What to wear while breastfeeding

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 35 Comments

Remember when I wrote this post about what to wear when you are pregnant?

Well, guess what? Those lovely women of #everydaystyle have had their beautiful bubbas and are now breastfeeding.

For some it’s their first baby, others the second or third.

I’ve also enlisted the help of other mums who are either breastfeeding now or in the not-too-distant past.

And to my fellow mums – who like me didn’t succeed at breastfeeding (I hear you … all I succeeded at was successively starving all three of my children!) – then many of these tips will help you too.

The fact is very few women “snap back” into shape days after giving birth.

For those who do – GREAT – count your genetic blessings. For the rest of us, don’t be so harsh on yourself.

Your focus is – and should be – your new bubba. Dress to feel comfortable. You’ve just created and are sustaining another life.

You’re in the trenches of parenthood so please don’t get hung up on returning to your pre-pregnancy size and style. It will come.

29 tips for post-maternity wear

These tips on what to wear while breastfeeding have come from @icurvy, @mamastylista@twomadrabbits (who have had bubbas in the past few months) and @styleandshenanigans, @styleunearthed, @bohemian.traders@redcliffestyle and @kimbalikes who remember what it was like and have some gems to share.

Special thanks to Bec from The Plumbette, who has provided so many tips it could have been it’s own post. Check out Bec’s blog here. She also blogs at Styled by Bec. Here’s a snapshot of Bec’s post-maternity #everyday style. You can follow her on Instagram here.

What to wear when breastfeeding - Style by Bec

1. My favourite trick was to wear a singlet top under another top. I had two cool weather babies and this meant I could pull one top up, another down and still keep my modesty and be warm. Both my babies hated being covered to feed, so this was the easiest option.

2. I liked wearing pants, jeans or a skirt that sat high (yoga pants or something with a fold down) to cover my tummy and a loose top in the first few months.

3. As the feeds became less frequent, I started wearing strapless dresses or shirt front dresses/tops. Loose tops are easiest for public feeding particularly when the baby likes to hop off for a look around every now and then (around 4 months on).

4. For me it’s about comfort dressing, swing styles (button-down swing tank) and layers. I wanted to buy things that I could wear all year round by adding laters. Classic pieces I would wear with each baby. I wanted button down dresses that could be dressed up or down.

5. Everything has to be machine washable.

6. A large scarf is essential for covering baby vomit, wrapping baby when your forget a wrap and covering the boobs when feeding (if that’s your thing).

7. Bonds maternity singlets – every feeding woman must have two in every colour.

8. From the Bohemian Traders boho range the following items are feeding (and pregnancy) friendlyDreamer Dress, Dusty Linen Dress, Liberty Linen Dress, Button Down Swing Tank, Ahoy dress, Fable Kaftan.

9. Breastfeeding doesn’t mean giving up on wearing pretty dresses. I look for two key features – access (there are plenty of dresses that button up or zip up) and patterns (for the ability to hide spills and leaks).

10. I’m also a massive fan of the playsuit for summer – there are plenty of options – lots of which have great access for breastfeeding and, as an added bonus, some additional coverage for crawling on the floor, reaching into prams and picking up dropped items with shorts instead of a skirt.

11. I love a classic Country Road fine cotton button-down shirt because they stay stylish long after you’re finished breastfeeding.

12. Any dress with a nice stretchy neck works. I’m always doing the “whip out” test when shopping for dresses to wear over this period. Give the neckline a good tug and see if it will stretch down under the boob.

13. My fave accessory is a Hooter Hider. It has a sewn in firm hoop at the neck so your baby is easily visible to you only and isn’t sweating under a typical baby blanket. A lot of clever sewers sell funky, cheaper ones on Etsy now so you don’t have to buy the original.

What to wear while breastfeeding

1. Bonds maternity singlet^ $41.95 | 2. Seed pants^ $99.95 | 3. Witchery scarf $49.95 | 4. Wish kimono^ $129.95 @ Birdsnest | 5. Birkenstock slides^ $119.95 @ Styletread | 6. Il Tutto baby bag $229

14. Scarves were my absolute favourite summer pieces both for pregnancy and breast feeding. They add colour and personality to a pregnancy outfit and breaks up the belly. Afterwards, you wear it, use it to coverup if you feel the need when breastfeeding in public AND I used them all the time to cover up the baby or stroller when walking through shopping centre or in the sun.

