Finding the right breastfeeding clothes can be tricky! In this blog Close to the Heart co-founder Michele Lithgow shares her top tips for making your wardrobe breastfeeding friendly, without breaking the bank.
Before my first baby was born, I hadn't really thought about what I would do for breastfeeding clothes! Finding clothes to wear to work when I was 36 weeks pregnant was hard enough!
I’d picked up a few essentials - decent feeding bra, multiple Kmart singlets, and a a warm dressing gown. That was all well and good for around the house.. but when I did want to take my new baby out to show him off to the world, it was a nightmare trying clothes that I could breastfeed in, and felt happy wearing!
Nobody wants to spend a fortune on breastfeeding clothes, and you shouldn't have to. It’s about making use of what you’ve got, and picking up a few essentials. Once you've got the basics sorted, you can mix and match items to keep your outfits fresh.
Here are my top tips for building your breastfeeding friendly wardrobe.
1. Invest in a decent breastfeeding bra
I can't stress enough the important of a good breastfeeding bra. Breasts do all sorts of weird and wonderful things when feeding a small human, and they need a supportive place to hang out.
The underwire in normal bras can put pressure on the milk ducts and tender tissue, which can lead to blocked ducts. Breastfeeding bras on the other hand give you support without putting pressure on your breasts. And they have special clips so you can fold the fabric down without affecting the support structures of the bra.
I recommend getting measured and fitted to find the right bra for your size and shape.
2. Wear a tank top under your clothes
Wear a tank top under your normal t-shirts or sweater, and you can lift the bottom up to feed without feeling exposed. Choose a breastfeeding tank or a normal tank with a low neck or arms, so you can easily push the fabric aside.
Our layered tanks are great for wearing under cardigans or sweaters. The hidden vent gives you easy access to either side.
3. Wear button-up shirts
When I went hunting for breastfeeding clothes in my wardrobe I realised I actually had quite a few button-up shirts which were perfect for breastfeeding.
The great thing about button-up shirts is you can find them almost anywhere, at any time of the year. You'll quickly master opening and closing buttons with one hand!
4. Find tops with zips
Breastfeeding tops with zip access are my personal favourite. Zips are quick and easy. They can be horizontal or vertical - and sometimes they are so discrete you wouldn't even know they are there!
5. Wear a scarf
Scarfs are a great way to add extra warmth and coverage when breastfeeding in public. Wear a stretchy t-shirt with a low neckline, and you can pull the neck down and use the scarf for coverage. You don't always need to buy special breastfeeding clothes!
6. Wear nothing at all!
Well.... maybe not in public! But skin-to-skin contact is so good for mum and baby and is the easiest way to breastfeed! Start with a nice warm room, and snuggle up under blankets or throws to keep you and baby warm.
7. Shop with a plan
Start by looking through your wardrobe to see what clothes you can adapt for breastfeeding. Then you can go shopping with a good plan of what you need to buy. Do your research to see what brands you like, and check the returns and exchanges policies so you can have piece of mind that you can exchange something if it isn't right.
Look for pieces that are versatile and comfortable, and fabrics that wash and wear easily.
At Close to the Heart we are happy to exchange if you aren't happy with your new purchase. We also offer advice on our different fits and styles, to help you find something you love. Get in touch if you would like any help shopping!