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Fashionable Nursing Wear

Ann E. Butenas


What are some types of nursing clothes that can make a nursing mom feel comfortable, yet trendy, at the same time?

What about those times when Mom wants to dress up?
What about clothing suitable for exercise?
How can I afford all this extra clothing?
Can it go from maternity wear to nursing wear?
What do you do with the nursing garments after you're done with them for good?

I spent the better part of 40 months nursing three boys, all of whom were born in a three-year time period. It got to the point where I felt I was just harbored alone in my house with nothing but diapers, toys, and truckloads of laundry. In all of that laundry were piles of MY clothes that had been burped on, pooped on, spilled on, soiled on, you name it. Fortunately for me, nothing in that pile of "debris" was considered quality clothing. In fact, most of the clothes I wore while either pregnant or nursing were the basic oversize shirts and pants made big enough to accommodate my expanding girth and chest. While nursing, I tended to favor my husband's large t-shirts or sweatshirts. After all, I never really made it out of the house, and if I did, it was either a jaunt to the store or to the pediatrician's office.

Nonetheless, I began to realize that I might feel a bit better, both physically and emotionally, if I found some fashionable clothes that would accommodate my nursing days. I did manage to find some in a local mall, but they seemed expensive. As such, I remained with my old standbys and just managed, I guess.

In researching this article, however, I have discovered that nursing wear can be trendy AND affordable. You just have to know where to look and for what types of clothing to look! I contacted Angi Z. of Mother and Child, Etc. She has several years' experience in nursing wear and advises moms on what will work best for them.

What are some types of nursing clothes that can make a nursing mom feel comfortable, yet trendy, at the same time?

"I think every nursing mother would easily benefit from the ease of nursing access and overall comfort if she owned at least one dress and one top. The other item that is good is a nursing tank top, even in cold months, as it can be worn under other non-nursing garments. A good nursing shirt to own is one with print, not solid, fabric so it can hide any spit up, food stains (Moms have to eat, too!) or breast milk leak stains. Pair that up with a pair of comfy blue jeans or worn in dress slacks and fun sneakers or black chunky-heeled shoes and mom and nursling(s) can go from home to play group to the bank and grocery without missing a beat... nursing access comes with the shirt!"

What about those times when Mom wants to dress up?

"One can never go wrong in a flirty black dress.... dress it up or down with the right accessories. Hemlines in any length are available to choose from. When celebrating a family member's promotion at work, an older child's school achievements or enjoying a parents' date night, there is no need to leave the nursling at home because mama has access to the "good stuff" in a nursing dress, and no one else knows cause it doesn't look like it!"

What about clothing suitable for exercise?

"A simple nursing tee will do the trick. Of course, there are unitards and swimsuits that could also be used, but a nursing tee will fit the bill perfectly. This keeps the mother covered while nursing and lets the baby eat at mom's place. No need to hide in the locker room or cover up (and sweat) under a makeshift-'don't peek at us'-tent with a blanket over the shoulder."

How can I afford all this extra clothing?

"There are ways to convert non-nursing clothes to nursing accessible. Stores have sales from time to time. Or they can shop where things are always affordable and made to last. It truly depends on where they are looking. I specialize in custom-made garments to fit the mother properly based on their measurements they supply. The range of nursing wear can go from church-like attire to slinky, form-hugging tees, depending on what the mom wants. Pretty much what is seen in standard stores and catalogs can be duplicated into a garment that is nursing-friendly. I've yet to find one that can't be somehow."

Can it go from maternity wear to nursing wear?

"It typically is just a matter of a bit extra fullness in the right spots and a method to adjust the fullness as needed or not needed."

What do you do with the nursing garments after you're done with them for good?

A quality made garment will still have lots of life left in it if it has been laundered properly. One could pass them to a friend or relative, donate them to a woman's shelter, church, or similar, auction them off online or trade them for other items online... yard sale, etc. Same as you'd do with other clothes!"

Just remember! Nursing clothes are available with a multitude of nursing openings that work for all different body shapes and sizes as well as different situations and preferences.

Too bad I did not have all of this information on hand a year or two ago. I never realized that being a nursing mom could afford me with yet ANOTHER opportunity to go out shopping to buy some great-looking clothes! Besides, after wearing maternity clothes for all those months, I deserved a great new look. And you do, too. So, go shopping!

Ann E Butenas is a stay-at-home mom of three preschool-age boys. She has an undergraduate degree in Communications, a post-bachelor paralegal certificate, and a Master's in Business Management. She earned the latter during her first two pregnancies while running an at-home business at the same time. She has been professionally published as a writer since the age of 12.

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Morgan Hutchinson Oct 31, 2013 07:11:12 PM ET

Thank you for posting about breastfeeding fashion! After the birth of my daughter, I discovered it was very difficult to find stylish nursing clothes.

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