Today I have a little post for all the mamas out there who are bumming about trying to fit and flatter their post-baby bodies and keep up with the needs of a nursing baby. When I was a new mom, I expected my new routine to be very demanding, but I didn’t expect to be held back by my clothes. I wish that I had been privy to a more open dialogue about the needs of breastfeeding mothers and how nursing completely changes your wardrobe!
If you are a new mom (or a seasoned vet!), you already know about the new foundation garments of a post-partum wardrobe–nursing tank tops (the ones from Target are my favorite!) and bras…maybe a little bit of shapewear or a new pair of Power Panties…but what about the rest of your clothes? Looking at a closet full of stuff that doesn’t fit is hard enough without trying to scrape together outfits that allow easy access for nursing mothers. I’m still going through that myself, and so I wanted to put together a style guide as well as some of my favorite pieces that are perfect for the fashionable new mama! Obviously these pieces aren’t limited to new moms–there are plenty of sweet styles for anybody to scoop!
Find jersey garments with interesting details–having some extra stretch around the waist and neckline is wonderful for a post-partum wardrobe, and having something embellished or unique about it adds more value and style than, for example, a plain t-shirt or tank. I also love wearing blouses and tops that crossover or wrap–it’s always on-trend and easy to find beautiful styles.
1. The Simply Swell Tank has beautiful ruffles and I love the crossover design. 2. The Team Mod Mini Dress is the ultimate in statement style. 3. I would pair the Kite Flying Top with a sequinned skirt–the subtle difference in pattern on the cuff is cool too. 4. The way the Coin Licorice Top floats away from the body is the perfect fit for nursing moms. I’d wear this with a pencil skirt, colored tights, and flats for running errands! 5. I think layering this Maiden Lane Blouse over a nursing tank would make me feel post-baby pretty.
Cardigans and button-ups are great, but don’t learn the hard way that the closures and buttons should be closer together at the bust! When Alice was born, I was happy to go back to wearing my old cardigans, but my bust was not the same size. Either buy bigger sweaters, or keep wearing fitted ones by adding additional snaps or finding pieces that close without gapping at the bust. Or you can play it safe and get zippered tops!
1. The Keeping Pom-Pom-ises cardigan is just one of the most special pieces I’ve ever seen. 2. The Ingocnita Hoodie with its Dolman sleeves offers my favorite–and most forgiving–silhouette. 3. Another embellished zip-up I love is the Thrills and Frills hoodie! 4. The Heart Act to Follow cardigan has buttons that are close enough together to prevent gapping. 5. The Guest House Sweater is demure and darling.
After I gave birth I loved wearing long tunics and sweaters with leggings and a belted waist–they were the easiest pieces to grow into or out of as my shape continued to change.
1. The Daydreams of Omaha top not only has an awesome name, it has length, front buttons, and a chic drawstring waist! 2. The cowl neck of the When You Met Tunic would perfectly frame a chunky necklace. 3. I love the gauzy fabric of this Papyrus Scroll tunic–it would look great with some strappy sandals and leggings. 4. The Herbal Tea tunic could be worn over leggings or tucked into a skirt. It’s easy for new moms because it has plenty of stretch to pull up or down. 5. I love the zipper placement of this Ski Lift Tunic and how it creates such an interesting neckline!
I love wearing sweaters and tops with draped lapels that can be pulled over baby’s face when nursing. Alice also loves snuggling, wrapped up in the extra fabric.
1. The Since the Fawn of Time jacket is so versatile–the asymmetry is perfect for nursing discreetly,and it has plenty of pockets for all of your stuff. 2. Another incredibly versatile piece is ModCloth’s Reverie Cardigan. 3. The Manta Ray sweater is perfect for layering over a nursing tank and transitioning between seasons. 4. Sheer, tiered ruffles on the Fabulous Voyage cardigan are perfect for pulling over baby’s face. 5. The Must Mean Business jacket has an asymmetrical zip for plenty of fabric to cover up!
One thing I have missed the most is the sleek silhouette of a boatneck dress or coziness of a turtleneck tunic, but nothing is harder for nursing a baby than trying to unzip a dress–and in public I just can’t go that far (maybe you can, kudos!). When I’m with Alice though, I gotta stick with a button- or zip-up. Luckily there are tons of exciting and gorgeous dresses with this kind of construction! I’ve even been known to wear a beautiful, well-fitting coat as a dress, and ModCloth rates the warmth of all of their outerwear so you can choose something that isn’t too bulky or hot! Nothing makes you think outside the box like pregnancy and nursing.
1. The beauty of ruffles meet the functionality of a button-up with this Angel in Blue dress. 2. A chunky signature necklace would look beautiful with this versatile No Valley Low Dress, and keep easily bored babies occupied with something to grab on to. 3. The top of this Stellar System Dress is elasticized, making it ideal for nursing moms who need a dose of something extra fabulous. You could dress it down with a simple cardigan or dress it WAY up! 4. Bows and are my favorite motif and wrap dresses are my favorite day-to-day staple, and the Wrapping and Bows dress offers both! 5. The Cocoa Cozy dress is another versatile wrap silhouette that could be easily dressed up or down.
It probably goes without saying, but your entire postpartum wardrobe should be machine washable. That’s why all of the pieces in this post are ones you can wash yourself at home!
A final word about nursing tanks and underpinnings–I usually wear either a loose jersey tank top that can be stretched with a bra or a nursing tank under my clothes, but I am always disappointed at how plain they look. Arranging three or five (I’m into odd numbers) vintage brooches at the neckline or pinning a felt flower over the clasp of the tank top hides the hardware that makes the nursing tank functional and adds some style.
I didn’t learn anything about what I would need for a postpartum breastfeeding wardrobe until I got there–and when I was searching for the right functional garments without losing the pretty, I wished that more people talked about what a challenge it is to dress well when you have to be able to feed an infant on demand. So I just wanted to share my advice and some of the best pieces out there for you to add to your new wardrobe. These are all great basic clothes (with a little something special) to take you from single living to married mama, and anything in between!