Breastfeeding - what to wear?
As ‘World Breastfeeding Week’ ends, I’d like to share with you one of the things that has always bothered me about breastfeeding. I’m on my second time around as a breastfeeding mama and it’s one of the things that I still struggle with. WHAT TO WEAR!
If you have ever breastfed, or know someone who does, you’ll know that the number one priority when deciding what to wear, becomes about how accessible the boobs are. Not what’s most comfortable. Not what makes you feel the best. Not what’s most fashion forward. Not what is the most ethical brand.
It’s all about how many seconds it will take to get your boobs out!
One of my absolute pet peeves is the maternity/nursing combo. (Unless of course you are pregnant while breastfeeding an older child. Well in that case, by all means those options are perfect for you.) However, if you are wearing these clothes when you are definitely not pregnant, how is something designed to fit over a 9 month belly also going to be suitable for my frame 9 months postpartum? I agree there is a lot that changes with your body in the months after giving birth- but I certainly don’t want to be wearing something that has room to fit a giant watermelon down the front!
And yes of course, there is the option of layering clothes to make your own makeshift top. You can do this by using a tank top underneath a tee-shirt or shirt. The old ‘pull up/pull down’ trick. But sometimes it’s nice to not have to layer and to have something which has been specifically designed for all your lactating needs.
The places which in my opinion do offer an ok selection for bras, tops, sweaters and dresses are H+M and Mothercare. But referring to my point above, many of the items are designed to be a maternity and nursing combo. Come on guys, we can do better! And we deserve better. Breastfeeding can be hard enough without having to struggle dressing yourself.
With all this in mind, after I gave birth to our second daughter Arya, I was determined to find some better options. All it took was a little digging on social media and I found some amazing brands. Each one of them owned and run by Mamas who had seen a gap in the market. All of these companies offer clothing which are stylish, comfortable, great quality and yes, you guessed it, with easy boob access! Here are a few of my favourite brands.
Stylish Mum is run by Yorkshire based mum Sarah Blunkett. Their tagline is ‘because life doesn’t stop when you're breastfeeding’. They offer everything from matching mum and baby hoodies, to dresses, breastfeeding jewellery, breast pads, PJs and branded Stylish Mum accessories. One of my favourite breastfeeding tops is from Stylish Mum- my rainbow top. I have it in a long sleeve, but it also comes as a t-shirt and dress with matching options for your baby and toddler. They are amazing on social media and I always love their content with their mission to normalise breastfeeding. They've also kindly given me the code 'ranae' which you can use for 15% off the entire website.
Click here to check out Stylish Mum.
The Bshirt is another UK company- co-founded by Devon mums Lisa and Philippa. They offer unique tanks, tees and long sleeve shirts where the front panel lifts up. In their own words:
"Our product is ethically made from organic cotton and as part of the slow fashion movement is intended to be worn with a mother's existing wardrobe cutting down on the expense of buying a whole new breastfeeding wardrobe."
I love that their mission is to help improve breastfeeding rates in the UK and beyond. (In case you didn't know, Ireland and the UK have some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world!) Just to say, they often do deals on multibuys- so it’s a great idea to stock up on a few different colours.
Click here to see their website.
The Milky Tee Co:
The Milky Tee Co offers gorgeous quality t-shirts with discreetly hidden zips, which run from just under your armpit and down your side. It was started by mum of 2 Lauren after she struggled to find comfortable and stylish clothes for her to breastfeed in. I have two of them. A white one that says ‘Bossing It’ and a plain black tee that goes with absolutely everything. Milky Tees also come in longer than average length which make them ideal for wearing over leggings or if you just prefer a longer top. Both of these shirts have had so much use and I always get comments like ‘oh wow I had no idea that was a breastfeeding shirt!’
Click here to check out the Milky Tee Company.
Juno Jacks have a huge range of clothing for breastfeeding. Again, this is a brand that was set up by mum Lucy after the birth of her first baby. They have everything from gorgeous jumpers to amazing dresses and jumpsuit. They are fun and fashionable! One of my favourite items is their rainbow sweater, pictured below- which also comes in baby and kids sizes so you can twin with your little nursling. You could dress yourself from head to toe in all their stuff- and the prices are really reasonable too. But even more important, is their ethos which is:
"Here at Juno Jack’s we are much more than just a brand, we are a community, and together, we are a movement on a mission to #normalisebreastfeeding and inspire other Mums to start and continue on their breastfeeding journeys. Our community of Mummas support and empower one another, giving confidence and a ‘Mumma, you’re doing a great job!’ just when you need it."
Click here for their main website.
The Pod Collection:
Ok guys... I’m going to go back on what I said earlier about the maternity/nursing combo. The thing is, if the tailoring is right and the quality is there, it is possible to make a piece of clothing that can last throughout your pregnancy and into your nursing journey (and beyond.) A classic example of this is the Irish brand ‘The Pod Collection’. Started by mums and best friends, Hazel & Emma in 2018 they have quickly made a name for themselves when it comes to timeless maternity and nursing fashion. They offer beautiful pieces which are excellently made. The price point is higher than some of the other options, but once you see and feel the quality, you’ll understand why. I definitely would recommend investing something which has such versatility and longevity.
"Each item in The Pod Collection range is designed by us here in Ireland and strikes up the perfect balance of femininity and minimalism. The designs are carefully developed with the modern mama in mind, that can be worn throughout your pregnancy and beyond."
Click here to see the full collection.
***Disclaimer- I own many of the products in this article. Some were bought and some were gifted. But I love them all and 100% recommend them!