Nursing Friendly Clothes and Outfits to Breastfeed In

Nursing Friendly Outfits to Breastfeed In

Today we are talking nursing friendly clothes to breastfeed in!  Breastfeeding my first child, Addie, started off rocky.  (She’s now almost 4 years old, for those who are new around here!)  The learning curve was high.  For one, I had to learn the mechanics of breastfeeding (proper latch, what letdowns are, clogged ducts, what it looks like when babies swallow, etc.)  Second, and more significantly, I battled a lot of anxiety about doing it correctly, if Addie was eating enough, and comparing myself to other new moms for whom breastfeeding seemed easy.  And third, I had to figure out what kind of gear and clothes I needed to be able to breastfeed.  It required a lot of research, time, and energy that I didn’t have as a new mom.

This time around with Ella (who just hit the 1 month mark–how did that pass so quickly??) breastfeeding has been much smoother.  I have a handle on the mechanics, on my anxiety, emotions and expectations, and on how to dress for it.  Plus, before she was born I prayed for her to have a good latch.  😉

While this post isn’t touching on the mechanics of breastfeeding or the emotions it can bring up, what I hope to do is spare you some energy with that third category about what to wear.  Once I found the proper clothes and gear to breastfeed in, I felt a little more like myself, and that went a long way!

Nursing Friendly Outfits to Breastfeed In

MY APPROACH TO BREASTFEEDING FRIENDLY CLOTHES

There’s a whole market for breastfeeding-specific clothing, but if that’s what you’re looking for here, you’ll be disappointed.  I try to avoid those as much as possible for several reasons: I’m usually not in love with the styles, they’re usually fairly expensive, and even if they’re cheap I won’t be able to wear them once I’m done nursing.  There are, of course, exceptions.  And once in a while a cute nursing-specific item that makes breastfeeding really easy is nice to have.  But generally, if I’m going to buy any clothes, I’d rather spend money on clothes that I can wear while nursing and after.  There are SO many options for that!  With the right gear and right clothing I’m able to breastfeed in regular clothes all the time.  So, here they are!

BREASTFEEDING GEAR

There’s a lot of gear we could talk about for breastfeeding like pumps, nipple cream, nursing pads, etc. but I’m limiting this to things related to clothing or things we wear.

 

Nursing Cover

Nursing Friendly Clothes to Breastfeed In Nursing Friendly Clothes to Breastfeed In - Nursing Cover

I nurse in public all the time, but for a bit of privacy, I like to use a nursing cover.

One thing I didn’t realize is that nursing covers are NOT all the same. I was originally given one that looked similar to the one above, but it was on the smaller side so it didn’t provide that much coverage. Plus, the opening at the top wasn’t very large and was essentially ineffective. I felt like I was fighting the cover the whole time, trying to maneuver it to actually cover me or constantly adjusting the top because I couldn’t see what I needed to see.  It was actually pretty troublesome and made nursing quite difficult—especially as a new mom who was trying to get the hang of nursing!

Somehow I realized how bad that original nursing cover was and found the one I’m showing above instead. It is much larger and provides more coverage.  Also, the opening at the top is wider and actually stays open on its own, so I can easily latch the baby as well as peek in much more easily to see how she’s doing.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that upon switching to the new nursing cover, I instantly felt like I was 100% better at nursing because of how much easier it was to use.

My nursing cover is by Balboa and can be found HERE in a lot of different prints.  If you’re in the market for one like this, I’d check the measurements in the product listings to compare how large they are.  I did a quick comparison with 4 others that popped up as popular and well-rated on Amazon, but still none of them were as large as Balboa’s.

 

Stretchy 3-in-1 Nursing Cover

3 in 1 carseat cover, nursing cover, shopping cart cover

There’s also THIS cover which is actually a 3-in-1: carseat cover; shopping cart cover; nursing cover.  I bought it as a carseat cover but didn’t love it as a nursing cover at first.  However, I have grown to love it a lot, and I’ll explain why.  First, why I didn’t like it was because it wraps around you snugly and therefore prevents you from being able to see, which makes it hard to latch a newborn as well as hard to check on them while nursing.  My sister-in-law uses this and she said it’s easier when the baby’s older, can support their own neck, and latches more easily.  In the earlier days she ducked her head under the cover entirely.  That worked, but she said it totally messed up her hair, haha!  (In the picture above, I am pushing out the nursing cover with my free hand so that I can see inside.  Otherwise, it lays right against my neck with no visibility.)  

