Finally, an attractive nursing bra! Yootoo Maternity Nursing Bra Review

Oh the trial and error of finding a bra that fits during pregnancy!

I figured out pretty early on in my pregnancy with Grain that my favorite bras were no longer reliable options. My B cup self was just not a reality any more! I managed to get by with a few bigger bras that were lurking in my lingerie drawer, but by week 25 I was desperate for something that actually fit. It was not pretty.

But I was stumped. Was it worth buying a “maternity” bra, or better to go straight to a nursing bra? I read reviews online, surfed Amazon, and then started getting bombarded on social media feeds for advertisements of all brands, shapes and styles. It was just overwhelming.

I finally opted to go into a local nursing focused mama boutique and get fitted for a nursing bra and ask all my questions. I tried on nearly 10 bras…and they were all terrible. Big and bulky and so wide on the sides that they threatened to chafe my armpits. Yuck! I did settle on one that worked: the Bravado (which was also highly praised on Amazon). For reference, I got a large and it fits with some space to still grow when baby is here…I hope at least! It is comfortable and high quality, but not very…attractive.

This led me back to a bra that kept popping up on my Instagram feed: a maternity/nursing bra that promised to be both cute and functional and grow with you. Yootoo is out of Australia, and I could not find many independent (ie: not on their website reviews) but I was still wanting to give them a try. I liked that it has some feminine details and was lower cut in the front. Since I wear mostly V neck dresses, this was key for me.

As a pre-pregnancy 36B, I have never really ventured into “large” bra sizes. Based on their size chart I figured a large was the right size. Particularly since that was what my Bravado bra was. I ordered two colors: chai and black. I was particularly impressed that they offer such a diverse assortment of skin toned colors!

When they arrived, the wrapping was beautiful and the bras were in perfect condition. However, when I put the first one on it instantly knew it was the wrong size. The cups were not bad, but the band was WAY too tight. I could barely get it to fasten! Thankfully the customer service team at Yootoo is excellent (as was alluded to in the website testimonials) and they quickly sent me a return label and shipped out two XL bras.

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When that next purple box arrived, I was crossing my fingers for a good fit. As I mentioned, I really loved the style of these Yootoo bras and was getting frustrated with just how much fabric there was on the Bravado bra that I was wearing every.single.day.

Yootoo (top) compared to Bravado (bottom) for comparison

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You can see how much higher cut the sides are on the Bravado, and how the neckline would stick out of low cut tops

Low and behold, these XL bras fit perfectly, are comfortable AND (dare I say it?) even look attractive! I feel more like my old self with these bras and yet they are still functional for breastfeeding once baby arrives. I am thrilled!

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Yootoo: feminine details!

Since this is my first pregnancy, and I still have some growing to do, I plan to stick with just one of the XL bras for now. The cups themselves do not have much stretch, and I am unsure how much space I will really need when milk comes in. I am saving the second bra just in case I need to swap it out and size up again when baby arrives.

Overall: these bras rock! They are soft and feminine and low cut with not to wide sides…like a NORMAL bra! They do provide extra support than I am used to but the girls do need it now. I am thrilled to have them as the foundation for my mama wardrobe.

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Thank you to Yootoo for providing me samples of this bra for this review. I did not receive any additional compensation or have any influence from them over this review. All thoughts, opinions and recommendations are strictly my own. Thank you for allowing me to spread the word!

Nine things that have surprised me about pregnancy

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  1. How exhausting it is to grow a baby.

I had always heard that you would be tired, but I did not anticipate this level of fogginess and exhaustion until after baby arrived. I guess I am probably underestimating that as well!

  1. Loss of my abs.

Now I don’t mean them disappearing and being replaced by a bump. That I was totally prepared for. What I did not expect was not having any strength AT ALL from my core. At week 26, sitting up, rolling over or lifting anything is totally dependent on my arms or legs or Matt hauling me around. It is quite disorienting and frustrating to be honest.

  1. Needing diaper rash cream…well before the baby is here

Let’s just say that there is a lot going on with lady parts in pregnancy, and a lot of moisture that I have never before experienced. Diaper rash cream is a life saver.

  1. Pregnancy underwear.

It is a thing, and totally worth it. I have resisted the idea of buying too many maternity wardrobe pieces, but this and a few other key investments were 1000% worth it. Same goes for bras.

  1. Dates are no longer important, it is all about # of weeks

My mental calendar is no longer focused on months or dates, but around how many weeks along is baby. 40 weeks is the goal. 9 months is just a confusing common metric that somehow got thrown into how we talk about it.

