Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: Hooter Hiders nursing cover

Honestly, before this, I never really understand the fuss about nursing covers. Wouldn't a shawl have the same result - cover a mother while breastfeeding? I admit it. I have been a very unglamourous mother. Just look at the way I use my black shawl when feeding EV, and then trying to hold her and flip the shawl across my shoulder to cover her each time it falls. Yes, very unstylish of me. Well, I was not expecting myself to produce enough milk to last more than six months, so why waste the money?
So, EV has turned six months, and guess what? I am still lactating. Yes, it is a significant feat for a mother who tried everything to increase milk production in the early days, and was super stressed out with worry that I was not producing enough. I finally hit the six-month milestone! It was time to reward myself, and so, I bought the Hooter Hiders nursing cover.
Mothers new to Hooter Hiders may confuse it with its sister brand Bebe au Lait. Similar in overall designs, Hooter Hiders differs from Bebe au Lait only in certain embellishments. One can purchase covers featuring ruffle details along the neckline and bottom, or an external pocket with ruffle details.
I purchased my Hooter Hiders in Marseille (pink fabric with floral pattern) from blogshop Bebelove, with 15% discount after joining its Facebook fanpage. My nursing cover arrived promptly and nicely wrapped in about one week, including the period required for payment transfer, and I received it like a little girl opening up her presents with glee. 
Made of 100% cotton, the Hooter Hiders features a rigid neckline with a stiffening capability, so that direct contact with the baby can be established during feeding. This is very important as the eye contact gives the young one a sense of security, and calms baby down during suckling. The adjustable D-ring neck strap makes it easy to personalize for a tighter or looser fit. Plus, I like the fact that it comes with a nice little pouch made of the same material - makes it easier to carry around.
Since EV is more used to my black shawl, I needed to familiarize her with the new nursing cover. I spent a few days slowly introducing her to the cover, allowing her to latch on first before putting on the cover. Surprisingly, she adapted to it really well, and she calmly recognised the nursing cover as 'feeding time', each time I took it out. She understood that even though the cover is new, she was still suckling mommy while looking at me, with her pointer finger in my mouth. Yes, my darling loves to do that while feeding. Perhaps she's imitating and trying to 'feed' me as well? :)
Here's how I tested it:
a) Laundry
The Hooter Hiders is machine-washable in warm water, so it is extremely convenient to keep clean. After the pre-wash, I spent a few minutes figuring out how to fold it back nicely to fit in the pouch, given the rigid neckline, but this is something that is easily solved. 
b) Effectiveness
EV took not more than three days to get used to the Hooter Hiders. It is definitely easier to feed her with this than with my shawl. It drapes nicely over EV while I am feeding her, and the eye contact helps tremendously in keeping her calm and making sure she is suckling properly. Plus, the air ventilation is better and she can breathe!
c) My ultimate rave
I like the ingenious neckline that allows me to look at EV while she suckles, just like when she breastfeeds without the cover. This is calming too, and helps to encourage milk flow. 
d) My ultimate rant
Babies will not always stay under the cover and suckle obediently without misbehaving all the time. When EV gets frigidity during feeding, she tends to kick the nursing cover around, and I am in danger of exposing myself. I used to wish the Hooter Hiders was bigger, but I realised that size will not prevent EV from moving around. I have learnt to shift the cover and strategically cover myself when that happens.
e) Overall value (4/5)
A $60 investment to last through my breastfeeding days - this is value beyond words. Its worth will be put to the ultimate test during our upcoming family trip to Hong Kong. More on this after our holiday.

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