Everyone knows that pregnancy requires a huge style change to accommodate that ever-growing bump, but what about after pregnancy? It’s not so easy to slip back into your pre-motherhood wardrobe, especially if you are nursing. Constant boob access is key and you’ll be required to deal with a dynamic sized and sometimes leaking chest (not to mention your little one who can have some unexpected mishaps).
Nursing can be all encompassing and sometimes it feels like your body is no longer your own. However, with a couple of updates, you can improve your comfort, simplify some aspects of nursing, and feel a little bit more like yourself.
As a fashion designer, the key to good style is taking into consideration the whole package – the pros and cons. Here are some of my best tips for what to wear while nursing.
THE NURSING BRA
A good nursing bra is hands down the foundation of any nursing look and general mom survival guide. Look for bras that are designed with transitional sizing in mind, generally called comfort bras. Your tatas will be changing size throughout the various stages of nursing and a fair amount just between nursing sessions. A forgiving comfort bra is designed to accommodate this change. As you are trying on various bras (preferably with a dry breast pad, see point 2 below) make sure the band is not binding, too loose, or that any underwire does not cut into the mammary tissue. An improper fit to your nursing bras can lead to lactating breast issues.
So… when do I purchase my fitted bras? A good time frame to get fitted is somewhere between days seven to fourteen post-birth.
PADDING FOR LEAKAGE
OK, time to get real… As a nursing mom, your breasts might start leaking milk (eek!). I was having brunch with a good friend who had recently had a baby. Without realizing, milk stains started forming on her t-shirt mid conversation. Not to worry, if you tuck nursing pads into your bra, they absorb the milk and prevent leaking. This is the rare time you can pad your bra!
COMFORT & EASY ACCESS
This will be your mantra, mama! Due to the frequency of nursing, especially in the beginning, you will find that your regular clothes, will be benched till after you stop nursing. Dresses with back zippers, blouses with no front opening, tight and constricting tops or any garment that must be taken off entirely in order to nurse properly… see you later!
THE NURSING TOP
Next to the foundation (the nursing bra), a nursing top will take you far, as two piece outfits are the simply easiest to put together. I recommend a variation, from casual knits to comfortably nurse at home, to nicer pieces that can take you from work to dinner without missing a step. These pieces can be worn with your favorite jeans for a weekend brunch, or to the office, paired with a blazer or cardigan for easy, chic pumping.
EASY MAINTANANCE AND WASHABLILTY
Choose pieces that can be worn, washed and re-used. Set aside your high-maintenance, delicate; dry-clean only pieces for the post breastfeeding phase in your life. Spit-up and spilled breastmilk are now so so real.
I cannot stress enough the advantages of prints. Prints are beautiful camouflage! No matter how careful you are, baby spit-up or leaked breast milk is inevitable and you’ll be dealing with an unsightly stain for the rest of the day. Save yourself the embarrassment and invest in printed tops and dresses!
WORKING MAMAS – NURSING STYLE
Many new moms go back to work just a few months after giving birth. Layering is key to adapting your professional look for nursing or pumping smartly and comfortably. A great blazer or boucle jacket worn open over a refined nursing top should be the office outfit gold standard. When it comes to blouses, look for relaxed and easy fits that can take you from day to night. It’s ok to buy two of the same thing in different sizes. If you know something works, you increase the styling options depending on how loose the top fits (loosey-goosey for the weekend to more form conscious at work).
Breastfeeding won’t last forever so enjoy this special time! And remember, just because you are nursing, you don’t have to sacrifice your personal style.
MAIA MODA Co-Founder
This article was also featured in Modern Mom.