Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thrift Store Tips for Nursing Moms

So you were super excited to get back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe as fast as possible ... only to realize most of it is not nursing friendly. Nursing is hard enough without having to deal with clothes. Let's just face it, whipping them badboys out at a moment's notice is essential when baby is crying. Additionally, despite your best efforts with burp cloths there's milk and boogers and eye gunk all over you at any given time. But you still want to look cute! I mean being a walking food truck with one special on the menu doesn't make you feel sexy, so nice clothes can at least do their part and help you out.

So what are a nursing mother's needs?
1) A comfortable fit
2) Easy access to boobs
3) Durable, easily cleaned materials
4) Fabrics that aren't too rough on baby's skin
5) Make you feel good to wear them

That's a tough list by any standards, so here are some tips for thrifting clothes for the nursing mom.

First, ignore all size tags. Your body does not have normal proportions right now, and thrift stores are notoriously bad for putting items in the correct size category anyway.

Next, look for materials that are easy to care for. Cottons, acrylics, polyester, some rayons... anything machine washable.

All well and good, but what styles do you look for?

The most obvious is button up shirts. These will be hard to find in a size that fits both your waist and your bust. You'll likely have to size up from your normal size simply due to the increase in your bust size. When you are trying these on, if you've just pumped or fed, remember that your chest will get noticeably larger the longer you go without expressing the milk, so something that fits now might not fit in 2 hours if it's very tight to begin with.
“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.” — Charlotte Brontë

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.” — Charlotte Brontë by saint-mercy 

You can pair button up shirts with pencil skirts, or any other type of skirt, with a belt and accessorize from there. Remember that baby will play with your jewelry so make sure it's sturdy. You can also swing your jewelry around your back while you nurse if you don't want baby to play with it. 

Make sure to also shop the men's or oversized button up section! A belt will turn a big shirt into a cute tunic dress that can be worn with leggings and boots. If you go for a men's shirt that's much larger, consider cutting off the arms, which can be an obvious indicator that you've sized up, even if you belt the shirt.

Button ups are also great with pants and jeans, especially for the working mom who has to pump on the job. Wear colorful selections, and pair them with fitted cardigans for a more refined look, and blanket/kimono cardigans for a looser look.  

Pearls, leopard & a button down

Pearls, leopard & a button down by steffiestaffie featuring pointy toe leopard flats

Another great thing to look for is partial button downs. Look for comfortable henleys, sweaters, and blouses that have a few buttons near the collar. I find that unbuttoning these allows pretty easy access to the chest. 

Nursing / breastfeeding friendly outfit

Next up is crossover blouses and dresses (also called surplice blouses/dresses). I love these and find they are the easiest for breastfeeding because they require no buttons and are a simple matter of pulling the fabric aside. However, don't be fooled - not all crossover tops are nursing friendly! The fabric must be stretchy enough to be pulled aside without tearing. Jersey is great for this. I always try them on in the dressing room and see if I can get my breast out easily. If you find that the V is cut too deep for your liking, cut a tank top off half way and use it as a bandeau. Simply lift it up before you go to nurse.

Surplice Dresses for Nursing

Tent dresses and blouses are also easy when you pair them with leggings. These are simple oversized shirts or blouses that give you plenty of room to simply lift and nurse. They also serve as a nursing cover, because they are so large they can go right over baby.

Tent Dresses for Nursing

A few other things to look out for include:
- Soft sweaters (but skip the cashmere! It might feel nice but it's too delicate for the regular washing it will need) Go for acrylic, cotton, and sturdy blends that can stand up to machine washing.
- Button-up dresses
- Tank tops to make bandeaus 
- Accessories! Especially scarves which can make great nursing covers

I hope this has given you some ideas on how to dress while nursing! Sometimes you just feel like your sole purpose is feeding the baby, and it's nice to not have to sacrifice your personal style. Do you have any other favorites for nursing? If so leave a comment and let me know! 


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