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Nursing Fashion

Author: Lorna Shaw

I absolutely loved being able to breastfeed Anabelle, but what I wasn’t keen on was my lack of wardrobe options.

I made do with a few vests & cami’s under my regular clothes, but I really wish I’d splashed out on a few specific nursing items.

I must confess I didn’t even know these genius nursing clothes even existed until I’d stopped breastfeeding, which is completely typical and I blame it entirely on me being in a haze for the first year.

It seems that there is more and more demand from breastfeeding mums for fashionable clothes with concealed nursing pockets, and the shops are slowly but surely listening. I think if I’d have owned a few of these items I would have definitely ventured out a lot more and not been so conscious when I had to feed my little lady in public.

Topshop

We’re big fans of Topshop’s maternity fashion, duplicating many of their high fashion items in the Mama friendly fit, so we’re loving that they’ve extended their range and come up with dual purpose maternity and nursing clothes, helping us save a few pennies and justify the need for said new top or dress even more.

Their wrap tops are gorgeous in their own right. The grey marl is perfect for casual strolls and trips to the park, and the dressier ochre drape blouse for a Sunday brunch with the family. With a genius lift over cross panel making feeding your little one whilst your out and about a doddle.

These classic blue stripe and navy multipack vests are a great investment to any maternity and nursing wardrobe worn on their own in sunnier climes or under a regular top on, lets face it our colder days.

The item of clothing I missed wearing the most whilst I was breastfeeding was a cute little tea dress, as you can’t really lift that up without flashing more than you bargained for, so I simply adore the flippy nursing dress with stretchy insert shelf, revealing just the right amount of flesh when required.

Mamalicious

How cute is this jersey maxi dress? I think even if you’re not feeding you should pop it in your basket. It’s a great edition to any summer wardrobe, as is the short 3/4 sleeve stripe dress with front zip hidden nursing pocket.

The front zip function seems to be a popular design with the Mamalicious nursing range, these gorgeous cream lace, blue wrap front blouse and mono blouse all sport the clever function. If you love the gorgeous cornflower blue stripe top, they even do a dress in the same pretty fabric.

This sleeveless colour block top has to be my favourite of them all though. A cute dipped hem and a fabulous light weight material. Just beaut.

I think the time I was most stuck for something to wear was at a friends wedding and family Christening. I ended up having to excuse myself from the party whilst I found a private place to strip out of my regular dress to breastfeed. How I would have loved to have had a gorgeous coral nursing dress like this one so I could continue to enjoy the fun.

ASOS

As I said above I missed wearing a dress whilst I was feeding. It seemed to be one of my wardrobe staples before falling pregnant again and due to successfully establishing breastfeeding post arrival I never got to rekindle my love of the dress. This navy textured skater dress with its handy double layer nursing top is totally beaut and would look just as adorable with some flip flops as it does with heels and who would even know it was a nursing dress. The same applies to this bodycon dress with the double layer concealed by the striped pattern.

I may have snuck this merlot asymmetrical nursing dress into a previous maternity fashion post, but it’s SO fabulous I thought it deserved another mention. Soft touch jersey, double layer design for nursing, what’s not to love. And if you’re looking for a bargainous nursing dress and like the asymmetric design then you definitely need to check out this black nursing dress with cute button detail.

I seemed to have stuck to quite a similar palette of navy & white nursing fashion, with quite a lot of striped items. So I thought I should end with this utterly fabulous leopard print blouse. Insert multiple heart emoji’s here.

Shirt Dresses

A great alternative to non specific nursing fashion is a shirt dresses and luckily the high street seems to be full of them.
I love this bold tropical print dress from Oasis, with a handy back pleat allowing for extra manoeuvrability, and this yellow Sophia dress from Boden is just a ray of sunshine, also coming in a blue print and denim design too.

What have you all been wearing to feed your little ones? Have you found any fabulous non-nursing high street buys you can share with us?

{Contributors}
Author
Author: Lorna Shaw
Lorna loves a new posh frock, is a hopeless romantic and is lucky enough to be living her ‘happily ever after’ with her wonderful husband & three beautiful babas.
Follow Lorna on Instagram @belle_and_blues

45 thoughts on “Nursing Fashion

  1. You read my mind. I’m breastfeeding a newborn and yesterday I went to town to try and buy nursing clothes. Couldn’t find a thing. All the topshop items are now being purchased. Whoops. X

    1. Yay. I hope they are fabulous and make you feed even more so Mel. There’s nothing like treating yourself to some new clothes 😉 xxx

  2. Eh, I’m not a fan of nursing clothes. Seems like just another unnecessary baby-related thing to drop money on AND it winds me up that they’re largely maternity and nursing combined. All that extra fabric post-baby get a thumbs down from me.

