Review: Nursing-Friendly French Jilbab

I have been stalking websites that sell French jilbabs ever since the blogger OldSchoolHijabi began writing about them. When she posted about Tasnim Collections I was excited. The site was simple, in English and the jilbabs were more affordable. I bought two, a navy and dark purple. Though shipping was a bit delayed (which customer service did notify me of), I was so happy to receive my package from Morocco one afternoon. I was travelling that day so I decided to throw it on and give it a try. The fabric immediately felt light and I love the drape. As a mom of four kids under the age of 6, I appreciated the long khimar which included a headcovering that tied behind the head and sleeves.   It’s an all-in-one outfit! The jilbab was not see through and the elasticized cuffs made it easy to do wudu. I wish this style of dress was more accessible in the U.S. because it really felt like the ideal, modest dress. The best part of this jilbab was the chest zipper. It allowed me to wear my 5 month old daughter in a front carrier and breastfeed with ease. I wore a blue jean jacket over it just because I like layers and it helped to “guard” her while nursing in public. Plus she was in the carrier which left me hands-free to juggle my other three tots! It came with a matching gathered skirt with an elasticized waist.   This was super comfortable while driving over 100 miles. When I arrived to my destination I didn’t want to take it off. In fact, I wore it each day because it was so quick to put on for prayer and errands.   Plus, if my daughter tugged on it or sat on my lap it didn’t come off. My only cons are that I wish I bought a longer skirt, the shipping could be quicker and as a slim person less fabric on the khimar would be nice. But overall I adore it and will use it for years inshAllah.

I think each nursing mom should have one of these. With Ramadan approaching, this would be something nice to wear to late night tarawih prayers or gatherings. InshAllah, I will be doing a Ramadan Prep Class for Breastfeeding Mothers which will discuss ways to improve fasting, maintain milk supply and save energy. Be on the lookout for my post Sisters.

By the way, I was not paid or received any incentives for this review. I purchased the items with my own money. The opinions are my own.IMAG0096_1_1

Tutorial: How to Make a Khimar from a Bedsheet

Khimars are provide great coverage for breastfeeding mothers, it is a hijab and nursing cover all in one!  Save money by making your own, it is super easy!

So, I was at the thrift store and I saw this bedsheet.  Immediately, I knew this color and fabric would be perfect for a khimar.  So, I found these instructions online and adapted them to make a khimar with an attached headband that ties in the back.  Please forgive my poor quality pictures, I was 9 months pregnant and had to two toddlers “helping” me when I took these pictures.  FYI, I’m only a beginner sewer so if you prefer to do things a better way, feel free.

Supplies

bedsheet

sewing machine (it can be handsewn as well)

stickpins

yardstick or ruler

fabric pen or marker

Start off by cutting off the widest seam on the bedsheet.  Set this to the side  for later.

Next, Fold the sheet in half along the width with the right sides together and anchor it with some fabric weights (I used cans).  Starting at the fold and 40 inches from the open edge (or however long you would like the back to be), draw a straight line that is about 18 inches long.  As you can see, the yardstick is parallel to the open edge.  Then, draw a straight line about the same length, starting at the far right side 40 inches down from the fold. I put red lines on the image to show you how this should look.  These straight lines are made to ensure that the front and back have the same shape.

Next, draw a curved line connecting the two lines (yes, free hand!).  And cut along your one big line.  It should look something like this.

Now take that long strip of fabric we cut earlier from the widest seam.  Fold it in half and with the raw edge closest to the open edge, slip it over this end of the sheet.  Make sure the sides stay even (this will be the headband).  Pin it in place on both sides (do not pin it shut).  Make a small mark on both sides along the pins 6 inches down from the top peak.

Open the khimar and sew from one “six inch” mark to the next, attaching the headband to the khimar (be careful not to sew the khimar shut).  This is the portion that will be on the forehead (about 12 inches in length).  The loose ends will be the ties.  After sewing, you can goto the mirror and “try on” the khimar by tying it behind your head and pull the sides to the front.  Use a safety pin to mark how far you want the khimar to be sewn up under your chin.  No one likes a choking khimar.  If you don’t want to bother with trying it on, just turn the khimar inside out and sew it shut (leave a face opening), starting from the bottom.

