Editor’s note: This is a regular series in which we help Styling You readers solve a particular wardrobe or clothing crisis with a little advice and some shopping suggestions. If you think you’d like to be considered as part of a Wardrobe Boot Camp post, then please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a couple of photos and a brief rundown of what specific help you would like.
I am a 32 year old with a 2.5 year old and a five month old (both little girls). At the moment I am breastfeeding and still wearing my maternity/breastfeeding tops which are starting to look very baggy & making me feel even more frumpy than I already do. I still have another five to six kilos to lose but am not focused on that too much at the moment (a great day for me means I have had a shower and washed my hair).
I breastfed Eloise for 12 months and am hoping to do the same for Jade. My problem is my boobs fluctuate between an E to an F cup depending on what feed I am up to. I am hoping you can give me some ideas as I want to start buying clothes that make me feel great but will still look good once I have finished breastfeeding and my boobs have deflated somewhat. Surely I am not the only woman having this issue.
Any help I would be so thankful,
Hi Lauren, it’s really lovely to *meet* you. I’m Emily and I write blog entitled The Beetle Shack. At present I’m in a similar position to you as I’ve just recently had my third baby. Over the past four years my body has undergone more change that I ever thought possible and as a result, my wardrobe has too. It’s taken some time to accept the fact that pencil skirts and high heels no longer form my wardrobe staples.
Throughout my baby raising years I have kept a pretty simple wardrobe to accommodate my ever changing bust size and body shape. I like to buy good quality, practical clothing that will stand the test of time. I stick to fun prints and patterns and wear a scarf with everything. When I’m shopping for clothing (usually online) I always keep my eyes peeled for soft, floaty fabrics, drop sleeves and relaxed fits – I know items that fit this criteria will work with me throughout the seasons and my many body transformations. Here’s my guide to how to dress when breastfeeding.
I’ve broken it down into five key things to look for.
1. The Shirt Dress: Shirt dresses are my “go-to” item each and every day. They provide easy access for breastfeeding and can be found in a large assortment or fabrics, prints and styles. I’m a fan of anything in floaty silks or cotton with a pinch of stretch. I’m even guilty of pinching my husband’s work shirts before rolling the sleeves, throwing on some footless tights and a boyfriend cardi. A shirt dress is the perfect trans-seasonal staple as it can be worn with tights, flat boots, a jacket and a huge scarf in winter or striped back to bare legs and a statement necklace in spring and summer. This one from Gorman is the perfect example.
2. The Jeans: A great pair of jeans will save you a bunch of time when dressing in a hurry. They require no ironing and can be pulled off the bedroom floor if things are dire (or is that just me?). Try a boyfriend style that can be rolled at the ankle. They look great with a belt, loose striped tee and ballet flats or can be dressed up with some sparkles and heels for the evening. As they are loose to begin with they’ll last you longer as your body changes after baby. I wear mine a shamefully large amount.
3. The Swing Top/Kimono: Oh mercy, hello post-baby life saver. I own an assortment of button down, sleeveless swing tops that I layer over stripped tees and tanks. Try a super soft cotton with a peter pan collar or a floral silk with scoop neck. Pair them with your boyfriend jeans or layer them over fitted dresses and skirts for a bit of fun. The swing top will accommodate a changing bust size and will look effortlessly great for years to come. Similarly, the Kimono (I have this one and love it) offers a bit of colour and fun to an otherwise simple outfit. It will work with your body whatever the size or shape.
4. The Scarf: A great scarf can save just about any dreary outfit, not to mention the hidden benefit of having something to disguise baby vomit, spilled food and ehum … milk leakages. I seldom leave the house without some sort of printed fabric around my neck – layers of wool for winter, large cotton squares for spring and autumn and long sashes of floral silk during summer. A tactfully placed scarf can hide the dreaded “lop sided” issue known to many a breastfeeding mother (this one can’t just be me, can it?). You can spend as much or as little as you’d like, either way, it will save your fashion bacon.
5. Shoes - Ahhh the one part of our body that isn’t affected by pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding … or is it? During my baby growing years my feet have spread to the point that many of my shoes no longer fit. It’s an expensive problem to have, and the perfect excuse to offer my husband. These days I work with about five pairs of shoes – ankle boots in black and brown – I wear these with jeans and dresses spring through to autumn and pair them with tights when needed. For spring and summer ballet flats and strappy sandals from the Horse are always at the ready.
Thanks so much for having me Nikki, it’s been fun thinking about some wardrobe essentials for the breastfeeding mumma. I hope this has helped a little Lauren and that you’ll be stepping out in style this spring.
If you’re a breastfeeding mum – now or in the recent past – what tips do you have for Lauren?
In a past life Emily was a high school Visual Arts teacher. She always enjoyed the ‘naughty’ kids the most, the ones that were resistant to following the rules and questioned the boundaries. They were interesting, challenging and funny. When she was pregnant with her first child she could be heard saying ‘I hope I have a cheeky child, one that speaks his mind and is rebellious in nature’. Unsurprisingly, she did. In her personal blog, The Beetle Shack, she tells the tales of raising her own ‘spirited’ children whilst swanning about the house dressed as a fruit salad.