Two terrible things happen when I put on my new clothes from Berlin’s Viva La Mama. See, the dress’s label reads “Milchshake” (German for milkshake, dontcha know), so I immediately start doing my best twerk while singing, “My Milchshake brings all the boys to the yard … ” As soon as I pull on my sweater, I serenade whoever is lucky enough to be in my immediate surroundings with “Viva La Mama, I’ll be waiting, ever lasting, like the sun …. ” If you have no clue what I am talking about, then right now you do not have a mish-mash of Kelis and The Spice Girls running through your head. If you do, you’re welcome. If you’re from Germany and wonder what kind of music we listen to over here in the colonies, Keine Sorge! I can send you YouTube links.
Alright, so terribly catchy pop songs aside, I am in LOVE with my Viva La Mama Charlie 3-in-1 babywearing jacket and Una long-sleeved nursing dress. What do I look for in clothes these days? Easy access for breastfeeding. Flattering fit. Sporty comfort without making me feel like I need to do sports.
Let’s start with the Una dress. Now past the one-year mark of nursing Little Miss Cub, I’m starting to yearn for dresses. Dresses were my staple during pregnancy, but now I can’t really wear them unless they’re specifically designed for nursing. I know I’ve brought this up before, but I had to take my dress halfway off during my brother’s wedding speeches in order to nurse Cub. I’m not shy about nursing, but that was a bit much. So remember how I said I like to dress like Sporty Spice without actually doing sports? How cute is my Una dress?! It’s like a cozy sweatshirt, but IT’S A DRESS!
Naturally, it can also be worn during pregnancy. But thanks to these subtle zippers, you can also completely expose your Milchshake-makers to nurse without hiking your dress up over your chest!
I actually held off washing my Una dress (it passed the sniff test!) as long as possible so I could just keep wearing it. It looks great over skinny jeans, leggings or tights; you could even dare to bare your legs and pair with cute sneakers in the spring!
The zippers perfectly expose maximum breast surface area, which in turn keeps milk from wicking onto the fabric. Sometimes I can feel the back of the zipper against my skin and it bugs me a tiny bit, but that’s honestly the only slightly negative comment I can come up with.The Una retails for $118 Canadian (the price will fluctuate depending on the exchange rate), which I know may not suit every budget. They have other stunning options in the $80-range, and it’s important to remember that Viva La Mama’s items are ethically manufactured in Poland.
The Charlie 3-in-1 babywearing jacket (more of a sweater than a jacket, but they call it a jacket on Etsy) retails for about $180. This sweater is truly a three-function sweater. If I combine the prices of my favourite maternity sweatshirt, my favourite babywearing sweater and my favourite regular hoodie, the total would be close to $300. And while most 3-in-1 products do one thing well and get a passing grade on the other two functions, the Charlie babywearing jacket does all three of its jobs perfectly!
As a pregnancy sweater:
There are two perfectly subtle zippers on the sides of the sweater that reveal hidden panels to expand the jacket for your baby bump! (Note you can also use this for stealing watermelons or simply as an excuse to eat more at Christmas dinner.) Here I am with my throw pillow baby:
As a regular sweater:
When my Charlie sweater first arrived, I didn’t even notice the secret pregnancy zippers! This means no one will even know your favourite hoodie is also for pregnancy! (Except, if you’re like me, you’ll tell them and then shove a pillow in your sweater to prove it.)
This is exactly the kind of zip-up hoodie pre-children Lindsay would buy. It is nice and long, perfect over leggings, it has long sleeves with a thumbhole, and it’s made of thick sweatshirt material, so it’s quite warm.
As a babywearing sweater:
As if those sneaky little side zippers to make it a pregnancy sweater weren’t enough, the Charlie also comes with a zip-in insert to go around your baby carrier!
The insert has an attached hood and a neck panel that keeps you and baby warm. The one drawback is that when fully zipped up, Little Miss cannot access her thumb for sucking because her hands are entirely enclosed with me in the sweater. Awesome for warmth, bad for thumbsucking. (Our dental hygienist would be pleased … )
The baby hood can be tightened thanks to the toggles at the sides and back of the neck to fit your baby’s noggin perfectly. As with any baby sweater, you can increase warmth depending on what you and baby wear underneath and what you put on top. If you don’t have a babywearing winter coat, for example, you could put your winter coat on top of this sweater!
Viva La Mama, I’ve been waiting … for you to bring your Milchshake to my yard. Not only are their clothes amazing (and you should also check out the pieces The Monarch Mommy reviewed), but the women behind this brand are a delight to chat with over email. We’re like pen pals, comparing life in Canada and life in Germany. They currently sell their products on Etsy, but I’d love to see them grow enough to have retailers in North America!
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