Rachel Khoo’s tips: express yourself

Breastfeeding: it’s not something I ever intended to write about when I came up with the idea of Khoollect a couple of years ago, but Khoollect has and always will be a platform on which I can share thoughts, ideas and finds that either inspire, enrich or simply add a bit of joy to the everyday. So, here I go …

If you’re an avid follower of my journey you will know I had a baby last year; and, like any new mum, I want the best for my little bundle of joy. Breast is best, as they say! Fortunately, it has been a fairly easy journey for me, minus the occasional ‘wet T-shirt’ look, sore nipples and engorgement. I count myself lucky considering there are plenty of mums out there who struggle. I can only imagine the stress this must cause and am enraged when I hear stories of mums being pressured into breast feeding. The same goes when I hear about the women being forced to breastfeed on toilets (why aren’t there more facilities like this?) or shamed in public; or, even have to prove they are lactating(!).

Hollie Poetry very eloquently recites in a poem, below, her experience.

Luckily I live in Sweden, where people here have no qualms about women breastfeeding in public.

Here are a few items I found helpful when it came to learning the ropes of breastfeeding, which I hope will prove helpful for any breastfeeding Khoollect readers out there!

  1. Stylish nursing clothes


Easy yet classically fashionable Boob design makes clothes that function as both nursing and maternity wear. The quality is good and the design is simple; but you can dress it up and down with a scarf or, as the stylish Sarah Kate AKA Urban Wit (read our interview with her here) wears it: with a cute baby. I wish I had discovered them earlier in my pregnancy, as it would have saved me buying clothes that are only suitable for maternity wear.

2. A large stylish scarf

Rachel Khoo wears large scarf

Photo by Anders Schonnemann

I did buy one of those nursing scarves, but I quickly gave up on it because it was a nightmare trying to get my baby to latch on with our heads both fumbling in the dark. I found a large scarf does just a good job; plus, it’s so much easier to find stylish and fun patterns. Hit your local vintage store to find something unique. It’s also become my best friend when I’ve been expressing milk (more about that below).

3A sleep bra

It goes without saying that you’ll be needing good support during the day (if anyone has some tips for super supportive but comfortable nursing bras for larger boobs, let me know in the comments below! I’m yet to find one). However, I’ve found that wearing something a little lighter but still supportive to make sleeping at night a lot more comfortable is a great idea. I have my eye on this one for when I stop breastfeeding.

4. A good audio book/podcast

In the beginning, I found myself up at all of the hours of the night, feeding for half an hour or more. I could barely keep my eyes open to watch anything; but popping on a podcast or an audio book kept me good company. A few of my favourites are Front Row (cultural news), Foundr (entreprenenial/business), The Archers (you’ll understand if you’re British … totally just for nostalgia’s sake) and Get it On (fun fashion-focused interviews with the delightful Dawn O’Porter). I also listened to all the Harry Potter audio books. It’s hard to stop listening with Stephen Fry doing such an amazing job at narrating the books.

5. Express yourself


Providing nourishing food is in my DNA. Even more so now that I have a baby. So when it came to going back to work, or just going out for a morning or an afternoon, I needed to find a solution. I’ve been using this pump, which is okay. It sometimes leaks if you’re not sitting properly, but it works well. I think I take multi-tasking to an extreme by wearing it with a bustier to meditate, do Skype meetings (camera pointed from neck and above … a bit like the TV newsreaders who could be wearing PJ bottoms underneath the desk), and express on the train. Also the pump and save bags that can be attached directly to the expressing machine are handy too.

What I really want is the ‘willow’ pump (pictured above). Designed by some peeps in the Silicon Valley, it looks like the Apple of breast pumps. This one hasn’t been released yet, unfortunately.

This video makes a good point about expressing milk…

6. Find the right bottle

Nuk baby bottle Rachel Khoo

I like to do my own research, and started off with the Medela Calma bottles because I read that they are specifically designed to avoid nipple confusion. No matter how much I tried, it just didn’t work well with my baby. The teat is quite long, which caused some gagging. Also the way it’s designed means the baby has to suck in a particular way to get the milk. I also tried this bottle and this bottle, which didn’t work. Then I discovered Nuk’s latex teats. I’m not sure whether it’s to do with latex being softer than silicone, or the shape of the teat, but it did the trick. It really goes to show that you simply have to find the right one for your baby. On that note…

7. Find what works for you and your baby

Lastly I wanted to say that even though this post is mainly about breastfeeding, I don’t believe there’s a right or a wrong way. Go with the flow, and don’t be too hard on yourself!

How have you found feeding your baby? What tricks and tips have you learnt along the way? Please share, I’d love to know, whether it’s breastfeeding or formula.

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Rachel Khoo

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