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BravadoMama Model Search | And the Winner is...

A huge thank you and best wishes to all the expectant and nursing moms that entered Bravado Designs' BravadoMama Model Search! There were nearly 500 entries for the judging team to review, which included Kristin of BonBon Rose Girls and me.

We're so touched by all the beautiful faces of motherhood and know first-hand how hard it is to put oneself out there so we really appreciate the thoughtful responses.

It was a difficult decision but the newest BravadoMama model has been chosen...

BravadoMama Model Search 2012 Winner Mari

Congratulations Mari Torres of New Jersey!

While there are many faces of Bravado Designs, we chose Mari because we think she gracefully embodies the modern woman. She's a working mother, exclusively breastfed her 10-month old daughter Stella for 5 months, and has twins on the way! Her own mom and supportive husband helped Mari become a second generation breast-feeder.

Together with her family, Mari traveled to Toronto late last month for a fabulous photo shoot and answered some of our maternity style questions:

What is your maternity style like and how do Bravado Designs' products fit in?

I was lucky enough to be all belly when I was pregnant with Stella. All I really had to do was purchase pants, jeans and shorts because my 3rd trimester was in the summer. My style was very casual and chic. I would dress up for work in my own regular size dresses, which were loose fitting around the waist and looked great with a belly. I would also wear black or khaki slacks with a loose fitting top that would hug the belly nicely. On the weekends, I would wear casual dresses because it was the most comfortable style for me or maternity shorts and a tank top. Now with the twins, I'll need a variety of maternity clothes for sure! I'm 13 weeks now and my style hasn't change at all during the first trimester and I'm still wearing my regular clothes - unbuttoned pants and all. I will be in my 3rd trimester during the fall and early winter months, so I will be wearing sweaters with skinny jeans, the maternity slacks I already own and will probably need to get a bigger coat along with a few more pieces. The Bravado products fit right in with my maternity style, especially the Essential Nursing Tank because I'm currently nursing and it covers my growing belly. It’s also useful now in the summer and I will be using them to layer under clothes when the weather changes. From the photo shoot I really liked the leopard print bra and loved the tanks. They were all comfortable and convenient and so easy to use.

Once you have your precious twins, how do you plan on dealing with that tough transitional phase? Any tips for dressing a post-pregnancy body?

The most important thing to keep in mind is to stay as comfortable as possible. I'm curious to see how a twin belly will recover versus a singleton belly. Also, Stella's was a 100% natural birth and the twins will most likely be a C-section so I am trying to read as much as I can on the entire process and what to expect recovery wise. I was fortunate enough to bounce back quickly after giving birth the first time so dressing a post-pregnancy body wasn't that much different. However, when you're breastfeeding you have to make a lot of adjustments because everything that you wear has to be convenient for breastfeeding. I thought that once I had the baby I would be able to wear all the cute outfits I wanted, but quickly realized that if something doesn't stretch enough or if I can't bring the sleeves down then I can't wear it because then I can't breastfeed or pump. Luckily, one doesn't have to compromise fashion as there are so many options with Bravado, you just have to get used to it and make adjustments to your style.

What is your favorite thing about breastfeeding?

My favorite thing about breastfeeding is the effect it has had on my child and myself. Stella is so happy every time she nurses and she has been so healthy from day one. It is a very natural and bonding experience and knowing all the health benefits it has on the baby makes all the sacrifice, soreness and challenges so worth it.

Congrats again to Mari and her family! Thank you to Bravado Designs for inviting Glamamom into its community and including me in this inspirational contest celebrating nursing moms everywhere.

{My participation as a BravadoMama Model Search judge was paid.}