Plus-Size Maternity-Related Products 

And Resources FAQ (USA)

by Kmom

Copyright 1996-2006 Kmom@Vireday.Com. All rights reserved.

Last updated: August 2006

CONTENTS

 

Introduction

This website contains four FAQs on plus-sized maternity clothes and products.  These include information on:

This particular FAQ contains information about maternity-related products (like slings, nursing pillows, etc.) for large women in the U.S. Please note that this website is NOT a commercial website and does not sell any of these products.  Kmom does not make any money off of these products, and does not receive any kind of a 'kickback' by listing these companies on her site.  Listings here are for information only.  

These FAQs were originally compiled from the Clothing for Big Folks in the US FAQ and from recommendations suggested by posters to various newsgroups and mailing lists (click here for more details). Opinions of companies are from contributors; my comments are in {brackets}. The information sections are mine, but are not intended to be medical advice. If you have any companies you would like to see added to these lists, please email me with the information.  

This FAQ is now updated about once per year, sometimes twice if there are a lot of changes needed.  If you have emailed me changes or updates for the FAQ, keep in mind that it may take a while to see them in the FAQ.  I spend most of my limited computer time researching and writing the other areas of this website; to keep this part of the job manageable I limit my updates to once or twice a year.   Thank you for your understanding.

Take note that I have not confirmed the names and numbers of all companies; nor can I speak to the quality of any of them--Caveat Emptor! Keep in mind also that many of these are small cottage industries or online businesses, and these tend to go in and out of business or change contact information frequently. For that reason, you may find that some of this information is already incorrect by the time you read it. 

Maintaining this FAQ is a big job; I depend on the help of others to streamline the amount of work involved. If you find any errors, have updates on contact information, have feedback on the companies, or just have suggestions for improving the FAQ, please let me know. 

Good luck in your pregnancy, and good health to you and your baby!   ------------  kmom@plus-size-pregnancy.org 


Information About Slings and Other Baby Carriers

Babies love to be carried.  In fact, most do not like to be put down!  After being carried in the womb for 9+ months, who can blame them for wanting to remain close?  Although infant car seat carriers can be handy at times, try not to leave your baby in there for too long because it's just not good for them.  Babies want and NEED to be held as much as possible, and they NEED the motion, stimulation, warmth, closeness, and the social interaction of being held and carried.   This is a very important yet often overlooked part of their brain development, and it is a vital part of parenting.  

Cultures all over the world have recognized the need for holding and carrying babies, and have invented many ingenious ways to deal with the need to hold babies yet still be able to do other activities.  Parents have many choices for carrying their babies; each parent has to experiment and find out what works best for them. Baby carrier preferences are very much a "Your Mileage May Vary" issue.  

The following is just a brief overview of the various types of baby carriers/slings available.  Much more on this topic (plus the companies where you can purchase these carriers, and photos of big moms using various types of carriers) is available in the Baby Carriers for Big Moms FAQ, elsewhere on this website.   

[The "Maternity-Related Products" FAQ used to carry all this information on baby carriers and slings, but the information has now been switched over to its own FAQ.  Please click on the above link for this information now.]

 

Types of Carriers: An Overview

There are many types of baby carriers available and it can get very confusing!  For a complete discussion of types of carriers and how to use them, see www.thebabywearer.com.  For a FAQ with a summary of baby carrier types, see http://www.thebabywearer.com/lists/WhatTo.htm

Slings, made of a long piece of fabric used to secure the baby to the parent, are used in many societies.  This is probably the most versatile baby carrier, as it can be used for a number of purposes, in a number of different ways, and remains useful as baby grows bigger.  It is also relatively cheap and economical.   Some people mistakenly assume that it's not a very secure way to carry baby, but used correctly it's quite safe and secure.  However, because Americans are not used to seeing slings, they can be puzzling to figure out at first.  Illustrations help.  

There are a dizzying array of sling 'types', including the padded/constructed sling, the unconstructed sling, the tube sling or pouch, the fabric sling, the wraparound sling, and several hybrids that mix various elements of each of these types (see below). For pictures illustrating the various types of slings, see www.kangarookorner.com. Common sling brands include the Maya Wrap, the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder, the New Native Baby Carrier, etc.  Slings also have the distinct advantage of being more size-friendly than many other carriers. 

Front-Pack Carriers are what most Americans probably think of when they picture carrying a baby.  Straps usually go over the shoulders and around the back, and the baby is inserted upright into a kind of pouch in the front, with legs sticking out of little slots.  Baby can be worn facing forward or facing backward, and the carriers tend to be very easy to figure out how to use.  These carriers are also useful, but they tend to be harder on the parent's back, are not quite as versatile, and babies tend to outgrow them before they outgrow the need to be carried (many parents report the upper limit of their tolerance is around 18 lbs. or so). There are also concerns about the stresses placed on a baby's spine in these carriers (see www.kangarookorner.com for details).  

Commonly seen brands of front-pack carriers include the Snuggli, the Baby Wrap, the Baby Bjorn, the Baby Trekker, the Kelty Kangaroo Carrier, and (in a totally unconstructed version of a front carrier) the Baby Bundler (which can also be thought of as a wraparound sling). 

Hip-Carriers are usually for older babies and toddlers.  They help the parent carry the child on a hip without getting arm cramps and with a bit more security.  The straps help redistribute the child's weight to either the shoulder, hips, or both.  They can be used only with babies who can sit up well, but do continue to be useful as the toddler gets older (up to about 35 lbs.).  This type of carrier is generally harder to find, but brands can include the Cuddle Karrier or Sara's Ride.  Other brands may include the HipBaby, Packababy, Ergo Baby Carrier, or the Sutemi Pack. 

Back-Pack Carriers are similar to front-pack carriers, but baby is carried on the back instead.  This requires a degree of head control, so it is not generally suitable for newborns or little babies.  They are also not easy to put on, but do tend to be able to carry babies as they grow into toddlers.   Some people find them hard on the back and some people do not.   Kmom does not have any experience with this type of carrier, nor information on specific brands, so this type of carrier is omitted from the rest of the discussion about baby carriers.

Again, much more on this topic is available in the Baby Carriers for Big Moms FAQ, elsewhere on this website.   

 

Slings, Baby Carriers, and Size-Friendliness

The following is Kmom's evaluation of different types of baby carriers and their suitability for plus-sized people.  For another opinion of different types of carriers and their size-friendliness (also written by a plus-sized mother), see http://www.thebabywearer.com/articles/WhatToO/PlusSizes.htm

Front-Pack Carriers 

Front-Pack Carriers tend to be less size-friendly than slings, especially as size increases.  They can usually accommodate mid-size parents, probably up to a size 22/24.  However, chest size, waist size and height are all factors in fit.  If you are very busty or have a significant 'apple' shape (larger waist than hips), front-pack carriers tend not to fit well.  Smaller mid-sized and pear-shaped moms can usually use an over-the-counter version of this type of carrier.  Moms in larger sizes or different shapes would probably do better with a sling, but if they really want a front-pack carrier, they should probably do some more research to find out exact dimensions available in each brand.  

Baby Bjorn Carriers generally are able to be used by many larger parents and they may even custom-size one for you.  Kelty Kangaroo Carriers are reportedly very size-friendly, and supposedly go up to a size 59" waist.  Snugglis tend not to be very size-friendly, but again, could probably be used by mid-sized moms.  However, a number of moms have reported that although Snugglis tend to be cheaper and lighter weight, if you want a really good front-pack carrier it is worth buying a more expensive brand for better quality construction and padding.

Some women really love Sutemi Gear carriers; one mom says it fits her large-busted frame just fine.  Women with back issues often rave about Ergo Carriers; they tend to be very easy on the back once the baby is bigger.  They are expensive but many women swear by them. Both of these products have been reported to come with a waist-extender option.  

Baby Trekkers tend to get rave reviews; they are heavily padded to make them more comfortable, the straps in back are in an "X" to better distribute the pressure, and the waist strap fastens by Velcro for ease of use.  It can also be worn as a backpack with baby facing out.  However, call the company for further information on exact size specifications.  www.kangarookorner.com reports that Baby Trekkers are extremely size-friendly, but it's always better to double-check on this before purchasing if you are supersized.  

Slings

Many parents find that baby slings are far superior to front-pack carriers in terms of versatility and comfort, and these are especially suited to the needs of larger people. Front packs are generally less intimidating and easier to figure out how to use, but slings are generally more versatile, more size-forgiving, easier on the back, and useful much longer. Kmom encourages readers to use slings, but of course needs and opinions vary and you should use whatever fits your own needs best.

