When it comes to nursing, I believe in demand feeding and there are, of course, many times my little guy gets hungry when out in public or hosting guests. I love the convenience and bonding that breastfeeding offers, so I prefer to do this whenever possible vs. pumping and bottle feeding. However, I do respect that not everyone is comfortable being around openly breastfeeding women, so it's my preference to cover up in these situations. When nursing S (our first), I simply latched very discretely or used receiving blankets, but often felt a bit exposed using these two methods. Therefore with CJ I wanted to try a dedicated nursing cover to see if this would provide a more comfortable experience.
Enter Udder Covers, an amusingly-named brand of nursing cover created by Jenny Pierce, mother of 5 and designer of multiple other mother & baby product lines (including the Milk Bands nursing bracelet and Seven Everyday Sling). I got the opportunity to review their 3-piece gift set including a cover, two pairs of breast pads and a MilkBands nursing bracelet. I chose the "Porter" style for the set.
Product Info - Nursing Cover:
We at Udder Covers are committed to making the most dependable nursing cover on the market. It's simple. We want you to have a product that will cover you where you need it and yet still allow you to have eye contact with your baby - all while wearing something chic and stylish.
Our rigid neckline gives you direct eye contact with baby. Our fabrics are made of 100% breathable cotton. Stainless steel d-rings allow fully adjustable neckline.
Our covers allow mothers everywhere to breastfeed their babies in comfort, style and confidence anytime - anyplace!
Udder Covers come in 15 different styles - for example the Caleb, Natalie and Porter.
My Review - Nursing Cover:
When I first opened my cover, I was surprised how fine and light-weight the material was - similar to a delicate blouse. I was expecting something closer to the thickness of a receiving blanket. As I began using it, however, I discovered that this is a Very Good Thing! Covering up creates extra heat, and I can imagine how uncomfortable this could get with a thicker, non-breathable barrier - especially during the warm summer months. The compact size is also nice for tossing into a diaper bag, purse, etc. I was initially concerned that the thin material would be see-through during nursing, but this turned out not to be an issue. The cover requires direct light on one side for there to be transparency on the other side, which obviously doesn't happen during nursing since mom's body blocks out the light.
The cover measures 32" x 23" which I feel is an appropriate size. There's plenty of material on each size to achieve effective coverage without feeling like you're drowning in fabric.
The neckline is pretty easy to adjust using the rings - simply thread the "tail" down through both rings and then back up over the bottom one and under the top one.
Given the rings are a D-shape, however, they are prone to switching position when manipulating the cover, thus causing the tail to pull loose. This is kind of annoying, so I'm wondering why the designer opted against using circular rings (similar to those used on ring slings) which would stay in proper position. Perhaps a suggestion for a "new and improved" model!
The rigidness of the neckline helps provide a hands-free window to see your nursing baby.
I find I do need to fiddle around to get a good view, however. Here are a few tips I've learned:
- The tail needs to be fastened quite tight allowing the neckline to push out in a U-shape
- Shifting the center of the cover toward the current nursing side helps line up the viewing window.
- It's important to sit up straight. When in a reclining position, the material underneath the neckline tends to droop back down over baby's face
- Sometimes the rigid neckline needs to be popped inside out to help it stick out better.
- If the above techniques don't get the job done, I use my free hand either on the outside to pull the collar out straighter, or on the inside to push up on the material.
As for care & maintenance, I've had no issues. The cover washes and dries well in a low heat cycle; so far no shrinking, fading, etc. The stitching around the edge also appears very solid - no loose threads or other imperfections - so I see the cover lasting a long time.
Overall, I've gotten a lot of use out of my Udder Covers nursing cover and it serves its purpose well. It's light, compact, well-made, pretty easy to use and launders nicely. If the rigid neckline didn't require as much tweaking and the issue with the d-rings could be resolved, it would be perfect in my book!
Product Info - Washable Breast Pads:
Udder Covers™ Reusable Nursing Pads will protect your skin from irritation by absorbing all moisture. You will LOVE them!
