Before I had a child, breasts were merely for hanging out of too-tight tops in the hopes of luring a man. I suppose that tactic worked because one of those men became my husband. Now I’ve come full circle as those same breasts are still hanging out of too-tight tops (due to leftover pregnancy weight) to lure another man – this time of the baby variety.
Being a breastfeeding mom has been one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life. My son has confounded and surprised me in every possible way. One day he screams for the boob, the next day he screams to get off it. He used to reject my left side, now he favors it. He initially used to hate my fast milk flow, now he fusses if it comes too slow.
However, all these issues pale in comparison to the most important part of breastfeeding:
What the heck do I wear?!
Oh yeah, of course breastfeeding is monumental for providing both nutrition and comfort to baby while offering all that beautiful bonding stuff. But don’t underestimate the importance of having easy access to the boob while still looking cool!
Whether you’re looking for nursing outfit ideas or want to open up your shirt at a moment’s notice for reasons I won’t ask, here are some of my tried and tested breastfeeding looks that are both chest-friendly and stylish.
NOT JUST ANY OLD BUTTON DOWN
The basics: Button down shirts are an effortless way to breastfeed without having to spend extra on special nursing clothes. You just unbutton your shirt! However, be prepared to fumble and panic while opening the buttons when you have a screaming baby who can’t wait the 1.5 seconds it takes to get your milk jugs out!
Style factor: It’s tempting to put on any raggedy old shirt because chances are you’re at home and who cares, right? However, conquer the rut you’re in by wearing something unique. Patterned tops are great for camouflaging leaked milk or any weird substance that comes out of your baby’s mouth. I scored this vintage silk blouse from my mother’s closet, paired it with some loud accessories, and topped it off with the perfect pastel polyester “mom pants”.
Best for: Beating the mom blues. Your clothes are probably the last thing you’ll think about in your sleep-deprived state, but it’s important to feel good while awake. Scour online shopping sites and vintage retailers to purchase some awesome attire while you’re glued to the chair feeding – you may nab some coveted items when you’re up at 4am! Sure, it may make your eyes more tired but at least those eyes will have something pretty to look at.
OFF THE SHOULDER AND TO THE CHEST
The basics: Your shoulders become very significant when you have a baby – that’s where the majority of spit up lands while burping, the area that aches from lugging around a heavy diaper bag, and the part you beg your husband to massage because your child made you carry him all day. But in fashion it’s the part of the body that’s subtly sexy, so work it momma! Find a dress or blouse that has a reasonable amount of elastic around the shoulder so you can easily pull it down when the feeding clock strikes.
Style factor: Off the shoulder items are instantly chic and flattering so there’s not much you have to do. However, I never know when to stop so I added some ostentatious slides and an ankle scarf because no one said fashion has to be sensible.
Best for: Brunch with the gals. Seize any opportunity to go out and maximize it by dressing up. No one will be able to guess you’re up half the night and haven’t slept or bathed properly since you became a mom.
LOOK YOUR (BEST)FEEDING
The basics: Wearing dresses can be limited when you’re breastfeeding as it’s not necessarily the wisest approach to lift a skirt up. Zippers, buttons and wraps that allow easy access to your chest are all good options. However, I’ve found that a soft stretchy dress with a neckline that can be pulled down under the boob is best. Plus, this kind of dress works overtime when it comes to multiple styling options.
Style factor: Layers and accessories are your breast friend! After months of wearing torn t-shirts and yoga pants, I decided to dress up this basic black with a vintage blazer and distinctive Chanel. I opted for mules – and I generally advise having lots of backless shoes – because you’ll be surprised how little time you have to tie your shoelaces or fasten some straps with baby in tow.
Best for: Reminding yourself of your indulgent pre-baby life. A basic dress can be adapted to suit any occasion from “I didn’t sleep a wink last night, that’s why my clothes are inside out” to “I didn’t sleep a wink last night, but I’m still aiming to secure my role as a MILF.”
GRAB AND GO MOM UNIFORM
The basics: Think of this look as one step up from pajamas. You’ll need a nursing tank top, or any stretchy top if you don’t mind lifting your shirt. Pair it with a cute kimono style cover up, which you can also use to shield baby while feeding if you’re shy. And don’t forget your maternity leggings because you obviously haven’t lost the pregnancy weight.
Style factor: Oversized hat and sunglasses. If we’re being honest these accessories are necessary because you haven’t washed your hair or slept in a week. But it also adds immediate flair to an otherwise basic outfit and will make you appear to have mastered street style, or in this case, street strolling style.
Best for: Getting out the door quickly when you’re having one of those days, which will be every day, so just be prepared to wear this same outfit every day.