The key to using slings successfully is to get one appropriate for your size, adequate instruction in its use (illustrations are very helpful in learning how to use them!), and then experiment until you find positions that work best for you. There is more of a learning curve with slings, so be sure to allow some time for experimentation before the baby is born (hint: practice with a stuffed animal or doll in the sling beforehand!). 

Good instruction is vital to sling success; visual pictures help a LOT. One good source of visual and written instructions for using slings can be found in The Baby Book by Martha Sears and Dr. William Sears (*THE* BEST BABY BOOK!). If you are considering a sling, the Sears' Baby Book would be very helpful to you to have on hand at home, always available if you have a question.

Online, there are also some sling instructions available at www.babyholder.com or  www.mothersnature.com/babywear/howto.html on how to use and wear their slings, complete with illustrations. Other websites with photos of sling positions include www.nurture-parenting.com/sling.htm (but it has no plus-size slings) and www.kangarookorner.com.  Maya Wrap has reportedly put their instructional video on how to use a Maya Wrap sling online now.  It can be seen at www.mayawrap.com/video/videomw.shtml

There are several slings that come in larger sizes or can be made to size.  The Maya Wrap ( www.mayawrap.com) comes in a number of different sizes, and their largest size should fit a supersized woman with no problems.  It is an unconstructed sling with no padding; this gives it great adjustability that may help some larger women get a more custom fit.  However, some women feel that its lack of padding tends to make it dig into their shoulders and sides uncomfortably, and lament the lack of a shoulder pad.

The Over The Shoulder Baby Holder has a large size that fits most plus-sized women.  It is a constructed and padded sling, one that is often recommended to women new to slings, and for those with newborns.  It is a very comfortable sling, but can get hot during the summer, and may be too bulky for some people's preferences. It can be ordered from any number of places, including www.breastfeeding.com, www.babysling.com, www.kangarookorner.com, or www.babyholder.com.   

Other places that sell slings in larger sizes (or will custom-make slings) includes www.babybecoming.com and www.kangarookorner.com.   Baby Becoming's slings are constructed, padded slings and are available in sizes that fit even very supersized people.  Kangaroo Korner has slings available that will fit into the smaller supersizes and will custom-make the sling to whatever size is needed, and will add padding etc. as you desire.  This is an excellent option for getting a customized hybrid sling.  

Target reportedly now has begun carrying some slings and baby carriers that can be expanded to much larger sizes, up to a 4x.  These are made by Infantino and may represent a more economical option than other slings in larger sizes or a custom-made sling.  

One brand of sling that is NOT size-friendly is the NoJo Sling (the brand endorsed by Dr. Williams Sears in the Baby Book).  It only comes in one size and that size is not very big.  This will preclude its purchase by most plus-sized moms.  In addition, some people feel that this sling is not very well designed, so it's probably not much of a loss that it is not suitable for most people of size. 

You can also have a sling made to size for you if you wish.  The owners of www.GetAttached.com and www.nestmom.com are plus-sized themselves, and will custom-make slings if needed.  They can advise you on exactly what measurements are needed to do this, and whether or not a custom sling is truly needed. As noted, www.kangarookorner.com will custom-make a sling for you, including adding as much or as little padding as you desire to the shoulders and/or rails if you want a hybrid-type sling.   

You can also make your own sling, if you wish.  Elizabeth Lee ( www.elizabethlee.com ) has a sling pattern you can use and enlarge if needed.  Call customer service at (801) 454-3350 and see if they can advise you on alterations at all.  www.sleepingbaby.net/jan has instructions on making a simple sling, and Maya Wrap also has instructions for making a sling on their site, www.mayawrap.com/sewSling.shtml

Other options for larger women or women who have special fitting needs includes a wraparound sling, like the Baby Bundler (800-253-3502, also available from www.babybundler.com).  This is an extremely long piece of fabric which wraps around you and your baby in a nearly endless variety of carries.  Baby's weight is distributed over both shoulders for optimum support and comfort.   Many people with real back problems swear by this type of carrier.  However, the learning curve on using this is fairly steep; be sure to get the instructional video that goes with it.   This may or may not fit larger mid-sized or supersized women after all the wrapping is done, but for smaller mid-sized moms, it should be long enough.

Hip Carriers

Kmom has little experience with how size-friendly hip carriers are.  Call the manufacturer to ask for specifics (and then email them to Kmom!).  You can contact Cuddle Karrier in Canada at 1-877-CUDDLEKARRIER.  Sara's Ride is another brand, but Kmom has no contact information for this company.  

One plus-sized mom wrote in to say that she and her supersized spouse have successfully used the HipBaby carrier from Walking Rock Farm (www.walkingrockfarm.com ).  She also lists other fairly new front/back/hip carriers that may be of interest, including those from www.packababy.com, www.ergobabycarrier.com, and www.sutemipack.com

Kmom's Opinions

Kmom has not tried every single type of baby carrier on the market, but over the space of 4 kids, she has tried several.  This is a brief summary of her opinions, based on her experiences; remember that your mileage may vary.  

For most women reading this FAQ and contemplating buying a baby carrier for the first time, Kmom would strongly recommend a sling over a front-pack  carrier.  A sling is more flexible for different uses, easier to transport and use (once you figure out positioning), and generally more size-friendly.  Although it takes a little getting used to, it really is the best carrier for babies.  

If you buy a sling, Kmom's top recommendation is either a hybrid sling from Kangaroo Korner, or the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder if you prefer to buy your slings ready-made.  These seem to be the most user-friendly slings for beginners, they come in larger sizes, and most people prefer extra padding, especially men.  If you are extremely well-endowed or hard-to-fit, you might want to consider the hybrid sling because its independent rails make it more adjustable to harder-to-fit customers. Custom-made slings are also a very viable option.

If you are determined that you only want to consider a front-pack carrier, then the Baby Trekker is supposed to be very size-friendly, more versatile, and easier to use than other front carriers like Snugglis.  Baby Bjorns have also gotten many recommendations.  Kmom does not have personal experience with either of these products, but has heard enough recommendations from others that these are probably safe bets.  However, Kmom strongly recommends that parents also consider buying a sling as well as a front pack for greatest versatility.  A hip carrier such as the HipBaby from Walking Rock Farms may also be a viable choice.  

If you would like to share your opinion or experience with any of these baby carrier brands, please email kmom@plus-size-pregnancy.org, along with permission to use your opinions.  

 

 

Information About Breastpumps

Will you really need a breastpump?  It all depends on your circumstances.  If you are working outside the home, then yes, you will probably need a pump.  If you are staying at home with your baby full-time, then you may or may not choose to have a pump, depending on your philosophy and needs. 

Working Outside The Home and Breastpumps

If you are working outside the home, do you really have to have a pump?  The answer is no, you don't have to, but it would greatly to your baby's advantage to use one.  You could choose to combine formula (when you are gone) with nursing (when you are at home), but feeding baby your own milk while you are gone is much healthier for you and for baby.  Baby will probably have less allergies, less ear infections, less respiratory infections, and less asthma if you can find a way to avoid formula and use only your milk.  Also, pumping will help keep up your milk supply better for the long-term, which can be an issue if you are away from your baby for long periods.  

Since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastmilk for the entire first year (and the World Health Organization recommends it for 2 whole years!), it is important to do everything you can to get your baby as much human milk as possible, and to do everything you can to keep your supply going during that time.  Your baby will benefit, and so will you (nursing each baby for at least 2 years can cut your long-term breast cancer risk by as much as 50%!).  That means that if possible, a pump would be a good idea for you.

If you will be working outside the home, try to take as much maternity leave as possible before going back to work, even if you must make some financial sacrifices.  There is a very important growth spurt at about 6 weeks postpartum, and this is exactly when baby needs to nurse very very frequently, when baby is most fussy, and when your milk supply is barely securely established.  So if you can be away on leave for at least 3 months, that usually works out much better for you and for baby.  

If you cannot be away that long, try for at least 8 weeks, as milk supply is more secure by then and baby is usually past the critical 6-week growth spurt at that point.  A 3-month (or more) maternity leave is most optimal for baby and you, but if you cannot do that, try for a little longer than the usual 6-week leave, or to ease back into working by going part-time at first. However, if you really must be back to work full-time by 6 weeks, try to start back in the middle of the week instead of on a Monday.  That way, you have a shorter amount of time until you are back again, you don't need quite as much milk stored right away, and it is easier on you emotionally.  

One mistake working moms often make is to give baby a bottle right away, reasoning that baby will need to be on bottles eventually so they might as well start sooner rather than later.  Don't start giving bottles to baby too soon; it takes about 4 or so weeks for your milk supply and baby's nursing latch etc. to become really securely established.  If bottles are introduced too soon, your supply could be compromised or baby could become nipple-confused.  The suck for nursing is different than the suck for a bottle, and while some babies switch very easily, others do not, especially if introduced to the bottle too soon.  

