I’ve fielded the question of how to look stylish while nursing countless times over the past few weeks, and I’m so glad — it gave me the occasion to get my own ducks in a row on this topic.
The first thing I’ll say is that I underestimated what I would need the first go around. It somehow did not compute that I’d need breastfeeding gear and nursing-friendly clothing for, like, a year (duh), and so I bought the minimum (slash ignored nursing-friendliness) and was frustrated by the fact that I could wear approximately 1/50th of my planned wardrobe.
At any rate: my first recommendation is to invest in some good nursing bras that fit well and hold up in the wash — and to buy in multiples. During the first few weeks, I really liked this pull-down style from Majamas — so comfortable and unfussy. This time around, I also added some Coobies to my lingerie drawer (similar to Majamas, though a different, more sports-bra-like fabric) after multiple Magpies recommended this label. During those first few bleary days/weeks, I was barely making it out of loungewear — let alone into public — and these felt easy and comfortable. Once I got my feet under me, I tried a bunch of different brands and ended up loving the Bravado Seamless Nursing bra. Read the reviews: people are obsessed with this bra, and for good reason. It is super comfortable and made of a material that creates a nice silhouette while also…absorbing messes. (Even with nursing pads, things happen.) At night, I liked a bunch of soft cotton styles I found from Belabumbum, including this one.
So, that’s my number one tip: buy a couple different brands and styles of nursing bras and really figure out what you like, and then double down on that style. I’d strongly recommend trying at least one pull-down style in the early weeks and testing the Bravado, which, in my opinion, is the best on the market. (Because otherwise you end up doing a TON of laundry. Not that you aren’t already, but — ya know. One less thing to keep track of.)
Also, stock up on nursing pads. I’m intrigued by these reusable ones — I’d forgotten that they existed until after I ordered the Lansinohs (which are, in my opinion, the softest disposable ones out there), and think I might try these after I get through my first box. I’m curious whether they are as absorbent as the disposable ones…
I also picked up this Haakaa manual breast pump because I found that I was “wasting” a lot of precious milk while mini would start nursing on one side. This was not only frustrating because I had an undersupply and wanted to save every last drop — but because I often soaked through my nursing bra/pad/etc. I’m curious to see how this works. My sister said it was annoying to have to get one into place at every feed (she was using a different brand — I have higher hopes for the Haakaa) and she eventually gave up on it, but we shall see. WTTW: I’ve heard you need to buy a stopper to go with this because the Haakaa tips over easily. I ordered this one even though it’s a different brand — the reviewers say it works with the Haakaa — because it was less expensive and less visually offensive than the Haakaa brand one (what is with that cheesy flower?). OK, enough on that topic.
OK, nursing bra: done. Next: buy a nursing cover. I was pretty uncomfortable about breastfeeding in front of anyone outside of the immediate family, and using a swaddle or burp cloth just didn’t cut it. I hated wearing a nursing cover so much — it feels suffocating and uncomfortable — that I apparently threw away the one I used with mini, because it’s nowhere to be found in our apartment. But it’s a necessary evil. This go around, I bought this Bebe Au Lait cover in blue gingham because it’s cute. I’m also contemplating one of these styles for when I’m at home with guests over because — even though it offers less coverage all the way around — it looks like it will make me feel less suffocated. (But — the prints are all hideous. Yuck.) My message here is that I was somewhat spartan with myself the first go around — “I’ll just buy two nursing bras” and “I’ll just use a blanket to shield myself,” I told myself. But nursing is something you do SO FREQUENTLY and for SO MANY MONTHS (if it’s in your plan, of course): why wouldn’t you take the time to figure out what will make you the most comfortable and effective at this daily activity?
So, two nursing cover styles it is for this mama. Just convinced myself.
OK, next up. What to actually wear. I really hate most designated “nursing” styles. There are so many frumpy cotton pieces in ugly colors with obviously-placed layers that scream: “I’M A MILKMAID! EASY ACCESS HERE!” Not for me.
In the very early days, my favorite thing was to wear a comfortable cotton nursing tank with a cardigan and leggings. I’d make myself feel more put-together by adding big earrings, statement shoes, or — this go around — a fantastic headband. I really loved this Gap sleep cami, which I’d wear sans bra and just put nursing pads into the cups of the tank and I already know I’ll get a ton of wear out of this long-line cardigan this go around. There are tons of nursing camis out there — I found I didn’t love the ones that were super compression-oriented because they made me feel uncomfortable as I recovered from my c-section. I preferred the Gap sleep style because it was so loose and comfortable. I did order this in white to test out this go around. I figure it might be a good companion for some loose-fitting jogger-style pants like these or these for dressed-down mornings at home or runs to the coffee shop. For cardigans: I also love this for a fun statement, this for comfort, and this because it looks easy-to-wash and comfortable, and the 90s ribbed look is in.
My go-to during the early months was loose-fit tops and button-downs, especially in tunic styles because they tended to be more comfortable for maneuvering the baby around and more flattering to a post-partem figure. I’d pair them with maternity jeans or leggings during the first few weeks of recovery. Here are my favorites right now, many of which I’ve already ordered:
+This voluminous white top (to feed, pull up — kind of creating your own nursing cover!; layer with a nursing tank beneath).
+A classic chambray button down. So easy with white skinnies.
Because it will be warmer this go around, though, I’m focusing on dresses and jumpsuits. A couple of my favorite finds:
+This nursing caftan (currently on sale! I own this — so chic).
+This sweet dress. Love the Peter Pan collar and puff sleeves.
+For the Fourth: this dress feels perfect.
Finally: sleepwear! I absolutely loved these maternity nightgowns from Gap and this one from Belabumbum. They are almost identical to one another — soft, stretchy cotton with drop cups and I’ve been wearing them a lot towards the end of this pregnancy, too, when even my maternity leggings irk me. They were heaven, especially when I didn’t want anything near my c-section incision. I also wore my beloved Cosabellas quite a bit, and plan to do the same this go around. (I now have a few pairs.)
This go around, I also picked up some Lake Pajamas maternity jammies and Roller Rabbit jammies that match mini. Both are a super soft cotton and I can’t wait to wear them. I also like the look of this striped sleepshirt.
If you are going on a beach vacation — this tie-front swimsuit looks genius.
P.P.S. What’s in my hospital bag.
P.P.P.S. A mini tech detox worth testing.