Being a new mother is at times complicated, overwhelming and full of emotions and questions. Since I blog about style on a regular basis and I’m a nursing mother, I get lots of questions about what to wear when nursing, especially when out in public: which styles work best, which offer the most discreet and easy access, and even what brands of nursing gear I like the most.
The number one tip I like to tell friends and readers is to not limit yourself when nursing. Just because you’re nursing, doesn’t mean you can’t wear dresses or pretty things; it just means you have to be a bit more strategic and thoughtful when picking your outfits in the morning.
Here are some of my most basic tips of what to wear, and what not to wear when nursing. And visit my recent Nursing Do’s and Don’ts post to get more style ideas and tips.
10 Style Tips to Help You Feel Good and Make Nursing Easier
Being a new mom is a tough job to begin with, and one of the last things you should fret over is what to wear, especially in public, if you’re a nursing mother. Here are 10 solid nursing-friendly style tips I’ve learned after breastfeeding 3 babies. Just because you’re nursing doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice personal style.
#1 - You Can Still Wear Dresses
I post a lot of outfit of the day photos on my Instagram account, and one of my favorite go-to pieces of clothing is a fun dress. Oftentimes other nursing mothers will comment that they wish they could wear dresses, but they can’t because they’re nursing. I say nonsense! You just have to be strategic with what types of dresses you wear, but you don’t have to ditch dresses entirely! Go for a soft, stretchy cotton knit with straps or sleeves that can easily be pulled down to nurse. This dress here is perfect for that.
#2 - Go for Easy Access
This dress has a back zipper, but because the fabric isn’t very stretchy, I have to take off the entire top half to nurse properly, which is a pain! Cute dress, but not nursing-friendly. I still love this dress though and it was a great purchase because I will wear it for long after I stop nursing. For now though, I just reserve wearing it when I know I won’t have to nurse in public, like a date night or lunch with friends.
#3 - Avoid Items with No Access at All
Another thing to keep in mind when dressing for the day is if there will be any access at all. It didn’t dawn on me, that to nurse in this particular dress, I’d have to pull the dress all the way up to gain access, until it was time to nurse. Not the greatest situation. Luckily I was at home so it wasn’t a big deal, but had I been out in public, that would have been really awkward. Always make sure there’s some sort of access for baby.
#4 - Avoid Rompers
Dresses are usually pretty manageable to work around when nursing, but I found out the hard way that rompers are quite nonfunctional when it comes to ease of nursing. Perhaps this might seem really obvious, but believe me, when you’re rushing out the door and have five seconds to get dressed, in the middle of a heat wave, you think first of comfort and don’t always think about nursing. So learn from my mistake and just avoid rompers regardless.
#5 - Button-Ups Are Your Friend
Allowing the easiest of all access, button-up shirts are wonderful because they allow you to easily nurse baby in a discreet way, and they can be dressed up or down, however you want. Add a cute necklace, roll up the sleeves, wear it over-sized with your favorite pair of jeans; a button up always looks chic and put together, and is a nursing mom’s best friend.
#6 - Lived-in Fabrics
The only thing better than a button down shirt, is a chambray button down shirt. Chambray is one of the softest, comfiest fabrics around, and makes stain removal, from baby spit up or leaked breast milk, a cinch to wipe off. If you get a lightweight one, you can also wear it all year long, as I did with this one from J. Crew. Avoid really nice fabrics which are hard to clean, like silk. Dribbled breast milk on a silk blouse means an automatic trip to the dry cleaner.
#7 - Cozy Warm Weather Fabrics
With fall approaching, you’ll want to stay warm, but also avoid multiple layers that could make nursing cumbersome. Cozy fabrics like chambray and brushed cotton knit are great to keep you warm and are soft on baby’s skin. Wool is of course wonderful as well, but may irritate baby’s cheeks if they’re really sensitive.
#8 - Overly Embellished
Embellished fabrics are wonderful and pretty, but aren’t always the most nursing-friendly. Take this all-over sequined top for instance. I love it for a party or date night, but after I nursed my baby boy in it and left little scratches on his cheeks from the sequins, I felt terrible and made sure to put this one towards the back of the closet.
#9 - Add a Blazer or Cute Jacket
Some days you just want to wear a t-shirt, because they’re comfy and they make it really easy to just pull up and nurse when you need to. However, some days you have to go out in public or to an event, like a party, and you want to look pulled together. Add a blazer, cardigan or other cute jacket that can easily be slipped off, and you get the best of both worlds; easy and comfy nursing attire, and you look great!
#10 - Find a Favorite
Let me introduce you to my favorite postpartum clothing purchase, my over-sized striped sweater. Me and my sweater have been through a lot together. I picked up this sweater just a few weeks after Hayden was born. I love that it is lightweight, yet still keeps me warm against a chill, its over-sized silhouette hides my baby pooch, and it’s really easy to wash and throw in the dryer. I love it for nursing too because I can pull it up, and it’s so big that it easily covers baby and me, so I really don’t even need a cover. It’s also as cute as it is comfy, so I can wear it all day at home, and if someone pops by unexpectedly or I have to rush out, I still feel good and presentable. Every momma should have a top like this that you love and will carry you all through your time nursing.
So are there any other tips you would add? What was your favorite clothing item that made nursing easy, but you still felt good in?