Even if you are giving your own milk by bottle, doing it too soon can interfere with long-term breastfeeding.  (And it goes without saying that you should not give baby formula if at all possible during this time; early exposure to the hard-to-digest proteins in formula often cause long-term allergies or tummy problems.  Even if your child eventually takes some formula, do your absolute best to avoid any formula in the first 6 weeks, if at all possible.)  Therefore, it's best to avoid bottles before 3-4 weeks at the earliest; after that, if your milk supply is firmly established and baby is nursing well, you can introduce occasional bottles.

Remember, even though you should avoid giving bottles too soon, you CAN start pumping and storing milk before the 4 week date.  When you start, remember that pumping does not reflect the amount of milk you produce for nursing, and that you may not produce a lot by pump at first.  Set up a regular time for pumping (early morning is often most effective), and also try to approximate the pumping times you will have at work so your body can get used to that schedule.   Increase the amount of pumping you do over time; most women become more efficient at pumping if it's done regularly over a long period of time.  

Some babies take any kind of bottle or nipple while other babies do better with certain brands.  Some brands are reputed to be more breastfeeding-friendly than others----Avent is usually cited by most sources as one of the most breastfeeding-friendly nipple/bottle systems available.  Your best bet is probably to do some experimenting to see what YOUR baby prefers.  

If you plan to pump long-term, you may have to work at keeping up your milk supply, as a pump is not as efficient at stimulating milk supply as a baby.  Information on boosting supply can be found at www.pumpingmoms.org/faq-boost.html and www.deleons.com/pumping_page.htm.

Double-pumping seems to stimulate prolactin levels better than single pumping; many resources recommend double-pumping for long-term pumping situations.  Nursing the baby on one side while simultaneously pumping the other side also often stimulates prolactin levels more efficiently as well.  In addition, pumping at night and/or frequent night nursing in the early weeks may also be helpful; prolactin levels are highest at night and therefore stimulation at that time may be critical to long-term nursing supply.  

There are also herbs and drugs that can be used to help increase milk supply.  Some women find these very helpful and some women do not.  Be sure to research these carefully and use them only under the supervision of a lactation consultant and/or doctor, as occasionally some women have bad reactions to the drugs (especially Reglan). While herbs have a great deal of favorable anecdotal evidence and seem quite safe, they are still medications of a sort and should always be done in consultation with a medical professional.  

More information about galactagogues (herbs and medications for increasing milk supply) can be found at the following sites:

If you have trouble pumping or if your workplace is absolutely not conducive to pumping, then you may end up having to use formula while you are gone.  However, PLEASE continue to nurse before work in the morning and after you return at night if at all possible.  While formula is a decent substitute nutritionally (not perfect, but usable), it does not have ANY immunological protection, and babies strongly benefit from every bit of immunological protection they can get.  This is particularly critical if your baby is in daycare.  

Many women assume that once they go back to work, they must wean baby, but even if pumping does not work in your situation, continuing to nurse during the time that you are at home will help provide your baby with more protection from illness and from allergies, and will be a great emotional comfort to both baby and you. The important point is that ANY amount of breastmilk that baby gets is important and it is greatly beneficial to keep this up as long as possible.

Complete guidance about pumping, bottles, milk storage, etc. is beyond the scope of this FAQ; see the pumping FAQs available at www.breastfeeding.com and www.promom.org for more information.  La Leche League also has information, pamphlets, and a good book on combining breastfeeding with working outside the home available at its website, www.lalecheleague.org.   

Staying At Home and Breastpumps

If you are staying home with your baby full-time, will you need a breastpump?  Probably not.  If you are available to your baby full-time, take your baby with you most of the time, and are not gone often when the baby is really small, you probably do not need to spend the money to rent or buy a breastpump.  

However, some stay-at-home moms like to have a breastpump on hand anyway so that they can have bottles in the freezer in case of emergency, so that other members of the family can feed the baby on occasion, or so that they can have an occasional night out.   Although this sounds attractive to most first-time moms, many new moms do find that they do not want to be away from baby while it is small anyway or that pumping is more trouble than it's worth, so beware making a purchase of an expensive breastpump until you are sure that you will really need one.

If you feel strongly about having a breastpump, try renting one first and see how it works out.  Otherwise, you may spend a lot of money for a pump that you do not end up using much.  If you find pumping an occasional bottle for baby works well for you, you can always purchase a pump later, or simply rent one long-term. Renting a pump also helps you know what type of pump works best for you, and may save you from purchasing an unnecessarily expensive pump.  

Again, check the pumping/milk storage FAQs at www.breastfeeding.com, www.lalecheleague.org, and www.promom.org for more complete information about these options.  

Finding a Breast Pump

To find a breastpump, your best bet is to go to the local medical supply store so you don't have to pay shipping.  If you don't have a medical supply store near you (or it doesn't carry pumps), call you local La Leche League leader (www.lalecheleague.org) for other local resources that might carry pumps.  If nothing in your area carries pumps, you can mail order pumps from companies like www.medela.com, www.growinglife.com, or www.breastisbest.com

It's often an excellent idea to rent a pump before buying one so that you can see which one works best for you.  If you know other moms who have breastfed, they may be willing to loan you their pump so you can 'test drive' it.  If you choose to do this, remember to sterilize all the parts before trying it, and buy your own sterile collection kits. Technically, most consumer breastpumps are considered "single user" products, meaning that they are not meant to be passed from mother to mother because of the potential risk of contamination.  However,  some moms are comfortable sharing a pump with another mom that they know well, and if they choose to do this, it can be a very cost-effective alternative to buying a pump.

Many women pump most efficiently first thing in the morning before they have nursed their baby.  Massaging the breast and chest muscles around the breast before and during pumping often helps the milk let down faster.  If you need to, try nursing baby on one side while you pump on the other side.  Massaging the breast and areola area helps some women increase production, and breast compression helps others (see the FAQ at  www.fourfriends.com/abrw/bc.htm). 

Remember that pumping, like nursing, may take a while to perfect, so keep trying different things until you find what works best for you.  Massage, compression, "switch pumping," and other techniques may help increase your output.  Seek the advice of a lactation consultant if you have any problems, as there may be other techniques that will help as well.

Some women pump milk super-easily and any pump at all (or simple hand-expression!) would work for them.  Most women pump milk well but benefit from a little added electrical 'oomph', so electric pumps work best for them.  Some women produce milk just fine during nursing, but have a difficult time getting milk out by pump unless they have a hospital-grade pump (supply is no problem, but pumping doesn't seem to access the milk the way baby does).  A few women are never able to get a lot of milk by pump, even though they are nursing just fine.  These women can use a hospital-grade pump to get small amounts that can be combined together for an occasional bottle.  (Remember, the amount of milk you pump does NOT indicate how much milk you make for baby!  NEVER conclude that 'you don't have enough milk' based on how much you pump!)

When buying or renting pumps, avoid the cheap store-bought pumps, especially those made by companies that also sell formula.  It's against their economic interest to produce a really good and efficient breastpump, so these are NOT the pumps to buy, especially if you are considering long-term pumping. In particular, avoid a Gerber or EvenFlo pump if you can. The best breastpumps are usually to be found in specialty stores, not in grocery stores or Target.  

Other than avoiding the cheap formula-company breastpumps, the brand of pump preferred greatly depends on the woman and how easily she pumps milk.  As noted, women who pump easily can probably get by with a good manual pump (the Avent Isis is a good one).  However, most women benefit from some electrical power; the Medela Mini-Electric, Ameda Egnell pumps, White River pumps, etc. are all good basic electric pumps.  If you do a search online, you can probably find any number of sites that discuss the various pump brands and their relative advantages and disadvantages.  

One popular model that many women report liking is the Medela Pump-In-Style.  To find a local store that has Medela pumps, check with www.medela.com or call 1-800-TELL-YOU.  Ameda Egnell Pump information can be found through www.mommy-place.com or www.babybecoming.com, or by calling (800) 323-4060 (United States) or (800) 263-7400 (Canada).

For those women who have a hard time pumping much milk, go straight to a hospital-grade pump like the Medela Lactina.  These must be rented, since buying them costs around $1000.  Renting costs will depend on the region you live in but will probably average $30-60 per month.  Often you can get a discount if you rent for a long period of time, like 6 months or so.  Some women have also successfully lobbied their insurance companies to chip in for the cost of renting a really good pump, or have gotten a loaner from their company or a lactation consultant.  

If money is an issue, explore lots of avenues of possibilities, because often something can be worked out.  Also remember that buying or renting a breastpump may look like a big initial expenditure, but it is generally MUCH cheaper than buying formula.  Add up how much you would save in formula costs (not to mention doctor visits and such!) and suddenly buying or renting a pump makes a lot of sense if you must be away from baby.

