When it comes to maternity fashion, there’s no doubt that the high street has upped it’s game. But what about when your pregnancy’s over, your baby’s here and you want to breastfeed?
Tops specifically designed to allow coverage and easy boob access aka. ‘nursing tops’ can be found in certain high street stores. There’s something quite comforting about knowing that the clothes you buy have been designed to be nursing friendly, especially for those first few early days postpartum. Unfortunately, the majority of nursing wear is designed to cover you throughout your pregnancy as well resulting in excess fabric and an unflattering cut as your bump disappears.
Fear not, breastfeeding doesn’t mean you have to give up all fashionable hopes! Simply Be asked me to share some of our suggestions on what shapes and features to look for in order to achieve the trifecta; fashionable, flattering outfits that still allow you to feed a baby at a moment’s notice. Because let’s face it, a hungry baby won’t wait!
The One Up, One Down
A classic solution, this actually took me months to realise the first time round. To achieve, simply layer your tops allowing you to pull one up, and one down in order to get to the boob. This provides coverage both above and below the baby but can be a little fiddly. Personally, I’d always choose to wear a looser top layer (lifting it up) and a tighter bottom layer (pulling it down).
The Loose Top
A personal favourite. Either size up or go for clothes that are looser fitting, whether those are camisoles, floaty shirts or just a slightly oversized tee. If you get the cut right, you’ll be able to just lift a bit of the fabric whilst there being enough to drape either side and provide coverage. I even have a couple where the baby effectively goes completely up and inside my top – full coverage right there! This is particularly easy during the winter months when bigger jumpers are in style.
The High Waisted Trouser
To be used in conjunction with the loose top to give better coverage under the breast. High waisted trousers or leggings provide all the coverage of the one up-one down method but without the fuss or additional layer of clothing over your stomach. Good for anyone who doesn’t fancy flashing a bit of stomach or their side.
The Dropped Strap
For strappy tops and dresses, just drop a strap off your shoulder onto your arm and lower the top down in order to get access. If you’re not a fan of exposing the top of your breast during feeding, try draping a muslin square over your shoulder or tucking it into your bra straps in order to hold it in place whilst you drape it over the top of the boob.
The Deep V
Opting for clothing with a deep V neck has allowed me to wear so many of my pre-pregnancy clothes. Just pull the V to the side and away you go. Particularly handy with maxi dresses in the summer months! Pair it with a vest or crop top underneath if you feel you need extra coverage, allowing you to pull the V to the side and lift up the crop top!
The Wrap / Cross-Over
Another favourite of mine, a wrap dress or top is not only flattering for the postpartum body, it also makes for nice easy access. Wrap tops and dresses tend to be made from fairly stretchy material, allowing you to pull it to the side in order to feed. Very similar to the deep V in feeding terms, a wrap dress also has the option for you to loosen it off slightly in order to open the front flap of the dress or top and feed your baby that way. If you’re doing that, it does mean you have to favour one boob side over the other so be aware of this prior to going out!
The Bandeau / Bardot
The majority of these have elasticated necklines designed to hug across the top of your chest. Make the most of the elastication by pulling it down for access. This is generally more of a style that suits those who aren’t afraid to show a bit more skin, invariably you won’t have bra straps to tuck a muslin square in to so extra coverage over the top whilst feeding is a little harder to come by.
The Button Down
Shirt, dress or vest top; clothing with buttons down the front will always make for easy access. One little tip first; be sure to check that they’re real buttons! So many clothes will have buttons for fashion purposes that aren’t actually functional, obviously rendering them less useful for these purposes. That said, there are lots of button down clothes out there at the moment and this is a really useful one for anyone that needs smart/formal wear or needs to pump whilst at work.