- Leaking milk and moisture is drawn away from skin by 5 layers of absorbent cotton fabric
- Machine-washable and reusable
- Soft layers conform to breast shape for a natural look under clothing
- 100% Cotton
- 5 Ply
My Review - Washable Breast Pads:
I'm fortunate in that I leak very little milk, and therefore don't really need to wear breast pads. Of course that makes it a little challenging to review them! ;) That said, I can tell you the following about the Udder Covers pads:
- Based on a water test, they're definitely absorbent. They pull liquid in immediately and hold a good 2-3 tablespoons each. However liquid does travel through from one side to the other fairly quickly (after about 1 tablespoon is absorbed) so those who leak heavily may find this to be an issue.
- They're quite comfortable to wear.
- They are a bit noticeable when worn under a non-padded bra, but not when worn under a padded bra.
- They start at about 4 1/2" in diameter and shrink about 1 cm upon washing. Shrinkage is quite even, however so they remain pretty smooth.
Overall, they seem pretty solid but again - you'd probably want to take my opinion with a grain of salt on this one! :)
Product Info - MilkBands:
Give your nursing journal a rest! Throw away your safety pins and stickers! Quit juggling objects from wrist to wrist! Stop relying on imperfect memory!
Milk Bands™ are a uniquely designed nursing bracelet that enables the mother to quickly and conveniently identify which breast she last used to feed her baby by simply turning the bracelet inside-out!
Milk Bands™ breastfeeding bracelets have time measuring sliders that can be used for multiple purposes such as tracking how long your baby fed or what time!
Milk Bands™ work regardless of which wrist they are worn on and are so easy to use it only takes one hand! Our breastfeeding bracelet works in the dark and can be worn during any and all activities!
When the time comes, Milk Bands™ can be used to help you wean your baby!
Let Milk Bands™ keep track of the basics so you can worry about more important things!
My Review - MilkBands:
First of all, I like that the MilkBands bracelet can remain on the same wrist. Flipping it inside out is definitely more convenient than switching wrists to indicate last nursing side! If you're wondering how the proper side can be identified when feeding in the dark, the company has thought of this too - the word Right is raised up and the word Left is lowered (mnemonically helpful as well - nice job guys!) so this can be determined by touch.
The bracelet displays two sets of numbers and comes with attachable sliders for tracking additional information. Three sliders are included, however only two are used, so presumably the third is an extra in case one gets lost (though this is unlikely since sliders snap on very snugly). Last nursing time can be tracked by setting the hour via the slider on the right and minute via the slider on the left; total nursing minutes can be tracked by starting with the left minute scale and then incrementing the right hour scale if/as applicable.
The mechanism works well; sliders are pretty easy to move when desired but then stay in place nicely between nursing sessions. They can be a bit tough to move while nursing, however (and especially so while nursing in the dark!), so they're best adjusted either before or after a session.
I can definitely see scenarios where these bracelets would be helpful - for example to ensure a particularly sleepy newborn is eating enough, to assist with combo feeding, etc. I can also see them being used for non-nursing-related purposes - for example tracking wet or soiled diapers, counting glasses of water, recording exercise minutes, etc. The key benefit of the bracelet is that it provides a tracking tool that's with you at all times vs. another mechanism (piece of paper, phone, etc.) which may not be.
The bracelet is comfortable to wear both during the day and at night. The instructions mentioned that some women may experience mild irritation but I haven't noticed this myself.
My guess is that the main complaint some women may have about these bands is that they're aesthetically basic. Solid-coloured and made of fairly thick silicone, they're not going to win any fashion awards. Fine with me as I'm a jeans 'n' t-shirt kinda gal, but trendsetting mamas may wish they had a little more pizzazz.
You can purchase an Udder Covers nursing cover or gift set of your own directly from their website or use their store locator to find a retailer in your area. Use the special discount code ManagerToMom when purchasing from the website to receive a $35 discount on any item! This allows you to obtain a free cover (or super-inexpensive gift set); you just need to pay shipping! (Good until May 31, 2013.)
If you're interested in a MilkBand alone, these can be purchased here.
One lucky Manager to Mom reader will win an Udder Covers Gift Set of their own! Winner chooses from among available styles. Open to CAN/US.
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Please follow all instructions within each entry option to ensure your entries are valid.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Udder Covers. I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample items free of charge. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.