Women who have pumped long-term report that having a number of different sets of extra flanges etc. eases the process, so that you don't have to wash up immediately every time you pump. If you plan to pump frequently, you probably should invest in a couple of extra sets of flanges etc.  In addition, be sure to be familiar with how often to replace key parts of your pump; some brands need several replacements over the life of the pump if used for high-frequency pumping. 

Some women have larger breasts that make pumping a little more difficult.  Medela now makes a new breastshield for their pumps for women with larger breasts, areolas, and nipples who find the standard flanges uncomfortable. It's called the "Personal Fit" and you can view it at www.selfexpressions.com/perbreas2eac.html.   It is also Kmom's personal observation that women who are very well-endowed often have more difficulty with pumping, and these women may benefit the most from using the top-of-the-line Medela Lactina, and paying strict attention to breast massage, compression, and other pumping techniques.  

Many women combine breastfeeding with pumping for their babies, either long-term for work, or for an occasional bottle at home.  Although it may seem intimidating at first, pumping is usually doable by most women, and is not nearly as complex as it may seem at first.  Many companies offer fine quality breastpumps; generally speaking, the better the breastpump, the better.  Stay away from cheap breastpumps.  Medical supply stores are should be your first stop when searching for a pump; many have a variety of pumps available for sale or rent.  If the pump you want is not available in your area, however, many online stores will do pumps by mail order.  

 

Information About Other Maternity-Related Products

Nursing Pillows

If you are looking for a nursing pillow, most women find the Boppy pillows to be very useful, especially once the "roundness" is smooshed down a bit.  Although Kmom had an initially negative experience with a Boppy, she re-tried it with a different pillow and a different baby a few years later and had a much better experience.  A Boppy is her preferred nursing pillow now.  

Boppies can be a little small for supersized (or close) women, but are able to be used by most women of size.  Boppies are available from many websites; shop around for the best price.  "Froogle" (a subcategory of www.google.com ) can be helpful in finding sales and discounts (Kmom found hers for nearly half price this way).  Many Boppy Pillows are also available cheaply in children's resale stores.  

There are other fine nursing pillows available too.  The EZPlus Nursing Pillow from www.breastisbest.com receives rave reviews from the site's owner.  She carries other nursing pillows but swears that once women try the EZPlus Pillow, they rarely purchase anything else.  Another nice nursing pillow is the Bosom Baby Plush Line Nursing Pillow, available from www.parentingconcepts.com. It features extra soft fabric, a V shape, and a removable pillow cover (so it's washable).  

Baby Becoming also sells a nursing pillow, and some women like the product called "My Brest Friend," available through http://momshop.com, www.breastfeeding.com, or you can call the company directly at (800) 555-5522.  If you are expecting twins, try the EZ-2-Nurse pillow from www.doubleblessing.com.  It gets rave reviews from twin moms.  Other nursing pillows can be had from various places, including www.growinglife.com.

Maternity Support Belt

Many women find that pregnancy places a strain on their backs, and are often told to purchase a maternity support belt.  

Kmom found that her back pain in pregnancy was most helped by a good chiropractor trained in treating pregnant women (EXTREMELY helpful---more women should try this!), but if you are set on having a maternity support belt, try www.prenatalcradle.com. Another option is the Mom-Ez belt, available from www.plusmaternity.com or www.smithorthopedics.com

Birthing Balls

Birthing Balls are really comfortable to sit on late in pregnancy and tend to promote a good fetal position for birth (see the FAQ on this site on Malpositions ---trust Kmom, you want to avoid a baby malposition!).  They can also be invaluable in labor, and many labor support professionals (doulas) swear by them.  These are available from many sources, but Kmom bought hers from Polly Perez at Cutting Edge Press, www.childbirth.org/CEP.html or call (802) 635-2142.  Although many larger women fear that birthing balls won't hold their weight, a birth ball is designed to hold many sizes of women.  If you are concerned about this issue, feel free to call Polly and discuss it with her.   www.mothersnature.com also has carried birthing balls in the past. 

Other Maternity-Related Products

There are many other maternity-related or nursing-related products in this FAQ, including large-sized hospital gowns, seatbelt extenders for airplanes, bra extenders, clothing extenders for pregnancy, a special mattress that helps tummy-sleepers continue to sleep on their tummies throughout pregnancy, a medic-alert bracelet for pregnant women, baby food grinders, and many nursing aids such as Supplemental Nursing Systems, a Haberman Feeder, etc.   

If you have any other products or companies you think should be included in this FAQ, be sure to email the information to kmom@plus-size-pregnancy.org.   

 


Plus-Sized Maternity: Related Products

Slings and Carriers Suitable for Plus-Sized People

Contact information for the companies where you can purchase baby carriers and slings (plus photos of big moms using various types of carriers) is available in the Baby Carriers for Big Moms FAQ, elsewhere on this website.   

[The "Maternity-Related Products" FAQ used to carry all this information on baby carriers and slings, but the information has now been switched over to its own FAQ.  Please click on the above link for this information now.]

 

Nursing Pillows

Abracadabra - The Mom Shop

Has maternity and nursing clothing and accessories. Mostly sizes to 16-18 but a few to 22-24. 1-3X mostly in tops and pants, not dresses or career wear. Lots of nursing bras. Also has bra extenders, baby slings, breast pumps, My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow (good for plus-sizes), support belts, some sewing patterns, plus books and videos on pregnancy topics.

Breast Is Best/Family Resources

This may be one of the best places to start looking for nursing bras and accessories. Nursing bras, breast pumps, baby slings, nursing pillows, nursing clothes, accessories. Carries brands with many cup E and larger sizes, including Goddess, Fancee Free, Olga, and many others. Also has support belts, including the Belly Bra (to 2x; limited time) and Reenie R Maternity Belt (goes around hips only; to size 2x or 22), plus a nursing pillow which is good for larger women (Nurse EZ Plus Pillow). A few nursing clothing selections to 3x. Wide selection of bras and other products. Operated by P.J. Jacobsen, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and La Leche Leader. Seattle-area business.

Breastfeeding.com

Wonderful internet site with a ton of helpful information about breastfeeding, including pictures and even videos of various breastfeeding positions, etc. Also sells baby slings and nursing pillows and related products. Has the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder sling and will custom-make if needed; for more info, email shopping@breastfeeding.com. Slings come with $10 returnable video on how to use slings. Has My Brest Friend nursing pillow, which comes in plus sizes as well.

Elizabeth Lee Designs

Patterns to sew nursing clothing; some maternity. Most go up to a size 16, many to size 20, and some to sizes 22 and 24. Helpful on the phone. One pattern for Fancee Free Nursing Bra (to 48J); others are for smaller-sized nursing bras. Many Leading Lady bras, which is one of the better brands. Has patterns for other items as well, such as slings and nursing pillows like Boppy's and fitted cotton diapers too. Reportedly, the sizing runs generous, and they have multi-sized patterns available as well.

EZ-2-Nurse Nursing Pillow

Nursing pillow designed for twins by a mother of twins. "Patented, angled top surface so babies roll towards mother...Mother's back support included...Washable, zippered cotton cover with pocket." States the strap around mother fits waists to 54 inches.  Also available are nursing tees, baby slings, kid's backpacks, etc.

Growing Life

Run by a professional lactation consultant and RN who also has plus-sized salespeople too. Carries some plus-sized maternity clothes to 3x (tops, dresses, pants, etc.). Lots of nursing wear to 3x and is currently manufacturing their own line which will go to 4x! Nursing bras in the store to 42J; can order a nursing bra to size 50K. Also has nursing pillows, slings, breastpumps, etc., will do professional bra fittings, and has nursing classes, parenting classes, support groups, and information on parenting related issues on site.

My Baby's Nest

Designed by a dad to help his well-endowed wife breastfeed more easily and comfortably, this pillow comes in several heights for small, medium and tall women.  It also has a "ledge" in the back to keep baby from rolling off.  The belt can fit women who have up to a 60" waist.  

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow

Some feel that this is one of the best nursing pillows around; others do not feel as positively about it. Endorsed by Kathleen Huggins from Nursing Mother's Companion. According to the manufacturer, it theoretically fits waists to 60", apparently with a special extender strap. Available from many companies, including Motherwear, One Step Ahead, and from Baby's R Us/Baby Superstore.

The Nurse Mate Nursing Pillow

Not much information. This product apparently has a waist size to about 60"; might have originally been made for twins, but the mother who passed this on was not a twin mom and found it helpful.

Parenting Concepts

Breastfeeding-friendly website, with many breastfeeding products.  Most famous for its slings, Sling-EZee, which comes in an XL size.  Also carries a nice-looking nursing pillow, the Bosom Baby Plush Line Nursing Pillow.  It is V-shaped, comes in extra soft material (like velour), and has a zippered, removable pillowcase so it can be washed (an unusual feature in nursing pillows).

