When I reached the 37 weeks pregant mark, it was well overdue that I get fitted for a nursing bra. Bravissimo just about saved me from a life of frumpdom my first time round but even their range is a little limited, so decided to investigate a little more what options there are for womanly feeding. I found Bras4Mums.
If you reckon that glamour should be low down on the priority list with a newborn, then think again. Pregnancy and childbirth lacks enough diginity that, for a woman like myself, who likes the feminine theatrics of grooming, fashion and cosmetics, we desperately seek to maintain our identity while experiencing it. Sounds like a lot of hard work and it is because for some reason, mainstream retailers want to condemn us to a life of tent-like floral maternity blouses and underwear last seen on Matron in Carry On films. However, on the internet and in our boutique back streets, a mini-revolution is emerging with more small businesses cropping up targetting the market for maternity glamour. Bras4Mums are one of those businesses, passionate about fitting women correctly for the right garmet at the right stage of pregnancy and nursing plus good value for money and catering for different tastes. And now they are offering the Bra Lady service, someone who comes to you or your community group for a fitting.
I’ve been working with Tracy-Jane Hughes, business owner and brains behind the Bra Lady concept, blogging my pregnancy. She was keen for some insights on fitting a larger chested lady (I’m currently measuring around a 34J ) to add more strings to her bow. Such is her drive to get her customers needs right. For my 36/7 week fitting she arranged for her local Bra Lady, Sam Mackley, to come along to fit me. Having been fitted by Bravissimo for a few years, I was no stranger to the advantages this could bring plus at my wits end trying to find a bra in a fabulous style in my size. There’s no charge for this service, or obligation to buy, your Bra Lady will come out to you with a variety of styles & sizes for you to try. And personal fitting is really the way to go, for both selling and buying. The internet does present a lot of possibilities for shopping but when it comes to bras, you could spend a lot of time ordering up ill-fitting and uncomfortable garment, no matter what cup size you wear. The fact is, many women are still wearing the wrong size bra for them which during feeding could lead to problems such as mastitis.
Sam arrived promptly and began to organise the fitting in a calm and professional way. Trying on underwear in front of other people isn’t everyone’s favourite pastime, even in your own home, she made sure the room was private. She laid out the samples she had bought with her and explained very clearly how she would conduct the fitting. First she took some notes about my pre-pregnancy style, then tried to get me recall breastfeeding with my first and how I felt. She took time to get an idea of what was important to me, i.e. a bra that makes my clothes look good and makes me feel a little bit feminine. Sam also runs a fashion business, Mummy Looks Fab, specialising in materity and nursing wear. Immediately she was on my wavelength about wanting to look and feel good having breastfed two of her own kids. It was such a relief, I felt like blubbing but maybe that was the hormones.
We tried on roughly 6 styles in different cup sizes, chest size and cut. The key areas we were looking for at this stage were:
– did the bra have enough give in the cup to allow for an increase in size for milk production? there should be no overspill at the top
– was the bra fitting well under the arms, as the milk ducts reach back as far so vital there was no pinching
– did the bra offer enough lift and shape, we tried on my clothes over the top with each one
– did I like style, did it feel good?
Once the fitting is concluded Sam will take note of your order and place it for you. The prices are good value, equivalent or less than high street depending on the style plus I’ve had a very personal service in my own home as part of the cost. Obviously Bras4Mums know what they are doing by offering this service, there is a better chance of a sale versus browsing a shop in town or on-line. The only drawback for the larger chested lady is manufacturers still don’t make a wide variety of styles in bigger cup sizes. The designs I fancied weren’t available from HotMilk, a maternity and nursery lingerie retailer specialising in very womanly and sexy styles. I contacted them directly to challenge this but was quoted back, ‘HOTmilk bras are designed up to an H cup at present and dependant on your actual measurements you may find a 32H or 34H may be the correct bra size for you. I’m not sure if you tried on these sizes when you were fitted and if you were at your fullest or not?’. I had already told them I’d been fitted professionally, so this sounded like a bit of a cop-out. They went on to say they had passed my comments on to their designers, blah, blah, blah. It’s a shame because I was ready to depart with a bit of cash for a choice of bras in my wardrobe and the underwear to match. After all I hope to feed for 6 months plus and feel fabulous doing it. Tracey-Jane and Sam came to the rescue, adjusting my first choice bra, the Blissful Disorder by HotMilk and sending me an alternative second bra for me to purchase (adjustments are made for additional charge). Both fit wonderfully under my clothes, somehow these ladies have a sixth sense for fitting. So now the bras are here, the only hard part is waiting for the baby to arrive!
Bras4Mums kindly supplied 2 garments free of charge for the process but all views about the company, products and service expressed here are my own and independent of Bras4Mums.
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