    Instead of spending money on nursing clothes, I went the tops/vests route and later on when more confident shirt/wrap dresses and just treated myself to new bits throughout the time I was breastfeeding. Even when they’ve been a bigger size to account for the ol’ moon boobs, I’ve always worn them plenty.

    Definitely not meaning to bah humbug your post, Lorna, I promise! Just airing my pre-coffee views (always a mistake) on one of those topics that makes me a bit shouty ? I do really like the stripy bodycon number as straight up maternity though…?

    1. All thoughts and opinions are definitely welcome Maoibh, so share away. I must confess when I was searching for nursing fashion I was disappointed there wasn’t more nursing specific options rather than nursing and maternity combined. The Mamalcious range seems to just be nursing specific though and with time hopefully more shops will catch on. Shirt and wrap dresses seem like a brilliant compromise though xxx

    2. Totally agree with you Maoibh, just another way to get parents to spend money! I had a couple of nursing tops but shirts and layering up worked for me (and my small boobs!) so I could use what was in my wardrobe and wear them after I’d stopped BF-ing too. One thing I would recommend though is getting some decent nursing bras. I skimped and only got a few but I ended up BF-ing for 2.5 years (which is bonkers!) – wish I had spent some more there given I needed them for over a year.
      Again not bah-humbug but just wanted to reassure mums-to-be / new mums that you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on these things!

      1. I LOVE clothes so after a couple of months of wearing a vest under everything I became disheartened with my outfits and would have loved to have known about nursing specific tops/dresses just to give me a confidence boost when I stepped out the door, but agree nobody has to go out and buy a whole new nursing specific wardrobe as layering up with vests definitely did the trick xxx

        1. I can understand that some nice new things are definitely a confidence boost, especially in those post-pregnancy months. I got some fab shirts & a couple of shirt dresses which worked really well when feeding but I am small-busted and wasn’t bothered about feeding in public so that made things easier! I found those nursing clothes with the weird drapes/holes just too difficult but have to agree that some of the tops/dresses above are quite pretty 🙂

      2. I agree it’s rather frustrating, but then I fear I do need new clothes anyway since my once 32B chest is now a 34E. None of my old clothes are going to fit for a long time and I’m terrified of feeding in public (actually would love a post on that) so after extra material.
        My main issue is that all the nursing gear is so dull. You can get stripey t shirts until the cows come in and everything in navy or black. I miss prints and bright colours. I want to feel like me again… Hence that yellow topshop blouse looks amazing!!! X

        1. Mel – don’t be terrified! In my experience, it wasn’t a big deal. I worried but I honestly think I was the only person who noticed that I was feeding! (well, apart from baby :)) But everyone is different. My biggest piece of advice would be find somewhere you are comfortable with the first time you do it, and that helps massively. For me it was the “nursing corner” in Ikea!! Once I had mastered doing it once, I felt SO much more confident, although that’s not to say I didn’t resort to the car on occasions where I needed somewhere comfy to sit! Good luck x

  3. I would have to agree with Maoibh’s comment. As a new mum I have continued to do as I have throughout pregnancy and beyond which is go out and buy everything whether I needed it or not including nursing clothing – all the gear, no idea is a very apt phrase! I have to say nursing clothing was the biggest letdown.

    I’d agree Asos and Topshop have the best choice however, I have found once on they fit badly, the layers of draped fabric can be quite annoying and on the whole pretty limited to plain colours or stripes – always stripes!

    I have found the nursing bra/vest/top combo a much easier option and allows you so much more choice. It also has made me feel a bit better about my post baby body as I can wear some of my pre pregnancy clothes that are in a larger/slouchier fit. Current favourites are boxy t-shirts over H&M vests.

    That said I have kept an Asos skater dress as haven’t figured out how to wear a dress and breastfeed!

