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TummyStyle Maternity & Nursing Clothes

  • Take Control of Your Birth

    As you due date approaches you may gaze longingly at the calendar hoping to fast-forward time to that magical date that your doctor and every online due date calendar has bestowed upon you for the “big day.” Although only about 5% of babies are actually born on their due date, it’s nice to have a target in mind so you can at least organize your life and feel some control over your body and your future. As you get increasing closer to your due date in the last trimester, oftentimes the due date anticipation can become overshadowed by due date anxiety, particularly for first time moms. We all hear the birth horror stories of long hours of pushing, last minute c-sections and the overall agonizing pain of labor which can hit anytime in those final weeks and days. We hope and pray we will have some control of the details surrounding our babies introduction to the world and that it can be as pleasant of an experience as possible if not a joyful one.

    Well, it turns out we do have more control than we think. Women’s bodies are actually designed for childbirth and for having a child naturally, should we choose to do so. If we opt in advance, or even last minute, for some additional medical assistance in the way of labor induction or painkillers, that’s ok too.  The nice thing is that we do have options; we can plan a homebirth, a birthing center birth or a hospital birth. We can opt for a midwife, a doula, and/or a doctor and whatever company we want in the room. Our husbands can be trained as a birth partner to share in the experience and help us through our hardest moments as well as share in the triumph of our baby’s birth. We can train in Lamaze, yoga, hypnotism and any number or breathing, self-visualizing and relaxation techniques. Gyms have countless classes for expecting women, salons have special prenatal massages and yoga classes have created an industry around expecting and postpartum mothers and their newborns.

    The biggest obstacle for most expecting women is themselves and not trusting in their bodies for labor and delivery. Doctors are there to help and monitor us through labor if we go with a hospital birth, but they cannot birth our baby. It is our bodies that nourish and birth our baby and perform the contractions necessary to carry out this process. It is easy to feel that once we put that hospital gown on and get hooked up to monitors that we no longer own our bodies or our birthing process, but we do.

     The best way to seek control over the birthing experience is to create a Birthing Plan. Know and map out in advance what your ideal birthing scenario would be. Decide who you would like present at your birth, obviously where you would like to give birth. Should you opt for a home birth you will need to make those preparations with a midwife well in advance. You should know exactly what essentials are needed for that for a home birth down to the details of bedding and clean-up and a back-up hospital plan should you need more help as our labor progresses and in case any emergency that should arise.

    Many women planning hospital births are further helped by a Birth Plan that they can review in advance with their doctor and loved ones who will support them during labor. Your husband or birthing support members may need to help communicate their needs during the labor process, so having your “team” on board with your exact wishes will provide your with further assurance and emotional support. It will also help you relax as you approach your due date and enable you to visualize and anticipate your labor in a positive way.

    The next important step is to pack your hospital bag well in advance. Pack all the props your need for labor support including your favorite CDS and music mix, tennis balls for back message, change of clothes for during and after labor, a camera for those first newborn photos, nursing bras and possibly nursing pajamas or nighties to wear at the hospital for after you have or baby.  Also pack for your baby including the baby sleepers, socks and blankets (as well as your carseat!) so your can feel your baby is your own and not the hospital’s and also to make those first pictures all the more personable and memorable.

    Overall, the more action you take in advance to plan your birth and your early postpartum days from readying your baby’s nursery to “coaching” your doctor, midwife and loved ones on your preferred birth plan, the more in control and relaxed you can be for your big day. Remember, your body is your best friend, so set the stage for it to do what it is designed for in the most relaxing, personal and friendly setting possible and you will be rewarded.