15. I’m pretty relaxed with breastfeeding clothing options. If it’s got straps, a low front or side access I’m happy.

16. I’m a big fan of the trapeze style dress post pregnancy to hide the baby bump and they are comfy too.

17. I was only able to feed for five months 10 years ago. As it was cooler weather, I wore scoop neck and v neck long sleeve tees and knits I could pull the neck down to feed. My pashmina came in very handy as a feeding cover as well as extra layer of warmth.

18. After feeding three kids I have one golden rule: layer! I am always feeding at work or on the run and I find if I have a singlet under a shirt (one that doesn’t crush if possible) then I can keep my white belly under wraps and bub can feed very discreetly. The Bonds maternity singlets are the best but they are a bit expensive. I also try to match the singlet colour to my shirt so again it is all very discreet.

19. Do not even try wearing necklaces or bracelets as it is quite difficult juggling another thing other than the baby and your boobs! I always wear earrings instead of other pieces. 

20. Button down Tops, Cross-over tops and zip-down tops are great breastfeeding friendly styles. Even deep v-neck tops work well if you can pull the shirt down without stretching it to get a boobie out. I got a lot of my v-neck nursing t-shirts from Target. Unfortunately they don’t produce the same tops anymore, but Kmart does have similar styles. Kmart has great v-neck and button down styles for less than $20.

21. Invest in a black and white nursing singlet. I have a few of these nursing singlets on rotation in my wardrobe as they can be worn under tops where there is no boob access. For example my sass & bide Tees are not breastfeeding friendly, but I wear a nursing singlet underneath the tee so when I need to feed, I simply lift my top and my nursing singlet covers my tummy while I feed.

22. Get a kimono or cape – or three – to add interest to your top half. A simple nursing tee or singlet can be dressed up when a cape is added. Invest in a few styles and designs that work well with the nursing tees and singlets you already own. I have a silk cape, floor length cape and I turn my scarves into capes so that I have capes all week round. Capes are also great to cover over milk stains on your top if you forget to wear breast pads, or it sits in the wrong place allowing breastmilk to seep through your top.

23. Adrift has dresses with deep v and buttons. My favourites are the Bahama Maxi DressEliza Dress and the Kelsey Dress.

24. Stylefast has a variety of dresses that are perfect for breastfeeding. Ones to check out are the Sequin Trim Mosaic Kaftan and Navy and White Stripe Charity Dress Also the one-size-fits-all tunic dresses – both in maxi and knee length – have enough drape and a deep v to make them breastfeeding friendly. I bought one of these and it’s one of my favourite dresses to wear

25. Think about ways you can wear items to make them easy access for feeding. For example I have a Rockmans dress that buttons at the back, so I wear it backwards to make the buttons down the front and no one would know the difference. Except me.

26. Millers and Sussan have jumpsuits with a cross over neckline for easy breastfeeding access.

27. If you need to go to a wedding or black tie event, Leona Edmiston and Sacha Drake produce gorgeous cross over or wrap dress styles that are perfect for breastfeeding.

28. Invest in good quality nursing bras during this time as your breasts will need even more support when they are full of milk. You will need to get fitted and a professional fitting service will work out the best size to allow your breasts to increase in size when your milk comes in.

29. Enjoy this special time if you are able to feed and if you are not able to feed then don’t worry – formula didn’t hurt me!

More reading

iCurvy: Plus-size breastfeeding dresses

Here is a snapshot of Jo from iCurvy’s post-maternity style:

What to wear while breastfeeding - iCurvy

Mama Stylista: Post-pregnancy fashion

Here is a snapshot of Dee from Mama Stylista’s post-maternity style:

What to wear while breastfeeding - Mama Stylista

So over to the young mums of Styling You? What tips can you add so that our post-maternity sisters can feel as comfortable and confident as they can?

