Knocker frocks and doodles – breastfeeding in public made easy

I am Super Silver Top.

nouveau window dress

I will apologise first for the simple fact that breastfeeding came easily to me (sorry).

Why apologise? Because I know it can be a real struggle for many women. From the latch not being right, to tongue tie to under/over production, to diet restrictions due to your baby having allergies… I know that it can be a really, really hard road.

I have even felt guilty for it coming so easily to me. (It’s ok though, we all have regrets. Mine are about birth so breastfeeding is allowed to be my success story, right?).

I can’t help you with medical specifics but I can help you to feel more confident to give it a go.

A major struggle many women contend with is not wanting to breastfeed while they are out and about. Someone might see, you might leak, your baby might be fussy, you might end up with too many spills…. I know. The worries that go through your head are tough and I am done with trying to squeeze into the back seat to feed my baby in the hot car uncomfortably when I could relax and sit in a park and enjoy the breeze.

You see, when I first started breastfeeding my son I didn’t like the semi-corporate style that was prevalent at the time. I wanted to wear a dress. I wanted to dress comfortably and most of all, I wanted to wear something that was fun, easy to wash and wear AND easy to feed in. (Yes I did once wear a maxi dress and realise in horror that I couldn’t feed from the top…!)

So I designed a dress that meant that I could wear A DRESS that didn’t have any weird little zips or windows that I had to fumble around with.

nz designer fashion for breastfeeding

Batwing dress worn with a belt is a stylish breastfeeding solution for special occasions and every day wear too.

My Outie dress design allowed me to breastfeed in public with more confidence. No fumbling and no flashing and lots of style and comfort. In fact, it was from breastfeeding in public that people started to ask me to make one for them, and then their friend, and then their friends’ friends –  and it has made me shift the focus of my little business to be all about these dresses because I love them so much.

I make them. I wear them. I love them.

My dresses are FUN so we have called them ‘Knocker frocks’.

They are FUNCTIONAL so we also call them breastfeeding dresses.

They feed through a Batwing sleeve design so we also used to call them the ‘Everything Batwing’.

Whatever you call them, it’s simple and easy to breastfeed in an Outie dress.

All you do is pull the sleeve to the side so that your baby has access to your breast. Some women wear nursing singlets underneath or you can wear just a nursing bra or a boob tube or crop top. Once your baby has established a latch, you can let the sleeve fall nicely over your breast so that you can nurse your baby discretely without exposing your breast.

NZ designer breastfeeding fashion

All of my dresses are designed by me and made in my home studio in Auckland, NZ.

My knocker frocks mean that you can breastfeed confidently and snuggle with your baby without worrying about having a cover that might fall or a cover that your baby will kick off or pull at and without messing around with little zips, pleats or secret openings.

Outie dresses take the struggle out and put the snuggle in.

TEN reasons why my Outie knocker frocks rock:

1) Sleeve-feeding technology makes breastfeeding easy

2) Moisture wicking fabric mean that spills and leaks can be wiped up easily

3) All fabric is tested for moisture visibility in case of spills

4) Breathable light weight fabrics chosen to help with overheating (hormones!)

5) Fun fabric prints designed in house (hence ‘doodles’)

textile design nz designer nz fashion

All fabrics in the signature print range are designed by me too

6) Home-sewn to order so that you can add your personal touch if desired (drop hem/contrast back/design your own print)

7) Dresses can also be worn as tops with jeans or tights

breastfeeding dress nz made

Breastfeeding should not be a struggle and should be more about the snuggle.

8) All dresses are also excellent special occasion dresses

9) All dresses are made in NZ

10) Purchasing Outie products supports a work at home Mama of two

AND I ship globally FYI.

I will shout it from the roof tops because I know your life will be better and I want to make breastfeeding more enjoyable for you and I know my dresses make a difference.

You are welcome. Shop now.

Love Katrina.

Shut up with your shoulds – dedicated to all the mothers who are fed up

I’m not normally negative, but I have had a gut’s full.