  1. So.Many.Decisions.

Some of these decisions are quick and easy, others take research and sometimes difficult conversations. Where to have the baby? What kind of provider care do we want? What do we register for? Find out gender or surprise? Genetic testing? If it’s a boy, do we circumcise? How do we want our birth to go? Birth photographer? Vaccination schedule? And then finally, at the end of the day, what should we have for dinner? Because life still goes on.

  1. Increased awareness of others and pregnancy challenges.

We had a slightly bumpy road to get here, but very visibly carrying a baby has brought out a whole new level of awareness. A few weeks back a girlfriend had a miscarriage. A coworker due at nearly the same time as I am lost her twins at 5 months. Survivors guilt, empathy, sadness, happiness, love…they are a complicated bundle of emotions that all tangle together harder when you have a constant kicking reminder that you are carrying a miracle.

  1. Leg cramps.

Like terrible, debilitating, wake-up-screaming-like-a-banshee leg cramps. Not just in my calf either, but down the sides of my lower legs, quads, and even hands and fingers. My midwife was great and cleared me from any medical concerns, and got me on extra magnesium which is helping. Some local midwives I met through our birth class also added insight for Epsom salt soaks and a topical homeopathic cream that have made a huge difference.

  1. Hating salmon.

My only real food aversion would of course be one of the BEST things for me to eat while pregnant. It is getting slightly less repulsive now that I am nearly in my third trimester but it still makes me sad that of all things, this is what my body does not want to eat.

 

I am so excited to meet Grain (our in-utero name for baby) and witness many many more surprises that await us on our journey as a family.

Oh Baby! 23 Weeks

Time is flying…how are we already in mid-March!? This little Grain sure is growing…and moving a ton now! It is so fun to feel him or her doing somersaults in my tummy. So far I have been able to stay pretty comfortable, especially once I figured out how to sleep with a pregnancy body pillow.

It took nearly a week of practice (it is like having another person in bed…poor Matt has no room!) but it is seriously a life saver. Particularly because my preggo brain decided to obsess about sleeping on my left side. We were told that sleeping on either side is fine, but left is best…which meant I would wake up all night just to check which side I was on. The body pillow helps me from tossing and turning and keeps me on my left most of the time.

Another comfort saving grace? My Storq leggings. Recommended by a friend, I splurged and got a few nice basic pieces of maternity clothes from Storq. Now they are my go tos and are SO COMFORTABLE! No pilling, no stretching out, and they look fantastic. High quality and super soft and stretchy…and dare I say fashionable? No rouching or traditional “maternity” looking style here. I am sold. Now I need to find a new bra that I love as much!

I have dedicated myself to continuing to be active, getting to the pool for lap swim and water aerobics at least once a week, and working out at my office gym at least 2x per week with cardio and weights or a class. I feel so lucky to have a gym at work with trainers that can help customize a prenatal workout. It still amazes me how much weight I have gained (gulp!) but my midwife is not concerned and I still feel healthy.

Cravings: kiwi (well, fruit in general) and dairy. Cottage cheese has become my go-to snack, and chocolate milk is my favorite treat.

The biggest challenge I have had is an onslaught of leg cramps. And not your normal “just stretch out your calf” ones either. These are wake-up-screaming-and-cannot-move cramps. Poor Matt has been scared out bed so many times now to help me stretch my leg. My midwife recommended taking magnesium, which I am, and it seems to have decreased the frequency of the cramps, but they still happen about every 3 days.

Little Grain, we are so excited to meet you! Daddy and I talk to you every evening and love to feel you kick and move. You are our constant motivation to keep making house progress, eating well, staying healthy and loving and supporting each other every day.

Another bonus this week…sunshine finally came out in our rainy part of the world! Spring is close!

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A Week in the Life

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I have been meaning to write this post for a while now. I have always been curious about how other people live, and now that we are expecting a baby, wanting to capture how WE live pre-baby. I am sure it will be fun to look back on when we are a family of three with a very different schedule!

A few facts to start on:

  • We purchased a house with just under an acre of land nearly 4 years ago. At the time, Matt and I were both working, but always had the intention of being on one income at some point.
  • In 2014, Matt moved his focus home full time. Remodeling, cooking, cleaning, growing food. It has been THE.BEST.DECISION.EVER for our family. He is far happier, we have more free space to do things (only one work schedule to accommodate!) and had planned for this so financially it was an adjustment, but manageable.
  • I work in the city, and commute 4-5 days per week. Most of this is on public transportation (bus, water taxi, bus) but once or twice per week I will drive for work meetings, and get reimbursed for mileage. On these days I also make time to run our off island errands and do the bulk of our grocery shopping. Matt keeps a dynamic list of what we need and I can pick it up when I am out.
  • We have one vehicle: our trusty but little mini cooper!

Now that there are a few basics in place, our story becomes pretty routine.