Self Expressions

Medela breast pumps, maternity and nursing bras to 46H, Over the Shoulder Baby Holder slings (large sizes in stock now), My Brest Friend nursing pillow, and many other breastfeeding-related products.  Also carries maternity and new mother panties by Medela in Queen Size (1x, 2x, 3x), which fits hips 41" to 49".  Owner also notes that Medela has now designed a new breastshield for their pumps.  It's for women who have larger nipples and find the standard flanges uncomfortable.  It's called the "Personal Fit" and Self Expressions carries it. You can view it at www.selfexpressions.com/perbreas2eac.html

Sew Your Own Custom Nursing Pillow

Directions for easily converting your own favorite bra into a nursing bra in just a few easy steps.  Includes photos and directions.  Also has directions for sewing slings of various types, a nursing pillow custom-fitted to you, and your own nursing t-shirts.

 

 

Maternity Support Belts

Abracadabra - The Mom Shop

Has maternity and nursing clothing and accessories. Mostly sizes to 16-18 but a few to 22-24. 1-3X mostly in tops and pants, not dresses or career wear. Lots of nursing bras. Also has bra extenders, baby slings, breast pumps, My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow (good for plus-sizes), support belts, some sewing patterns, plus books and videos on pregnancy topics.

Baby Becoming

Good customer service, friendly and inspirational owner--Charlotte Bradley. Lots of maternity clothing, nursing bras, and some nursing clothing. Baby Becoming does carry products such as a large-size baby sling, belly support band, etc. Also carries Lansinoh.

Back Be Nimble

Company has many orthopedic products.  To find the maternity support belt ("Loving Comfort Maternity Support"), click on Back and Body Supports, then scroll down to the listings under M.  

Belly Bra

Makes a 'feminine support garment' called the Belly Bra.  Available in white stretch lace and black CoolMax minimesh.  Available to size 2XL.  

Bosom Buddies

Regular bras, sports bras, and nursing bras in brands such as Leading Lady, Fancee Free, Bravado, and Goddess. They recommend the Fancee Free 94305 as the best bra for well-endowed women, saying that the "inner 'sling' type construction gives great support, [and is] far more comfortable and breastfeeding-friendly than any underwire." Also large size maternity belts, breast pumps, and a number of products not always shown on their website.  Will also do special orders.  Also does mail orders, including to women in Europe and Japan.  They have a special 'Try the Fit Kit' to help women know how to order/fit a bra, even via the internet.  Details on their website.   Owner is a professionally certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).  

Breast Is Best/Family Resources

This may be one of the best places to start looking for nursing bras and accessories. Nursing bras, breast pumps, baby slings, nursing pillows, nursing clothes, accessories. Carries brands with many cup E and larger sizes, including Goddess, Fancee Free, Olga, and many others. Also has support belts, including the Belly Bra (to 2x; limited time) and Reenie R Maternity Belt (goes around hips only; to size 2x or 22), plus a nursing pillow which is good for larger women (Nurse EZ Plus Pillow). A few nursing clothing selections to 3x. Wide selection of bras and other products. Operated by P.J. Jacobsen, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and La Leche Leader. Seattle-area business.

Mom-Ez

Maternity support belt, designed to be orthopedically friendly.  It is distributed only through specialty maternity shops, but the Smith Orthopedics website lists all their retailers.  The support belt comes in Small, Medium, Large (size 14-22), and Extra Large (size 22 and above).  The company recommends being fitted for it since women grow differently and are proportioned differently.  

The Prenatal Cradle (Maternity Back Support Belt)

Comes in 7 sizes from extra petite (90-125lbs) to extra large (300-350lbs). There are also two sizes for tall women (over 5' 10") covering weights from 145 to 250. Quote: "I have seen it in a few catalogs (One Step Ahead comes to mind) but not in all sizes. There are two straps that come over your shoulders, crisscross between your breasts and continue down the sides of your belly where they join a wide elastic belt that goes under your belly.... This wide belt goes all the way around and meets up at the small of your back with the straps that went over the shoulders." Beware that sizing depends a lot on height as well as weight, so you may need a size that doesn't seem right based on weight alone. Be sure to ask for sizing help. {Some find this back support invaluable, others find it places too much belly pressure or makes them nauseous. Your mileage may vary.}

SupportsForYou.com

Comes in a variety of sizes, including a size large/extra large, which has worked well for women who were a size 24 pre-pregnancy.  

 

Breast Pumps

Abracadabra - The Mom Shop

Has maternity and nursing clothing and accessories. Mostly sizes to 16-18 but a few to 22-24. 1-3X mostly in tops and pants, not dresses or career wear. Lots of nursing bras. Also has bra extenders, baby slings, breast pumps, My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow (good for plus-sizes), support belts, some sewing patterns, plus books and videos on pregnancy topics.

Affordable Breast Pumps

Offers Pump In Style breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories.  Free shipping on all orders.  

Ameda Breastfeeding Products

Specializes in breastpumps and related products.

Bosom Buddies

Regular bras, sports bras, and nursing bras in brands such as Leading Lady, Fancee Free, Bravado, and Goddess. They recommend the Fancee Free 94305 as the best bra for well-endowed women, saying that the "inner 'sling' type construction gives great support, [and is] far more comfortable and breastfeeding-friendly than any underwire." Also large size maternity belts, breast pumps, and a number of products not always shown on their website.  Will also do special orders.  Also does mail orders, including to women in Europe and Japan.  They have a special 'Try the Fit Kit' to help women know how to order/fit a bra, even via the internet.  Details on their website.   Owner is a professionally certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).  

Breast Is Best/Family Resources

This may be one of the best places to start looking for nursing bras and accessories. Nursing bras, breast pumps, baby slings, nursing pillows, nursing clothes, accessories. Carries brands with many cup E and larger sizes, including Goddess, Fancee Free, Olga, and many others. Also has support belts, including the Belly Bra (to 2x; limited time) and Reenie R Maternity Belt (goes around hips only; to size 2x or 22), plus a nursing pillow which is good for larger women (EZ Nurse Plus Pillow). A few nursing clothing selections to 3x. Wide selection of bras and other products. Operated by P.J. Jacobsen, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and La Leche Leader. Seattle-area business.

Growing Life

Run by a professional lactation consultant and RN who also has plus-sized salespeople too. Carries some plus-sized maternity clothes to 3x (tops, dresses, pants, etc.). Lots of nursing wear to 3x and is currently manufacturing their own line which will go to 4x! Nursing bras in the store to 42J; can order a nursing bra to size 50K. Also has nursing pillows, slings, breastpumps, etc., will do professional bra fittings, and has nursing classes, parenting classes, support groups, and information on parenting related issues on site.

Maternal Expressions Breastfeeding Boutique

Supplies and equipment for the nursing family from slings to books to bras to pumps, including rentals. Good breastfeeding advice available too! Bra brands include TR Sport Bras, Fancee Free, Bravado, Medela Bras (including the new Hands-Free Pumping bra). 3 stores in the Detroit, Michigan area.

Medela

Breastpumps and related products. Also has the excellent video, "Breastfeeding Your Baby: Positioning", one of the few videos to adequately cover ALL the breastfeeding positions, including the football hold, which many well-endowed women find easier. Also has a larger-sized flange (glass) for pumps, for women who are too well-endowed for the regular-sized flanges on most pumps.

Mother Baby Care

Nursing bras, cups A-H.  Slings (Over The Shoulder Baby Holders).  Breastfeeding classes.  Breastpump rentals/sales.  Newborn care/Mother care/Breastfeeding support.  Run by two nurses.  

Mother's Nature

This company has a number of maternity-related products, including a ton of information about slings and how to use them. One section, www.mothersnature.com/babywear/howto.html contains instructions and illustrations on how to use and wear their slings. Carries Baby Bjorn front-pack carriers, and Over The Shoulder Baby Holder slings. The "Long" size in OTSBH serves 140-275 lbs., or you can special order a made-to-size sling, which takes about a week. This site also has pumps (including the new Avent Isis), pump accessories and parts, diaper options, and Birth Balls.

Mommy Place

Owned by an RN.  She carries Bravado Bras and other similar products, plus a complete line of Ameda Egnell Breast Pumps (an excellent brand) and supplies at discounted prices.