This post is dedicated to a friend who has just been told by her well-meaning Mother in Law that her baby ‘should’ be sitting already (when she is allowing her baby to find her own sitting position in her own time). This post is also dedicated to the mothers who make their own wraps in order to wear their babies proudly when they ‘should’ only be using X brand of ‘certified’ wraps. This is also dedicated to all the mothers (and fathers) who are feeling bad or who have been made to feel bad at any stage because someone has told them that they ‘should’ be parenting their child differently, or that their child ‘should’ be doing something by x stage of development or who generally gets what I am going on about when I say ‘ENOUGH WITH THE SHOULDS!’

Those who dish out the ‘shoulds’ should just shut up.

Recently I read a blog (Moata’s Blog Idle) and was happy to find that she has had similar parenting experiences to me. It seems that once one becomes a parent, lines are drawn in the sand in every direction. She wrote about how if you wear a pink cardigan in parenting land (paraphrased and added to) you accidentally are telling all parents that you are believer in pink cardigans and that all those who do not wear pink cardigans are inferior and ‘should’ wear pink cardigans.

It’s silly but true. What happens if you are just wearing a pink cardigan because you happen to like pink/like cardigans/your jersey is in the wash/you washed a white cardigan with red socks and you haven’t entered into and are not even interested in any parenting politics about becoming a wearer of pink cardigans?

I’m referring to baby wearers, baby led weaners, breast feeders, bottle feeders, co-cleepers, cot users, swaddlers, crunchy parents, natural parents, tiger mums, ‘normal mums’, milestone mums, super mums… because in parenting land it seems that whatever decision you make, there is a line drawn somewhere by someone that delineates your position politically as ‘baby wearer’ or ‘baby led weaner’ or ‘insert name here’ or WHATEVER just because you happen to be doing it somewhere and you were seen doing it or even by the way you look, you look like you would be doing it in private. (?)

With the input (and output) of social media, it seems that all of our decisions are bracketing us and trapping us within a mine-field of potential ‘shoulds’ by anybody and everybody who dares to occupy a different position.

I don’t really see an easy solution, but I do urge all those who have used the word ‘should’ in a cavalier fashion up til now to re-dress the frequency with which it is and will be dished out.

Before I had children I was spared the ‘should’ talk. As soon as I had a bump, I became public fodder for ‘should’ advice. ‘You shouldn’t be eating that pie’. ‘You should get your nursery ready early just in case…’, ‘You should buy cloth diapers’, ‘You should wear flat shoes…’, ‘You should watch your weight…’

Sigh.

Once you have a bump you are open for public critique in a way that non-parents are not. Once you become a parent, you are open for yet more critique because everyone (including those without children) has an opinion on how you should be raising them. The trouble is that a lot of this advice is unsolicited and the motivations for it are never clear. When a ‘should’ conflicts with the careful reading you have done and the care with which you are raising your own precious baby/ies, you can be filled with self-doubt, a feeling of not being good enough and of feeling ‘less than’ the great parent you probably already are.

Some anecdotes to make you feel better. (Here’s hoping…)

On breastfeeding

When I was pregnant some well-meaning friends of ours were offering advice on breastfeeding and how, in their opinion, babies shouldn’t be breastfed once they developed teeth. Their opinion was strong and included apparently ‘amusing’ anecdotes on five year olds ‘asking for the tit’ and how wrong it is and bla bla bla.

At nine months with my son, I weaned him not because I wanted to but because he was allergic to something and I couldn’t work out if it was in my diet or in his. He lost a lot of weight as a consequence and I beat myself up about it daily. I was haunted by other people saying ‘he should be weaned by now’ and the anecdotes from friends of ‘they shouldn’t breastfed when they have teeth’ and more ‘shoulds’ kept knocking at my door disguised as helpful advice. (By the way what I ‘should’ have done in hindsight is eliminated dairy and all would have been well but I never knew about that stuff then…)

I support extended breastfeeding now. Why shouldn’t I? I believe every family makes their own choices for what is right for them. I personally wish I had breastfed my son longer and now, at nearly nine months with my daughter, I am going to let her call the shots.