However, the plus side is that because it wraps around you snugly, you can wear whatever and do whatever you want underneath and you’ll be fully covered.  It’s key at the beach when it’s really windy.  The first nursing cover I showed above blows around in the wind and exposes everything, but this one stays on me in the windiest circumstances.  There’s tons on Amazon, but the one we got is for under $12 HERE.

 

NURSING BRAS

Nursing Bras

I own two types of nursing bras 1) a regular one for daytime, and 2) a soft one for nighttime that allows me to also pump handsfree.

 

STANDARD NURSING BRA

With Addie, I settled for cheap nursing bras and I really didn’t like them and didn’t feel great in them.  But I just made do with the mindset that the time would be temporary.  Looking back, I realized I was wearing them for almost a year, and that’s a pretty long time to not feel great in something you wear daily.

This time around I let myself splurge on nice nursing bras because nursing a baby several times a day for a long period of time deserves some splurging!  Actually, they cost about the same as my normal bras and are from the same brand, Natori. They’re on the expensive side, but I LOVE these bras—both the regular and the nursing ones—and ohhhhhmigosh what a difference a good bra makes!

I got THIS one by Natori shown in the pic above.  It feels so comfortable, feels just like a regular bra, and does NOT feel like a sports bra like many nursing bras do.  *Cue angels singing*  LOVE IT!  I would absolutely wear it once I’m no longer nursing too!  I got it in my regular size in both nude and black.  You can find them HERE.

I also want to try ThirdLove nursing bras as they are often compared to Natori bras but with some discounts can be found a bit cheaper.  *Edit–Ella is now 4 months old.  I’ve now tried ThirdLove nursing bras and they do not compare to Natori bras.  The Natori nursing bras are WAY softer and more comfortable. 👍🏽

 

SLEEPING NURSING BRAS

If you will not be pumping, you can get sleeping bras like THESE which are really soft and comfortable. I wear these in M.

However, I planned to be pumping this time around, so I looked for one that I could nurse in easily at night as well as pump in handsfree.  I got THIS one from Amazon and so far it’s been good! It feels durable, but it doesn’t squeeze me too much. I wear this in size M.

(So far I’m only pumping in the evening and first thing in the morning so the sleeping bra has been sufficient for pumping.  If/when I start pumping throughout the day I’ll get a daytime handsfree pumping bra.)

 

UNDERCOVER MAMA CAMISOLE

Undercover Mama Nursing Camisoles

This is the only nursing camisole I use because it is unlike all others!

First of all, nursing camis are a MUST for me because they allow me to nurse comfortably in most of my regular tops, as long as the tops are loose enough to pull up. A camisole keeps my stomach covered when I pull tops up to nurse.

Undercover Mama Nursing Camisole with Bra

Other nursing camis have their own straps and often their own built in bra. They usually just go on top of a nursing bra (or maybe in place of one, but I always still wear a bra), so when you unhook everything you have to unhook the camisole first and then the bra—it’s a lot of layers. What’s different about Undercover Mama camis is that there are no straps, just a bodice, and it attaches directly to your nursing bra. That means you only have to unlatch ONE set of things instead of unlatching layers. When you’re nursing and unlatching things multiple times a day, unlatching layers gets old really fast. That’s why I love Undercover Mama camis!

You can find them HERE in tan, black, and grey. I wear size S in the version from a few years ago, but I tried the current version and it feels a bit snug on me. I think I’d prefer sizing up to M in the new ones, even though the ones in S from a few years ago still fit me now.

 


 

NURSING FRIENDLY CLOTHES

Now that we’ve got the gear taken care of, let’s talk about the kinds of clothes you can nurse in!