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Comments 35

  1. Large breasted singlet tip – maternity bra under a kmart breast-feeding singlet – has a sort of flap at the top, so you only need to fiddle with one set of clips on the bra. The bonds ones held nothing in for me, even back when they made DD, I’d unclip them and everything would just pop right out in a rush. Probably my fault though for trying to pretend I wasn’t really an F. So much denial! I loved the ninth moon slouch tops and a ripe maxi dress that I’d dress up with accessories for occasions

  2. Great post Nikki! This is exactly what we’re helping new mums with at our Lola & Syd styling sessions. There are so many great options now which allow women to be stylish while breastfeeding – thankfully!

  3. Brilliant post Nikki. 🙂 I love learning what others do as well in that crazy season of life. And it’s such a short season… but the last thing you want when you are busy with a little one is cry to your husband that you have nothing to wear! x

  4. With a singlet under your top I never had to cover my baby completely up like you see sometimes. Everything was covered nicely and you could still see baby feeding without seeing a boob in public. Yay for Bec featured today! She’s so lovely 🙂

    1. Jo you are gorgeous! And I agree, Phoebe doesn’t like to be covered now that it’s hot because breastfeeding is hot business so I like wearing a singlet under a tee and the boob is pretty much concealed by Phoebe’s head or the top of my tee. xx

  5. Ditto the Bonds maternity singlet…nothing better…and it holds in the post baby belly a bit too.
    I just stocked up in both white and black!

    I plan on living in my Lilya dress…it has buttons, it is lovely and cool, and I know it will skim over my jelly belly
    http://motherdownunder.com/sunday-styles-body-image-pregnancy/

    I also think a lightweight oversized white button down shirt is a must…I got one at Tree of Life before my first baby and it has been in high wardrobe rotation when pregnant, breastfeeding, and when just being a mom!

    And I wrote a bit more on breastfeeding here.
    http://motherdownunder.com/zipping-hospital-bag/

    1. Shari, you are so right and I’m sorry I didn’t even think to include where to go for bigger sizes if you are bigger busted. For me,I got the largest Bonds singlet which I think was a 16D and on an off chance got a 18D. But they don’t go much bigger in cup size than that. I have some Berlei maternity singlets which seemed to accommodate more beef. Thank you for sharing your post. You are not the only one who would have experienced this as a breastfeeding mum. x

  6. So much WORD about wearing a singlet top under other tops. I had a cool weather baby as well, and having the singlet top I could just pull down still kept me warm and somewhat modestly covered when I was out and about. I found it difficult to find many v-neck, wrap or button down tops in 2012 when I had my daughter, so wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes with a singlet saved me from feeling too exposed!

    1. I had my first baby in 2010 and I found it is SOOO hard to find any cross over tops. These days I seem to find cross over, zip and button down tops easier to find and purchase. The singlet under the tee is such a savior. x

  7. I wish these tips were out in the “olden days” as my children like to call it when I was breastfeeding ,all these new mums look gorgeous and I follow them all on Instagram,great post Nikki my daughter is planning a bubba soon it will be very exciting!

  8. thankyou nikki! … this is a special post!
    I think the current fashion is helpful and flattering for pregnant and nursing mums! … I breast fed for six months or more and it’s a good thing if one can! … times have changed but this will always be a magical bonding time! … we were always hidden away in bedrooms … but I liked that and it made the intimate moments all the more beautiful! … I felt quite radiant at that time of my life! … hope this helps someone! … love m:)X

    1. So true Merliyn. It was the done thing to hide in a room to breastfeed. I love that there are clothes that can make it easier to feed out in public without giving the world a view of what’s under our tops! x

    2. So true Merliyn. It was the done thing to hide in a room to breastfeed. I love that there are clothes that can make it easier to feed out in public without giving the world a view of what’s under our tops! x

  9. I wish I could have read this post when I began feeding my first son eight and a half years ago! I basically didn’t wear frocks for ten months which for a frock lover like me, was hard going! Feeding singlets were my saviour in the early months. Love all your tips. Thanks for sharing your intel everyone!

  10. Great tips here! Wow! I would have killed for these in those early days. I did a similar post not too long ago, focusing on the cheap and cheerful things I bought to get me through breastfeeding. I loved buying cheap and colourful ASOS shirt and wrap dresses for easy, throw-on style. Thanks for doing this post Nikki! 🙂

    1. I loved your post Jasmine about breastfeeding clothes. You have got me on the hunt to find a shirt dress. But because I’m tall and leggy I need a long one, not a short one. xx

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