Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review: Bravado's Allure Underwire Nursing Bra

A few months ago, Bravado! was kind enough to contact me to see if I wanted to review one of their two new bras, The Allure or the Sublime. I agreed and was sent the Allure Underwire Nursing Bra in ivory to try out.

Now, you've probably heard me say in the past that you should avoid underwire nursing bras until your milk supply is well-established and that remains true for this bra. It's for moms who are already at least 6 weeks into their nursing relationship. Otherwise an underwire can cause plugged ducts which can lead to mastitis and no one wants that!

So what makes this bra different from other Bravados I own? First, the cups are more molded and firm. This is definitely the kind of bra you want to wear to work under your professional clothing because it provides a lot of shaping and lifting. It's also a sexier bra than my other Bravados, and I love the detailing, like the little ribbon in the center and the embroidered straps. This bra also looks and feels more like lingerie than my other Bravados.

What hasn't changed? You're still getting the same things you've come to love and expect from Bravado: a great, comfortable fit, light and breathable fabric, and cups that fully drop when you unhook the bra. I did notice after a few months of wearing and washing that the wire had shifted a bit, but I find this to be common with underwire bras and I was able to easily push it back into place.

Overall this is another hit for Bravado and a bra I'd highly recommend!

Cost of this bra to me: Free
Cost of this bra to you: $59.50

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Review & Giveaway: Simply Breastfeeding & Breast Pumps & Briefcases

In March of last year I reviewed a how-to breastfeeding DVD called Simply Breastfeeding. The DVD was created by Shari Criso, a certified nurse midwife and lactation consultant. Although I really loved the DVD, I had a few dislikes. They were namely that the information was separated into two DVDs and that there was a serious lack of diversity in the women and couples represented.

So Shari and her husband, Joe, recreated the DVD and made some improvements and sent it to me to review again. First, all of the information is now on one DVD. No need to get up and change out DVDs and the chapters are labeled and include things like "What are your breastfeeding goals?," "Breastfeeding benefits," "Breastfeeding techniques," and "Is my baby getting enough milk?"  There are also images at the start of the DVD of families from all backgrounds, and if my eyes didn't deceive me, one lesbian couple.

What hasn't changed about the DVD is Shari's warm, compassionate manner. She really has a knack for spreading knowledge and dispelling breastfeeding myths in a way that doesn't come off as pushy.

So what makes this DVD different from any other breastfeeding book or video you may see? Well, there is definitely a "Criso" method and part of it is very controversial. Shari advises preventing sore nipples by limiting feedings in the hospital before your mature milk comes in and offering a pacifier from day one to satisfy baby's intense need to suck. I'm not an IBCLC, but I know that advice runs counter to what you'll hear in the hospital from the lactation consultant and in other experts' books. I also personally wouldn't offer a pacifier in the beginning (I'm not a fan of them anyway) because I would be concerned about nipple confusion and nipple preference.

Shari has also very specific instructions on how she thinks it is best to latch your baby on, which nipple creams to use, what kind of nursing bras and pillows to buy and more. I like that she explicitly spells out her technique and shows real moms nursing and employing them with their newborns. The DVD also features bonus material, including a segment on cord blood banking (Shari's a big proponent), and a message from Best for Babes co-founder Bettina Forbes (a portion of DVD sales are donated to Best for Babes).

I also had the opportunity to review Shari's CD, "Breast Pumps and Briefcases," for working mothers. Pumping at work caused me more problems than I ever had breastfeeding so I wish I'd had this CD back then! Shari talks about how she made breastfeeding and working work for her, including pumping and having her husband bring her the baby to nurse on breaks. Again, Shari has some controversial recommendations, including offering small bottles from week one. Typically it is advised that no artificial nipples be offered until at least 6 weeks. But she does also offer her expertise on which bottles, pumps and nipples to use (I happened to agree with all of her recommendations on the CD). She explains how to bottle feed the breastfed baby, how to maximize your output, how to store milk, how to talk to your day care provider about breast milk and more.

Now for the good part....your chance to win both the Simply Breastfeeding DVD and Breast Pumps & Briefcases CD! Shari was kind enough to offer one lucky reader a copy of each.

For a chance to win, simply leave a comment with why you want to win this set.

You can get extra entries by doing the following (please leave a SEPARATE comment for each):
  • Become a fan of Blacktating on Facebook
  • Follow @blacktating on Twitter
  • Twitter about this giveaway (leave a link to your tweet)
  • Blog about this giveaway (leave a link to your blog post)
That is 5 possible entries per person! This giveaway is open to residents of the US age 18 and over only. The contest will run until Wednesday, January 28th at 11:59 PM. Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Good luck!

*CLOSED* Congratulations to Vanessa!