Babies ‘should’ be weaned once they have teeth? Well my daughter was born with two teeth. What am I supposed to do with that?

Shut up shoulds. Our babies, our choices. That is all.

(It might be worth noting at this juncture that the friends who had the strong opinions do not have children. Go figure.)

On Co-sleeping

We never set out to become ‘Natural Parents’ but a lot of our parenting has become that way accidentally just because we have chosen whatever path has the least resistance for us. Our son didn’t get his own room until he was two.

That’s just the way it happened. We had a side car cot on our bed so that we could safely co-cleep and many a visitor would chime, ‘Shouldn’t he have his own room by now?’ or ‘You should make sure he is sleeping in a big bed before the new baby comes’ or ‘You should start getting him used to being by himself now’.

So many shoulds and so many moments of wondering if we were doing the ‘right’ thing as a consequence when, without the should, it was all actually working just fine.

Any academic will tell you that in order to properly research a topic, one must delve into a variety of sources and look at conflicting opinions in order to satisfactorily decide on your own well-informed position on any given matter…

I say, take an academic approach and feel free to read up on whatever your topic is. But take the ‘shoulds’ you get from those around you with a grain of salt.

On teething

‘You should give your baby an amber teething necklace’, ‘You shouldn’t put anything around your baby’s neck’, ‘You should give your child medicine’, ‘You shouldn’t give your child anything that isn’t homeopathic’

Arrrrgh!

I’m not really a science-type but we tried a day with a teething necklace and a day without and we ‘measured’ the drool and took note of the discomfort. You ‘should’ experiment and find something that works for you. You ‘should’ also heed the advice of professionals. (Sorry two shoulds. Do with them what you will. Those were mindfully included but you may still discard them as you please.)

You ‘should’ avoid all the other shoulds because they can just make you feel bad.

On speech development

‘He should be saying Mummy by now’, ‘He should be counting by now’, ‘He should be able to recite the alphabet by now’. Should. Should. Should. Shut up.

Our son was a late talker. He seems to be catching up just fine now, thanks. Harried by ‘shoulds’, I took him to our Plunket Nurse and asked her if we had cause for concern. Apparently not.

On the spectrum –which is V A S T – his speech development is normal. Though not at the top of the bell curve, he was on the bell curve just the same.

My experience as a teacher is helpful to call on sometimes with times like these. Every student/every child achieves at a different rate. Every student/every child has different strengths. The bell curve has points on it in both directions.

I was a debating fiend at school and wasn’t so eloquent at catching a ball.

By contrast, my son is a superb hand-stander and early jumper even if his words have come a bit later than when they ‘should’ have.

On milestones

Earlier I dedicated this post to the mother whose MIL told her that her daughter ‘should’ be crawling and ‘should’ be sitting already. To her I say this, ‘hold fast to your instincts. You are your daughter’s mummy. Everyone else is a tourist’.

I also say ‘bell curve’ and ‘don’t listen to the shoulds’ because every child develops differently.

If you have cause for concern, see an expert but don’t let other people’s ‘shoulds’ weigh you down.

It made me angry to see that she was feeling bad when she had no need to.

On baby-wearing

I recently made my own woven wrap and I sewed two pieces together so that there was a central seam. I researched the seam and even looked up the construction of parachutes (?!) to ensure that I was not going to be putting my baby at risk by compromising the integrity of the fabric. I consequently had a bad experience where I was made to feel like I was a bad mother by inference because I ‘should’ only use approved wraps.

The negative inference of the ‘should’ was tangible and my feelings were hurt.

In this instance too, I say again: Be informed. Follow your gut.

The ‘shoulds’ don’t matter.

On how many children

A final anecdote to make the ‘shoulds’ shut up.

