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.

Three Word Birth Stories – A Collection

Can you describe your experience of birth in just three words?

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This is one of the first photos I have of my daughter and I together. It’s blurry but that’s part of it. Daddy was probably shaking. 😉

 

I asked the above question via the Outie facebook page and the answers are haunting, resonant, beautiful, terrifying and revealing.

 

Here is a collection of some of my favourites:

 

Like a rocket.

Quick, surreal, empowering.

Natural, amazing, life-changing.

Traumatic, emotional, scary.

Fear, Pain, Triumph.

Fast, Beautiful, Funny.

Long, traumatic, unforgettable.

Early, scary, fast.

Almost down toilet.

Beautiful Home Birth.

Loved every moment.

Best night ever.

Emotional, disempowering, traumatic.

Best thing ever.

Long, complicated, worth it.

On another level.

Scary, absent, sad.

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Long, painful, relief.

 

And mine: Challenging, raw, beautiful.

Challenging: I had to come to terms with having a second C-section. I really didn’t want one but I had to come to terms with the fact that my body just won’t deliver babies naturally despite my best efforts.

Raw: My body has an entirely new pain threshold that I didn’t know was possible. I felt like I was going to break. I prayed. I learned brand new things about myself. I was a quiet animal. I didn’t scream. It was a new base-line of physical experience for me.

Beautiful: When my daughter was lifted out of me my man said, ‘You got your Ninia’. I knew that’s what I wanted to call her if she was a girl. She was a girl and I couldn’t have known how much I wanted her until I got her. She is amazing. I cried.

 

Love Katrina

Outie

 

 

P.S. I would like to publish a book of these ‘three word birth stories’. I love them so much. Thank you to everyone who has shared so far.

Postpartum What?! Embarrassing stuff you need to know.

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Postpartum what?! Embarrassing stuff you need to know.

“At least if you have a C-section, you don’t bleed for six weeks.”

“No. You still bleed.”

“Oh”.

Birth is a subject that is widely covered. But what about the ‘scary stuff’ that happens afterwards? Here’s a list of things you might need (or might not) with a quick reason for why you might need it. Some are obvious and some are lesser so. If you have any questions, please ask – but don’t be scared.**

Knowledge is power as they say.

Maxi pads or incontinence pads

Whether you have a natural birth or a C-section, your uterine wall will take a while to heal where the placenta was attached. This takes around six weeks and in that time you will bleed while it heals over. Incontinence pads are also useful as they have a higher level of absorption – and you may even need them for what they are designed for until you can strengthen up your pelvic floor again.

Ah bras/Crop Bras

A crop top bra or ‘sleep bra’ will be a comfortable option day or night as they are easy to feed in and are stretchy to accommodate fluctuations in breast size.

Granny knickers and/or disposable knickers in dark colours

Things get messy, so you may as well be prepared.

Disposable ice packs or home-made ice packs (or frozen pads with witch hazel)

Post birth you may be sore and ice can be a great way to reduce swelling and reduce inflammation around any tears.

Stool softeners

Some liken the first ‘movement’ to having another baby. Things are pretty tender so why not make it easier on yourself.

Mag phos

As above, even releasing gas can be difficult. Mag phos helps.

Flaxseed

As above. Can we move on now?

Comfortable clothes

You will be spending a lot of time nursing, resting and healing. Comfort is key.

Soft toilet paper

Life’s little luxuries are important.

Prune juice and fibre rich treats

See previous points about the importance of stool softeners.

Comfy robe (We recommend Outie silk kimono top (of course))

For nursing or for privacy when receiving visitors, a comfortable robe is gold.

Spare changes of sheets

You will be leaking milk and your baby will spill and you will probably also have night sweats. All of this might happen without you having time to do any washing. Having a spare full set of sheets (or three) on hand is worthwhile.

Water bottles

Post birth you will want to flush any drugs out of your system quickly and drinking lots of water will also help reduce water retention. If you are breastfeeding it is also important to keep your fluids up.

Yoga pants

Yoga pants can offer a little more support around your tender tummy and they are comfortable too.

Old towels

You might have a spill or you might have leakage from your maxi pads or you might get blood on your towels after showering. Having old towels on hand is pretty useful.

Foot stool for the bathroom

Some women say that this really helps pass the first motion post birth.

