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Shop Smart: Maternity clothes for breastfeeding

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Make your maternity wardrobe work harder by choosing clothes that will work for breastfeeding after baby is born. Look out for…

Midnight Knot Front Maxi Dress (Crave Maternity)1. Boob access – look for either maternitywear specifically designed for nursing or with easy boob access (you only need to be able access one at a time usually, even with twins!). Wrap styles, crossover and button fronts are easy.

2. Stretch fabric – to pull back into shape as you do, and make breastfeeding access even easier.

3. Tummy flattering styles – Even if they offer breastfeeding access, some styles just don’t work for new mums. Bodycon styles make a baby bump look gorgeous, but just leave you feeling self-conscious after the birth – if you want to get more value from your maternity wardrobe, mix bumptastic styles with more forgiving shapes. Something that skims your belly will give you confidence postnatally.

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Seraphine at John Lewis – Voucher Giveaway!

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To celebrate the launch of the Seraphine maternity and nursing range at John Lewis, I have £50 of John Lewis vouchers to giveaway to one lucky reader.

I was keen to take a look at the range as it’s always good to see nursing wear in high street stores. At first glance the clothes are lovely, but other than one breastfeeding top, it looked like it was all just maternity wear. Don’t be put off – not only are there lots that work well from pregnancy to breastfeeding, but when you click through and read the descriptions, you realise that a number of the designs are made for nursing mums too. As it’s not always immediately obvious, I’ve highlighted breastfeeding friendly Seraphine designs here.

My range highlight is the knitwear, which is really well-thought out for future nursing mums. It’s always hard to find something other than a cardigan for warm winter feeds, so I would definitely have been tempted by a jumper designed for the purpose, had I actually been able to find one when I was breastfeeding.

Seraphine Maternity/Nursing Jumper
The top of this jumper pops down for breastfeeding access. Also available in purple.
Seraphine Crossover Jumper
The crossover top on this jumper is designed to accommodate breastfeeding and the tummy will stretch back over your diminishing belly.

To enter:
For a chance to win £50 John Lewis vouchers, click through to John Lewis, leave a comment below and tell me what you would spend the vouchers on. For a bonus entry either share this post on Facebook or tweet the following:

I’ve entered to #win £50 of @johnlewisretail vouchers with @milkchic http://milkchic.co.uk/60522 #fashion

Please share the love – tell your friends about this giveaway (or even post it on a few forums…) The more entries, the more giveaways I can host and John Lewis sells everything from clothing to kitchenware, so you don’t have to spend the vouchers on nursing clothes! For more breastfeeding-friendly John Lewis fashion, check out the shopping pages.

Terms & Conditions: Entry open to UK & Ireland only. Closing date: 30th September 2012. Winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries. No cash alternative. If the winner cannot be contacted after 7 days, an alternative may be chosen.

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Impressed!

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Over Easter, I took part in the Isabella Oliver Bargain Hunt. I’d been excited about it for days as they promised a number of their usually expensive items of clothing at only £1/$1. While I link to their clothing on MilkChic, I have to confess that I have never had that kind of budget for my maternity wardrobe – for most of my pregnancy I survived with a couple of dresses and the same bump bands that I now use for breastfeeding.
(c) Isabella Oliver
I was lucky enough to find the £1 items quickly and added a couple to my basket before deciding on this gorgeous ruched one-shoulder dress in scarlet, usually priced at £109. I paid in a rush and waited for it to arrive.
As the dress I fell in love with is maternity wear and I’m not actually pregnant… my original plan was to give the dress away on the blog, sell it on Ebay, or, if it was as good as it looked (in my experience maternity and nursing fashion often isn’t), loan it to my pregnant best friend until such time when I might need it myself.
It didn’t take me long to realise there might be a problem with my purchase. Although the dress clearly said “Easter – £1” in the description, it had gone through checkout at £109. I frantically tweeted, Facebooked and e-mailed customer service to find out whether there had been a mistake, fully expecting to get a short response saying hard luck, the price was correct and a grudging refund.
I was still feeling guilty about the credit card bill when I got an e-mail from Isabella Oliver Customer Services, confirming that a mistake had been made and that if, when the dress arrived, I wished to keep it, a refund of £108 would be made to my card. No argument, no problem.
When the dress arrived it completely lived up to expectations. It arrived in a beautiful box wrapped in tissue paper & ribbon.
It felt so lovely that I had to try it on. I now know how people justify spending £109 on a dress that may only be worn for 6 months of their life. The quality was pretty much what I would expect of an “occasion dress”, although the addition of a bust shelf that supported my weighty mammaries was impressive. But the fit was spectacular. I have lost most of my baby weight at last and, despite this being a maternity design, the ruching over the stomach made me look curvy, not bulging.
I could wear this dress before, during and after pregnancy and it is the first dress I have worn since giving birth to my daughter that has made me feel really sexy. Not only that, but the super stretchy fabric even allows me feeding access on both sides!
So I’m keeping it for me. And much as I love you all, you can’t have it. Sorry…
This is not a sponsored post. Thanks to Isabella Oliver for a great customer service experience and a lovely dress. Of course, if you do feel like sponsoring a post, or sending any samples, you’ll find me here, twirling around in front of the mirror in a rather hot red dress.
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