Recently I reconnected with an old friend who, being a mother of three, told me that I ‘should’ have another baby because “three is way better”.

I don’t doubt that her life with three is great. But I like my life with two right now.

Unwittingly, she made me feel bad about having ‘only two’.

We ‘should’ all be wary of how comparatives and shoulds can cause unnecessary concern. Let us all wear pink cardigans if we want to…

“Comparison is the thief of happiness” – that’s a favourite saying that I need to keep in mind when the ‘shoulds’ start getting more traction than they should. (Excuse the over-should-ing there).

Before you take on a ‘should’ onto your already heavily burdened shoulders, examine where the ‘should’ is coming from. Is it thinly veiled commercialism: “All good mothers ‘should’ wear Everything Batwings” (I’d never do that by the way), is it meant to be helpful or is it sneakily making someone else feel better about themselves because their baby ticks the boxes they ‘should’.

I didn’t say I had the solution, but I hope you can ignore the ‘should’ now that the negative ripples of its use have been unpacked.

Let the shoulds shut up.

Now for something a bit brighter – You SHOULD leave a comment below to win a free limited edition print. 😉

If you liked this post, please click ‘follow’ before you go (on the right) and take a moment to check out some of the stuff I make.

I have THREE Heartstacked Tiki Prints in GOLD or SILVER to give away. International entries welcome.

Just leave a comment about a ‘should’ that you have encountered recently (because we all have) and I will draw three random winners on Friday. X

tiki print silver framed tiki print gold framed

Calling Out All Mums: If you don’t do it twice, you are lying.

This is one of parenting’s great mysteries… This is a poem about it. Because I just caught myself out and I’d like to feel more certain that I am not the only one. Or am I?

I'll sniff your bum

I’ll hold your hand

I’ll make a stand

I’ll tickle your feet

I’ll help you to eat

I’ll wipe your chin

I’ll make you grin

I’ll strap your shoes

I’ll make you coo

I’ll wipe your tears

I’ll be all ears

I’ll rock you to sleep

I’ll stroke your cheek

I’ll read you stories

And make good memories

I’ll wash your hands

I’ll change your pants

I’ll clean up poo

I’ll always love you

AND

I’ll sniff your bum

Because I’m your mum

And I’ll sniff it again just to check.

Like this post?For more fun stuff, please check out my website and click follow before you go (on the right).

Love Outie.

Happy Birthday Outie!

Happy Birthday Outie!

Today Outie turns two and it feels like a really big deal. We are officially up and running and our logo is now an up and running toddler we have modeled on our son running along our local Piha beach.

New Outie logo small

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Birthdays are a good time to celebrate and we want you to join in. For the whole month of September we are offering FREE SHIPPING with the code ‘happybirthday’. We would also love you to nominate a friend with a prize you think they would love each time you make a purchase. You never know whose day might be made just a little bit brighter…

We’ve also printed a limited edition collector’s print of our Heart-stacked Tiki design in gold and silver. These will come signed and numbered to celebrate.

tiki print gold framed tiki print silver framed

Turning two also means there are some changes going on. Our belly bump tees started this whole thing off and we feel we have outgrown them a bit. Fundamentally they are all about the drawings on the bump and these prints will all be available as greeting cards to congratulate a special someone or welcome an extra-special new someone soon. All maternity tees have more than 50% off as they are reduced to clear.

Drawing and design is the heart of Outie. Whether it is drawing a new pattern to help you to DIY, selecting the best bits of advertising to upcycle into Outie Splat Mats or drawing something sweet for your wall, Katrina is embracing her roots as an artist. The latest NEW and exciting range includes Outie organic cotton blankets, pillowcases and duvets with images that are all designed by Katrina with you in mind. It’s all Fun with a capital F.

Also at the heart is an interest in problem solving. The maternity tees solved the problem of ‘boring maternity fashion’. The Everything Batwing dresses solve the problem of feeding on the go, the Splat Mats solve the problem of babies making so much mess… We solve the niggly annoying things and make life easier so that you can focus on what life should be about – play.