  • 8 Essential Maternity Clothes Items

    When you think about all the clothing you need when you are pregnant, it can be overwhelming. What fits one day may not fit the next. Seasons change, your belly changes daily, but your life continues on and you need clothes to wear. Well you don't have to dress frumpy just because you are pregnant and you don't need to break the bank in stocking your wardrobe for the year. Here are 8 essentials for every pregnant woman's wardrobe to get you started:

     

    1. A great pair of jeans. The most important factor in maternity jeans is that they are comfortable with plenty of stretch. If you wore jeans frequently before you were pregnant, chances are you will want to wear them while you are pregnant. You don't have to sacrifice comfort for style and settle for "mom jeans" just because you are expecting. There are some very fashionable maternity jeans on the market today which not only look great; they don't look like maternity jeans or "mom jeans." Personal favorites include Maternal America's Megan Jean. This jean was voted by Fit Pregnancy as the Best All Around Style Jean on the market out of 280 jeans they tested.
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    3. Maternity Leggings. Yes, leggings really are back. Many of us who grew up in the 80s didn't trust this trend last year, or even the year before that. Well, leggings are here to stay for a while anyway and frankly they are great for maternity and are super comfortable to wear. Bella Band makes some of the best fitting and durable leggings around with a stretch panel front. These leggings go great with a tunic, skirt, dress or extra long maternity top. They are very comfortable and warm in cool weather. Leggings come in a wide variety of styles including side ruching, lace, and cropped varieties along with an array of colors. I suggest buying at least one pair of black maternity leggings. If you find you are grabbing them every week, then branch out with a few more styles and colors.
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    5. A short black dress. Everyone needs a versatile black dress in their wardrobe, pregnant or not because there are always events that come up which call for one. Pick an easy jersey or rayon/spandex blend fabric that does not need ironing and can easily stretch to fit your ever changing figure. Dress it up with a jacket or dress it down with leggings. Jazz it up with some necklaces and heels or wear it casual with boots. A versatile black short black dress is more wearable than a maxi and it is easier to move and work in as well.
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    7. Extra long short sleeve tops. Shade makes a great fitting maternity Baby Tee. This top is extra long, hugs your curves and stretches where it needs to. You will want one of these great pieces in every color. Wear it alone in warm weather with shorts, capris or jeans. Layer it in colder weather under a cardigan. Wear it to work with a blazer. You will even want to wear this top postpartum as the extra long length hides your postpartum belly.
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    9. A Stylish Henley is another must-have. This is a great casual everyday go-to item. One in the oven makes a comfortable extra long maternity Henley in long sleeves. They also have a 3/4 sleeve waffle weave nursing Henley that is long enough to be worn for maternity as well.
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    11. A lightweight scarf is a must for your winter maternity wardrobe. A scarf can add both warmth and style to your ensemble. Check out Maternal America's Nursing Scarf. There is a multitude of different ways to wear this scarf which works as a nursing cover as well.
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    13. A Wrap Top. The Wrap Top style has been around for years, springing from the Wrap Dress. This style works so easily with a blossoming belly while still offering an attractive neckline and overall style. Japanese Weekend's Stripe Wrap Maternity/Nursing Top is an urban chick 3/4 sleeve charcoal wrap maternity and nursing top with an accent stripe along the neckline and sleeves. You can wear this top to the office with black trousers or casual with jeans.
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    15. A Maternity Hoodie. Both 1 in the Oven and Japanese Weekend have adorable maternity hoodies which double as nursing hoodies with easy and discreet nursing access. This is a great top to grab on colder days when you just need an extra layer. Most pregnant women find sweaters too contricting, unflattering and hot. Hoodies are a great way to get some added warmth without putting on a heavy sweater. They also give an effortless trendy casual look for any day of the week.

    So get yourself some wearable and fashionable maternity essentials to get yourself through the next 9 months with ease and style.

  • Maternity Clothes For Your Body Type

    When you are pregnant, suddenly your shape and size are changing daily. What looks used to work well and flatter your figure may suddenly look ridiculous or unflattering on your evolving frame. This can be particularly challenging around the Holiday Season or for more dress-up occasions when you really want to look your best and not let pregnancy get in the way. Here are some general guidelines to dressing when pregnant according to you shape:

    Generally When Pregnant
    When you are pregnant don't be afraid to show some skin. A pregnant body can be very sensual and you still have great assets. So don't be shy about showing off great legs or pretty arms, shoulders or going strapless. Be sure to define your shape the way your like it. You want some definition to you pregnant belly without going uncomfortably skin tight. Grecian can be flattering as it can drape over your curves to show off the gist of your belly without showing your belly button in detail. However, too big equates to baggy which only makes you look bigger. An empire waist looks that are more contained look great on almost any pregnant body type. Belting dresses beneath the bust can create this look. Deep shades like teal and plum that are popular this season are flattering on pregnant shapes, particularly if you are further along than busy patterns or metallics

    Busty
    If you are the busty type you are probably three times more busty when you are expecting. Your body has taken on new dimensions and everything you try on seems to be accentuated by your pronounced cleavage. A good look to try to de-emphasize the chest is a flirty dress in one shade. By sticking to one shade of color your figure becomes elongated and you look much leaner and slimmer.