 

BUTTON UP TOPS & DRESSES

Button Front Tops and Dresses to Breastfeed In

There are tons of button up tops and dresses out there that make nursing accessible!  When I hear “button up tops” I immediately think of collared button ups like all the plaid shirts I wear in the fall and winter, or chambray button ups. Those might seem either a) too stuffy for some of you, and/or b) not very helpful in the spring and summer! But, good news! There are a few other types of tops in different styles and for different seasons that have buttons as well!

COLLARED BUTTON UPS
I already named these, but when I nursed Addie through the fall and winter, I basically wore my normal clothes because I wear so many plaid shirts, open cardigans, and open vests during those seasons!  For spring and summer, you can find button up shirts that have short sleeves.  I rounded up a few below that you can shop by clicking on any of the links below:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

BLOUSES AND TUNICS
Button ups don’t have to be stuffy!  There are more relaxed and flowy blouses with buttons like some seen below.  Click on any image to shop the item.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

HENLEY’S AND COTTON TANKS & TEES
Lastly, for really casual outfits, you can wear Henley’s or cotton tanks and tees that have buttons.  Click on any image to shop the item.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

DRESSES
Here’s a roundup of button up dresses that you can breastfeed in!

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Waffle Button Up Top - Nursing Friendly Clothes

Edited – Ella’s 4 months old now. Found this waffle button up that’s under $19 and nursing friendly!  Wearing size S as it runs huge (I’m 5’6″ and usually size S/M or 6/8).  Find it in tons of colors HERE.

 

CROSS-FRONT OR FAUX WRAP TOPS AND DRESSES

Cross Front Dresses to Breastfeed In

These are perhaps the quickest to nurse in because all you have to do is pull the neckline to one side.  I had several faux wrap dresses in my early 20s long before I ever had kids, and I knew even then that they’d be perfect for nursing a baby in–and they were!

Both dresses above are amazing for nursing, and postpartum, and maternity wear.  Can’t go wrong!  The dress on the right is available HERE.  I was pregnant and I think in the 3rd trimester when we took that pic!  I also wore it postpartum to dinner and church shortly after giving birth.  So soft and stretchy!  I wear size M.  (I’m usually size S/M or 6/8.)

 

V-NECK TOPS
(VERY RARE, BUT SPECIFIC ONES ARE RIDICULOUSLY STRETCHY)

Summer Outfits with Skirts to Breastfeed In

Lots of people say things like, “V-necks are so easy to nurse in–you can just pull them down!” But honestly, that never worked for me.  I could never pull them down far enough–apparently my “girls” sit too low? (TMI? 😂🤷🏻‍♀️)  I always needed button ups, cross-front type v-necks, or simply had to pull up tops completely.  However, I finally found these v-neck tank tops that are ridiculously stretchy.  I can easily pull them down to nurse in–they are truly that stretchy!  If *I* can do it, I am confident most others can as well.

Above I’m wearing the same tank in 3 different colors.  Tucked into a skirt, this was my summer uniform when it was super hot, when I wanted to be dressy casual at church or out with friends, and when I wanted nursing to be really, really, really easy.  They come in 8 colors HERE.  I’m usually size S/M or 6/8 and wear these in size M.

A similar t-shirt that is also ridiculously stretchy is HERE and comes in several prints.  I wear these in size M.

Both the tank and tees are fitted at the bust, making them flattering when tucked into a skirt, but are loose at the waist which makes them drape well with a front tuck into shorts and jeans.

 

STRAPLESS TOPS AND DRESSES

Nursing Friendly - Strapless Floral Print Maxi Dress

I haven’t nursed in these mostly because I haven’t thought through how to pull down a strapless bra for nursing and I’m not about to buy a nursing friendly strapless bra! But, if you can figure out the bra situation, a strapless dress would be super easy to nurse in. I think of this as an option to have in your back pocket when looking for dresses to wear to weddings if you can’t find button-up or cross-front options you like. There are tons of strapless dresses!

