Nursing Wear: Buying Guide For New Moms 2023
Breastfeeding your baby is one of the best things you can do to give her the healthiest possible start in life. It benefits both you and your baby in various ways. That's the reason WHO and UNICEF recommend starting breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and continuing it for up to two years or beyond.
However, at the same time, the process of breastfeeding presents its own set of challenges. When breastfeeding, you face so many things, from clogged milk ducts to cracked nipples to low milk supply. According to an NCBI study, difficulties with lactation are the prime reason most mothers don't breastfeed for as long as they intend to.
Choosing the Right Nursing Wear
While it's natural to experience problems during breastfeeding, what you wear shouldn't be one of them. A big part of breastfeeding success depends on wearing the right nursing wear. Whether you are preparing to pack your hospital bag, planning to nurse your baby, or already breastfeeding, good nursing clothes can make your breastfeeding journey a whole lot easier and convenient.
Table of Contents
- What Is Nursing Wear?
- Why Do You Need Nursing Wear?
- What Are The Essentials For Breastfeeding Moms?
- What Are The Different Styles of Nursing Access?
- What to Look for When Buying Nursing Wear?
#1. What is Nursing Wear or Feeding Wear?
Nursing wear is specially designed for breastfeeding or pumping moms and the main purpose is to make breastfeeding at home or in public discreet and convenient. Nursing clothes have easy nursing access, such as zippers and buttons, which moms can easily open with a single hand to access their breasts for feeding or pumping.
Hidden nursing panels or discreet openings are more in trend to make feeding clothes versatile. Also, the empire waistline is very popular, so that you can wear feeding wear during pregnancy also.
The primary purpose of nursing clothes is to provide you with easy access to your breasts without completely exposing yourself.
#2. Why Do You Need Nursing Wear?
Mothers can feed their babies without feeding clothes, so nursing wear is not a necessity. But wearing supportive and comfortable clothes can solve many problems like sore nipples, clogged milk ducts, and feeding in public.
Good quality nursing wear not only provides support but also gives you the freedom to nurse your baby anytime, anywhere discreetly. You no longer need to roll anything up or battle with multiple layers of awkward clothing to get access to your breast. In short, nursing clothes make breastfeeding and pumping faster, easier, and more comfortable by offering discreet built-in panels.
Here are some reasons to buy feeding clothes:
A. Provides you comfort & privacy:
There may be times when you have to breastfeed your baby in public. A study from BioMed Central states discomfort with breastfeeding in public is one of the main reasons women quit breastfeeding. Nursing wear protects your privacy and makes it easy for you to feed your baby with confidence in public places.
B. Allows you to breastfeed at your convenience:
No matter if your baby demands breast milk in the middle of the night or in a public place, you don't have to wait for the right moment or place to feed your little one. Just use appropriate nursing clothes or a feeding apron to feed your baby!
C. Prevents breast infections:
According to MedicalNewsToday, wearing tight clothing or a bra with an underwire can cause clogged milk ducts. Fabric and design of feeding clothes are as per the need of the nursing moms.
D. Easy access for pumping:
Nursing clothes are convenient for pumping moms also. Therefore you don't need to pump milk while heading out.
E. Super versatile:
More and more brands are adopting versatile, sustainable clothing practices. Maternity & nursing brands are making clothes so you can wear them at any stage, i.e., before, during, and after pregnancy. Clothing manufacturing techniques like elastic waist, stretchy fabric, pleated fabric, hidden zippers, and adjusters are used to create clothes that adapt to your changing body structure.
#3. Feeding Clothes Essentials for Every Nursing Mom
From casual wear to formal wear and even professional outfits, you can find a variety of nursing wear made especially for breastfeeding moms. Here are Post-delivery essentials:
A. Nursing Bras
Feeding bras are absolutely essential. Nursing bras have flaps or panels that either lift up or pull down so you can breastfeed without taking off the entire bra. A good feeding bra:
- Fits you well and provides support to your breasts
- Made of soft, breathable, and absorbent fabrics like cotton
- Supportive cups with pockets for nursing pads
- Supports your heavy, milk-laden breasts
- Has non-slip, wide adjustable straps to keep the bra in place
- Accommodates your fluctuating breast size
- Features a non-padded, wireless, seamless design to ensure no digging, pinching, or sliding
- Has a snug, supportive elastic band underneath the bust to ensure a secure fit
Ideally, you should have at least three nursing bras: one to wear, one to wash, and one to keep.