    Also going with a more tailored or structured dress that gives you a clear silhouette, you better define your shape. For example, instead of going hippie chic, go with better bust support and strong vertical pleats. A hemmed and pleated knee length flirty dress with a structured chest and wide straps will do wonders for your figure. Finally, always look to support and lift. Forget strapless or backless dresses as you will never find the level of support you need. Always look for a dress or top with wide enough shoulder straps for a supportive bra.

    Hippy
    A skirt or dress with inverted pleats keeps hips looking narrower. An A-line skirt is also a good choice for camouflaging hips. Even just a flared hem de-emphasizes the hips. Again choose structure in defining your silhouette so you show off a small empire waist and don't get swallowed in something loose and baggy. Remember to show off your best assets, so if you have pretty shoulders, flaunt them with a sleeveless bodice dress, strapless or one shoulder style. Draw attention to your best body parts up high - look for a jeweled neckline or brighter colors around the face or neck. Even wearing some bling jewelry will keep the gaze upwards.

    Petite
    If you are petite and you don't want to tower in platform shoes or stilettos when you are pregnant, there are some other tricks to add some length to your frame. If you have great legs, then show them off. Go for shorter hems and sheerer hose to elongate your shape. Show off some skin somewhere- arms and necklines are a great place to start. Pleats and bubble hem can work well if its not overdone - you want to add some volume without looking like a powder puff. Accessorize smartly. A few well chosen pieces that don't weigh you down is all you need to add some height.

    Tall
    If you are tall, then you have a lot of choices. Tall frames can get away with prints and patterns, horizontal stripes and all the usual hazards most women need to avoid can actually be more flattering when tall. Do make sure your clothing fits you well. Beware of cuts that tent out and make you appear bigger than you are or that miss your curves. Sleek and fitted always looks better no matter how far along you are in your pregnancy. Do be careful with super short hemlines and minis as they can make you look like a giant whose clothes got shrunk in the dryer. Otherwise, have fun with accessories as you can get away with more to wear as you have more space to fill!

    So whatever your shape, find some maternity clothes that fit and flatter your figure and make you feel as beautiful and sexy and as you truly are. Bottom line, if you feel great in the clothes you are in, then you will project that to those around you.

  • BelaBumBum Nursing Pajamas and Sleepwear

    Finding the perfect pair of maternity or nursing pajamas, or discovering the loungewear that will keep you comfortable throughout the day, is a very important task. First of all, with any pajamas, pregnant or not, you want to feel comfy and at ease so that you can sleep through the night. Once you are pregnant or nursing, any bit of sleep becomes more precious and vital, making your choice of pajamas even more important. Secondly, you want to find a pair that looks great so that you feel great. Luckily, Belabumbum Maternity has discovered the perfect way to combine comfort and style in maternity and nursing sleepwear, as well as in daily loungewear. As a busy expectant or nursing mom, you can feel relaxed while still feel cute and sexy!

    For sleepwear, one of my favorite designs from Belabumbum is the Maternity/Nursing Chemise. With these gorgeous nighties, comfort and style are the main focus. 100% cotton gives them a great feel. For easy and discreet nursing access, clips and a double layer of fabric are provided. This makes midnight nursing sessions easy. Another great feature is the adjustable straps, which allow you to fit the chemise specifically to your body, elevating the level of comfort and practicality. Aside from being comfortable and practical, they have made these chemises incredibly stylish. Cut with the always flattering empire waist, the smallest part of the body is accented as the rest of the chemise flows gently away from the body. The Cotton Dot Lotus Nursing Chemise is accented with a lace ribbon and dainty polka dots, creating a fun and fresh look. The Flower Maternity/Nursing Chemise comes in a beautiful olive floral design, giving a sophisticated yet relaxed appearance. Overall, if you want to be practical yet feel wonderful, the Maternity/Nursing Chemise is the way to go.