I realized I got a better fit by making my line 3 inches from the edge.  Then I sewed it up to the safety pin.  If you need better guidance, turn your khimar inside out, draw a  line along where you want your seam and pin it shut.  Then, sew from the bottom up, removing the pins as you go.

Lastly, hem the bottom of the khimar.  I didn’t bother with pinning, I just turned it up about inch and sewed.

Depending on the size of your sheet, your ties may be too long.  Cut them to your preference, I like mine long so I can tie it easily behind my head.  You can sew the ties shut on end or leave them raw (I left mine raw because this is just a house khimar.  Plus they don’t show because I tie mine under the khimar).

That’s it!  You are done.

* Please do not copy or duplicate this post.  Provide a link if you would like to share.

Interview with Momprenuer Yasmin Begum of Nursing Muslimah

  1. What inspired you to start your business? I quit my job when I was 5 months pregnant with my first son. Since then, I have been a stay-at-home mum for about 4 yrs plus. The daily routine of taking care of the kids and the house and the lack of adult interaction finally got to me and I seeked for something which would give me some sense of self.  I toyed with the idea of starting my own business for quite a while but I was not convinced of the business propositions and ideas that came my way. Then “Nursing Muslimah” came along and we have not looked back since. 
  2. Briefly describe your business.

    Nursing Muslimah” is a registered company specializing in a range of nursing wear, including traditional wear such as Nursing Jilbabs and Kurtis. Our range is international – we carry well-known and popular brands such as Adrinis, Fabulous Mom, Milk Nursingwear, La Leche League and Uber Moms as well exclusive items from our own “Nursing Muslimah” label. All our nursing and maternity tops and dresses are ¾ or long-sleeved and they cover well below the knee. Due to requests, we offer modest short sleeved tops as well. 

  3. What has been your biggest success?  The acceptance of our products and our loyal membership. We are blessed with a low “unlike” rate from the time we started till now. 
  4. Where do you get inspiration for your products?  We put in effort sourcing around for good suppliers as well as working on our existing tops and dresses. We also read up on fashion magazines and women magazines for ideas.
  5. What do you think are must-haves for breastfeeding mothers?  Good Nursing Bras, Nursing wear and a nursing cover. These would give a new mom the confidence to feed on the go. A good breast pump is also recommended to help the milk production but nothing is better than direct latching 🙂
  6. What is your secret to balancing family and business?  I wish I knew if there is such a secret 😀 I do my best and I have a good business partner (Wahida) who supports me well. We have supportive husbands and we try our best to excel in our roles as wives, mothers and mumpreneurs.  Wahida and myself take over fully on some days so that the other could have a break from the store. 
  7. What do you love about being a mom and a momprenuer?  Being a Mumpreneur, I love the flexible timings the most. Although we could end up working the whole day, it is purely at our own time and we are answerable to only ourselves. Being a mom, I love everything about it! Especially, being adored by my 2 boys. 
  8. What is typical day like for you?  Currently, I am doing a part time project. So, my hubby and I would drop off the kids in school and go off to our work places. I would come back home earlier and do some household chores or check on the store. Then I go off to pick up the kids and housework continues once they are back till they are asleep. My PC and laptop would be on during the times I am at home to check on the store. While out, I work using my smartphone and address as much customers as I could. Intense “Nursing Muslimah” work would commence once the kids are asleep or hubby takes over. At other times, I run errands once the kids are in school. Well, typically a day similar to any stay-at-home mum, I guess! 🙂
  9. How do you recharge?  I love to watch movies and going for a good meal. If time and situation allows, nothing recharges me like going on an overseas trip! 
  10. Do you ship international?  Yes, we do.
  11. How does ordering work on your website?  Currently, we work by liaising via email from our facebook shop. www.facebook.com/nursingmuslimah. We have ready stocks as well items for pre-order. We work closely with our customers through email and we have regular updates on our wall. Customers could email us their preferred items or inquiries at nursingmuslimah@gmail.com
  12. What is next for Nursing Muslimah?  We are currently working on our e-commerce store. We are working on a comprehensive online store which would be accessible to all and not only FB users. Insha Allah, that should be completed in the coming months and ordering would be much easier and seamless. 
  13. Please give us your best advice for breastfeeding mothers.  It is not easy and at times it could be demoralizing and depressing. The Almighty knows your efforts and what you are going through. Just give what you have, for a single drop is still better than nothing. Make lots of prayers and supplications and insha allah, the journey would  be smooth and rewarding. 