B. Feeding Tops & T-shirts
Breastfeeding fashion has come a long way. Nursing tops and t-shirts, which come in many different colors and styles, are a great addition to your wardrobe. They have sides that pull up, button-down or pull over to allow easy access to your breasts for nursing. Wear them on their own if you're feeling warm, or layer them under other garments. You can also wear them overnight. You might even continue to wear them long after you wean your baby.
C. Nursing Nighties & Nightwear
When breastfeeding, sleep in something comfortable that allows you to access your breasts easily for those middle-of-the-night feeding sessions. A good feeding kaftan comes with snap-down flaps, buttons, or zipper in the front to serve three purposes all in one:
- Nursing gown
- Labor/delivery hospital gown
- Pregnancy nightwear
Related Article: Why Kaftans are the Ultimate Nursing Wear and How to Style Them
Thus, nursing nighties and nightwear are designed to make sleeping and breastfeeding convenient for both pregnant and nursing moms.
D. Nursing Dresses
Stylish and functional feeding dress are suitable for discreet feeding on the go and also help camouflage your postpartum body.
E. Nursing Pajamas/Loungewear2pc. Nursing Tunic and Pants Set
Besides breastfeeding, feeding loungewear is a perfect choice for running errands, lounging around the house, hanging out with friends, and healing cesarean section during the postpartum period. You can wear them for the time when you don't want to really 'get dressed,' but want to have something comfortable to put on. For instance, you can wear them when answering the door or when guests stop by to see the new bundle of joy.
F. Nursing Kurtis & Suit Sets
If you're a breastfeeding mom who adores Indian culture, these feeding kurtis are an ideal choice for you. They are a perfect blend of comfort, fashion, and tradition. You can wear feeding kurtas or sharara sets on all types of casual, formal, or traditional occasions, including weddings, religious events, parties, or family functions.
G. Nursing Covers
Lastly, you can use a chic nursing cover for added privacy when you're in public or on the go. Most nursing covers double as scarves when not nursing, making them a stylish addition to your wardrobe.
Nursing cover provide added discretion away from prying eyes when nursing in public. They often come with a rigid neckline so the baby can still get some air and see you through the wide opening. And the best thing? You can easily carry them in your handbag.
Also Read: A Definitive Guide to Buying Nursing Covers
#4. Different Styles of Nursing Access
The primary purpose of feeding clothes is easy and discreet breast access. Many options are available for nursing moms, from fabrics to nursing access styles like side openings, front zipper, pull-down, and many more. You can select the right style based on your body type, feeding frequency, and personal style preference.
Let's look at them and understand which style will work best for you as a new mom.
This one is truly a blessing to the nursing mother. Whether it's a nursing top, t-shirt, shirt, or dress, you can easily feed your baby simply by undoing the buttons on the front. Some pieces even come with an inner layer for more discreet feeding.
And the best thing is they are always in style. You can easily carry them on from pregnancy to your nursing days and beyond.
B. Hidden Zippers
Nursing dresses and tops with a hidden zipper situated at the front or on both sides to provide you with no-fuss breast access. All you need do is unzip to reveal your breast to feed your little one.
Zippers are incredibly functional, and they keep everything hidden and in place while feeding. Tip: Make sure to check the length of the zipper.
C. Layered Wrap / Surplice
This type of nursing wear features a layer of fabric draped in a crisscross over the other, which you can adjust quickly to breastfeed your baby on the go. Wrap dresses and tops are flattering on every body type, and they can be easily dressed up or down.
The layered wrap style provides you with easy concealed nursing access while also creating a stylish faux-wrap effect to keep you looking fabulous. You can even cradle the baby's head inside the outer layer to keep your hands free while nursing. Whether you're looking for something for work or a night out, this style should be your go-to option for hassle-free breastfeeding.
Border Print Nursing Kaftan Dress
The v-neck tie-up allows you to breastfeed without pulling the top down for feeding while also giving a summer feminine appeal to your look. It comes in various styles, ranging from front tie-up to wrap tie-up to tie-waist.
This nursing access is used mainly in Indian Angrakha style dresses. For example, one of our best sellers, 2pc. maternity nursing knotted coordinated set, features a v-neck top with tie-up shrug attached, which you can pull away to access hidden zippers. Super versatile and ideal for every breastfeeding mom.
E. Lift-Up / Quack
This nursing access features a layer of fabric that falls horizontally over the bust and lifts up near the empire line to reveal nursing openings in the inner layer. There are no clips, hooks, buttons, zips, or fastenings needed. The top outer layer can be short, ending at the empire line, or longer for a fully layered up look.