A waterproof sheet or mattress protector

See the previous note about spare sheets. A waterproof sheet will help keep your mattress protected too. Much cheaper than a new mattress.

Long tank tops or shelf tanks

Wearing tank tops or singlets are easy for nursing and if they have a built in bra then they also reduce your need to buy a nursing bra. Wearing them in a longer length means that you can cover your tummy while you heal up nicely too.

Batwing Nursing Dress (of course!)

batwing nursing

You can wear these as a top or as a dress over a shelf tank or long tank top and they can be easily ‘dressed up’ while breastfeeding on demand.

Binding tubes/Tubi-grips

You can wear these around your tummy to help support your abdomen while you heal. Some women find that these help to shrink your tummy faster too.

Sleep bra

See the previous note on ‘Ah bra’ or crop top bra. A shelf tank top will also work but you will need some support when sleeping with your larger than normal milk-filled boobs.

Pressure stockings

You might be given these post birth to help reduce swelling in your legs.

Donut pillow

Some women swear by these to relieve the pain of sitting with haemorrhoids caused by pregnancy and/or child birth.

Haemorrhoid cream

Enough said.

Porridge

Anything with oats can increase your milk supply. Porridge is a nice comfort food to have on hand.

A grabber

Kids have them, old people have them and you can have one too. It can be really sore bending down post-birth (especially after a C-section or tear) and a grabber might just help you put your own knickers on.

A peri bottle or tea tree oil spritz

You may have ‘raw’ areas that will benefit from ice packs but you might also want to bathe these areas in an antiseptic spray. A peri bottle takes the hassle out of that particular job.

Cloth breast pads (we recommend hemp ones from Laulipop’s Shop)

Waterproof on one side and absorbent on the other, you will need these if you are breastfeeding and you want to avoid spending unnecessary money on disposable breast pads. Buy as many as you can to ensure good hygiene as frequent changing is required (plus your washing machine gnomes might steal a few).

Lanolin cream

This is a fatty cream that can help with cracked nipples which is a common complaint of women when breastfeeding.

Comfy cardigan

Any front-opening warm top will do but you will want something to wear that is easy to breastfeed in and still cosy.

Trinity Nursing Wrap (of course!)

Blue Trinity NursingWrap

If you have guests and want some discretion, these are perfect for this purpose. They can be worn three ways – as a loop scarf, as a neck warmer and as a nursing cover. They can also keep you warm for those chilly night feeds.

Blue incontinence sheets

If you don’t have a mattress protector but you still want to be protected in bed, these sheets can be a disposable replacement or in conjunction with a mattress protector for ueber protection.

Prop pillow or Tri pillow

Anything to stop you falling over at night when you are breastfeeding for the fifth time and struggling to stay awake – these are also good for general back support and breakfast in bed. If feeding on the couch, these can also be used across the tummy as a replacement for a breastfeeding pillow.

** Some of these are Outie products but we wouldn’t have made them if we didn’t need them! X

 

Did we forget anything? Share your tips below!

Love Outie.

 

 Outie: bumps, babies, boobies. Boom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plan B and the C-Word

This post follows a period of non-writing due to having a baby. A delicious little baby girl was delivered via emergency Caesarean on the 13th of Jan. That’s the C-word I want to write about – C for Caesar.

 

I feel like I have to get the birth story out of the way before I can move on with other Outie pregnancy, life, fashion and parenting related things. It is a big thing and I feel like it deserves some air time.

 

Some people talk about birth trauma and, although not traumatised per se, I am adjusting to a reality that is different to what I really wanted.

Is insensitivity around this topic more common that we think?

I delivered my first baby (now 22 months old) via emergency C-section because he was posterior and he didn’t drop after many hours of labour. It turned out that, at 9 pounds one with a 38cm head, he was potentially too big to fit through my pelvis.

I had given it ‘a good lash’ and was proud of getting to 8cm unaided and without drugs. When the labour didn’t progress and I was told that a C-section was my best choice, I agreed, signed the forms and deep down felt a bit cheated.

For my second child I was adamant that I wanted to do it the natural way.

Why want a VBAC?

I had several reasons, all of which I felt pretty strongly about. I didn’t want the abdominal surgery again, I didn’t want the healing process to prevent me from full enjoyment of my new baby, I didn’t want to have restrictions on my freedom (no driving for six weeks), I didn’t want to have lifting restrictions (how does that work with a toddler?), I didn’t want the recovery I remembered from the first one – and, quite simply, I wanted to ‘finish the race’ and embrace the full experience of labour.

