctors for the time they spend attending to breast-feeding issues, to cover galactogogues, and to cover donor breast milk for women with lactation failure. And if we’re going to remove formula samples for women to promote breast-feeding, we better come up with a plan to feed the babies of that 5% of women who can’t sustain them—with 4 million births a year, that’s 200,000 moms who need extra help.
Doctors practicing today—especially those treating pregnant women and new mothers—need to know that lactation failure really does happen, and to be familiar with the potential causes of it, so that they can intervene early.
Perhaps most importantly, we need to stop demonizing mothers who can’t breastfeed, guilting them into starving their kids with insufficient milk supplies rather than supplementing with formula. Yes, breast-feeding can help prevent SIDS, obesity, childhood leukemia, asthma, and lowered IQ…but none of those matter if your baby is failing to thrive because of malnutrition.
In Kelly’s case, once the baby was admitted to the hospital, she began to use formula, fed through a syringe—she was told to avoid bottles because the baby would reject the breast. She stuck with formula, her baby gained weight, and today, “she’s happy, healthy and fine,” Kelly says. But her guilt and shame continued long after the baby recovered. It wasn’t until weeks later, in another doctor’s office, that Colleen happened upon an article that calmed her: some women, it said, can’t breastfeed, for physical reasons. If only her doctors had read that article, too.

Read more: