August 8th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • GeneralResources

Why are 80% of Women Wearing the Wrong Bra Size?


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When I see a woman that is clearly wearing a) the WRONG bra size or b) a bra that should have been incinerated years ago, I have to admit, I visibly CRINGE!

Why do women do this to themselves, and to "their girls"?  WHY ARE 80% OF WOMEN WEARING THE WRONG BRA SIZE?

I think a big chunk of the reason is that women buy bras from stores where, if you can actually find a person to help you, said person knows NOTHING about fitting a bra.  Ladies, you are NOT saving any money buying cheap, crappy bras!  Well, maybe you "think" you are if you wear them until the spandex is completely rotten and your puppies are hanging down to your belly button (sorry for that visual), but you're not.

I am a firm believer in the mantra that you get what you pay for.  If you buy a bra from a department store for $25, $35 or even $45, that is what you will get - an ill-fitting $25, $35 or $45 bra.  Now if you go to a specialty boutique and get professionally fitted for a bra, you will probably spend around $100, but it will FIT YOU and last two, three, even four times longer!  You do the math!Chantelle

For example, the last bras I purchased were from La Jolie Madame in Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver.  La Jolie Madame have been in business for 25 years and the owner and staff will not sell you a bra without properly fitting you.  They carry bras sized from 32A to 46H and feature Vancouver's best selection of the finest European labels like Chantelle and La Perla (drool) that are drop-dead gorgeous (see pics to the right and below)!  You will just LOVE slinging your bosoms into these delectable pieces of art every morning!  And I don't know about you, but wearing a really stunning piece of lingerie under my clothes - as my little secret - makes me feel faaaahbulous!  And yes these are my "everyday" bras.  I deserve it and so do you!

It's not just about looking and feeling great either (although that is VERY important to us women)!  There are health problems associated with wearing the wrong bra size.  According to this article, it can harm the actual breast tissue, cause poor posture and produce neck and back pain.  And this article talks about how effective breast support can relieve the pain associated with sports, PMS and hormone problems.  I found this point to be particularly interesting:  those "compression-type" sports bras are not the ticket after all.  You are better off with a bra that encapsulates the breast like the Playtex Cross Your Heart designs.  Who Knew?  And to think I ran a couple of 1/2 marathons wearing my compression sports bra.  (oops!)

Another great place to shop in Vancouver is Diane's Lingerie, a fixture on South Granville for over 25 years.  Owner Diane Thomson describes her store as "your gateway to BC's greatest selection of quality bras and beautiful lingerie."  Diane's carries sizes 32AA to 56JJ (wow!)  She also states in her Bra Fit FAQ that women should be fitted twice a year for a bra and that throughout your lifetime you will wear six different bra sizes!  Weight gain, weight loss, puberty, gravity, pregnancy - all these things will affect your bra size on an ongoing basis.  You also won't necessarily wear the same size in different styles of bras either - balconette (my personal fave), push-up, strapless, demi cup, full cup, halters, minimizers, the list goes on.  Colour and brand can also make a difference!  So don't make the mistake of finally getting professionally fitted and think that you are going to be a "36C" until the end of time.

While I have mentioned only Vancouver stores in this post, most cities will have at least one bra/lingerie boutique that has staff trained to provide a professional fitting.  Look in your local Yellow Pages under "Bras" or of course, online.

ChantelleIt was over 4 years ago that I last visited La Jolie Madame (I think I'm going through withdrawal).  I bought 4 bras and I admit, dropped a few bills.  BUT they are just starting to wear out NOW.  Say it with me... YOU DO THE MATH!

Now, there is a commitment when you buy high-end bras - you must take care of them (don't worry - you will WANT to take care of them because they are so beautiful).  I hand-wash the really fancy lace ones (well I soak them in the sink - pretty effortless) and others go into mesh lingerie bags before going into my washing machine on the gentle cycle.  I use "Zero" or a comparable fine-washables soap (make sure the soap you choose is spandex friendly) whether I am washing in the sink or the machine.  But they NEVER and I mean NEVER go in the dryer.  EVER!

It is no coincidence that bras are referred to as FOUNDATION GARMENTS.  What is a foundation?  According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a foundation is "an underlying base or support; especially the whole masonry substructure of a building".  Also "a body or ground upon which something is built up or overlaid".

In other words, get a well-fitting bra or your clothes and your boobs will fall down - and it won't be pretty.before and after a properly-fitting bra

In a properly-fitted bra, you will look thinner, taller and your cupcakes will look perkier.  And for those well-endowed ladies out there, you won't have backaches or grooves in your shoulders anymore.  In fact, if you can "feel" your bra when you are wearing it, you are wearing the wrong size.  Other signs of an ill-fitting bra are:

  • the back rides up
  • the straps dig into your shoulders
  • you have red marks on your body after you take it off
  • you tug at your bra throughout the day
  • you have bulges at the tops and sides of the cups
  • you have bulges on your back

So what does this have to do with breastfeeding?  Well if there is ONE TIME in your life that you should get properly fitted and spend some extra dough on a bra, it is when you are pregnant and/or nursing!

Another reason that I am writing this post (other than my inherent desire to accost people in public and drag them off to get properly fitted for a bra) is because of our product - PumpEase™ hands-free pumping supports.  Our size charts tell our customers to choose their PumpEase™ size based on their maternity or nursing bra size.  Considering the "80% statistic", this can be challenging at times.  Having said that, we get very few returns for sizing because we encourage our customers to contact us for help if they are unsure of what size to buy.

Still, it would be sooo much easier if there was a Bra Police that enforced the "Professional Fitting Before Purchase" law across the land.  Then I would see perky boobs everywhere and that would make me a very happy camper!

Have you ever been professionally fitted for a bra?  Were you surprised at what size you actually turned out to be?  Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

{Photo credit: Hotmilk Lingerie}

{Photo credit: The Bra Lady}

June 30th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestMedia & MarketingPumping

This Breastfeeding Ad is a Ripper!


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As you may or may not know, I feel very strongly about a woman's right to breastfeed in public.  I saw this ad and thought it was brilliant.  Or in Aussie lingo, a R-I-P-P-E-R!


So who has a connection at INFACT Canada or the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada or better yet, at the Department of Justice of the Government of Canada - the department responsible for the upholding of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?  Specifically Section 15(1) and Section 28.  Let's lobby for some breastfeeding ads like this one!  Short, sweet and OH SO to the point!

You like?  Leave me a comment with your opinion!

June 20th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestGiving BackInside Snugabell

Help Give Breastfeeding a Makeover!


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I was reading the Motherwear Breastfeeding blog the other day, as you know I so often do, when I followed a link in one of Tanya's posts and ended up on this site.  I have to say that I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!  The concept behind Best for Babes has lived in my head for some time now.  I always thought that I would find the time to start something like this (I know my friends and family are rolling on the floor laughing right now).  Having said that I am absolutely thrilled that it has already been brought to fruition!

Best for Babes - Breastfeeding FriendlyThe attitude, the approach, the images, the sass and their slogan - "Giving Breastfeeding a Makeover" totally resonated with me.  I immediately emailed the founders, Bettina and Danielle, and we scheduled a conference call to discuss how I could get involved!

To start we are proud to announce that $1 from the online sale of every PumpEase™ will be donated to the Best for Babes Foundation to help moms achieve their personal breastfeeding goals.

Here is a glimpse of the Best for Babes Mission Statement...

To give breastfeeding a makeover - to market, brand and mainstream it, acting as a catalyst to elevate this cause on par with Komen, Juvenile Diabetes, (Red)™ and others.

To shift the focus and pressure off moms and onto the “booby traps” - the cultural and institutional barriers to breastfeeding successfully - and to helping to remove those barriers through positive social pressure.

To harness the power of celebrities, corporations, foundations, fashion, advertising, the medical community and the media to bring about a cultural change that embraces, celebrates and supports breastfeeding moms.Best for Babes - Economic Stimulus Packages

I encourage you to visit their site and find out how you can get involved.  Donate, follow them on Twitter, join their Facebook Group and tell everyone you know about them!  Anything and everything you do will help.  It is an especially vital time with the recent introduction of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act in both houses of Congress as well as the Breastfeeding Petition to President Obama to make breastfeeding a high priority in his adminstration - to promote it as preventative care to save lives, reduce disease and save the US Health Care system billions if not trillions of dollars.

"Hey!" you say, "Are you not Canadian?"  Yes I am, born and raised.  However, it has to start somewhere and like it or lump it, we all look to the US for direction sometimes.  The situation in the US is critical with the skyrocketing Caesarian rates, the plummeting breastfeeding rates after moms and their babes leave the hospital and the lack of education and support for the breastfeeding mom.

Besides, I love my US customers and Best for Babes will help women worldwide, not just in the good ole USA.

So please visit the Best for Babes site and then come back here and tell me what you think!