    If you are looking for something that can be worn day or night, try one of Belabumbum's robes. They are amazing! A huge favorite is the Maternity/Nursing Cotton Lace Robe. This one comes in the cute dotted pattern, just like the chemise, and looks fun and fresh. With super soft and lightweight fabric, this robe is great for layering. One of my personal favorites is the Maternity/Nursing Kimono Lace Robe. The fabric is so soft that you will never want to slip out of it. I love the lace trim around the neckline and hemline. It adds a hint of sophistication and sexiness that so often sleepwear is missing. Hitting at the knee, this kimono style robe is incredibly practical and versatile. It has easy and discreet nursing access which makes it great for late night nursing or early mornings as you get the day started. If you are not pregnant and know someone who is, I would highly recommend the robes from Belabumbum as a gift that any expectant or nursing mother would love.

    A final popular product is the BelaBumBum Maternity/Nursing Cami. This camisole is great for so many reasons. First of all, it is comfortable and practical. The soft fabric feels great against your skin while the easy nursing access (by pulling aside the fabric) and built in shelf bra provide practicality. Secondly, this camisole has a very flattering cut. The babydoll style emphasizes the narrowness underneath the chest, and the cute tie at the front adds a unique touch. Finally, I love this top because it looks great paired with anything from sweatpants to your favorite pair of jeans. It can be dressed up by throwing a cute blazer over the top!

    Overall, Belabumbum Maternity designs many great staples for the mother's wardrobe. Whether you are pregnant or nursing, you can be sure to find something that works for you!

  • Find Maternity Swimwear For Your Body Type

    There are many cuts and styles in maternity swimsuits today which can be overwhelming to a first time maternity clothes shopper. Fortunately with the range of styles today, you can find the ideal suit for your pregnancy body. As with any swimsuit, the most important factor is fit. The following is a basic guide for some suits to consider if you are looking for specific features:

    Exercise Swimsuit

    If you are looking for a maternity swimsuit to swim laps in the pool and to function like a sports swimsuit, one pieces are always your best bet. The Prego Maternity Empire Tank is a great choice for maternity sport swimsuit. This suit has all the features you need for serious lap swimming in addition to excellent bust support. If you are looking for more of a fashion suit that you can also wear for swimming, the Maternal America 1 Piece Keyhole swimsuit is a good choice. This suit comes in a black and brown solids as well as season colors.

    Hip Coverage

    If hip coverage is a top priority for you in a swimsuit, there are a number of styles to consider. The BabyDoll style gives maximum hip and bottom coverage while also allowing plenty of room for an expanding tummy. Prego Maternity has both the Tank and Halter BabyDoll styles to choose from which come with over the belly bottoms so there is no chance of a tummy peeking through on land or sea. The Strapless Mini is another good choice for hip and tummy coverage while providing a more form fitting body and allowing a little more skin exposure across the shoulders. Prego's Strapless Mini comes with under the belly bottoms and a detachable halter string for swimming.

    Bust Support with Style

    Bust support is often an important feature in a swimsuit for expecting women who have found they are suddenly much larger on top. Generally, a tank style strap will give better support than most halter styles. The Prego Ring-Kini style is perfect for accommodating larger busted women and providing more support with wide adjustable straps. If you have a preference for Halter Styles, look for one that has a higher back as well as higher coverage across the bust. The deep cleavage halter styles provides less support. Prego's Sweet Heart Halter style suit has cinching across the bust and fits higher in the back to provide maximum bust support for a halter.

    Show a Little Belly

    If you are not quite ready to bare all in bikini but would like to show a little belly, the Tankini and Halterkini styles are a good choice. Maternal America has a 2 Piece Flutter Halterkini that is slightly see through with mesh material across the belly along with a side tie bikini bottom. This flirty style also has a convertible halter tie if you want to go strapless as well. Prego's Dot Tie Halter, Halterkini and Tankini styles all have bellow the belly bottoms which allow a little belly to peek out, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. Also very popular is the Maternal America Jenni Tankini.

