Like many expecting mothers, I took childbirth and breastfeeding classes when I was pregnant. I highly recommend taking these classes to learn the basics of what to expect. My husband and I learned a lot about breastfeeding at the class; however, there are many things that I learned only through experience—and trial and error.
There are so many nursing clothing options and accessories out there that it can be a bit overwhelming and expensive for a new mother. Having the right breastfeeding attire is important to make breastfeeding a little easier, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. So, what do you really need to wear to be able to breastfeed? Here’s my top 5 suggestions on how to dress for breastfeeding success.
Tank tops designed for breastfeeding are great because the clip-down feature allows easy access to feed your child. Nursing tanks are great for wearing around the house, wearing underneath your shirt, or sleeping. Nursing tank tops are available at low and high price points. I suggest having a few on hand.
Similar to nursing tanks, nursing bras are essential to easy access for breastfeeding. Nursing bras are also more forgiving than regular bras, which make them more comfortable. Your breasts do fluctuate in size throughout the day when breastfeeding. Invest in some nursing bras—there is a wide variety to choose from to meet your needs. Some are made of stretchy material, which are great for sleeping, and others look more like a regular bra with clip-down cups. As with nursing tanks, it is up to you how much you want to spend on nursing bras. I suggest getting measured to find the appropriate bra size—and keep in mind that your bra size will likely go down around 10-12 months postpartum.
Nursing pads are important for the first several weeks of breastfeeding. Nursing pads are to be placed in your bra to catch any milk leaks—trust me you want these. Nursing pads can be disposable or washable and reusable. At some point, your milk supply will regulate and you will not have leaks, but nursing pads are essential in those first few weeks.
Breastfeeding in public can be awkward for some women. So, having the right cover-up is important so that you can leave home with your baby and still be able to breastfeed. There are nursing ponchos designed to give you some privacy while nursing, but a receiving blanket or swaddling blanket will work well too. Keep one in baby’s diaper bag and throw it over your shoulder while feeding if you want to cover up. And don’t forget accessories—large scarfs and cardigan sweaters also work well as breastfeeding covers.
Layering and Nursing Tops
There are tops and dresses designed for nursing mothers that give you easy access to breastfeed. However, you can also wear regular tops and still make breastfeeding work. Layer a tank top underneath your regular shirt, and when you are ready to nurse, just pull up the top layer. This allows your belly to stay covered by the tank and the top of your breast to be covered with the shirt. Another trick is to use a belly band that you may have used during pregnancy to cover your abdomen. Wear the belly band under a regular shirt to give some coverage when you lift your shirt to breastfeed.