Ladies, let’s talk about public exposure.
Now, I’m not afraid of a bit of public nudity. I’ve stripped off in a hammam (public bathhouse) in Morocco and I would have gone to an onsen (hot springs, where you traditionally bathe naked) if I hadn’t been pregnant when we were in Japan. And, as predicted, after having a baby I’m a lot more comfortable about being naked in a room full of strangers – however, there is a time and a place.
When it comes to breast-feeding, I prefer a little coverage so I don’t flash everyone in the café/restaurant/shopping centre. Breast-feeding – if you want to, and can – is hard enough without worrying about your modesty. So, my next mission after shopping for maternity clothes (read all about my favourite brands here) was to find breast-feeding friendly (or, BFF) styles for the next stage of being a mumma bear.
I thought I had my post-pregnancy wardrobe sorted. I had plenty of tops with a few buttons or low necklines which would be perfect for feeding, right? I soon realised that a couple buttons or a low-ish neckline just won’t cut it. Mummas, if you plan on (and can) breast-feed, you will quickly realise that the ideal nursing-friendly top or dress is one which opens all the way to the waist to give you plenty of ‘room to move’ – remember, you’ll be juggling a baby and possibly a wrap or blanket for extra coverage while trying to unfasten your top, unclip your maternity bra, remove a nursing pad, whip your boob out etc.
In my search for BFF clothes that are functional but still stylish and can be worn long-term (i.e. don’t look like nursing styles), I’ve found some lovely online shops which stock affordable, attractive and most importantly, practical pieces. Some are designed with the breast-feeding mumma in mind, others are not maternity/nursing brands but have great options.
Mrs M’s BFF Loves:
Mumma Bear Nursing Wear: Check out this lovely online shop for affordable, stylish pieces that don’t look like nursing-clothes. I have a couple zip-front shift dresses on high rotation. They are the perfect ‘throw on and go’ style and can be dressed up with wedges and down with sandals.
I also LOVE that Mumma Bear Nursing Wear offers feeding-friendly active wear such as sports bras and work-out tops. What a great idea for the active mum! I also love their zip-front tops, like this one:
Oh, what’s that? A special discount? Yes please! The lovely Hayley from Mumma Bear Nursing Wear has generously offered a special discount for Mrs M’s Lovers: use code MRSMLOVES for 10% off.
Blossom and Glow: In keeping with their ‘bump, breast-feeding and beyond’ mantra, this lovely online shop has beautiful pieces for all stages of motherhood. I stocked up on their great nursing-friendly tops, as well as this versatile dress – it has ‘boob access’ underneath the swing-top. Genius. (This dress is a Ripe Maternity style, which are also worth checking out for maternity and nursing styles.) They have some beautiful floral maxi-dresses in stock at the moment.
Max and Mee: The perfect place for nursing basics, such as neutral coloured dresses and tunics. I have a great zip-front black t-shirt from here, as well as this lovely white top which has snaps on the shoulders for feeding. (Mumma Bear Nursing Wear also stocks this style, in other colours – I love the bold stripes.)
St Frock: This isn’t a maternity/nursing brand, but St Frock stocks affordable and stylish zip-front dresses (like the one below) in a huge range of colours and patterns. St Frock has quick mailing so you don’t have to wait too long to wear your new purchase.
Little Party Dress: Again, not a ‘mumma’ shop but Little Party Dress is home to plenty of BFF styles, such as this button-front maxi dress (below). Another great online shop for service, quick delivery and easy refunds if a style doesn’t fit/suit. They have some nice off-the-shoulder dresses as well as jumpsuits which, with stretchy fabric and a v-neck, are a stylish and nursing-friendly option.
Mrs M’s shopping tips
Before you buy up big on breast-feeding friendly clothes, here are some features to look for:
Accessibility: BFF clothes tend to be one of three options: zip, button, or pull up/down/sideways. I find zips to be the easiest to manage one-handed, however there are a lot more options with buttons (especially from non-mum brands). The current trend of off-the-shoulder tops and dresses are great for breast-feeding (as long as you are comfortable wearing a bandeau or strapless bra); just pull the top down on one side to feed. For example, this red top (from Bella Yorke) is an on- or off-the-shoulder style, with an elastic neckline which I just pull down to feed Oscar.
Check out Blossom and Glow and Ripe Maternity for pull-up nursing tops. Most wrap dresses (especially in a stretchy fabric) will also work if the fabric is stretchy enough to pull to one side.
Versatility: All the shops/brands featured above offer styles which can be worn long after you finish breast-feeding – some are even maternity styles, so can be worn if you are pregnant. This fits with Mrs M’s ‘cost per wear’ approach to shopping, for a more efficient wardrobe. For example, the following two outfits (Harvey the Label jumpsuit and Country Road dress) are not ‘breast-feeding’ brands but features such as buttons and wrap-fronts allow easy access.
Practicality: Babies are messy little things, so keep that in mind when choosing clothes for your new BFF wardrobe. I have actually found that cream is a very practical colour for infants as it doesn’t show milk, however darker colours are a better option for when your baby bear starts rubbing food onto you. Patterns and stripes are also great options for covering ‘accidents’. Oh, being a mother is so glamorous!
If you are breast-feeding, hope to breast-feed, or know someone else who is, I hope this helps!
Love, Mrs M xx