June 13th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Stephanie • PumpingResources

Guest Post: Supporting Exclusively Pumping Moms


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Since few people have experience with exclusively pumping breast milk, it is often difficult for a woman who is exclusively pumping to find understanding and sometimes even acceptance.  Women who breastfed without difficulty often do not understand how difficult and emotionally trying it can be when breastfeeding problems are encountered and some may believe a woman who is exclusively pumping did not try hard enough or gave up too early.   Women who chose to formula feed often do not understand why a woman who exclusively pumps would not choose to feed formula if breastfeeding is difficult or not possible.woman pumping at work with her PumpEase!

The reality for most women who end up exclusively pumping in order to provide their babies with breast milk is that they experienced difficulty attempting to breastfeed and reached a point where they needed to make a change in the way they fed their babies.  Yet, given their strong belief that breast milk is the best food for infants, they dedicated themselves to providing expressed breast milk.  Sometimes, there has been a lack of support or access to qualified lactation consultants and this has made a difficult situation even more challenging.  But often, women who end up exclusively pumping have consulted and worked with lactation consultants.  However, the stress and challenge of a situation often compounds until a change must be made in order to remove the pressure from an increasingly stressful experience.  The breaking point for every woman is different, and the challenges are different for every woman.

The option of exclusively pumping as an alternative to formula feeding is one that is usually not discussed in prenatal classes or pregnancy magazines; indeed it is an option that is largely unknown and greatly misunderstood.  Yet even though many women make the choice to exclusively pump when breastfeeding has not worked out, women who are exclusively pumping often feel alone and isolated.  Feeding expressed breast milk by bottle falls between the two most commonly known methods of feeding an infant -breastfeeding and bottle feeding formula- and therefore leaves mothers who are exclusively pumping between the two groups without a clear source of support or information.

Ways to Support Exclusively Pumping Mothers

  • Educate, educate, educate! Women need to be educated about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding needs to become common place, expected, and supported. New mothers need to know others who are breastfeeding or who have breastfed and have the opportunity to watch babies breastfeeding. The best support is to provide the assistance and education necessary to remove the need to exclusively pump for as many women as possible. The vast majority of women who exclusively pump would breastfeed in a heartbeat if it were possible for them.

It is important to let women know that breastfeeding can require work and dedication.  While it is normal and natural, it is a learned skill for both mother and baby.  All too often, breastfeeding is given cursory attention or the difficulties that can occur are never mentioned to new or expectant mothers.  As a result, if a new mother, already tired and likely overwhelmed from having a newborn to care for, faces difficulties trying to establish breastfeeding, she may simply give up under the mistaken belief that breastfeeding is normal and natural and should therefore also be easy, and that somehow, she has failed or isn't capable of breastfeeding.  This education and support needs to be given in both the prenatal and postpartum periods.

Of course there are situations where breastfeeding is just not possible or complications arise which make breastfeeding difficult.  In these situations, it is vital that women who must exclusively pump be given accurate information and unwavering support.

  • Give credibility to exclusively pumping as an alternative to formula. Share the option of exclusively pumping breast milk with women as an alternative to formula prior to the birth of their baby. Some may be concerned that talking about exclusively pumping as an alternative method to provide breast milk may cause some women to choose it as an alternative to breastfeeding or quickly give up trying to establish breastfeeding if they are having difficulties. This concern is understandable, but with proper education and an honest discussion of the requirements to initiate and maintain lactation with a breast pump very few women will choose to express breast milk instead of breastfeed when breastfeeding is possible. And indeed, without the option presented to women before they experience difficulties, there is the very real risk that new mothers will turn to formula when they experience troubles, diminishing their milk supply, and making it all that more difficult to breastfeed. When presenting the idea of exclusively pumping, it is important that it be discussed as an alternative to formula feeding and not an alternative to breastfeeding. There is absolutely no equal to breastfeeding, but there are far better alternatives to feeding formula.
  • Acknowledge the tremendous emotional impact breastfeeding can have on a woman, and even more so, the emotional impact of not breastfeeding. It is often difficult to come to terms with the reality of your experience compared to the expectations you had for it. Many new mothers expect to breastfeed, yet we know that breastfeeding is not always easy and does not always work out as planned. It is important to recognize the emotional toll this lost expectation can have. Comments such as "You just need to keep trying a little longer", while sometimes true, do not take into account the tremendous emotional load a new mother may be straining under. Simply acknowledging the loss, grief, and disappointment a woman feels can be important. A simple question such as, "How can I help you?" can mean a lot. Validating her feelings and encouraging her abilities are also extremely important. Comments such as "I understand why this is so upsetting for you" and "You are a good mother" can provide the boost that is needed to continue persevering.