    Show a lot of Belly

    The good old fashion bikini is your best choice for maximum skin exposure. Today's maternity bikini by top maternity brands is expertly engineered to fit your pregnant body with comfort and style. BellaBumBum makes a fabulous maternity bikini with vibrant patterned stripes and superior fit. Prego Maternity also makes a beautiful classic maternity bikini with a oval cinch design in the halter top and under the belly bottoms. Maternity bikinis are usually made with more stretch to hug your curves and stretch where you need it.

    Cover up

    While any swimsuit is going to show a bit of skin, if you don't want to draw attention to your growing belly at the pool or beach then invest in a light tunic cover-up. Maternal America has several styles in beautiful swimsuit cover-ups that come in white or black. These cover-ups can also be worn casually with jeans, capris or shorts.

    So don't let pregnancy keep you away from the pool or beach this summer. Find the perfect maternity swimwear that compliments your body type and have fun in the sun!

  • What To Take To The Hospital When Having A Baby

    The last thing you want to worry about when you go into labor, is trying to figure out what items you need to put in your hospital bag and trying to hunt them down before dashing to the hospital. Ideally you should have your hospital bag packed and waiting by the door by at least 2 weeks before your due date. That way, when the time is right, you can grab your bag and go without any last minute delays or worries.It is useful to have 2 bags for yourself: one for labor and one for your hospital stay afterwards including your baby item essentials. It is also helpful to have your labor partner pack a bag in advance for themselves and some helpful labor items.

    Labor Bag for you:
    - Your Birth Plan, if you have one.
    - Maternity Bathrobe. This is particularly useful for early stages of labor as you may need to walk around the hospital to progress labor. After the baby you will also need some sort of cover up to a nightgown, particularly if it’s the hospital excuse for a nightgown, when you need to walk the corridors.
    - Slippers and socks
    - A clean nursing top or front-opening nursing nightgown if you prefer to bring your own
    - Drinks and snacks and breath mints
    - A straw, which will make sipping liquids easier.
    - Toiletries (hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, facial cream)
    - Lip moisturizer
    - Massage oils or lotions
    - Eyeglasses (if needed)
    - Cell phone and list of important numbers
    - Magazines, music, word puzzles. Fun light reading to pass the time. Don’t bring heavy involved reading or work from the office! You are looking for fun and mindless distraction to pass the time. Remember, you will be productive enough in a few hours to make up for any unproductive activities during your labor waiting period!
    - Maternity pads (nighttime sanitary pads), and spare maternity underwear.
    - Nursing bras. If you plan to wear a bra during labor, it is helpful to have a nursing bra on already if you plan to nurse your baby. Usually you will be allowed to nurse right away after birth. Make sure you wear a very comfortable fitting nursing bra, not one with underwires.

    For Labor Partner:
    - Watch with a second hand to time contractions
    - Camera/video camera if you want it and film/tape if needed
    - Snacks, reading material
    - Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste..)
    - Change of clothes, particularly if they will be staying with you at the hospital for several days after the baby.
    - Cell phone/phone card
    - List of important numbers
    - Dollar Bills for vending machine
    - Water Spray/Mister for gentle cool-downs during labor.
    - Tennis balls for back massage

    Hospital Bag for your Postpartum Use:
    - Front opening nursing nightie
    - Comfy clothes to wear for leaving the hospital. Remember you are not going to be able to wear non-maternity clothes a few days after having your baby! So bring comfortable maternity clothing or transitional clothing. Also, if you have a C-section, the last thing you will want is any pressure on your tummy. A comfortable cotton elastic waistband that fits below the belly or that is designed to fold down bellow the belly for comfort is best.
    - Easy fitting footwear
    - Change of underwear and maternity pads for heavy bleeding after birth
    - Nursing Bras (at least 2). Make sure these are easy fitting nursing bras that do not have underwire. Wear a nursing bra with plenty of room and stretch as you breasts may increase up to a cup in size when you milk comes in.
    - Personal music player and headphones
    - Magazines and easy reading material. You will be too tired for any heavy reading!

