When we first learn we are pregnant, many of us take the opportunity to splash out on a capsule wardrobe of comfortable and stretchy maternity outfits to see us through our pregnancy, but with many of us also worrying about maternity leave budgets and a lack of disposable income, the last thing we want to do when our babies are born is invest even more money into nursing clothes or outfits that are breastfeeding friendly.
From personal experience, it’s fair to say that once your baby is born, there is a period of time where your maternity clothes become too big, but your pre pregnancy jeans are still a very distant memory. You want a combination of comfort and style, but will be restricted on how many of your pre pregnancy outfits you can wear; with a need to be able to quickly and easily gain access to both breasts on demand (ideally not flashing your knickers to the world in the process).
But fear not, you don’t need to rush out and buy a whole new nursing wardrobe. There are a number of breastfeeding clothing essentials that you probably already have or can pick up very cheaply, rotating or teaming them up to create the perfect breastfeeding wardrobe for summer or winter.
Vest / tank tops – Vest tops and tank tops are your absolute breastfeeding essential – your staple, go to, must have nursing requirement. It’s fair to say that in my early breastfeeding days, I had as many vest tops as I did muslin squares. Not only can they be picked up very cheaply, but they can be bought in virtually every colour of the rainbow, and are easy to swap if get milk on / sicked on / or on a really bad day, pooped on.
Tank tops can be teamed up with everything from jeans to skirts and worn under other clothes such as a cardigan or jumper. By layering two vests on top of each other, or wearing a vest under other items of clothing, you can easily master the “one up one down” feeding technique, which is ideal if you prefer to feed more discreetly, or simply want easier access. If you do have a favourite jumper or top that doesn’t have a low enough neck line to gain access to your breasts, simply wear a vest top underneath it, and then lift up the top and down the vest.
Tank tops are also super comfy, and tend to be a little longer in length to cover our post partum belly.
Wrap dresses are a breastfeeding Mums dream – providing super easy access when your baby wants to feed, without having to worry about clips, zips or fasteners. Flattering on your post pregnancy belly, wrap dresses can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, can be wrapped tighter or looser as your post baby figure changes and adapts. Wrap dresses are also quick to shove on when you are running late, which you inevitably will be most of the time.
Anything with buttons down the chest such as deep necked polo shirts, casual shirts and blouses are ideal clothing for breastfeeding moms, offering the ability to gain access by simply unbuttoning as required. You may want to go up a size to give you a bit of extra space for accessing your breasts.
I would also recommend wearing pyjamas with buttons. Those winter night feeds can be freezing – and the last thing you want to do is strip off and sit shuddering semi naked in a darkened room in order to feed your baby during the night. Trust me I’ve been there, and its not a good look.
If you are conscious about feeding in public, or feel more comfortable covering up, a scarf is a great breastfeeding friendly addition. Not only do they look great teamed with a plain tee / tank and jeans, but they can prove pretty useful as a cover up or support for your baby whilst feeding.
Whatever you choose to wear when breastfeeding, I would however recommend investing in some high-quality nursing bras, as comfort is absolutely key. There is nothing more uncomfortable than trying to manoeuvre your breasts out of a piece of underwired lingerie – be kind to yourself, because chances are in those first months at least, your breasts will be out of it more than they are in!
What were your breastfeeding wardrobe essentials?