That sums up our new logo and slogan. Outie: Design. Adventure. Play.

What can you look forward to now? Stay tuned for greeting cards, more fun nursery prints, custom designed organic cotton blankets, a GIANT OUTDOOR CHANGE BAG (speaking of adventure…) and more. You can tell us what you want to have on the perfect blanket (and even choose your colours) and Katrina will design it for you.

A custom blanket design. "Hippo Dreams" for Kristin.

A custom blanket design. “Hippo Dreams” for Kristin.

This little update comes with a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who have helped Outie begin and take our first baby steps. We are so pleased you can celebrate our second birthday with us.

Love Outie

Katrina and the Outie bandits.

P.S. Thanks for reading and please click ‘follow’ on the right before you go. X

profile pic

 

We do not talk about Sleep Club

Whether you know you are a member or not, we are all members of a secret society called The Sleep Club.

 

The first rule of Sleep Club is that you do not talk about Sleep Club.

 

You joined unwittingly at conception.

 

In early pregnancy, excitement keeps you from getting any.

In late pregnancy, discomfort prevents you from getting any.

In the newborn phase, sleep becomes its most elusive.

 

After that, it must remain secret. Talking about it risks a sleep jinx.

If your baby slept well last night, you must not talk about it. Talking about it increases the chances of a bad sleep the following night by 78%.

 

Replace all talk of Sleep Club with a mysterious nod.

 

 

Ten Easy Rules of Sleep Club

 

  1. You do not talk about Sleep Club.
  2. You DO NOT talk about Sleep Club.
  3. Smile and nod at people who ask you if your baby is sleeping through.
  4. Use the mystery nod at people who tell you their baby is sleeping through.
  5. Avoid the phrase, ‘sleeping like a baby’ at all costs.
  6. Learn thy lullabies.
  7. Believe in the sanctity of naps.
  8. Believe in the sanity that naps bring.
  9. Keep calm.
  10. Take one sleep at a time.

 

NB: Though this post be silly, the truth about talking about it has been true in our house. We have known the sleep jinx so consider yourself warned. Now when we all have a good night’s sleep, we give each other a secret smile (or the mystery nod) and try not to talk about it. A good night’s sleep is like Voldemort – it is better left unspoken.

Sleepless + mad busy + pregnant + baby brain = ?

Outie: Design. Adventure. Play.

 

Check out our website for a massive SALE on all maternity tees and our new logo to celebrate turning two and officially being up and running. X

 

Ten Easy Indoor Activities for Toddlers

I love hanging out with my kids and I especially love coming up with new things to do. 

Here is a little list of my recent favourite indoor activities to keep my toddler busy.

These ideas are brought to you by the Outie Splat Mat.

 

1) Washi tape shapes on the floor

I made a square, a triangle and a star on the floor using washi tape. My son knows the words for triangle and star but hasn’t yet recognised squares – so the teacher in me wanted to give him a new shape to practise saying and the square is THERE on the floor so we keep using the word as we pass it now.

We ran across them and shouted the names of the shapes as we stepped on them.

We jumped in them.

While he ate his lunch, he directed me to hop from one shape to another.

We put his toys in them.

We talked about ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the shapes.

We hopped in them.

We sat in them.

He even chose to eat his lunch inside the triangle.

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2) Matching shapes

This is an extension to the washi tape shape idea. Cut shapes from card or draw pictures with the shapes in them. (I.e. a house could have a square AND a triangle in it) and put the cards into the right shape as a giant sorting activity.

 

3) Indoor bowling

You don’t need a bowling pin set to have fun bowling down structures. You can make towers with blocks to bowl down. I like to use my son’s stacking robots to set out like pins then we roll balls at them to try to knock them over.

