Sunday, 26 January 2020

AZURA BAY MATERNITY LINGERIE


If you've been following my blog and social media for a few years, you will have seen I often collaborate with Azura Bay, an ethical lingerie and loungewear store who specialise in eco-luxe fashion for women. Although I have never met Ashley, I feel we have connected with our passion for empowering women and celebrating the female form through beautiful lingerie. The blog you are about to read is in collaboration with Azura Bay, and I am going to share some of my experiences of breastfeeding.


Naturally, when I found out I was pregnant, I didn't want to stop modelling. I wanted to feel empowered with my new body and celebrate it, not hide it away. I also wanted to document the changes my body went through, because not only did I find it fascinating, I also found it quite challenging. The first significant difference I noticed was the size of my boobs they grew - quickly. Almost overnight! In all honesty, it wasn't something I wasn't prepared for at all, but it was something I eventually embraced and just made sure I adapted my wardrobe to my expanding body.

I reached out to Ashley at Azura Bay to see if she had any lingerie that would suit my pregnant physique and soon to be a postpartum body. Much to my delight, she did, and I was gifted the most beautiful Nursing / Transition Bralette. It was and still is the most luxurious and elegant bra I own, to date!

So now you know the bra I lived in while pregnant and breastfeeding, but let's chat a little more about "pregnant boobs."

To put it bluntly - my boobs felt heavy. They ached, they were sore and uncomfortable, but the minute I put on the Mayana Genevieve, Nikki Black Lace Bralette I felt instant comfort. It was like someone has lifted all the extra weight off my chest, releasing the pressure off my back, it felt like heavy. Now looking back at them, I realise HOW BIG they were. They were almost the size of my head, and I have a big head! It is quite spectacular how much your body changes.

Well, the changes don't stop there. When I gave birth to Albee, in the early hours of 30th August 2018, my body changed again. I was no longer carrying my son. I was holding him in my arms, breastfeeding him and kissing him gently on his forehead. It was the most mind-blowing feeling and still is nearly 18 months on.

Breastfeeding, however, was not the magical experience I thought it would be. I struggled a lot at the start; I couldn't get into the swing of it. Albee didn't latch well, and as a result, I ended up with mastitis in both boobs, one of which resulted in an abscess. I had to go to the hospital so many times I lost count. I had my boobs drained, which was not a pleasant experience and meant I had to leave my son with a family member much earlier than I would have liked. It was not to welcome into motherhood that I expected. I wasn't fully aware of how unwell it had made me until the third course of antibiotics hit my system. I thought I was just tired after looking caring for a newborn, but there is tiredness, and there is not being able to pick your child up because your body is so unwell.

I then had to express for six months and combination feed formula and breastmilk, to try and prevent the same thing happening again!

It was not how imagined my breastfeeding experience to go. I thought I would be able to feed Albee for at least a year. It did break my heart, and I battled with a range of emotions and feelings, all of which I put on myself. However, looking back on it, I know I tried my best, and I made the best decisions for my son and me.

Now I am 18 months on, and Albee is thriving, and I want to share my advice on breastfeeding and feeding for expecting mothers. So here they are:

Listen to your instincts
Do what feels right for you. You know your body better than anyone so listen to it.

Buy a great bra
If you chose to breastfeed, invest in a good-quality nursing bra. I cannot rate the Azura Bay Mayana Genevieve, Nikki Black Lace Bralette enough. For pre and post-birth, all you want is to be comfortable, but it doesn't need to leave you feeling frumpy. You CAN feel beautiful and be a nursing mother!

Ask for advice in the right places.
Chat to your friends, call your local breastfeeding specialist, and ask family members who have had children. Sharing your experiences and calling upon others for their advice will help you understand the journey you are on.

Fed is BEST
A fed baby is the best kind of baby. Many will argue that breast is best, but if it is making you unwell or stressed, then maybe it's not.

Be patient with yourself
You are going on a crazy journey, and whether you choose to breastfeed or not, you are going to feel many emotions. Hopefully, lots of these emotions will be positive, but trust me, there will be a few that are not. Try not to dwell on these. Just ride it out, relax and trust in the process.

I hope that by sharing my story that it may help some of you. If you are an expecting mother or a new mother reading this, remember you are enough, do what you feel is best for you and your child and give yourself time. Time to adjust to your new role, be patient and above all enjoy it ALL!



Photos by Checkered Photography 

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