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Bittylab: Is your newborn too dependent??

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There was a major Twitter storm this morning around a US baby bottle manufacturer called BAREâ„¢ and their charmingly named Twitter account @bittylab

The BAREâ„¢ bottles are marketed as a bottle which closely mimics the breast, reducing nipple confusion and supporting breastfeeding. You’re interested, right? Bottles and expressing are by no means a necessity for most breastfeeding mums, but if you do want to use them, you want the one closest to a breast, as do most formula feeding mums… great idea! (NB. PLEASE DON’T STOP READING HERE. THIS IS NOT A MARKETING POST!!)

Unfortunately, for some reason they decided to market their products like this:

Feeling like you’re competing with your newborn for mommy’s attention? Meet BAREâ„¢ air-free http://t.co/qOiq2oS #babybottles #baby

Your newborn takes up all of mommy’s time? Meet BAREâ„¢ #air-free baby bottles http://t.co/qOiq2oS #breastfeeding

and… you’ll LOVE this one:

New baby? Reclaim your wife. Meet BARE™ http://t.co/qOiq2oS #air-free #baby

Not so interested now? Hmm….! I’ve redirected the links because no-one with judgement this poor is having any free advertising on my site, no matter how negative…

There are so many things wrong with this, I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading! If it was intended as ironic, which from their half-assed apology it clearly wasn’t, it really missed the mark.

So, for those of you who missed it, here is the Bittylab guide to newborns and parenting…

Newborn child:
Small parasite who competes with their father for luxuries as food and water. Clearly this is the case, as breastfeeding mummies will not be able to cook poor ineffective Daddy his steak supper when he gets home… He may starve!!

Daddy:
An inadequate, insecure figure who has no purpose in his baby’s life past his initial sperm donation. Jealous of all the attention the baby gets from his wife and intent on “reclaiming” her for himself.

Mummy:
Provider of milk and attention who will clearly have more time for “attention” if she expresses, refridgerates and then reheats the milk that came out of her at the correct temperature the first time.

Impressively, they managed to unite mums, dads, breastfeeders and formula feeders as one in complete and utter repulsion and their sexist and unethical marketing tactics. Maybe it was a clever marketing plan after all, eh? World peace next?

I thought I’d share with you a few of my favourite replies from Adrian Bott ‏@Cavalorn

Dear @bittylab: I had no urge to ‘reclaim’ my wife from my child, because a) I am a grown up and b) I did not ‘claim’ her in the first place

WTF do these people think men are, Dothraki horse lords? ‘Reclaim your wife’. FFS.

Being less eloquent, I stuck to a factual and balanced response (natch):

A question for @bittylab… If #breastfeeding #mums aren’t sexy, how do we know that exclusive breastfeeding can be a contraceptive? #fools

Oh and lovely Lauren D. ‏@Daresie shared her confusion:

@milkchic never understood the ‘jealous dad’ concept. He’s free to get milk from the fridge whenever he wants. #bittylabsucks #bfing

As usual, Wolf Mommy ‏@Wolf_Mommy summed up the key issues:

there’s no question bottles are useful. There’s no need to violate WHO guidelines or insult women to sell them

You’d think they couldn’t make anything worse, but then there came the apology that wasn’t, where we were told that we had misunderstood, floating the possibility that their Twitter account had been hacked if the offending tweets were still there… really? “Sorry” wouldn’t have worked then?

Shame, but I don’t think they’re coming back from this one. Complete and utter marketing fail.

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Breastfeeding & Brands

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As most of you know, I tweet sale and special offer breastfeeding clothes through the tag #lc2b (last chance to buy) on MilkChic’s Twitter feed.
Some retailers “retweet” these as a thank you for promoting their products. Others don’t. Fair enough… I’m not really doing it for them.
But I am very aware that my tweets are more likely to get retweets when I don’t mention the breastfeeding word.
I understand the logic – a non-breastfeeding follower might be put off by the idea that a certain item of clothing has mum appeal (ergo “mumsy”?), even worse that it might somehow be “practical”. These are not positives where fashion is concerned.
But there is a different perspective. Realistically, a lot of people who follow brands on Twitter are mums themselves. New mums are probably one of the few groups who can really justify shopping in a credit crunch (if you don’t fit either your maternity OR your pre-pregnancy wardrobe, it’s time to shop!). Most of us only read a small percentage of a brand’s output on Twitter, but when they make the effort to engage with a niche community like breastfeeding mums, they have a chance to gain real brand loyalty.
So, with that in mind, I would like to thank the brands who can see that breastfeeding access is just another product benefit to boast about and who regularly retweet regardless of the #breastfeeding tag.
Thank you to House of Fraser, Matalan and Peacocks!
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Personal Shopping: Pink Dresses for a Cornish Blonde!

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I was asked by a lovely breastfeeding Twitterer to find her some dresses to wear to an upcoming wedding. Here are a selection of finds in her favourite pink!

Pink dresses for a Cornish Blonde!
Boohoo, Peacocks, Fly 53, WGACA, Warehouse
A little personal shopping exercise – something for a breastfeeding mum to wear to a wedding.