Edit–Ella is now 4 months old. I’ve now nursed in this exact dress and other dresses with thin spaghetti straps that I could pull off easily + a regular strapless bra.  It’s super easy to nurse in if you’re wearing a strapless bra with soft, moldable cups.

 

LOOSER TOPS AND SWEATERS (+ UNDERCOVER MAMA CAMIS)

Nursing Friendly Clothes to Breastfeed In

Lastly, like I said earlier, I wear any of my regular tops that I can pull up easily and wear Undercover Mama camis underneath.  This includes any of my cotton tees like my Madewell V-neck tees, my twist tees, all of my striped tees, and my flowy printed tees like THIS one and THIS one. It also includes my Lush tunics (or the softer and shorter similar Henley version), among other flowy tops I own.

Between all these options I scarcely ever feel the need to buy nursing-specific clothing apart from undergarments. I can more or less wear my regular clothes thanks to Undercover Mama camis, and there is a lot of variety between the different types of button-ups and cross-front clothing.  The 6 outfits above are what I’ve been wearing and breastfeeding in the last 4 weeks since Ella was born!

 

You can view my past nursing-friendly outfits HERE, though that only shows my button up and cross-front outfits.  Most days I just wear loose tops that I can pull up, as you’ll see in my Outfits of the Day.

I hope this helps some nursing mamas out there!  You’ve got this!

 


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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Carrie
    May 10, 2018 at 7:10 am

    I love this post! with my first I bought several nursing-specific tops and within a few weeks realized they were not only (mostly) ugly and a waste of money, but totally unnecessary!!

  • Reply
    Ros
    May 10, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Yes to all of the above, especially the henleys and buttoned shirts – I basically lived in 4 Old Navy flannel shirts while nursing my second through a Quebec winter.

    And agreed on your ‘nursing-specific clothing is expensive nonsense’ stance, with the caveat that Boob Maternity has these striped maternity/nursing dresses that look amazing as maternity wear and are great for nursing access after. They’re not cheap (… I got mine on black friday sale while pregnant with my first, and I must’ve paid around 80$ CAD) but considering I’ve worn it once a week through 2 pregnancies and 2 years of nursing, and I’m planning on more kids… it’s not bad. But that’s also because I like the stripes and how the dress fits.

  • Reply
    Mireille
    May 10, 2018 at 8:47 am

    I may have to check into the camis! I had a nursing cover like your first one but been having issues with my 6 month old pulling it so I bought the second one. We will be traveling this summer and I wanted more coverage. I ended up using Wal-Mart nursing sports bra this time e around because they seem to be the only ones to keep it all in and not look like I have a third boob, lol! I just wear regular tops.

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      May 14, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      Haha a third boob! Most of the nursing bras I tried make me look like I have a uniboob. Getting nicer nursing bras this time was totally worth it!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    May 10, 2018 at 11:45 am

    You read my mind! I’m also nursing my new baby (who I think was born the same week as your daughter, she will be 1 month old tomorrow) and was wondering if you were going to do a post about clothes to nurse in.
    This is baby #3 for me and I agree with you that breastfeeding clothes are unnecessary. I do wear strapless dresses a lot in the summer when nursing. When I do, I just go without a bra entirely and just stick my breast pads directly into the dress itself to contain any leaks. Then I just pull down one side at a time to nurse. But I’m so small chested that even when nursing I’m barely a B cup; obviously this wouldn’t work for anyone with a bigger bust.

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      May 14, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Congrats on your new baby!!

      I was thinking of doing the same with the strapless dresses, but wasn’t sure how my nursing boobs would fare with no bra, haha. Haven’t needed to test it out yet since I haven’t had to or wanted to wear anything strapless yet. Maybe when the weather warms up or when a fancy event rolls around!

  • Reply
    Julia at Home on 129 Acres
    May 10, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I’ve been waiting for this post! Thank you. My daughter is 11 weeks old, and fortunately breast feeding has come pretty easily to us–although I know completely what you mean about the “is she getting enough” anxiety. Figuring out clothes was the hard part for me. I feel like I’ve been living in button downs, but now that the weather is getting warmer I’m looking for more options. I just recently went back to my usual shirts and started hiking them up. I’m glad to hear that’s an accepted solution! I love the idea of the camisole for a little more modesty.