    1. Oh no that’s a shame Alexa as in theory these nursing specific clothes have all the potential in the world to be fabulous if the cut and shapes are right. I’m loving the sound of your boxy t-shirt & vest combos though xxx

  4. Last time I was mainly feeding through the winter so the easiest thing to do was layer up and pull one top up and the other down. As I’m now 38 weeks I’ll be feeding in the warmer weather so won’t want lots of layers on. I also have a wedding in 6 weeks so definitely need something specific for that.
    I’m not bothered about my boobs being slightly visible it’s my stomach I don’t want to expose!
    Has anyone ever had clothes adapted by a seamstress? I wonder if that is worth doing?

    1. So close, Kathryn! How exciting. We went to a wedding when Arianne was 6w old and I wore a plain-ish jersey dress from H&M with a fancypants vintagey beaded ‘crop top’ type thingy (from Topshop if I remember rightly) over the top to dress it up. The dress was scoop necked so I could heft my boobs out and vaguely skater-style so didn’t cling, and the crop top (horrified at myself even saying those words ?) meant it wasn’t full on milking shed at dawn. Recommended ?

    2. That sounds like it could be a good solution Kathryn, keep us posted if you do decide to have a dress altered. I think I’d still be tempted to try the Mamalicious Coral dress though xxx

  5. I love the nursing vests from Topshop – I have them in every colour! I’ve been combining them with oversized shirts (mostly from French Connection) and (that post-pregnancy favourite) leggings, including some funky printed ones (mostly from ASOS).

    Also just invested in some dungarees (also ASOS) which are allowing me to wear some normal tops underneath with a nursing vest.

    Wedding wise, I’m off to one this weekend with a bright printed skirt, nursing vest and normal top.

  6. I agree about being frustrated that all nursing clothes seem to double up as maternity clothes. My body was obviously very different at these two times in my life so I don’t understand how you can even try to makes clothing suitable for both! When I was breastfeeding my first I, like most above, favoured a vest underneath a normal top. Normally this was an unexciting oversized tee from either h&m or zara but I also treated myself to some nicer, more colourful options later on when I’d lost some weight and wasn’t so leaky! I missed dresses but found that they weren’t very baby/toddler friendly not just not good for bf so I’ve learnt to live with it and enjoy wearing them on more special occasions.

  7. Thank you for this post. The dresses are great for occasions like weddings and that kind of thing and it’s definitely useful to have a few smart tops for venturing out so I will definitely be checking these out. I’m still a way off the nursing stage but I’m trying to make purchases now of items which will (hopefully) fit up until the third trimester and will suit straight after birth (looser styles with poppers or buttons). I would be interested to know how others have approached adapting their wardrobes without going all out buying all maternity. I have bought one pair of maternity jeans and will buy another but I have bought some loose shirt dresses which can be belted for now and some shirts in loose/light fabrics which are floaty around the tummy area, all of which I would be happy to wear pregnant or not.

    1. H&M basic jersey is a LIFESAVER, C. Tops, dresses, stretchy tube skirts, leggings etc etc. all really good value, wash super well and I’ve had no ‘damage’ done to them even after they’ve been stretched to 42+3 weeks in one of my pregnancies. You can layer the lovely floaty shirts you’ve described over them too, open or closed. Jeans, look on eBay – huge market for maternity jeans and you can often find nice colours from past seasons.

      (Sorry for being such a Chatty Cathy today ? the kids have gone to the zoo for the day and I am alone and therefore at a total loss. Ridic.)

      1. Thanks for the tip on h&m. That’s where my jeans are from and I am very impressed with them so far, it’s good to know that the other pieces in the collection should hold up all the way through as well. Checking eBay now too!

    2. By the third trimester I think I had to give in and buy a few maternity specific items. My favourite purchase was a pair of Topshop Leigh Jeans sitting perfectly under bump and comfortably holding in my stomach post baby. All your oversized shirts sound like the perfect transition xxx

      1. I think I’m still in denial that I will get that big but by the third trimester I will hopefully have made a few more maternity purchases. The jeans are definitely a no brainer- comfiest thing ever!

    3. Not necessarily very fashion forward but i found George at Asda to be good for maternity wear. Most stores dont stock it so you might have to go online. It is all fairly basic but very cost effective when the purchases are mounting up elsewhere xx

  8. I’m not a fan of feeding clothes that are also maternity, we’ve all spent enough time in maternity clothes. I’m more of a vest underneath top- one up one down kinda girl although bought a lush jumpsuit from Mothers Love Fashion they have some very nice bits (just need to get rid of my mum tum to wear it now!

