Solutions for Nursing Dresses

nursing7If you know me at all, then you know I very rarely wear jeans and a t-shirt, feeling more comfortable and put-together in a dress, a necklace and cute shoes.   When summer rolls around, this is even more important to me as I wouldn’t be caught dead in pants on a hot New York City day!  The problem is, I’m having a baby in a few days, and nursing clothing is terrible.   It’s AWFUL…especially the dresses!  Apparently, you are only allowed to wear ruched jersey or pants with a button front shirt while you are feeding your baby with your breasts.  While this is definitely an exaggeration, I challenge you to come up with 7 outfits that would make you feel pretty or stylish that you can easily breastfeed in.  It’s really tough!   When I was a freshman design major in college, my friends and I made a pact to never end up looking like the seniors, wearing their dirty pajamas in public…and we never did despite being just as sleep deprived as they were.  We made an effort to put our best selves forward since we were designers, after all.  This is how I feel about being a new mom as well.  nursing4There is really no reason why you have to step outside looking as tired and disheveled as you may feel.  It is just as easy, if not easier, to slip on a comfy dress with sandals as it is to put on a nursing tank with yoga pants and flip-flops.  I can’t tell you how many of my mommy friends told me to stock up on “nursing camis” as if they had EVER seen me in a “cami” in my ENTIRE life.  I decided to remedy this situation by shopping in normal stores for “easy access” dresses instead of ones made specifically for nursing and then designing and making a few of my own as well.  I hope my “nursing dress” line up inspires you to step away from the old, sad stuff you feel you have to wear and think outside of the box when it comes to whipping your boob out in style and comfort at a moments notice. 

Bras

Obviously, you have to start with nursing bras.  I did a lot of research on this for myself, and it’s a very personal thing based on size and comfort.   I started at a 34B before pregnancy and went up to a 34D or sometimes 36D, depending on the fit of the bra.  There are lots of sexy nursing bras out there, but our breastfeeding teacher recommended not using underwire to keep blood free-flowing to the breast, so I went with all soft cup bras.

nursing2

Left: A Pea In The Pod Seamless Sleep Bra Right: Bravado Bliss Bra

I bought two black sleep bras from A Pea in the Pod that I adore and will likely wear them with dresses as well as at night.   I decided to buy one, the Bravado Bliss,  that is most similar to a normal bra with a deep V in front and some subtle shaping.

Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bras in Tigerlily and Black

Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bras in Tigerlily and Black

Finally, I got one black and one bright coral in the Bravado Body Silk seamless nursing bras.  I love these in black and the bright colors because if you see the straps or top of the bra, they just look like a cute tank you’re wearing underneath your dress!    I did not buy a hands free pumping bra because I’m not sure if I will be pumping yet and this is a total waste of money anyway since you can just cut nipple holes in an old sports bra instead!

Dresses

*Note:  These designs are specifically tailored for me, since I will be newly un-pregnant in the dead of summer, and probably sans-waist for a while.  If you are back to your normal size, or have a waist at all, you have even more options than me!

nursing5“Top Loaders”  Left: A breezy dress from Target that has an elastic neckline.   Right: One of my favorite maternity dresses from Maternal America.  If you’re going to do jersey, do it in an elegant print!  Just be sure to have your maternity dresses hemmed properly post-pregnancy since they are usually cut with a dip in the front to compensate for a sizable tummy!nursing4“Deep V with Buttons”  You can either pull these down to access a breast or unbutton one or two buttons.  I love how both of these Anthropologie dresses are loose and tie in the front or back, depending on your preference…just enough shaping to feel normal again! nursing6“The Zip Front”  These simple zip-front shift dresses are my own designs.  The zipper makes boob access easy while keeping the look edgy and cool.  nursing7“The Down Under”  These two are my own designs and both utilize the under-breast access found in many nursing tops and dresses.  For the dress on the left, I used a sexy brass zipper that looks more like trim than something I’m going to use functionally and the dress on the right has hidden breast access under the top flounce with just a few simple dress hooks.  nursing3“The Slouchy Pull Down”  These are my favorites of my own designs because they are perfect during and after pregnancy when its super hot outside.  They simply pull down in the front for easy access, and the washed silk and fitted sleeve help to off-set the muumuu quality of the shape.

nursing8If, like me, you have a few of those ill-fitting classic nursing dresses available anywhere and everywhere, at least pump it up with a crazy fabulous necklace and beaded sandals!

My final note on nursing clothing is this…keep in mind that you will need to wash these with the amount of spit up and leakage they will see, so don’t buy a bunch of dry clean only stuff.  That being said, most things that say “dry clean only” are only labeled that way to protect the manufacturer.  Obviously, use caution, but you can wash most silk and wool on cold as long as it’s not tailored or crepe.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Solutions for Nursing Dresses

  1. Merav

    I don’t recall being a part of that pact in college, especially since I looked like a bum most days. Though I never did wear pajamas out of doors ever, so that is a plus.

  2. That purple two-tiered dress is definitely a nursing dress I’d want in EVERY colour of the rainbow!

  3. These are so so so cool! Would you happen to be writing tutorials/pattern for how to make the ones that you designed (zip, flounce and slouchy pull downs)? They are awesome! 🙂

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