Baring the Boob :: Tips for Dressing While Nursing



Pregnancy presents many challenges, one of which is getting dressed each day. Dressing a growing baby bump isn’t easy. But the wardrobe challenges don’t end when your baby is born. When you’re nursing, getting dressed means your breasts must be accessible any time, day or night. If you’re uncomfortable with “overexposure,” as I am, you’ll likely have to invest in a few new pieces of clothing. However, many items in your current wardrobe are nursing friendly, so you shouldn’t need to break the bank purchasing new clothes.

My second baby is 2.5 months old, so I’m currently dressing for nursing every day. Here are the things I’ve learned after breastfeeding two babies:

Tank tops and bras and nursing pads! Oh my!

There’s no getting around it — you will have to buy nursing bras and/or tank tops. These items have a handy little clip where the cup meets the strap, allowing you to easily break out the boob. I personally like Bravado bras for day. These bras are supportive, comfortable, and come with a pad insert so you don’t wind up with big wet spots on your chest if your breasts decide to leak. For night, I like the Medela soft crossover bras. These bras just cross in the front, allowing you to simply pull the bra down to nurse your baby while still in a sleepy fog! Target and H&M sell nursing bras, so you needn’t spend a lot of money. It may be helpful to buy some nursing pads, either washable or disposable, to avoid those dreaded wet spots I mentioned above.

I also love nursing tanks because they provide more coverage. A friend of mine from my first new moms’ group said, “I don’t care if people see my boobs. I just don’t want them to see my belly!” I had the same feeling, so I often wear a tank underneath a T-shirt or sweatshirt. Which brings me to my next tip…


Fashion sweatshirts became a trend right after my first daughter was born. I couldn’t have been happier, as it made getting dressed in the morning so much easier. I threw on a nursing tank, layered a sweatshirt over, and I was ready to go! When it was time to nurse, I simply pulled up the sweatshirt and pulled down the cup on the tank. My belly was covered, and it was difficult to see that I was even breastfeeding. Layer a T-shirt, sweatshirt, sweater, or blouse over your nursing tank, and you’re good to go. Anything in your existing wardrobe is instantly nursing-friendly when layered over a tank.

Who’s got the button?

Most women own tops with buttons in the front, whether in the form of collared shirts or blouses, or more casual plaid or denim button-downs. These are great baby-friendly options when worn over a nursing bra. For more formal events, clothing with buttons allows you to dress for the occasion while still being able to feed your baby easily. I went to one wedding when my first baby was 5 weeks old and another when my second baby was only 2 weeks old. For both occasions, dresses with buttons saved me! Very formal events might present more of a challenge. But take a tip from Sharon Stone, who famously wore a Gap button-down with a Vera Wang skirt to the Oscars in 1998!


Wrap it up: Tops and dresses

Similar to the crossover bra mentioned above, wrap tops and dresses are great for breastfeeding. Simply pull the top down (after loosening the wrap, perhaps) and you are ready to nurse. Ella Moss seems to make a variation of this top every year. I highly recommend these tops! Use them for nursing now, and keep them for later! Many women already have a wrap-style dress, and if you don’t, you can easily pick one up at any price point.


I’ll admit that the inspiration for this post is the fact that I’ve gotten stuck in a rut of the “nursing tank under T-shirt” style. I wrote this post as much for myself as for all the other nursing mamas out there. I welcome any ideas or nursing-friendly style inspiration you have to offer!

Mamas, what are your go-to clothes for nursing?


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Rachel Wilson
Rachel is a native of the West Coast and didn't know that her straight hair could frizz until she made the move East! After earning a Master of Environmental Management from Yale, she moved to Boston for a job opportunity and, on her first Saturday night in the city, met the man who would become her husband. They married in 2012 and are learning more every day about how to be parents to daughters Annabel (2013) and Eleanor (2016). Rachel and her family recently relocated from Charlestown to the Metrowest suburbs and are enjoying their yard, but dislike shoveling snow from their driveway. Rachel currently works as an energy and environmental consultant, and wore Birkenstocks before they were trendy. Likes: her family, her in-laws, cooking ambitious meals and leaving the dishes for someone else, hiking, running, yoga, climbing mountains, reading books, farmers' markets and her CSA, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, the sound of her daughters' laughter, and coffee Dislikes: running out of milk, New England winters, diaper rash, wastefulness, cell phones at the dinner table