I am up at either 5 or 6 depending on my work schedule that day, shower and dress while Matt puts together my breakfast and lunch. By 7 or 8 I am at the office and Matt is home doing is morning routine (take care of chickens, cats, doing dishes for previous night, playing some guitar). While I work so does he. Right now, the focus is our house remodel…which is extensive and we have been cranking on for nearly 14 months.

I walk in the door around 5:05 which means the work day is over for Matt as well. We make it a priority to not work past 5 o’clock on any day (unless there is a real exception that we need to keep going on a project) and get cleaned up and dinner going. Most of the time we whip something up from scratch, but recently I have been making a larger meal on Sunday that can get us at least through two nights of leftovers.

During the week, I usually shower off the work day (being on the bus feels kinda gross when I am back home), and start cooking while Matt puts away the chickens, plays a bit more guitar and winds down. Eating by 6:30 is the goal, and these days are in front of 2-3 episodes of something on Netflix. It is a low key evening, and we leave the kitchen a mess. Ha! Around 8 or 8:15, we are off to bed.

Weekends are a little more flexible, and we give ourselves space to sleep in and have a slow breakfast. Often we will make pancakes or waffles one morning, and then smoothies and eggs the other. We eat and hang out and listen to a slew of radio shows. By noon, we are usually moving towards more “productive” things: Matt working on the remodel, I am cleaning the kitchen, bills/taxes/paperwork, cooking, making sea glass mobiles for my Etsy shop, or in the garden. If the weather and tides cooperate we will do a beach walk. A quick pause for a snack if we need it, but often times we will just work through lunch. Dinner is not much different than the weeknight routine, but we may stay up till 10 (!) or so watching a movie. Big night!

We also try to pack in weekend adventures (though those are on hold with remodel taking #1, #2, and #3 priority!!!) of surfing/camping at the coast, going to Matt’s parents lake property, hiking, visiting family etc.

So yea, that is how our life generally looks these days. As we prepare for a baby this summer it was important for us to consider many aspects of this lifestyle to help us figure out what we needed/wanted for a car/stroller/sleeping arrangements etc. It was a worthwhile exercise to really focus on! We are certain that things will change as a family of 3, but this is a solid baseline to adjust from.

 

Oh baby!

21 and a half weeks along…and I am starting to really feel pregnant!

We had our 20 week ultrasound last week and it was so wonderful to see all things look great with baby. Toes and fingers and brain and face, and the movement! It was so reassuring so see him or her squirming all around since I was not feeling much yet.

As we planned, we opted not to find out baby’s gender, and will keep that as a surprise for the birth this summer.

My belly is growing, and I am trying to keep on track with eating high quality foods, lots of water, and exercising a few times a week. Even with all of that my weight is creeping up and it is taking lots of gentle reminders to myself that my body is growing another human and will just do what it needs to do. Dresses and leggings have been my best friend, but I am looking forward to spring since my outerwear is almost too small now!

Meetings with our midwife are now focusing on plans for the birth and how we want to do things. Matt and I will be taking a birthing class on the island soon, and I am so excited to find some other parents expecting kiddos this summer!

Prepping for Baby

January came and went, and we made a whole lot of progress! Matt has nearly finished the brick fireplace and hearth…and it looks AMAZING! It has added an incredible amount of detail back into our little home, and looks like it was meant to be. Now we can start tackling the next step of project: built in book shelves!

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We are adding built ins next to our fireplace under two very plain windows. Book shelves will be solid wood lined with beadboard, all painted white. This will be Matt’s first real cabinet making and he is excited to try out some new tools and skills. If his track record with our prior projects are any indication this will look really awesome in the end. Working on the book shelves is the perfect lead in to the next major project: finishing the pantry and building new lower kitchen cabinets!

I am interested in taking on a little side project of my own to tackle those boring windows. (Isn’t this cool!??)

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There are still quite a few things on the to-do list (and some are pretty major…like demoing the kitchen counters and backsplash and refinishing the hardwood floors!) before baby comes in July. We are focused though and chipping away at it one day at a time.

While Matt is focused on these projects I have spent my energy researching and doing the “paperwork” side of the house. Business taxes were wrapped up by the end of January, and I am (im)patiently waiting for our personal documents to arrive so we can file ours. I have been working on buying life insurance and air lift insurance (hello living on an island!). And then there is all the research on baby registry (nearly done!) and the world of cloth diapering and babywearing. I enjoy geeking out on those last two.

February is a short month so we are buckling down and getting stuff done. Wish us luck! Baby deadline is quickly approaching!

Thoughts on Baby “Stuff”

Now that we are expecting a little bundle of joy, there are SO.MANY.THINGS.

