Breastfeeding Style Essentials
(Photos at bottom of post)
As a breastfeeding mother, I know only too well how hard it is to find comfortable, flattering and practical nursing wear – not to mind stylish! I’ve tried loads of styles and brands at this stage and finally I’ve settled on a selection that is attractive and hard-wearing. So, with two babies and many feeds under my belt, here are my tried and tested breastfeeding style essentials:
Séraphine.com | Séraphine leapt to fame last year when Kate Middleton wore a number of their nursing dresses. Their styles may seem quite plain but they are expertly designed, with fabrics that are soft, stretchy and easy to wash. I particularly like their pleated nursing tops (£36.00), of which I own four; in fact, they’re so nice that I will actually continue to wear them after I wean the baby. Their nursing vests (£29.00) are great under ‘regular’ tops and their bamboo fibre shawls (£42.00) are ideal if you are conscious about nursing in public areas. Check out their lovely range of maternity-wear too.
BoobDesign.com | This Swedish brand offers a wide range of tops and dresses with comfortable and flattering fits, and a discreet pocket design for nursing. The quality is top-notch, and I can vouch from personal experience that the garments will survive umpteen spills, leaks, washes etc. The stretchy cotton fabric is organic, so it’s kind to you, baby and the environment, plus it doesn’t require ironing (an essential in my life). Check the website for frequent sales – though be careful when googling the brand name!
IsabellaOliver.com | Better known for their (very nice but pricey) maternity range, Isabella Oliver also has a small selection of nursing tops and dresses. I’ve included it in this list as I bought an SS13 dress for my daughter’s christening and it was a joy to wear. It’s double-lined and has lots of ruching which meant that it held, supported and concealed the tummy area. I’ve worn it a number of times since and have been complimented on every wear. Unfortunately it is no longer in stock but they do have other styles along similar lines.
MamaFeelsGood.com | This niche brand offers a lovely range of casual dresses, t-shirts, tops and vests, all made with organic cotton with a mix of plain styles and fun graphic prints.
Nursing vests | Nursing vests are the most essential garments that I own. They are designed to be worn under your normal tops and nightwear and allow you to feed your baby discreetly and comfortably with no exposure of the breast or tummy. There are a wealth of options on the market, with most brands offering some form. Examples include; Feed Me Mummy, Mother Tucker (supportive), Mothercare, H&M etc.
Shirts | For sheer practicality, you cannot beat shirts for comfort and practicality when breastfeeding. Usually I pair mine with a nursing singlet or vest, but they can be worn on their own too if you’re not going to be feeding in public. It’s best to go with a busy pattern (e.g. flannel, plaid, floral, geometric etc.) rather than plain block colours, for the simple reason that leaks or spills will show up vividly on the latter.
Cotton scarves | I have one of the finest selection of cotton scarves in Ireland thanks to breastfeeding! I dislike the specialist nursing covers as they can feel like you are covering you and your baby with an apron, plus they’re expensive, and you’re unlikely to find a use for them afterwards! Cotton scarves, on the other hand, are an ideal way of protect both your modesty and privacy if you need to breastfeed in a public place. Plus they’re a great way to liven up an outfit, particular if you are wearing a lot of plain, basic breastfeeding tops.
Nursing bras | Lactation consultants, my friends and my own experience all tell me that there is no point in getting professionally measured for nursing bras for at least the first couple weeks of breastfeeding, or until your size and supply settles down. During the first few weeks of nursing you will certainly experience fluctuating breast size and shape, most likely engorgement and possibly tenderness; hence there is no point wasting money on bras at this time – you may not even want to wear one for a while. To tide you over, I recommend that you purchase 6-8 cheap nursing bras from H&M or Mothercare (go up at least 1 band size and 2 cup sizes). Once your breasts and milk production have settled down, you can treat yourself to some nice new professionally-fitted bras such as the ‘Hot Milk’ range. Remember that you will probably have to wear breast pads inside the cups of your bras so allow yourself ample size.
Finally, the best sources of advice are often your friends. The ladies at my local Cuidiú group have given me loads of tips, plus there are a tonne of support and advisory groups on Facebook for breastfeeding mothers (including groups offering nursing clothes for sale or swap).
If you have any tips or advice, please do include them in the comments below.