29 Nursing-Friendly Dresses That Are Actually Cool

Holiday parties and pumps, here we come

Power Shoulder Bardot Animal Print Mini DressPower Shoulder Bardot Animal Print Mini Dress via ASOS ($103.00)

As APW’s resident shopper, it has fallen to me over the years to help source our yearly roundup of nursing friendly dresses. No problem! I said. I have boobs! I understand the basic mechanisms of needing to access them. Let me at it! Then this year, I had a baby. And as I found myself in a restroom stall in the middle of a friend’s wedding reception pumping with the fury of a person who is about to miss “Living on a Prayer,” I thought to myself, HAHAHAHAHAHAH how little I knew then! Thank god I had a senior editor who was actually nursing. Because as any of you with a baby attached to your chest right now can attest, it’s not exactly that simple. There are, in fact, other things to consider when choosing nursing-friendly dresses (or jumpsuits, or any formal wear) besides nipple proximity. Such things may include:

  • Do I care if everyone here can see my whole boob? Like, the whole thing? Do I want to wrestle with a coverup if I do care?
  • Can I wear this with a nursing bra? (Or any bra at all? Will gravity be thine enemy, is what I’m saying.)
  • What are the odds that the baby destroys this garment in some fashion, and how much do I care? (Can we have a conversation about the staying power of baby poop and the related unreliability of diapers?)

All of which is to say, there’s no one perfect nursing dress for everyone. Meg, for example, prefers a wrap dress for ease of access. I prefer a crop top or two-piece dress for the sake of not having to show my best friend’s dad my boobs. And it’s also to say, I apologize for my past errors, and to my editor who tried so hard to explain. And also that one time I told you to buy velvet. (Though, can you get baby vomit out of velvet? Maybe I don’t take that one back.) So here is the best of the best that 2017 has to offer in the way of nursing-friendly dresses. I call it “atonement.”

Price ranges and sizes vary, but as usual, we tried to find a little something for everyone.

Wrap Dresses

pink Floral Wrap DressFloral Wrap Dress via Mango ($99.00)

silver Katina Gathered Midi DressKatina Gathered Midi Dress via Alice + Olivia ($395.00)

plum Jersey Wrap Dress Jersey Wrap Dress via Rachel Roy Curve ($139.00)

leopard Joe Fresh Print Wrap DressJoe Fresh Print Wrap Dress via Spring ($29.00)

red, blue, yellow, white Long Sleeve Knit Wrap Dress Long Sleeve Knit Wrap Dress via Diane Von Furstenberg ($498.00) 

ASOS Maternity Nursing Batwing Print Wrap DressASOS Maternity Nursing Batwing Print Wrap Dress via ASOS ($51.00)

Color Block Velvet Wrap Maxi DressColor Block Velvet Wrap Maxi Dress via Anthropologie ($312.00)

Nursing Jumpsuits

Faithful Tie-Front JumpsuitFaithful Tie-Front Jumpsuit via Anthropologie ($168.00)

Velvet Cold Shoulder JumpsuitVelvet Cold Shoulder Jumpsuit via TopShop ($90.00) (FINE STILL WITH THE VELVET)

V-neck Wide Leg Ruffle JumpsuitV-Neck Wide Leg Ruffle Jumpsuit via Express ($79.90)

The Embolden Age JumpsuitThe Embolden Age Jumpsuit via ModCloth ($129.99)

Kasey Wide-Leg JumpsuitKasey Wide-Leg Jumpsuit via Anthropologie ($238.00)

Gray Drape Shoulder Slinky JumpsuitGray Drape Shoulder Slinky Jumpsuit via Miss Guided ($48.00)

NUrsing-Friendly Dresses with Front Closures

Flared Sleeve DressFlared Sleeve Dress via Mango ($45.99)

Celinda Metallic Jacquard DressCelinda Metallic Jacquard Dress via Nordstrom ($798.00)

Sleeveless Deep-V Button-Up DressSleeveless Deep-V Button-Up Dress via Diane Von Furstenberg ($348.00)

Haute Hippie Ivory Tux SheathHaute Hippie Ivory Tux Sheath via Rent the Runway ($65.00–$85.00 rental)

Icing on the Cape A-Line DressIcing on the Cape A-Line Dress via ModCloth ($99.99)

Making Moves DressMaking Moves Dress via Spring ($198.00)

Y.A.S. Dress with Open BackY.A.S. Dress with Open Back via ASOS ($95.00)

Nursing-friendly Dresses: V-Neck Edition

ASOS Salon Sequin Mesh Fit and Flare DressASOS Salon Sequin Mesh Fit and Flare Dress via ASOS ($158.00)

Sabrina DressSabrina Dress via Reformation ($218.00)

Marigold Velvet Shoulder Tie Slip DressMarigold Velvet Shoulder Tie Slip Dress via Spring ($119.00)

