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

The Nursing Sash

This nursing sash, known as a Baby Bond, is very chic and comfortable.  I think its a great option for Muslimah’s because it is discreet and lightweight.  It’s the only nursing “cover” that doesn’t annoy the baby (and you) because it does not hang over the baby’s head.  The sash-like accessory drapes elegantly over one shoulder and has a slit for nursing access.  This makes it easier to latch on, maintain eye contact and hold your baby while breastfeeding.  These are also a cinch to make if you have basic sewing skills.  Here are two tutorials (your pick) if you’re interested:

Leah’s Enchanted Cloth

Houswifing

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.