Nursing Scarf, Perfect for Muslimahs

This nursing scarf made by Maternity America is perfect for Muslimahs! It’s a great nursing cover because it is lightweight, easy to put on and is extra long. Made of a blend of polyester, rayon and spandex fabric, it is soft and stretchy. At only $29 this is one of the more affordable yet stylish nursing covers on the U.S. market.  Help Spread the Barakah of Breastfeeding by sharing this with someone.

Make Your Own Nursing Strap

Simply put strap around neck and clasp to any blanket.

You Seriously Made That!– This 5 minute, no-sew tutorial is super easy.

Lucky Star Creations– This one requires a few more supplies but is easy and the strap is adjustable.

Delia Creates– Cute nursing strap made with easy-to-find curtain rings.

Sew Incredibly Crafty– Adjustable, cloth nursing strap.

If you’d rather not make your own, you could buy one from Latch On.

The strap can has multiple uses.

Maintaining Modesty: Advice on Buying a Nursing Cover

4 in 1 Nursing Shawl by L’ovedBbay

Many Muslimahs worry about breastfeeding in public because they feel that they may accidentally expose themselves to strangers. While maintaining our modesty and protecting our awrah are important, breastfeeding should not be viewed as a hindrance that prevents us from enjoying time outside the home. I can recall being stressed-out many times because I could not find a private place to hide and nurse my crying baby. As the dreadful and embarrassing situation escalated, I often resorted to breastfeeding in a filthy public restroom stall. However, as I have matured into motherhood, I have learned that these events could have been prevented by preparing myself to breastfeed in public. Allah (swt) has provided us with many products that help one to discreetly nurse in public. Nursing covers have become a convenient way that mothers maintain privacy outside the home. They are also great to use with family and friends who may come to visit your home and when pumping at work. Though I am currently breastfeeding my third child, I have never owned a nursing cover because they are not easily available in local stores. However, there are many different styles and designs of nursing covers online. I recently stumbled upon an awesome nursing cover called Covillow that is a nursing cover and support pillow in one. What makes it preferable for Muslimahs is that it covers the front, back and both sides of the nursing mother, unlike most commercial nursing covers. Here are some things to consider when choosing a nursing cover that works best for you and your baby:

  1. Style  There are generally three designs. The most popular style has a boned-open,rigid neckline that allows you to look at your baby as she latches on and nurses. These also provide great ventilation for baby. The second category of nursing covers are shawls/scarves that are free flowing, lightweight and conveniently drape over your body like a poncho. These are usually easiest to tote in a bag or can be worn around your neck.  My favorite is the Pashmama by Jolly Jumper.

    The third style, is really a group of covers that are unique-by design. These do not fit into the other categories but are special in their own way.

  2. Cost  Nursing Covers generally range from $10 to $40. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. So, invest wisely. If you would rather make one yourself, there are many free tutorials online. Here is my favorite one that requires sewing one line.  You could also use a khimar as a nursing cover.
  3. Convenience  Choose a nursing cover that can be easily rolled or folded to fit into your purse. The most convenient option is nursing shawls/scarves which can be worn around the neck or as a top and can be put on in a jiffy.
  4. Comfort  Choose a fabric that is soft and lightweight such as cotton. Avoid covers with a high percentage of polyester.
  5. Color  A dark nursing cover may make you and your baby uncomfortable in warm weather. Make sure your fabric is opaque, and choose light to medium colors that would easily compliment anything you wear.
  6. Coverage  Most nursing covers only drape over the front of your body like an apron. While this is generally sufficient, some mothers may prefer a cover that provides full coverage of the top of the body like shawls, scarves or ponchos. If you’d rather not have that style, the Covillow and Boobtoob are options.
  7. Function  Some covers are multi-purpose and can be used as a car seat cover, swaddle blanket, stroller cover and/or changing mat.  Some can even be worn as a cardigan for mama.
  8. Durability  If your are always on the go, choose a cover that will last with time and will be easy to clean. Most covers are machine washable.
  9. Baby Activtiy & Sensitivity  If you have a baby will be bothered by the cover touching them or who likes to peek while nursing, a shawl or poncho would work best for you. If you have a small baby, or one who won’t be distracted, most styles would work for you.