I wanted to push.

There are hundreds of factors that affect the ‘birth outcome’ and I tried my best to control some of them. The medical professionals had advised me that I was fit and healthy and there was no real reason why I couldn’t attempt a normal delivery with my second child. I had hope yet!

BUT…

At 40 weeks my baby had not yet arrived. The longer it ‘baked’, the less likely I would be able to deliver it naturally due to concerns about size (previous large baby versus me being not-so-large).

I tried everything I could to prevent having another Caesar: keeping my diet healthy and exercising regularly (to combat size) , forward sitting (to combat baby position), hands and knees positions to ensure I didn’t have another posterior baby, I paid for sessions of acupuncture and moxibustion therapy and I used acupressure points regularly at home.

I felt like I had a pretty good ‘tick list’ that was pointing me and my baby in the right direction.

There always has to be a plan B though right? (Or in this case plan ‘c’…)

My baby had a different idea entirely.

I was advised to book in for an elective C-section at 41 weeks (since I had tried everything prior to 40 weeks to bring my labour forward) due to there still being some real concerns regarding the size of me versus the size of my baby.

I hated this plan.

An elective C-section was not part of any of my plans. I felt angry and cheated again for not being able to ‘at least try’. I wanted my baby to choose their own birthday and not just be ‘scheduled in’. I also wanted my body to start the labour process by itself and I wanted to be allowed to give it a go.

I had to give myself a good ‘toughen up talk’ in order to face this reality and I reminded myself that the best outcome is ultimately a healthy mummy and a healthy baby.

Births often don’t go according to plan – and I just had to get used to a new plan.

What I never saw coming was some of the commentary from people in the lead up to the elective date. They clearly didn’t understand the emotional hurdles that came with accepting this as the way my baby would come into the world.

 “You are a sucker for C-sections, aren’t you” said one friend .

“Are you too posh to push?” chuckled another.

Another still said, “My sister swears by C-sections. In all her post-birth photos she looks as calm as a Hindu cow.”

What? Really?

People are insensitive. But they also don’t seem to realise that some women really want a natural birth over a Caesar. The feelings of grief and being cheated and ‘failing’ at birth may not be universal – but they are common enough. Preparing for birth is incredibly emotional – and the word ‘elective’ describes the procedure and the fact that it is booked only. It does not mean that I want it.

All of the above people had their heads bitten off and, thanks to me, now have a much better understanding about elective c-sections and why they are not necessarily elected.

( I opened up quite the can of rant…)

At 40 weeks and 2 days, my body avoided the elective date by starting labour spontaneously.

We drove into hospital with regular strong contractions three minutes apart. I felt so grateful that my baby had chosen his/her (at that point we didn’t know what we were having) own birthday.

But 8 hours later with contractions coming thick and fast and my body feeling close to breaking point, the baby was still not descending.

She was not coming out the natural way. She was not descending just like her big brother.

I signed another form and my baby girl was born within the half an hour via C-section.

Healthy baby, healthy mummy.

All stitched up and sent off for cuddles and recovery.

 

What I really want to say about the C-word is that it is loaded for every mother.

For me, it is kind of a defeat. But it is a defeat that I have accepted after a long  healing process.

The grief I have experienced for the natural birth I never experienced was definitely there – but it is now more ‘there’ than ‘here’ because I left it behind when I left hospital.

It has been two weeks and I am nearly back to normal again.

All of my fears about the C-word are not nearly as bad as I had thought now that I am on the other side of the procedure.

It hasn’t been all roses but it is still better than what I had pictured in my head when I was still pregnant.

The lifting restrictions have been managed with teaching my toddler to climb.

The no-driving rule has been (and is) tricky but it just means I ‘actually’ have to take a break (this is better for me because I am not the resting type).

The pain post-surgery is now behind me.

In short, things are looking up again.

I am ok with the c-word even though I really thought I wouldn’t be.

 

PS. We named our daughter Ninia Kowhai. (I knew I was having a yellow baby)

(Ninia (nee-nee-ya) Suffused in light, Kowhai – yellow)

It’s so nice to be able to look on the bright side again.

 

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Love Katrina (Outie) X

 

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