Often prior to making the decision to exclusively pump, women are in an unending cycle of breastfeeding, bottle feeding to supplement their baby's needs, and then expressing their milk with a breast pump.  This cycle is exhausting and almost impossible to continue for an indefinite period of time- especially without support.  Add onto this cycle the stress of having a premature baby or ill infant, or other complicating factors, and a new mother can easily and quickly become overwhelmed.  Be prepared to offer not only a listening ear but to also offer concrete support to assist in all other aspects of her life.  Many women who end up exclusively pumping turn to it as a means of self-preservation after becoming overwhelmed with the cycle of breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and pumping.  Sometimes the emotional price of continually trying to breastfeed and not having the situation improve is enormous and overwhelming; sometimes a woman needs to move on.  Support her decision.  Recognize it as her decision.  Acknowledge the fact that her baby is still receiving breast milk.  Provide information and support if breastfeeding is still desired.  Again, acknowledgement and support can go a long way.

  • Help exclusively pumping women connect with others for support and information. There are numerous internet discussion boards and mailing lists dedicated to exclusively pumping moms and many others available for women who are generally expressing breast milk whether it be exclusively or while they are at work. The benefits of sharing with others who are going through the same experience as you, and feeling the same emotions as you, are enormous. Women who are exclusively pumping often think that they have invented the idea and feel as though they are the only woman in the world doing it, but this is far from the truth.
  • Family and friends must provide support and encouragement. The importance of breastfeeding and breast milk must be understood by everyone supporting a new mother. The time requirements and schedule of a woman who is exclusively pumping is extremely challenging and will not only affect the mother, but will affect everyone in the family. Help with the new baby, older children, and household work is often necessary in order for the mother to be able to dedicate the necessary time to milk expression. In addition to practical support, it is also very important that family and friends support the efforts of the woman to provide breast milk for her baby. Questioning the importance of breast milk, suggesting the baby be fed formula or asking why she doesn't "just breastfeed" undermines a mother's efforts, does not acknowledge her struggles, and gives her yet another obstacle to overcome.

There is no doubt that the option of exclusively pumping can be a difficult path to choose, but the value and benefits of breast milk are undeniable, and, when breastfeeding is not possible, exclusively pumping breast milk, as the World Health Organization recommends, should be seen as the next viable option for feeding a baby.  This alternative can be made much more viable for a new mother with support, understanding, knowledge, and acknowledgement from those who surround her.

Stephanie Casemore is the author of Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: a Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for your Baby.  For more information on exclusively pumping or to purchase Stephanie's book, visit www.ExclusivelyPumping.com


May 27th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • PumpingResources

Why Does My Expressed Breastmilk Smell Bad?


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I recently came across this fantastic resource on the Lansinoh website and wanted to share it with you!

"In very rare cases, some mothers who have meticulously expressed and frozen their milk for later use have discovered to their dismay that all their frozen milk has turned rancid.  This happens when a mother produces milk that is high in lipase, the enzyme that breaks down fat in the milk. Depending upon the level of lipase in her milk, some mothers notice this rancid smell after their milk has cooled in the refrigerator; others, notice it only after the milk has been frozen for a while.  Thankfully this doesn’t happen often, and this can be prevented. 
a freezer full of breastmilk
It is suggested that every mother who is planning to freeze her milk should freeze some test batches of milk and thaw it out after a week or so to be sure it has not become rancid.  If the mother finds that after freezing and thawing her milk that it has a rancid smell, she can prevent this from occurring in the future by heating her expressed milk to a scald right after collecting it and then quickly cooling and freezing it.  Scalding inactivates the lipase.  Once the milk has acquired the rancid smell, however, treating the milk will not help.  It is not known whether or not this milk is safe for the baby however, most babies refuse it because of the taste."

You can find more information on this subject on the KellyMom website.  She states that the milk is in fact NOT harmful to your baby, but the stronger the taste, the more likely that he or she will refuse it.

Have you ever found that your breastmilk "turned" after refrigerating or freezing?  If so, did you throw it out or did your baby drink it anyways?  I never encountered this personally, however I would love to hear your stories!  Please drop me a comment below.

{"Feeling More Secure with My Breastmilk Stash!" by Diana Schnuth is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0}