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Wed, Jan 13, 2010
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Fashionable breastfeeding
by MaryAnn Soh

I was at an Al fresco cafe, sipping on a latte and enjoying my afternoon read one Sunday when a woman lifted up her top and pulled down her inner wear to breastfeed her starving infant.

Admit it. We still gawk at mothers when they do their thing in public. My attention undeniably left the pages of my book; and I found myself staring at that nursing mum, perhaps for a split second too long that I drew attention back to myself.

But the awkwardness we shared wasn't so much that the woman was exposing half her breasts, but the amount of difficulty she had in juggling the baby on one hand and trying to adjust her cumbersome blouse with the other.

Perhaps new mums would be happy to know that maternity fashion label, Mothers en Vogue, has a wide collection of maternity wear designed to make breastfeeding easier and more discreet.

The home-grown label is not new; in fact, it recently celebrated its sixth year in Singapore with the opening of a new flagship store at CentrePoint Orchard.

The new outlet houses a wide range of fashion wear for mums and their tots, of which, more than 50% of its Spring/Summer 2010 collection is eco-friendly with clothing made of organic cotton and bamboo.

The range is versatile. Most clothing can be worn interchangeably for maternity and nursing use.

The label is the brainchild of founder Ms Sharon Ho-Norton, who also designs for the brand. She tells me that the breastfeeding range is constructed based on six key nursing systems: Neckline access, Empire access, Hem-lift access, Side-seam access, Vertical-front access, and Drop Cup Access.

Each "nursing system" is designed with concealed access points on the garment from which one can easily reach into her brasserie. Instead of having go from the bottom of a baby doll dress, or yanking off the straps or sleeves of a blouse, the access points are created strategically around the chest or torso areas.

Pull neckline aside
to access nursing
openings on inner

Lift empire band
to access nursing

Lift lower hem to
access nursing

Lift outer layer
to access nursing


Open vertical slit[s]
to access nursing

But there is more to the maternity dress than just easy access. Ms Ho-Norton tells me that "mums at different post-natal stages, require different types of nursing access to cater to their needs."

In the first stage when mothers need to feed their infants very regularly (every hour), the Empire, Side-seam and Hem-lift are the most convenient access types to deal with. Ms Ho-Norton explains that it is at this stage that a mother would find that her chest doubles or almost triples her usual bust size, so these designs provide for the greatest chest coverage for mothers who are uncomfortable with the sudden enlargement of their breasts.

The second stage occurs four to six months after giving birth where the breastfeeding interval lengthens to about 3-4 hours. During this period, mothers are more shapely and confident to show off their figures, according to Ms Ho-Norton. She recommends the Drop Cup access, which involves unhooking and pulling down the front cover of the garment that shields the chest.

For mothers who continue breastfeeding their babies after eight months, Ms Ho-Norton suggests that mothers, who are more experienced by now, can go for the Vertical-front or Neckline access types.

The move towards creating more earth-friendly outfits also has its benefits, not just for mothers, but for the little ones too. Ms Ho-Norton tells me that the reason for the choice of fabrication is that organic cotton and bamboo are softer to the touch. This is especially important as infants have young skin which is normally more sensitive and easily irritable. As they rest on their mothers' bosoms, it helps that the garment is comfortable and cool, according to Ms Ho-Norton.

For mothers, who are most conscious of their body shape at two to three months after conception, the fibers of organic cotton is also strong enough to create a good silhouette that glides rather than is figure-hugging.

While I don't think I will become a mother anytime soon, I was absolutely pleased to discover that there are functional clothing available for mothers, other than large shapeless dresses.

Retail prices range from $44.90 to $79.90 for tops; and $72.90 to $89.90 for dresses.

readers' comments
but wanna ask what are the prices at mother en vogue like?
Posted by lightasacloud on Wed, 13 Jan 2010 at 15:06 PM
This is very useful info! Now I know where else to look for nursing wear :)
Posted by lightasacloud on Wed, 13 Jan 2010 at 15:04 PM

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