    • Reply
      Theresa
      May 10, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      When I was nursing my son, he hated the nursing cover. I improvised by still wearing it but not covering his face with it until he was a little older. Basically, it covered the top and middle of my chest and any part of my stomach that was exposed. I also always had a receiving blanket on the baby and used that to cover my stomach too. I used the blankets more with my daughter.

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      May 14, 2018 at 9:07 pm

      Congrats on your baby!

  • Reply
    Mica
    May 10, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    This is so helpful! While my breastfeeding days are behind me, I think that the singlet under a normal top so you can pull it up is the best breastfeeding outfit! It was so practical and let me use more of my regular wardrobe and feel more like myself.

    Hope that you are having a lovely week and you have a good weekend ahead of you 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

  • Reply
    Lexie
    May 10, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Instead of getting hands free pumping bras, get a hands free pumping necklace. The Pumpin Pals necklace was a lifesaver for me when I went back to work! https://pumpinpal.com/product/pumpin-pal-original-hands-free-necklace/

  • Reply
    Maipham Vang
    May 11, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I’ve been waiting for this post as well! I’ve seen the camis, but wasn’t convinced to try them until I saw this. Just wanted to say how much I love your blog, and to let you know that right now there’s a sale going on for the camis using the code MOMSDAY. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    Brittany
    May 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    I highly recommend Kindred Bravely for nursing bras. I didn’t find them until baby #3 unfortunately, but I LOVE them. I did try the Undercover Mama Nursing tanks, but ultimately found that just a pack of camisoles from Costco, or anywhere really, (the thin strap kind) worked the best for me. The straps are stretchy enough to pull the tank right down along with the nursing bra, and I still have tummy coverage. The price is right too!

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      May 14, 2018 at 9:09 pm

      Which Kindred bra do you recommend? I linked to the sleeping bras in this post–those are great. Really soft and comfy. But, I tried a daytime Kindred nursing bra and didn’t love it. I think it was the deep plunging one or something. It gave me a uniboob haha! It also squeezed my ribcage and fit kind of awkwardly. Any recs for a different style?

  • Reply
    Corina | FrumpyFighters.com
    May 14, 2018 at 7:09 am

    This is so practical! Shared with my mamas. I clicked through to all your recommendations on different tabs and can’t wait to check them out.

    Those undercover mama tanks look genius! Do you know if they hook on to non-nursing bras?

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      May 14, 2018 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Corina! Thanks so much for sharing the post!!

      I think the camis hook onto non-nursing bras too. I just tried hooking it onto one using the metal hooks on the camisole and it stayed. However, I didn’t actually try wearing it to see how secure it was.

  • Reply
    Caroline L
    May 14, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Thank you for this thorough post. Really helpful! I’m going to look into the camis. I have tried so many nursing tops and they all have issues: too much fabric, unflattering cuts, cumbersome to nurse in, not enough coverage, etc. The list goes on. The only nursing top I have found that hits all the right notes is this one at Motherhood: http://www.motherhood.com/lift-up-side-tie-nursing-top/007-91573-000-001.html?cgid=nursing-tops&dwvar_007-91573-000-001_color=006-91573-44#start=1.

  • Reply
    Lynda Tsay
    October 31, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    I’m trying to figure out clothes for breastfeeding and THIS POST IS SO HELPFUL!!! How though do you pull shirt up without having to hold it up? Trying to envision it…

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      October 31, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      Oh I’m so glad to hear that, Lynda!! For not having to hold a shirt once it’s up—gosh I wish I could take a pic of myself to explain but I’ll try. I gather all the material to the side opposite the baby’s head. Like if she’s feeding on the right, I gather all the material to the left and make it taut enough so that it’s out of her face. I tuck that excess fabric under my left armpit and it stays out of the way. Hope that makes sense!

      • Reply
        Lynda Tsay
        October 31, 2018 at 11:10 pm

        Thanks!!

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