Nursing Clothing. Need. Not. Make. You. INSANE.

First, congratulations on the baby! Well done, you! If you’ve decided to give this nursing thing a go, you may have already discovered something: clothes are not your friend right now. All the tugging and pulling and shirt lifting and struggling you do to access your boobs is exhausting, uncomfortable, embarrassing and well, messy. For me, anyway, breastfeeding was challenging enough without the added struggle of trying to find something decent to wear that enabled me to easily feed my child without baring my midriff and/or boobs. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that not being able to find nursing clothes that looked great actually factored into my decision to stop nursing when I did. But it need not be so! My experience led me on a quest to find chic and functional clothing that feels great to wear and I’m happy to say, I’m winning. It’s too late for me, but it’s not too late for you! So, I’ve compiled a list of the essential items you need in your nursing wardrobe to look and feel gorgeous.

 

Bras...Pretty Bras...Pretty AND Functional Bras.

First up: bras. I made the mistake of trying to nurse with regular bras and let’s just say, it’s an unwinnable fight. And really, it’s not a fight you even need to have with the great assortment of nursing bras out there. I suggest you get a 2-3 bras for everyday use. Leakage is real and your bras will bear the brunt of it, and you don’t want to spend all your free time doing laundry now do you? There are some really pretty options out there right now, so don’t feel that you need to be all function over form. Treat yourself to some matching panties if you’re feeling saucy while you’re at it. A nursing mom is still a woman, damnit.


If you’re a sporty gal, there are some great nursing sports bras out there that might be worth it for you. I can recall an unfortunate incident when I rushed back from exercising to nurse Bobby, and when I pulled my boob out to feed him, the pressure from my sports bra sent the milk squirting across the room uncontrollably. Anyhoo...a nursing sports bra would’ve come in handy right about then.


Another great bra to consider is a sleep bra. If your boobs are sore or you just don’t like the feel of them bobbing about all night, a sleep bra is soft and comfy and gives you light support. In all your bras, look for easy, one-handed nursing access, stretchy cups to grow (and shrink) with you and natural fabrics that are gentle on your skin and baby’s skin.


Tank Tops

A great tank top is a wardrobe workhorse that can be worn on its own or layered underneath your favorite shirts, cardigans or sweaters to make lots of tops you already own nursing friendly. I recommend you choose dark colors to better hide stains, but it’s your call. At any rate, look for tank tops with easy nursing access so that you don’t have to lift up the bottom of your shirt. I like the Everyday Camisole from Majamas, because it has a flat strap - no clips at the top, which makes it easier to wear under other things or on its own. In addition, it’s made from natural fabrics and is long enough to provide coverage over your tummy. It has an interior shelf bra for support and to access for nursing, you just pull down the outer shell and pull aside the interior bra. Voila.


Hollywood Pajamas

There were days when I didn’t get out of my pajamas until the late afternoon, so having 1-2 pairs of comfortable and pretty pajamas might just be the thing that makes you feel human. I like to call them Hollywood Pajamas, because I imagine Ava Gardner or Doris Day looking all glamorous when I see the beautiful options that are available today. You will want pajamas that are cut generously enough to wear during and after pregnancy and have no uncomfortable waistband that digs in - look for a wide, flat elastic waistband in pants or go for a chemise. If you’ve had a C-Section, your incision site will thank you. On top, look for easy nursing access and maybe even light support. And to be able to cover up quickly when unexpected visitors or the UPS guy arrives (because people will be sending you lots and lots of prezzies!), you’ll want a robe that you can quickly throw on and that looks pretty. Hey - a nursing woman is allowed to think of herself every now and then too.


Choose soft fabrics that feel great next to your skin and be sure you can throw them all in the washing machine, because I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to be leaking fluids from seemingly everywhere for a little while. This is yet another reason why I say to you this: honey, you’re worth a pair of pajamas that make you feel pretty, because there’s a lot going on in your body that isn’t so foxy these days.


Tops and Dresses

One day, you’ll make it outside your house again, and when you do, you’ll want something to wear that (a) allows for nursing access and (b) actually looks like something you’d normally wear. Fortunately, there are some great designers (usually they’re moms, so they totally get it) who have made some beautiful and functional things just for you. Here I want to highlight a few different ways that nursing tops and dresses work:


  1. Layers: Some tops and dresses have an extra layer of fabric in the design that is meant to be lifted up or pulled aside for nursing access. The extra fabric can sometimes serve a secondary purpose as well by providing a little coverage for you and baby while you nurse.
  2. Zippers: One of our fave lines, Loyal Hana, has hidden zippers in all of their tops and dresses to provide ample access. If you don’t know to look for them, you’d never know the zippers were there.
  3. Hidden access: Some items have a hidden opening tucked away behind pleats. You’re totally covered, until you don’t want to be.
  4. Pull-aside: Some tops have openings built in and you just pull aside the fabric for nursing. Easy peasy.

When shopping, look for openings that are actually big enough for your boob to fit through, even if you’re just planning on pumping. I’d also look for flowy pieces, unless you’re one of those magical unicorn people who pop right back to pre-pregnancy form within days (and if you are, please don’t brag about it).

Depending on your lifestyle, pick a mixture of casual, work appropriate and dressy items so that you’re covered for everything. My suggestion would be that you’d heavy up on tops and dresses that you can wear to work and on the weekend, and just have maybe one dressy item in your closet. Date nights aren’t as easy to come by as they used to be!


A Wrap and/or Poncho

Wraps and ponchos are terrific for nursing. A wrap can be layered on over your tank top and styled many different ways, but the reason I love it for nursing is that it’s like wearing a built-in blanket to nurse discreetly. No need to carry an extra blanket covered in elephants or farm animals when you’re wearing a chic wrap. A poncho is great for the same reason, but I love it extra hard because it covers up the postpartum belly. You might not want either of these in the hottest summer months, but they’re great for the other three seasons.


So best of luck to you, mama. Nursing isn’t always easy, but there’s no reason it can’t be pretty and I for one think you deserve to feel amazeballs.