Motherwear

Quote: "They carry a large selection of nursing bras, most of which run to F or G cups (some only to DD) and one style (my favorite) which goes up to a 46I. Their selection ranges from minimal support 'night-time' bras, underwires and sturdily constructed, non-underwire, very supportive bras. They've added a *few* size 3X (24) clothing items, and one size 4x top. (Their bras) are the most comfortable bras I've ever worn, pregnant, nursing or not! They also carry bra extenders for about $2 each." Truly outstanding catalogue, but most clothing items only go to XL or 2X, some 3X or occasionally 4x. Good source for larger bras, and the clothing is very attractive. {Kmom recommends the Extra Support Bra---goes to 46I---but NOT the Great Support Bra----cuts on the sides and shoulders. However, others have been known to swear by this bra, so Your Mileage May Vary.} Many nursing-related products as well as nursing tops and bras. Sells books (see below), breastpumps, baby carriers, etc. as well things like baby food grinders. Excellent resource. Can request pamphlet on discreet breastfeeding tips as well.

Nursing Mother Supplies

Internet company that specializes in all kinds of supplies a nursing mother might need, like breastfeeding pumps and slings. Also carries the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder sling, as does Parent's Pal.

Self Expressions

Medela breast pumps, maternity and nursing bras to 46H, Over the Shoulder Baby Holder slings (large sizes in stock now), My Brest Friend nursing pillow, and many other breastfeeding-related products.  Also carries maternity and new mother panties by Medela in Queen Size (1x, 2x, 3x), which fits hips 41" to 49".  Owner also notes that Medela has now designed a new breastshield for their pumps.  It's for women who have larger nipples and find the standard flanges uncomfortable.  It's called the "Personal Fit" and Self Expressions carries it. You can view it at www.selfexpressions.com/perbreas2eac.html

 

Miscellaneous Products

Note:  Resources for products related to maternity and nursing, such as hospital gowns, special nursing equipment, birthing balls, and other specialty products.

Abracadabra - The Mom Shop

Has maternity and nursing clothing and accessories. Mostly sizes to 16-18 but a few to 22-24. 1-3X mostly in tops and pants, not dresses or career wear. Lots of nursing bras. Also has bra extenders, baby slings, breast pumps, My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow (good for plus-sizes), support belts, some sewing patterns, plus books and videos on pregnancy topics.

Ample Stuff

No maternity stuff, but they do have items to help large folk cope, such as large-sized blood pressure cuffs, reaching aids, hygiene aids, seatbelt extenders for airplanes, Pambras bra liners to ease friction against baby bellies, large size towels, etc. Contact Bill Fabrey or Nancy Summer, owners. They now have a website!!

Baby Becoming

Good customer service, friendly and inspirational owner--Charlotte Bradley. Lots of maternity clothing and some nursing clothing. Baby Becoming does carry products such as a large-size baby sling, belly support band, etc.

Baby In Waiting

Sells Medical Alert bracelets specifically designed for pregnant women.  On the front is a drawing of an unborn infant and it says, "Pregnancy in Waiting".  On the back is info about your allergies, due date, blood type, and any other medical information.  A former EMT/Rescue Volunteer wrote in to suggest pregnant women consider buying these, especially those larger women who don't 'show' much or very early.  EMTs are trained to look for medical alert tags immediately, so if you don't 'show' much even late in pregnancy, you might want to consider one of these.  Women who are insulin-dependent or who have other serious conditions should probably strongly consider getting one of these tags.  

BellyBand clothing expander

BellyBand is a clothing expander for pregnancy that increases the size of items in a mom-to-be's existing wardrobe. BellyBand expands from 3 1/2 to over 9 inches wide and enlarges clothes along with the expectant mothers existing wardrobe. "BellyBand works with any size because it increases clothing you already own."

Bosom Buddies

Regular bras, sports bras, and nursing bras in brands such as Leading Lady, Fancee Free, Bravado, and Goddess. They recommend the Fancee Free 94305 as the best bra for well-endowed women, saying that the "inner 'sling' type construction gives great support, [and is] far more comfortable and breastfeeding-friendly than any underwire." Also large size maternity belts, breast pumps, and a number of products not always shown on their website.  Will also do special orders.  Also does mail orders, including to women in Europe and Japan.  They have a special 'Try the Fit Kit' to help women know how to order/fit a bra, even via the internet.  Details on their website.   Owner is a professionally certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).  

Breast Is Best/Family Resources

This may be one of the best places to start looking for nursing bras and accessories. Nursing bras, breast pumps, baby slings, nursing pillows, nursing clothes, accessories. Carries brands with many cup E and larger sizes, including Goddess, Fancee Free, Olga, and many others. Also has support belts, including the Belly Bra (to 2x; limited time) and Reenie R Maternity Belt (goes around hips only; to size 2x or 22), plus a nursing pillow which is good for larger women (Four Dee Nurse Mate Pillow). A few nursing clothing selections to 3x. Wide selection of bras and other products. Operated by P.J. Jacobsen, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and La Leche Leader. Seattle-area business.

Breastfeeding.com

Wonderful internet site with a ton of helpful information about breastfeeding, including pictures and even videos of various breastfeeding positions, etc. Also sells baby slings and nursing pillows and related products. Has the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder sling and will custom-make if needed; for more info, email shopping@breastfeeding.com. Slings come with $10 returnable video on how to use slings. Has My Brest Friend nursing pillow, which comes in plus sizes as well.

Childbirth Class.com

Birth balls that are bust-resistant and have a weight limit of 660 lbs.  Reasonable pricing too.

Cutting Edge Press

EXCELLENT company specializing in childbirth-related or doula-related items.  Great source for a very good and very dependable birthing ball (available in many different sizes; check the website for sizing guidelines).  Carries many terrific but hard-to-find books like Optimal Foetal Positioning or Rebounding From Childbirth or Obstetric Myths vs. Research Realities.  Also has a number of complementary medicine books, pregnancy relaxation tapes (highly recommended by Kmom!).

Elizabeth Lee Designs

Patterns to sew nursing clothing; some maternity. Most go up to a size 16, many to size 20, and some to sizes 22 and 24. Helpful on the phone. One pattern for Fancee Free Nursing Bra (to 48J); others are for smaller-sized nursing bras. Many Leading Lady bras, which is one of the better brands. Has patterns for other items as well, such as slings and nursing pillows like Boppy's and fitted cotton diapers too. Reportedly, the sizing runs generous, and they have multi-sized patterns available as well.

Exami-Gowns

Sells hospital gowns for consumers, including some in special sizes.  They have strong Velcro closures front and back, and generally come down to about mid-calf.  Ask for the IV gowns where they snap on the arms, in case you need an IV during the birth and for ease of breastfeeding afterwards. Sizes up to at least 4x.  Prices generally run $30-40, cheaper than some of the other custom gown options on the web, and get good reviews from moms who have ordered them. 

EZ-2-Nurse Nursing Pillow

Nursing pillow designed for twins by a mother of twins. "Patented, angled top surface so babies roll towards mother...Mother's back support included...Washable, zippered cotton cover with pocket." Also available are nursing tees, baby slings, kid's backpacks, etc.  Lots of info, products, and links to sites about multiple pregnancies/twins.  

Growing Life

Run by a professional lactation consultant and RN who also has plus-sized salespeople too. Carries some plus-sized maternity clothes to 3x (tops, dresses, pants, etc.). Lots of nursing wear to 3x and is currently manufacturing their own line which will go to 4x! Nursing bras in the store to 42J; can order a nursing bra to size 50K. Also has nursing pillows, slings, breastpumps, etc., will do professional bra fittings, and has nursing classes, parenting classes, support groups, and information on parenting related issues on site.

Heaven Sent

Not a lot of information on this company; it apparently specializes in products to help supersized people. Products include a special nightgown designed to prevent underbreast chafing, and a 'lattice-lifter' for larger folk who need help getting up or turning over in the hospital, etc. Most large moms will not need these products, but perhaps a very supersized mom who has a c-section might find the lattice-lifter useful, or well-endowed moms with chronic underbreast irritation or yeast infections might find the nightgown helpful.

Maternal Expressions Breastfeeding Boutique

Supplies and equipment for the nursing family from slings to books to bras to pumps, including rentals. Good breastfeeding advice available too! Bra brands include TR Sport Bras, Fancee Free, Bravado, Medela Bras (including the new Hands-Free Pumping bra). 3 stores in the Detroit, Michigan area.

Maternity Mattress for Tummy Sleepers

Not much info, just apparently a place where you can get a mattress specially designed for pregnant women who prefer to sleep on their stomachs. Janine and Greg Roy are the proprietors.

OR

This website carries an inflatable mattress with a belly cut-out.  The above is the link to the manufacture site. You could then search to see if anyone else carries them and has them cheaper. Those who have used it (or carried it in their business) say that it does seem like a very good mattress (much higher quality than most air mattresses, etc.).