    1. What a fabulous website Bethan, everything is beaut. The perfect items for breastfeeding and not a maternity item in sight xxx

  9. Some lovely options there!

    I bought (and was passed on) quite a few maternity/feeding clothes and whilst baby hasn’t arrived yet, I quite like the idea. It won’t cost me anything more and I doubt my body will fit in all my regular clothes right away so I would most likely have to buy a few bits anyway – unless I want to live in tops and slouchy pants which I might well do ? I’ve had quite a few friends whose bodies took a long time to get back to a point where they felt comfortble wearing their regular jeans/dresses etc because it all felt too tight so as long as the maternity fashion is well cut, I don’t see why it shouldn’t work afterwards.

    Now I’m off to browse Asos a bit more …

    1. It took me quite a while to feel comfortable in normal clothes Maike and I definitely welcomed the extra material for a good few months post arrival. My friends and all shared a few items between us too, such a great idea 😉 xxx

      1. Being currently 4 weeks post birth currently have to agree with these comments. I bought this Mamalicious top when I was about 8 months pregnant and was too small for then but I’ve wore it pretty much every time I’ve left the house with baby. Pretty bird print and nicely cut to hang loosely over my middle. Give me more confidence having something nursing specific and flattering for those first outings anyway. Reckon it would have probably fitted earlier in pregnancy too. This nursing vest from seraphine allows you to create the same effect under your own tops (the white is way too see through though).

        Also went to wedding last week and having a maternity/nursing dress from ASOS give me one last thing to worry about – knowing it would def fit, plus very comfortable on the day.

        1. Ah congrats on your new little baba. It’s good to know that a few well chosen nursing specific items can work well, that bird print top is totally gorgeous Lisa xxx

  10. Thanks Lorna! I am currently breastfeeding my nearly 5 month old and am starting to get very fed up of the same old vest top / oversized T shirt combo. As handy as it is, sometimes you just want to feel a little bit more ‘done’. Not to mention I am roasting! This has inspired me to do some shopping x

  11. My baby is 3 weeks old and I’m currently spending a lot of feeds perusing nursing fashion. My maternity tops are all stretchy jersey fabric, which I liked to show off my bump rather than enormous tent-like options, but post-birth I want something looser to cover my mum tum. I can wear some of my looser non maternity clothes but struggling to fit these Pamela Anderson boobs into regular clothes! I’m also hesitant to splash out on clothes now when I don’t know how my size / shape will change. I quite like some of the tops in this post but I’m put off by the comments suggesting non maternity clothes with vest would be better. So I’ll probably just continue wearing my very capsule wardrobe and dithering about what to buy!

    1. Totally with you Laura! Loads of my pre-pregnancy clothes were very fitted and just don’t fit/look right over my inflated boobs.

    2. Congratulations Laura. I’d say give your body a month or two so settle, then you can decide if investing in a pretty top/dress is worth it. For now vests under tops are a lifesaver 😉 xxx

  12. Great post Lorna! I did the vest / loose top combo most of the time but for special occasions or when you just want to wear something different these options are great. I went to 3 weddings (!) in the first 2 months post birth and I really struggled to find a nice dress that wouldn’t require full removal in the toilets to feed!! For some reason I never thought of a nursing specific one, I don’t think I knew they existed! I ended up in a maxi I didn’t really like just purely because it had straps that I could pull down to nurse. It’s not essential to buy specific nursing clothes but it’s good that there are options there to give you a bit more choice if you get fed up of the vest and loose top thing or need something a bit smarter. I’m also in the camp that there’s nothing wrong with a maternity item post birth… Most items just drape nicely over your tummy and the extra coverage is welcome for a while!! ? xx

  13. I love this post. I’ve been breastfeeding for 9 months and have only just started investing in some new specific breastfeeding clothes. They make my life so much easier and when they’re fashionable I won’t mind wearing them once I’ve stopped breastfeeding too!x

  14. HI there! I recently bought the ASOS stripe nursing dress. I love it! it is so super comfy & cute. I haven’t worn it out yet, as I am having issues with the seams under the top layer. The seams for the opening to the breast (not sure what to call them) can be seen through the top layer. Normally I would just wear a tank, but it can’t be done with this dress. I don’t want to send it back, but I’m not sure what else to do. Wondering if you have have had this issue?

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