1. Julie V neck waist bobby maxi dress £15, Boohoo.com – Either pull down to feed, or possibly sleeve feed – add a nursing vest underneath for extra coverage.
2. Rochelle Chiffon Frill Top Layer Detail Dress – £15, Boohoo.com – I’m not 100% on this one as the sleeves may not be wide enough to feed, but at £15 it’s so cute I’d be tempted to order it and see…
3. Floral Vintage Dress £85, People Tree – Pull down feed – wear with a nursing vest or add a cute cardi buttoned at the top for extra coverage while feeding.
4. Parker Double Flared Sleeve Dress with Print – £142.48, Shopbop – Button down for easy feeding, flattering to a mummy tummy and incredibly stylish, but it is dry clean only. Wear with a nursing vest for extra coverage.
5. Button Front 50’s Dress Was £65 Now £45, Warehouse – I love this as it’s something I might have worn to a wedding before I was breastfeeding. It has a button front for easy pull down style feeding and wide straps to hide a nursing bra!
6. Marc by Marc Jacobs Carmen Silk Jacquard Dress £209.78, Shopbop – Not exactly a budget buy, and it is dry clean only, but the colour is stunning and the style is a classic and very figure flattering. Button down for easy feeding.
7. Short Dress £39, La Redoute – The smocked bodice and adjustable straps will allow for easy feeding but the narrow straps mean it’s best paired with a cardi if you want to hide a nursing bra. Unbutton the bottom of your cardi and it will give you extra coverage for feeding too.
8. Pink Kinsella Dress Was £135 Now £79, Thomas Pink – A very posh shirt dress. Button down for easy pull down feeding – add a nursing vest underneath for extra coverage. Again, dry clean only.
9. Long Floral Print Dress £65, La Redoute – The wrap top and smocking under the bust will allow for a pull down feed and wide straps mean no showing your bra. Wear with a nursing vest or a cardi buttoned at the top if you want extra coverage when feeding.
10. Rachel Pally Newport Dress £163.09, Shopbop – The crossover top and stretch fabric on this classic Grecian style maxi dress will work well for a pull down feed. Wear with a nursing vest for extra coverage.
11. What Goes Around Comes Around Bianca Dress £227.96, Shopbop – Not a cheap option, and dry clean only, but the hidden button down front is great for feeding and I love the simple style, which is loose over the tummy and will show off a good pair off legs.
12. Fly53 Womens Repent Strappy Dress Raspberry £44.99, M&M Direct – A slightly more casual option for a relaxed wedding, the button down front will make feeding a breeze. Wear with a nursing vest or little cardi for extra coverage.
13. Ladies Tea Dress £20, Peacocks – A really cute print dress with covered buttons for a chic look.  Wear it as it is, or style it up with a contrast belt and a net petticoat to create an hourglass silhouette and the illusion of a miniature waist. Wear with a nursing vest for extra coverage.

Personal Shopping note: MilkChic is not a big company. In fact it’s… erm… well… just me. I also have a day job and a toddler, which can make it difficult to find hours in the day, but it does mean I always offer a personal service! If there is something you are looking for, please contact me and I’ll try to find it for you.

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Small Business Sunday to Manic Monday!

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Every week on a Sunday evening, Theo Paphitis supports small businesses with Small Business Sunday. You send him a tweet (@theopaphitis55) with the tag #sbs between 5pm and 7.30pm and he retweets his favourite six to all of his 102,000 followers.
I have been entering every week since I heard about it and have made contacts and gained followers each time, as well as finding lots of great businesses. Last night, after a busy week where MilkChic’s sister site, Armed & Glamorous (sleeved fashion) got press coverage in a “proper magazine”, I went to bed very early and didn’t check the retweets.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw how busy my Twitter account had been and this is why:
Thanks to Shellybobbinsâ„¢ for the pic!

I am very excited this morning and determined to make the most of the opportunity. MilkChic is built in evenings and naptimes and I would love to be able to give up the day job and do it justice. Please contact me here, on Facebook, or through Twitter if you have any requests or suggestions for the website.
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Social networking – what goes where?

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I have… 1 website (2 domains – the automatic sitebuilder one and my own), 1 database (to organise my fashion finds), 2 blogs (1 real one, embedded in the website, and 1 placeholder blog, so trolls can’t use my name), 1 facebook page and 1 twitter account

You would think, with all this, that I would be able to figure out how to list a few pieces of vintage clothing on the Oxfam website, but it’s harder than you might think. Vintage clothing can be great for nursing mums as, it’s affordable, individual, and comes in a wide range of styles that work for breastfeeding but, as each piece is a one-off, by the time I’ve added it to MilkChic, it could have gone.

My web marketing guru, Gareth at BVP Digital Solutions, told me to just post them on my Twitter feed. Having experimented posting a few bargains and vintage finds and seen the instant response, it’s a perfect solution – quick for me, no updating or deleting, and more exciting clothes = more people looking at MilkChic.

This revelation has got me thinking. Constantly duplicating the same information in numerous different places is not always time spent well and doesn’t really add value for the people who actually visit my website and interact with it in several places.

So I’m going to try and do things differently:
MilkChic website – Breastfeeding clothing, offers and useful links.
MilkChic blog – Special offers, trend reports, news & in-depth comment
Facebook – updates on the site, big special offers, relevant news & comment
TwitterLast chance to buy sale clothing, vintage or one-off finds and general chat about issues that affect breastfeeding mums and parents in general.

There will be duplication, but not nearly as much as before and I might actually get the chance to write that in depth comment for the blog… or (more likely) post some pretty pics of the latest trends!

Note: MilkChic receives no money from shamelessly plugging BVP Digital Solutions in this post. BVP is run by a friend of mine and comes highly recommended.

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