Mother's Nature

This company has a number of maternity-related products, including a ton of information about slings and how to use them. One section, www.mothersnature.com/babywear/howto.html contains instructions and illustrations on how to use and wear their slings. Carries Baby Bjorn front-pack carriers, and Over The Shoulder Baby Holder slings. The "Long" size in OTSBH serves 140-275 lbs., or you can special order a made-to-size sling, which takes about a week. This site also has pumps (including the new Avent Isis), pump accessories and parts, diaper options, and Birth Balls.

Motherwear

Quote: "They carry a large selection of nursing bras, most of which run to F or G cups (some only to DD) and one style (my favorite) which goes up to a 46I. Their selection ranges from minimal support 'night-time' bras, underwires and sturdily constructed, non-underwire, very supportive bras. They've added a *few* size 3X (24) clothing items, and one size 4x top. (Their bras) are the most comfortable bras I've ever worn, pregnant, nursing or not! They also carry bra extenders for about $2 each." Truly outstanding catalogue, but most clothing items only go to XL or 2X, some 3X or occasionally 4x. Good source for larger bras, and the clothing is very attractive. {Kmom recommends the Extra Support Bra---goes to 46I---but NOT the Great Support Bra----cuts on the sides and shoulders. However, others have been known to swear by this bra, so Your Mileage May Vary.} Many nursing-related products as well as nursing tops and bras. Sells books (see below), breastpumps, baby carriers, etc. as well things like baby food grinders. Excellent resource. Can request pamphlet on discreet breastfeeding tips as well.

NAAFA Feminist SIG

They sell large-size hospital gowns (allow 4-6 weeks for delivery).

Nursing Mother Supplies

Internet company that specializes in all kinds of supplies a nursing mother might need, like breastfeeding pumps and slings. Also carries the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder sling, as does Parent's Pal.

The Nurtured Baby (catalog)

Quote: "They have cloth diapers, Bravado bras, diaper accessories, nursing pads, cloth menstrual pads, and even a bumper sticker 'Human Milk for Human babies'."

OMOM Trading and Swapping Board

OMOM is a mailing list of support for new moms who are 'overweight'. They have created a trading website where people can sell, trade, borrow, or swap old maternity/nursing clothing and equipment. Great spot to go for the budget-conscious. This URL may eventually change; if you try it and it doesn't work, further information about this may be able to be found at www.fertilityplus.org.

Pregnancy Bracelet

A medic alert type bracelet to identify to Emergency Medical Workers that you are pregnant, in case you are in an accident or something, and your build does not make it obvious that you are pregnant.  The Pregnancy Bracelet may not come in large enough sizes for supersized women.  Another alternative that one mom ordered was the Kids ID bracelet (see above), and she ordered extra ID lines.  She had them put in her doctor's numbers, her husband's work and cell numbers, her home number, her due date, her medical conditions and medications.  This cost around $20, and she reports that the company had several sizes, and the staff was extremely helpful and solicitous.    

Self Expressions

Medela breast pumps, maternity and nursing bras to 46H, Over the Shoulder Baby Holder slings (large sizes in stock now), My Brest Friend nursing pillow, and many other breastfeeding-related products.  Also carries maternity and new mother panties by Medela in Queen Size (1x, 2x, 3x), which fits hips 41" to 49".  Owner also notes that Medela has now designed a new breastshield for their pumps.  It's for women who have larger nipples and find the standard flanges uncomfortable.  It's called the "Personal Fit" and Self Expressions carries it. You can view it at www.selfexpressions.com/perbreas2eac.html

 

Resources for Further Information and Help with Breastfeeding

The Breastfeeding Advocacy Page

Extensive discussion and documentation on the many benefits of breastmilk. Excellent resource, with many medical references and studies examined.

Breastfeeding After Reduction Surgery

Information, hints, and FAQs about Breastfeeding after Breast Reduction Surgery.  Reportedly an excellent resource.  

Breastfeeding.Com

Superb site devoted to helping mothers nurse. Usual advocacy information, but its best value lies in its extensive photos of babies nursing in various positions, even video clips of how to do the various positions (including the much-neglected football hold!). Extensive photography of nursing babies, including twins, tandem nursing (toddler and newborn), multiethnic nursing mothers, etc., plus lots of beautiful artwork of nursing mothers from ancient to modern art.

The Breastfeeding Helpline (A La Leche League International Service)

Recorded information available immediately. Counselors available during certain hours.

CARE NW (Care and Advice on Reproductive Exposures)

This *INVALUABLE* service provides information on the effects of drugs and other exposures on the developing fetus and during lactation. If you are not sure about the safety of a certain drug or chemical exposure during pregnancy or during breastfeeding, call and they will research it for you. They often have access to more complete information than your physician. Their services were formerly available only to residents of the Pacific Northwest, USA, but they have now opened up to service elsewhere through the use of the 900 number. At this time, they will also work via email, but request that a donation be mailed after they give you their research on your question. No amount is specified, but I would hope that people would honor this generously as it's a very valuable service. (So far they have had some problems with people using the service and then not donating, so the email option may be taken away.)

Hale's Medications and Mother's Milk

THE most reliable source for up-to-date information about medications while nursing is this book. It is updated every year; every medical library and pediatrician should have it. Unfortunately, not all do. A smaller version of the book is available at the website plus information about the full book. If you really need to access this book, call a large local hospital and ask for the medical librarian. Ask if they have this book, and if not, whether they can borrow the book from another hospital or library. If not, they can probably photocopy the page of the medication in question for you and mail it to your local hospital. Most hospitals do this for free, but some may charge a small amount.

International Lactation Consultant Association

THE place to start searching for a truly qualified lactation consultant, one with the initials "IBCLC" after their names!  To search for an IBCLC in your area (USA or Internationally), go to http://www.associationhome.com/ilca/web/referral.cfm

La Leche League International

The very best resource for information/support for nursing around. Call to find the nearest meeting to you, or to get in contact with a volunteer leader to ask questions or get a referral to a good lactation consultant. Also check out the web site! The best time to start attending meetings is BEFORE you deliver. Some women are afraid LLL is too radical for them; most are not, but quality depends on the local leadership. However, the philosophy is "take what you need and leave the rest behind," so if you don't agree with something, ignore that recommendation. Truly an exceptional resource. Also offers many fine pamphlets on nursing-related topics/concerns.

Medela, Inc. Breastfeeding Tips and Products

Call 1-800-TELL-YOU for Breastfeeding Advice Booklet that gives hints on breastfeeding, as well as offers several Medela products. Some products that might assist a large woman in particular are the Extra Large Glass Breastshield Kit (#610.7041) and a 15-minute video on Breastfeeding Your Baby - Positioning (#610V010). This excellent short presentation on positioning includes the football hold, which often works better for women who are extremely well-endowed, as well as more traditional holds. This is often not covered in other books or videos on the subject, so this is an extremely valuable asset to a large woman. A longer version of this video is available but the positioning section is all that's really needed for most people. A spanish version can also be ordered.

Nursing Mother's Association of Australia

Sort of like a La Leche League-type organization for Australia; anecdotal reports Kmom has heard have been very positive. Contact them for support for nursing or for consultation if you encounter problems. Email counseling available.  Will also order slings with longer straps for plus-size moms.

Nursing Mother's Counsel

Another breastfeeding support organization in the USA, emphasizing peer support and volunteer leader help.

parent-l mailing list

An extensive, high-volume mailing list designed to support breastfeeding and parenting the nursing child. There is somewhat of an emphasis on extended breastfeeding and attachment parenting. To subscribe to the single message mode simply send a message to parent-l-request@uts.edu.au with 'subscribe' in the body of the message.

Pumping Advice and Story

Owner of the BigMom's mailing list details her story of breastfeeding difficulties at first, pumping travails, how she stuck it out, pumping advice to others, etc. (the space in the URL above is really an underline).

Pumping Moms Information Exchange Website

Information about pumping etc. Many good FAQs and a great Links page!

Rx List

Provides comprehensive information about 4000 commonly prescribed drugs; no charge. However, if this list is like the Physician's Desk Reference, it is overly conservative because of liability fears, and may list certain drugs as incompatible with nursing when under certain circumstances they might be ok. Use this list as an adjunct resource but not as your sole resource when researching drugs and lactation.

Working Cow Website

More info about being a nursing mom while working outside the home, pumping advice, etc.

 

Nursing Book Resources

These are the best books on the market, in Kmom's opinion. Your Mileage May Vary! You can find these books through various sources, including

The Nursing Mother's Companion, Kathleen Huggins, 4th Revised Edition, c. 1998?.

By far the easiest-to-use and most practical of nursing guides. Pack this one in your hospital bag! Especially useful is the quick-reference Survival Guide for the First Weeks--much easier to use for trouble-shooting if you have any questions or problems. Has a few brief references to the problems of larger breasts, and actually shows some in a section on the different sizes and shapes of breasts. 4th Edition has more attention to the problems well-endowed women can encounter. One of the only nursing books to address this!

