The transition from being pregnant to having a baby is such an exciting time, but also so overwhelming that the last thing you’re thinking about is what you’re going to wear. You spend so long in maternity or oversized clothes that you can easily forget what to wear after the bump has gone.
Once I felt like getting out of the house (and my tracksuit pants!) with my newborn, I didn’t want to wear my maternity clothes anymore, but was stuck between not-quite being my pre-baby size, and not being pregnant anymore. I WANTED to wear clothes that I liked and made me feel stylish, but I NEEDED to wear clothes I could breastfeed in, without half undressing myself at the cafe. Not an easy feat.
My Maternal Health Nurse told me the number one reason that women stopped breastfeeding was because they felt self-conscious about nursing in public. If that’s true, that is a real tragedy, because there are so many gorgeous, stylish and discreet feeding tops and dresses available now, that nursing in public should be easier than it’s ever been.
Some of the best nursing clothes I own are tanks – and after three babies I have a lot of them, and wear them all! The best ones I have found are the stretchy, cotton tanks with openings at the bust for easy, discreet and convenient feeding – both at home, and when out. Having two older daughters means that many feeds need to be at the park or at swimming lessons, so no-fuss tops are a necessity. These types of tops with openings at the bust are my favourite for nursing, because being well over a size E cup when I’m breastfeeding I’d rather wear these peek-a-boo style tops rather than lift my regular clothes up, or unbutton a shirt revealing more than I want to.
I also have some gorgeous nursing friendly dresses I’ve gladly worn to weddings, dinners and functions, that make me feel both stylish and comfortable. And even better, no-one can tell they’re maternity ‘feeding’ clothes. The best thing about these dresses is that you can wear them pregnant, you can wear them breastfeeding and even after that. If you invest wisely, you’ll love wearing these clothes and be able to wear them for your next pregnancy too.
Here are some of my faves:
This SRC Essentials feeding dress in red and white stripes is a favourite. I’ve worn it a lot and get lots of comments on it whenever I do. It’s such soft jersey bamboo cotton, so it’s really comfortable, makes nursing in public places easy because it’s simple and quick to just lift up the top layer, and looks so cute and stylish. I love wearing it with Birkenstocks or white trainers.
Bamboo Jersey Feeding Dress from SRC Essentials range by SRC Health, also available in black and black & white stripes, $69.95
The ‘worker horse’ pieces in my nursing wardrobe are definitely my feeding tanks. I have five and wear them nearly every day, even to bed. I wear them alone or with a nursing bra underneath, with a cardigan or jacket over the top or just a scarf. They are just so stylish, so comfortable and SO easy to nurse in.
Just lift the top layer of material to feed and it’s so discreet and easy, no-one will even notice you’re feeding. It just looks like you’re holding your baby. Here I am feeding baby Marnie at my older daughter’s swimming lessons, I didn’t even bother with a nursing bra when she was this young – her feeds were so frequent – so it was super quick and easy to nurse.
I have this tank in stripes, spots, two black ones and a grey and they pretty much go with everything and are easy to layer up. I wore the black one all the time when I was pregnant as it went with everything, and in Winter wore it as a singlet under my other clothing as it was nice and long, then wore it constantly when breastfeeding. I even wear them to bed!
Both tanks from the SRC Essentials range of Feeding Tanks by SRC Health, $49.95
LONG SLEEVED T-SHIRT
Much like a tank, a long-sleeved t-shirt is such a wardrobe stable because it will go with everything and is so easy to breastfeed in. I love stripes, because I think it really finishes an outfit and looks great on everyone, so this one is a favourite. Perfect for the cooler months, it is fitted so you feel stylish after birth, but not so tight that you’re worried about your after-bub tummy. Similar to the nursing tanks, you just lift the top layer of material to feed in, discreetly.
Black and White Long Sleeve Nursing Top from Blossom & Glow, $45
This one is another favourite and one I wore to work quite regularly because it was just so comfortable – I have it in black and it goes with everything, and really does make discreet nursing a breeze.
Long Sleeve Nursing Top by Esprit from Queen Bee Maternity, available in grey, black and white, $69.95 PLUS Stylish Bump readers get an exclusive 10% off at Queen Bee Maternity, just use the code STYLISHBUMP10 and click HERE to view the range and save.
If your newborn arrives during ‘party season’ when you are most likely to have lots of events like weddings and parties then a nursing dress or two is a great idea. One that you can wear when you’re pregnant is even better because you’ll get much more wear out of it, like this cotton maxi dress worn by stylish mama, designer Leanne Barlow. Just lift the top layer of material to nurse so easily. So stylish and very comfortable cotton.
Maxi Dress: Asos maternity, currently stocked in red and black, $76.00
A t-shirt that doesn’t look like a feeding t-shirt and made from comfortable, bamboo rich jersey material will become a wardrobe staple, no matter how long you feed for. It won’t make you feel like you’re wearing maternity clothes and means you’ll happily take your baby out with you, knowing you’ll be prepared if they get hungry!
This stylish striped t-shirt is a great design as it has two layers, with the inner layer open for feeding. This is my other favourite kind of nursing top because it’s a stylish top, but makes nursing so easy. You don’t have to unzip or unbutton – just lift it up. So easy! When your baby is nursing (see below right image) you can’t even see any skin: here I am feeding baby Marnie at the park, wearing the grey one that I have now passed on to Mrs White (currently out of stock, sorry, see below for similar.)
Owning a dress that you can wear to any occasion is a great asset, because you won’t feel as though you can’t attend – or can’t take your baby – because you’re breastfeeding. Having something to wear that allows you to discreetly nurse your baby but also stylish and appropriate really is a must-have. Newborns want to feed morning, noon, and night (and every few hours in between) so having an outfit that looks stylish AND is easily accessible for nursing is just so handy.
I love this nursing dress I wore to a family wedding, and comfortably fed my baby whilst at the table a few times during the day and night without anyone noticing. You just pull the side across with the inner layer exposed so you can easily nurse. And cotton jersey material means it’s comfortable and doesn’t need ironing, which means it’s also a great travel dress.
The other nursing essential I have in my wardrobe is a chambray shirt – I have a couple, and neither are maternity shirts, they are just great to wear for nursing, just unbutton the top few buttons. However, I don’t find a shirt as discreet as the other tops, as my bust is rather large when full of milk, but it’s still a handy item to have. You can also wear it open with a tank underneath, to shield your bub’s head and face it you’re outside or somewhere public.
There are nursing tops, tanks and dresses available almost everywhere now, many more than when I had my first baby several years ago.
As pregnant women become more stylish and demand more stylish clothes, and breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public is encouraged, hopefully more brands will start to design maternity and nursing ranges for us all.
Here are some more of my favourite places to check out for nursing wear as they’re always getting new stock in:
Asos maternity nursing range here
Blossom & Glow maternity and nursing range here
Mayarya nursing wear, here
Queen Bee Maternity nursing range here
Nursing Mama here
Here’s some of my favourite images of celebrity mamas feeding their bubs:
Happy shopping, and happy nursing mamas.