There's a lot of work that goes into bringing you new arrivals every month, but buying amazing nursing friendly dresses is one of my favorite jobs! As a mom of 10 kids, I am very familiar with all the emotions and trials of being a new mom. Breastfeeding a baby brings its own special challenges and finding dresses (and jumpsuits) that allow easy access for nursing can often be ridiculously challenging! During the spring and summer months, I spend the majority of my time in dresses since they're so great for keeping me cool. But when special occasions arise (weddings, baby showers, holiday parties or more), the hunt for a nursing friendly dress becomes even more of a challenge.
Good news: at Novalie we're committed to bringing you cute, comfortable and functional clothing for your life as a mom, including the times when you might be carrying and/or breastfeeding babies. Maternity wear can also really be a struggle which is why we love also carrying pieces that can last well into the second trimester (and sometimes longer). The first wardrobe staple I recommend to any new mom is a good quality nursing bra. You can find these at high end department stores where most also offer bra fitting services - a must for nursing moms!
Basic sports bras can be a simple way to comfortably access your breasts without worrying about straps and underwire. If you're used to wearing a strapless bra for some events, however, you might have to do a little more hunting than usual. It can be tricky to find a strapless bra that affords enough coverage and support for larger nursing breasts.
The second thing I recommend is to look for dresses, tops and jumpsuits with functional buttons. While more and more clothing manufacturers are creating pieces with unique nursing access (hidden zippers and slits) I still prefer to fill my wardrobe with regular tops and dresses that simply have buttons down the front. And while technically you don't need to find nursing friendly tops (just lift any top to nurse!) dresses and jumpsuits really do need front access to avoid a tricky wardrobe snafu. Button-front shirtdresses or wrap dresses are great nursing friendly options. And don't stress about shopping only at maternity-type stores. Any favorite store can be the right place to find pieces that can allow for nursing access, you just need to know what to look for!
As a breastfeeding mom, you might also find yourself searching for modest nursing outfits with a bit more coverage than you usually wear. Postpartum bodies are designed to hold onto some extra weight to protect your milk supply so it's not unusual for new moms to shy away from shorter styles and sleeveless dresses and instead look for pieces with long sleeves or hemlines to the knee or longer. I've also found that the more fabric I have, the easier it is to nurse discreetly. I personally don't like to flash more skin than I have to.
Date night is a fantastic time to try out new pieces to see if they have easy nursing access. As an experienced mom, I'm no longer self conscious of nursing in restaurants, movie theaters, or even while walking around the mall. But if you decide you want a little more privacy, you can always sit in the car while nursing your baby and chat with your husband as bonus date night time. As a side note, while you might often feel like a stranger in your postpartum body, most wonderful husbands love the changes our bodies go through to bring sweet babies to our families. Show that body some extra love with a cute new outfit!
It can seem even more impossible to nurse in public on hot summer days because even though you may want to stay covered up, it's often too darn hot to wear more than a flowy tank top! Look for lightweight cotton dresses and tops such as sleeveless maxi dresses. Or short sleeves might be more your style, especially if you're self-conscious about your larger-than-usual chest and want more side coverage. Remember, a wrap style top or dress is a dream for a nursing mama and some of my best nursing dresses are simply stretchy enough to be able to pull the neckline down. Those seem to be easier to find than dresses with button closures.
New mamas: you have enough to deal with trying to recover from birth, feed a baby and keep yourself alive that you may think you don't have time or energy to put into your appearance. But I personally have noticed a HUGE difference in my mood and energy level on the days that I take just a little time to get ready. This is not usually much of an option when your baby is 4 weeks or younger (you should still be resting a lot at this point) but once you're out of that postpartum haze, spending a little time on your hair, makeup or clothes is a great way to start feeling like yourself again.
A nursing friendly outfit that fits and flatters your new curves can go a long way towards making you look and feel your best.