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League International, 7th Revised Edition, c. 2003.

Classic text on breastfeeding, very well-done--but does not address the issues that can challenge some large-breasted women. Barely addresses the football hold, and some women find it very preachy. Still worth reading, however, and the section on medical benefits of breastfeeding is superb---a must-read.

So That's What They're For! Breastfeeding Basics. Janet Tamaro, c. 1996.

A more humorous approach to breastfeeding, but still full of useful information. A great book to get if you are not sure whether you want to nurse or not, or if you think you should but are not really crazy about the idea. Good for spouses too. Good book, but don't make it your only nursing manual; use it in tandem with another nursing manual like Nursing Mother's Companion or Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Contains a few sizist remarks but still overall a good asset.

Breastfeeding Your Baby, Sheila Kitzinger c.1989

Beautiful pictures, including many of women of a good variety of colors and breast sizes/shapes. Spends most of its time on the traditional cradle holds, but does mention strategies for dealing with large breasts (supporting breast with hand, a breast sling, or tucking the baby under your arm, which is another way to describe the football hold). Nice as a supplemental resource but don't use as your only nursing manual.

Bestfeeding: Getting Breastfeeding Right for You, Renfrew, Fisher, and Arms. c. 1990.

Deals *only* with the cradle position, but has *extensive* discussion and photographs of positioning problems and strategies. Truly excellent for diagnosing and correcting positioning problems! Great photographs, but not much breast-size diversity. Still worth checking out from a library.

 

What To Do With Used Plus-Sized Maternity Clothing

When you are done having children, what should you do with your used plus-sized maternity and nursing clothing/products?  There are several options for you to consider.

First, Kmom strongly encourages women of size to consider donating all or part of their wardrobe to other plus-sized moms who need extra help affording these clothes.  Many larger women are economically disadvantaged and cannot afford to buy this kind of clothing.  They rely on donations, consignment stores, used clothing stores, or gifts from other big moms.  Unfortunately, little is donated to these resources.  Many big moms end up making do in pregnancy with little or nothing that fits right.  To donate your used maternity clothing, contact email support groups like the Big Moms list or those sponsored by www.fertilityplus.org and ask if anyone needs any maternity donations in your size.

Another option is to contact your local pregnancy resource hotlines and ask around your community about organizations that would like to have plus-sized maternity clothing.  Or you can donate to a national shelter through organizations like www.pregnancyhelpcenter.net (1-800-395-HELP).  Or you can mail your clothing directly to:

If you need the money, you can sell your plus-sized maternity and nursing wear (and slings etc.) online.  Selling it through online companies like eBay usually can net you quite a bit of your investment back.  Or you can sell it through the OMOM Trading and Swapping Board, http://www.network54.com/Forum/goto?forumid=14843This URL may eventually change; if you try it and it doesn't work, further information about this swapping board may be able to be found at www.fertilityplus.org.  Other auction boards that may also sell plus-sized items include http://www.mothersnature.com/cgi-bin/Auction

However, Kmom requests that if you decide to resell your clothing and baby equipment to recoup part of your costs, please consider donating at least one or two items to other big moms in need.  There is nothing wrong with trying to make back some of your money spent on maternity clothing, but please be willing to make a small donation to help out our less-advantaged sisters.  There really is a shortage of affordable and readily available gently-used maternity etc. clothing in plus sizes.  It's up to US to help out.  

 

Other Size-Acceptance Resources

Organizations

NAAFA (National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance)

A human rights organization working very hard on social and legal fronts to make fat people's lives a bit easier. They have several mailing lists, which you can find out more about through NAAFA's website. If you are concerned about size prejudice, NAAFA wants you!

International Size Acceptance Association

Another organization working hard on size-acceptance issues.  They have a links page that connects to a number of non-maternity clothing options, often for very large sizes.  If you have trouble finding clothes in your size, you might want to check out their list of links.  

Websites

Size Wise

Collection of information and links to size-positive sites.  "Dedicated to bring you all the information you need to live your life fully---at any size."  

GrandStyle.Com

Lots of info and products geared towards larger women; lots of links to other size-positive sites.  

Newsgroups

alt.support.big-folks

An internet newsgroup for support for large people. Dieting discussions are not part of the charter; fat-acceptance is. A number of FAQs for big-folks are posted bi-weekly here; their web site is www.faqs.org/faqs/fat-acceptance-faq/. These FAQs include general clothing resources, health FAQs, research FAQs, and general resources FAQs. An excellent resource for more information.

soc.support.fat-acceptance.moderated

Another internet newsgroup about fat-acceptance, not dieting. Many topics are cross-posted with alt.support.big-folks, but not all are. The Big-Folks FAQs are also cross-posted here.  The advantage here is that this is a moderated newsgroup, so some of the trolls and spammers that annoy other fat-acceptance newsgroups are screened out.  

Mailing Lists

Big Moms Mailing List

Kmom's favorite mailing list (though she likes many others too!). Devoted to the concerns of big moms everywhere. Topics include size concerns, general parenting issues, and issues unique to big moms, as well as general socializing and support. You do not need to be a mom or pregnant to join, just interested in having kids someday. Not just for moms with new babies; moms with kids of all ages (biological, adopted, or foster) are all welcome. Discussions can occasionally get vigorous; list is not moderated but posts are usually very supportive. Note: This is not a diet-free list; be sure to use clear subject headers for any discussion of dieting/non-dieting issues (see subscription info). In order to subscribe, send a message to the above email address with a body of SUBRCRIBE big_moms_list. 

Mailing Lists for Large Women and Pregnancy

Source of a large number of mailing lists on large women and pregnancy. All lists are semi-moderated and well-run. Go to www.fertilityplus.org for information about joining.

Other Lists for Large Moms

Fat-Acceptance Mailing List

To join, email the above majordomo address. In the body of your email, put only the words "subscribe fat-acceptance" (without punctuation). Most people on this list are NAAFA members, but you do not have to be a member to subscribe.

ICAN Mailing List (International Cesarean Awareness Network)

High-volume but invaluable mailing list for women who are recovering from a c-section or trying to avoid one. Very pro-VBAC; lots of information about educating yourself about childbirth care. To subscribe, email the above address and put the word 'subscribe' (no punctuation) in the body of the message (nothing else).

 

About This FAQ

Some of the information in this document is drawn from the FAQ, Clothing for Big Folks in the US. This contains numerous clothing resources for large people, including ski clothes, lingerie, wedding/formal attire, shoes, costumes, exercise wear, etc. and is an invaluable resource---Kmom highly recommends checking into it! There are also a number of other related FAQs on plus-size clothing resources for the UK, Canada, Europe, Australia, etc. Other related FAQs include information on health questions for large people, obesity research, common questions, etc. These FAQs are posted bi-weekly to the newsgroups soc.support.fat-acceptance.moderated and alt.support.big-folks. They are also available at www.faqs.org/faqs/fat-acceptance-faq/.

There are other online lists of clothing resources for plus-sized people; these tend to come and go a bit and are not always reliable. However, more information is better than none, so try looking at the FAQs at:

Thanks to Sasha Wood who contributed a great deal to the fat-acceptance FAQs from which this FAQ was first drawn. Thanks also to Rebecca Smith Wadell, who maintains a number of mailing lists for large women in the process of trying to have children, and to Laura De Leon, who maintains the Big Moms mailing list. They have provided a support service that has been truly invaluable to many. Many entries to the maternity and nursing clothing FAQ have come from suggestions from these lists, and the past and present members who have helped in this way must also be thanked.

Many other people (too many to credit individually!) contributed information that appears herein via email, the fat-acceptance net groups, etc. Thanks to them all. Some entries were also drawn from resource lists put out by articles in BBW magazine and Mode magazine. Many others were found through online searches and digging by Kmom. Thanks to all who have helped contribute to this FAQ! In particular, special thanks to those who take time to email Kmom specially with contact information updates, new additions, and suggestions. Your assistance is greatly appreciated!

This FAQ is updated about once a year. Suggestions for additions/improvements are always welcome. Contact Kmom with your information by emailing her at kmom@plus-size-pregnancy.org


Copyright 1996-2006 Kmom@Vireday.Com. Permission is granted to copy and redistribute the clothing section ONLY of this website, provided that this copyright notice is not removed or altered, that the clothing section is used in its entirety ONLY, that it is used for non-commercial purposes ONLY, and that it is provided for no charge. No portion of this work may be sold or published elsewhere, either by itself or as part of a larger work, without the express written permission of the author; this restriction covers all publication media, electrical, chemical, mechanical or other such as may arise over time.

Correspondences to:  kmom@plus-size-pregnancy.org 


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