    Hospital Bag for Baby:
    Last but certainly not least you will want to pack a few things for the new baby:
    -Properly installed infant car seat. This is a must if you want to take your baby home with you! Make sure you have your car seat professionally installed several weeks before you go to the hospital. Any fire station can install your car seat for you. An alarming number of car seats are not properly installed by parents.
    - Newborn diapers
    - Infant hat
    - Receiving blankets
    - Newborn sleeper or outfits
    - Socks/booties

    If you have all of these essentials ready to go in advance, you can have peace of mind that you are well prepared when the time comes to have your baby!

  • Nursing Suggestions

    Breastfeeding is one of the greatest ways to bond with your baby while providing your baby with the best nutrition possible. While breastfeeding comes easily to some moms and babies, many women face huge challenges in making it through the early weeks. Here are some nursing FAQs to help you through the early weeks.

    Disclaimer: Please note that the information in this article is not a substitute for consulting with your certified lactation consultant or with your physician. If you are encountering serious medical issues or having difficulties nursing, it is recommended to contact your physician or certified lactation consultant.

    How often do I feed my baby?
    Breastfeeding is a supply and demand equation. The more you feed your baby, the more milk you produce. Weaning happens naturally when you breastfeed less frequently and for shorter periods of time. In the early weeks it is important that you feed your baby every couple of hours to ensure you get an adequate milk supply. Also, your baby cannot drink more than several ounces at once, so he will need to feed more frequently

    As your baby gets older, he can eat more at one feeding and go for longer periods of time in between feedings. Many lactation consultants recommend feeding your baby on demand in the early weeks. It is impossible to over feed a breastfeeding baby; they will stop nursing when they are full.

    How can I tell if I am producing enough milk for my baby?
    Milk production is the most universal concern with breastfeeding moms and their newborns. While it’s easy to track how much an infant is drinking with a bottle, you are often left guessing how much milk your nursing baby is consuming. The best sign is the number of wet and dirty diapers your baby has a day (generally around 8 wet diapers a day is a good sign) as well as weight gain.

    Most pediatric offices will let you schedule a weigh-in if you are not sure if your baby is gaining weight. Also, look up your local lactation clinic as they usually allow free baby weigh-ins and often have free nursing clinics to help with latching on general breastfeeding help.

    It is especially important that your little one nurses frequently in the early days and weeks to ensure your milk production supply is established at the right level. If your supply is lagging with nursing alone, then use a breast pump to increase your milk production. Pumping a few ounces several times a day 30-45 minutes before a feeding will stimulate your production.

    In addition to nursing around the clock every few hours and on demand, you also need to make sure you eat well, drink lots of fluids and get as many “naps” as possible since a long uninterrupted night’s sleep is not possible. Have others do your household chores and help with the baby, don’t worry about having a clean house. Save your energy for the important job of nursing your baby. Your baby’s health is dependent on your health, so save your energy for your most important task of feeding your baby and producing milk (as well as recuperating from childbirth).

    My nipples hurt when my baby nurses. What do I do?
    Raw and cracked nipples usually indicate an incorrect latch. When you breastfeed make sure you position your baby properly with both of your bellies touching, so she is turned on her side. Find a comfortable bobby or pillow to make nursing more comfortable for both you and your baby. Milk let down is also associated with relaxation, so if you are in a cramped position, then it will be hard to relax.

    Make sure your baby’s head and body is properly supported so her mouth can be squarely over the nipple. Ensure that your baby puts the entire nipple and most of the areola in her mouth. Listen for a rhythmic swallowing as she nurses and you will know you are on the right track.

    If you still have pain and soreness even after adjusting your nursing style, contact a lactation consultant for individual training. It is well worth the investment for an individual consultation to get your nursing relationship started with the right technique. For immediate nipple relief you can try expressed breast milk on the nipple area after nursing and let nipples air dry. You can also try medical grade lanolin (if you are not allergic to wool) on your nipples. Soothie Gel Pads can be placed directly on your nipples and worn inside your bra for extra cushion and relief.

    My breasts are hard and swollen. What can I do to get some relief?
    Engorgement occurs in most nursing women about 72 hours after birth. The best solution is to nurse more frequently until your milk production adjusts. Before nursing, apply warm compresses to your breasts and hand express some milk so that your breast is softened enough for your baby to latch on. To help reduce swelling, apply cold compresses after and in-between nursing. Also, wear a supportive nursing bra 24/7 for support of swollen breasts.

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