 

4) Toddler petanque

I made some simple bean bags with lentils in them out of some scraps of fabric. Here’s some instructions (they are fun to juggle with too). Put plastic tea cups out as targets and try to throw the bean bags into the cups or onto the saucers. We can play the same game using toys as targets and rolling balls to them. A teacup and saucer stack (make sure they are plastic) is super fun to throw things at to try to knock it down too.

 

5) Indoor painting

Use a Splat Mat for this one. Squirt paint onto the paper or Splat Mat and let your toddler smoosh it with their hands. Have an old towel handy for the inevitable spills…

 

6) Bath painting

Add food colouring to shaving foam and take your painting into the bath. (This is a personal favourite because he can paint at my feet and I can have a long shower).

August 076 August 077

 

7. Baking/Breaking/Mashing

I love making weetbix slice with mister two because he gets the job of crumbling the weetbix (use a bowl and sit them down on a Splat Mat) and my second favourite is banana muffins (he gets the potato masher and loves mashing the banana).

 

8) Button Banking

I made a piggy bank out of an old pop bottle with papier mache and I give my son the piggy bank and a jar of buttons to ‘bank’. (The nose unscrews so he can start again).

Tip 15 trash to treasure

 

9) Santa sack

This is a great activity for keep toddlers ‘busy’ while you change the sheets. Simply wrap toddler up and carry over your shoulder like a mad santa… I recommend a strong sheet for this one as my toddler likes to be swung about and you need to be sure that they won’t fall out.

 

10) Kitchen Drum Kit

This is an oldie but a goodie. Sometimes when I am stuck for things to do I ask myself, what would my Grandma do? Tin cups, chipsticks, wooden spoons and whisks with metal bowls or saucepans are a nice and easy noisy play solution.

 

We have loads more ideas for fun play but ten is a good number to start with. What are your fun play ideas?

Like this post? Please follow us by clicking the link on the right.

 

Love Outie.

 

 

 

 

“Are you ok to drive?” Stuff and things during a growth spurt

If your baby is having a growth spurt, is teething or is sick; things can get a little, um, foggy. What are your experiences like?

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A growth spurt can leave you feeling like you are just hanging on for the ride as you cling to the great adventure that is life with a baby…

 

Feed baby. Sleep. Wake up to grizzling. Feed and burp baby again.

Sleep and dream of weird swamp things.

Feed baby again. Hurt eyes by turning on light.

Curse snoring beast beside me.

Feed baby and fall asleep.

Wake up to light still on.

Toddler yelling. Roll over and hope it will stop.

No stop.

Feed baby.

Baby smiles. Tickle nose. Put baby under play gym.

Get toddler. Kiss toddler. Wrestle toddler. Put toddler in high chair.

Boil kettle. Make porridge. Make toast.

Get baby. Balance baby. Feed toddler. Spread toast. Feed baby. Eat toast.

Get empty coffee container out. Get refill out and fill plunger with entire contents of packet of coffee. Pour coffee back into proper container. Shake head.

“Silly mummy! Mummy is tired!”

Try coffee thing again. Spill water.

Pour plunger. Spill coffee.

Feed baby. Spill baby.

Entertain toddler. Pack pre-school lunch. Pack pre-school bag.

Change toddler. Dress toddler.

Eat leftover porridge. Wipe high chair.

Change baby. Dress baby. Feed baby.

Put baby in car seat.

Put toddler in car seat.

Put self in driving seat.

Wonder where I am going.

 

 

This morning I was all ready for driving to pre-school and I caught my man look at me with a, ‘Hmmm?’ expression. My rushed throw-together outfit was a bit questionable and I think it was this, along with my zombified breakfast failings that made him ask me if I was ok to drive. What was I wearing? A black Everything Batwing top with an orange mini skirt, black and white animal print tights and bright pink and purple striped socks… Was I ok to drive? Yes.

But only just. Sleep deprivation can do weird things to your concentration.

Image credit: ‘Hup’ from ‘A Noisy Alphabet’ by Tom Gauld.