I am bombarded by ads on facebook and Instagram and Amazon…you need ALL THE THINGS! Paired with that are the opinions, both current and past from moms, friends, family, coworkers, you name it, on all the stuff you NEED.

And, by the way, none of these lists are the same.

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What are we to do?

Thankfully, we have some time (babies come with that built in ramp time thank goodness…our house is far from ready for a third person!) to research, talk to people and build a list of what will work best for us.

Before we started looking at individual things, Matt and I talked a lot about our lifestyle and how we envision raising a kiddo. Disclaimer: this is what we envision…and are totally 100% aware that some if not all of this will change when the real thing is happening. Please don’t judge.

We talk extensively about priorities, and filters for choosing “stuff” for our baby:

  1. Multi-age or purpose. Can it be used for more than just 1 event or age?
  2. Minimal # of things. We don’t have space to store extra.
  3. Well made. That will last for 2 kids and then resell or pass on
  4. Secondhand when appropriate.
  5. Related to secondhand…safety. This is a big one. Does it meet current guidelines and recommendations.
  6. Nontoxic (I could write pages on this…) particularly for sleeping surfaces, bedding and clothes.

First thing you do when you have a baby? Bring them home.

We are currently a single vehicle family driving a mini cooper. It has been pretty incredible to build up a farm and do a MAJOR remodel with just this vehicle, and we are enjoying only having one car. I typically commute to work on public transportation, and then take the car to the mainland 1 or 2 days per week for work and combine all our major errands on those trips. What does this mean for us as a family of three? Well, a few things.

First, the mini is tight for us to get out and do big trips just the two of us. This means for visiting family, surfing, hiking we will want a larger vehicle. So we are exploring options to add to our family fleet. Winners at the moment are a Subaru or minivan. We know we eventually want two kids, so that is part of the equation.

Second, I do most of the errands while on the mainland. Matt rarely drives unless we are going somewhere together. Matt, Mr. at-home-Daddy, does not envision that this will change for him much once baby is here, mostly staying at home base unless they are out for fun on the island. Those trips are all pretty short. For our longer haul trips to see family etc, we will have both of us plus baby. This really impacts our need for things like strollers and carseats that easily come in and out of the car.

Like most baby gear, carseats were an abstract concept that I had not given much thought. I knew I would choose a super safe model, but then came the other decisions: toxicity (a theme I am personally really interested in), mobility, and options for infant vs. convertible etc. I did not even know those were considerations!

Then how do carseats mesh with your stroller plan? Oh boy, don’t even get me started on this one. We have been learning a lot about babywearing vs. stroller culture, and based on our travel patterns, access to walkable spaces (living on a rural island is pretty different than a city or neighborhood with sidewalks), errand routines and personal preferences (and after doing lots of reading and talking with others) are very much leaning towards no infant stroller (gasp! I know this causes horror for some to think about) or infant carrying carseat, and opting instead for a convertible car seat and babywearing initially. We will add a stroller later on when baby is heavier (or we decide we need some wheels) when they are past the infant stage and can handle an upright setup.

I am excited to try out our local chapter of the babywearing library where you can check out different carriers/wraps/slings for a month to give them a try! Matt is excited about this option too because it meets one of our other primary goals of reducing demand for new things (and needs…lets be real here, our house is small and we have no garage to store “extra” stuff).

We started building a registry with these ideas in mind so that I can research things, make a decision, and then move on. New products come out all the time (like the new Willow breast pump!? OMG this thing sounds cool and comes out this spring). I am scouring our local secondhand sources for baby gear and already scored some primo things for WAY discounted: primarily a set of cloth diapers, a Bjorn bouncer and Deuter hiking backpack carrier. Win!

Our nursery will be more kid focused than “baby”, with a gender neutral surf/beach theme in teal/orange/white and other bright pops of color. Get some years out of the effort we are going to put into it (not to mention that it will need new flooring and a window before we have a baby in it). It is a huge room, nearly 14×20, and we plan to have it has the kids room for two until one is older and wants their own space upstairs.

For Christmas I got a sewing machine, and I am excited to start sewing simple baby clothes with secondhand fabrics. My best friend sent me some patterns for baby pants that she made out of old mens sweaters! For our little summer baby I am looking at easy 1 piece romper patterns, and have an idea for making them out of secondhand shirts. Stay tuned!

Well those are my current thoughts. I know these are likely to evolve over time, and I will probably look back and laugh at my “pre-mommy” naive vision of how we operate as a family of three. But we really are trying to think through OUR lifestyle, parenting goals, and space limitations before making purchases. Besides, we know that regardless of how much stuff we have, our baby really only needs food, shelter and love to grow. The rest is really just convenience.