Easy lift-up access is one of nursing mummies' favorites as it's convenient, easy, and practical. It provides discretion when nursing in public, while the double-stitched layer soaks up any spillages you may have. Perfect for moms who don't want to reveal too much skin during breastfeeding.
F. Drop Down
Typically designed for camisoles or strappy tanks, this style of nursing access features snap buttons at the shoulders, which you can open up to reveal the hidden inner layer. To breastfeed your baby, you can simply unbutton, drop the outer layer down (mostly with one hand), and lift the inner crop layer.
You have probably already seen this style of nursing access in many maternity and nursing bras. This classic double-layered design features the drop-down clip nursing access, much like a feeding bra, so you don't need to wear one. These nursing wear are great for layering (for example, with a cardigan on top), or you can wear them on their own in the summer season.
G. Princess Seams
In this style of nursing access, pleats (a fold or doubling of creased fabric) or an outer overlying layer usually camouflages the nursing seams. The openings are situated along the bust line. Unzip both or either side to breastfeed your little one.
Super comfortable and convenient, this is one of the most popular and discreet nursing access options out there. Perfect for a quick pump session!
A crossover top can be a great option for moms who don't like to mess around. Just pull aside crisscross V-neck and start nursing! While this style doesn't offer as much coverage as other styles, it doesn't have any bunching, which many moms prefer.
Crossover is one of the most common styles and a fuss-free, easy option to nurse your baby. It is super flattering and casual enough for daily wear. The super breathable access makes this style ultra-cool and comfy for summertime.
Nursing wear with hem lift access typically have a fully double lined front. To access your breasts, you need to lift the lower hem of the outer layer on either side of the inner lining, where nursing openings are situated for easy access. This style is relatively less popular as moms have to lift up the entire wear to feed their babies.
J. Ruffles / Cowl Neck
These tops and dresses use ruffles to camouflage the nursing openings. You can either pull up or pull down upper layers to find the inner crop layer.
k. Halter Neck
Maternity & Nursing Tiered Ruffle Halter Top
The perfect combo of fashion and function! Simply pull down the outer layer and lift the inner layer to nurse your baby discreetly and conveniently.
#5. What to Look for When Buying Nursing Wear?
The key elements to consider when picking out the functional nursing wear are:
A. Comfortable Fitting
Your nursing wear should offer you a comfortable fit (not tight) without sticking to your body. It must be designed for nursing moms and allow them to move freely without any restrictions.
B. Breathable and Stretchy Fabric
Good ventilation is a must to avoid issues like clogged milk ducts. Also, you'll not be moving much during nursing, which can sometimes also be a sweat activity. Make sure your nursing wear is made of lightweight and breathable fabric, like cotton or cotton blend.
C. Easy Nursing Access
This is an absolute must! Nursing wear is incomplete without easy, discreet nursing access. Make sure your piece provides convenient one-hand access to your breast without hassle.
D. Nursing Access Style
From button-down and hidden zippers to drop-down and lift-up, there are many different nursing access styles to serve moms' needs. Choose the one according to your comfort level and preference.
If you're at the beginning of your motherhood journey, you can carry on your nursing wear from pregnancy to breastfeeding. Apart from breastfeeding, you can also wear them as regular clothes. Moreover, if you're planning on having another baby, you can use them for that too. So look for durability and multi-functionality as you can have them forever!
F. Machine Washable
Things can be pretty messy and troublesome at times. So pick up nursing wear that is machine washable; you can't afford to hand wash them. Make sure it is durable enough to withstand machine washing and everyday wear.
G. Opt for Dark Colors
When picking nursing wear, prefer darker colors, prints, and patterns as they will help hide any unexpected spillage or leaks much better than light colors and solids.
The bottom line is, good nursing clothes are a must-have to make your breastfeeding journey easier and more comfortable. You will be breastfeeding your baby every two to three hours, and having clothes with easy nursing access will make your experience even better.
Every nursing wear has its own advantages, so choose a nursing access style that is most convenient for you. Look for easy nursing access, follow your personal style, and make sure the nursing wear adapts to your changing body structure, from pregnancy to breastfeeding and even beyond.
The fabric should be stretchy and breathable enough to offer you a comfortable fit and prevent breast issues like clogged milk ducts and mastitis. Lastly, opt for darker colors, prints, and patterns, and pick up nursing wear that is machine washable.