Lovers + Friends Nostalgia DressLovers + Friends Nostalgia Dress via Revolve ($198.00)

Nursing-friendly Two-Piece Dresses

ASOS Nursing Scallop DressASOS Nursing Scallop Dress via ASOS ($38.00)

Two Piece Sleeveless Lace Top with Full SkirtTwo Piece Sleeveless Lace Top with Full Skirt via David’s Bridal ($49.00)

Crop Top Midi Pencil DressCrop Top Midi Pencil Dress via ASOS ($76.00)

Embellished Flower Double Layer DressEmbellished Flower Double Layer Dress via ASOS ($87.00)

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  • K. is skittish about disqus

    Ooooh, I am so here for the cheaper options and the rental option! As much as I love a lot of the gorgeous $100+ options, my early postpartum body is…super weird. Breastfeeding doesn’t help with that: I’ve got giant boobs and fluctuating weight (breastfeeding burns a ton of calories, but also makes me want to eat entire cake shops in one sitting).

    Thus, I’m in an awkward phase of needing new clothes to help me feel good about myself, but yet being hesitant to purchase anything new in case my body is going to change drastically yet again in another couple months, and then again after that when I start weaning after the 12 month mark. So anything that’s cute, at least semi-flattering on my new wobbly bits, and inexpensive? THUMBS UP.

    • Cassidy

      If it’s in the budget, the Rent the Runway subscription services (mentioned here before) may be right up your alley. I’ve lost a bit of weight, and it’s been great to be able to have a few fun new options that actually fit without having to go out and buy a bunch of clothes in a size that I’m not sure is where I’ll settle out long term. And the subscriptions are well priced and allow you to keep the items for longer periods. They have really started expanding beyond party dresses, which is awesome – because while I love a party dress, what I mostly need is cute work and weekend outfits.

      • I mean, I love RTR a lot and have said that before. But it’s been GREAT as I’ve been losing weight. I can have fun stuff, send it back, and slowly move down sizes. Which is great, because right before I started using it I bought a bunch of stuff that now doesn’t fit. (And yeah, I use Unlimited for regular clothes, not party dresses).

    • JLC

      I found this post really helpful in thinking about postpartum clothing: http://rosie-ablogformymom.blogspot.com/2014/05/fashion-in-first-trimester-and-fourth.html
      I think in general, if you buy clothing that is fitted in one place and forgiving in the rest (eg a jersey knit dress with a gathered waist), it’s the most flattering, confidence-building, and most likely to transition along when your body changes. In the post above, Rosie used a lot of belts or strategically moving her waistband around to the most flattering position. Yoga pants or leggings and tunics are mom staples for a reason!
      Also, I went to Motherhood Maternity when my son was 8 months old and got myself some nursing bras that were actually made like normal bras — eg underwire, some normal amounts of padding, a bit of lace. I had been living in stretchy sports-bra style nursing bras and it made me feel so much more like myself again!

      • Laura C

        How did you find the underwires? The lactation consultants at my hospital said that underwires would cut off your milk supply.

        • JLC

          They didn’t bother me. I think I maybe tried to work them into my rotation slowly and not wear them for extended periods of time/back to back days right away — not so much for fear of losing my supply as getting a clogged duct or something. I think I also went up a band size or two (as well as cup sizes! lol), so they weren’t super tight.
          I had totally forgotten tho that one reason I had the softer nursing bras originally was because of the concern that underwires would mess with my milk supply in some way. I’ll edit my comment just to flag that issue for people as something to think about…it obviously can’t be 100% the case that underwire bras ALWAYS mess with nursing but it’s good to keep in mind that they can.

          • Kara E

            I didn’t have issues with underwires either (I switched back for at least working hours after 7-8 months or so and just took if off when I had to pump). However, ymmv because I also leaked like a sieve every time I even THOUGHT of my baby for the first year and only once had an even sort of plugged duct. I didn’t bother with “nursing” underwires though – just bought normal in a size larger and took it off when I had to pump. I switched to normal ones for ease of access when I had my kiddo with me. I was a definite 2 piece person though (v necks needed to be way too deep for comfort if I also wanted to give good access). Cleavage is one thing, but at some point it gets excessive (and frankly, if my kiddo could see too much of my boobs, she wanted them!). My kiddo was totally annoyed by covers and, well, I didn’t love exposing my H cups to the world.

        • emilyg25

          Underwire MAY cause clogs, especially if you’re prone to them, but I never had a problem with it.

        • Ilora

          Way late too the party but I just wanted to add that I’ve been wearing underwire bras since 2 months pp (8.5 now) and had no problems at all with them! The only clogged duct I had was before I even bought them. I can’t speak for all nursing bras, but the ones I have by Cake Lingerie have a more flexible underwire than regular bras do, which helps I assume.

        • Raimonda

          Dear Laura, blocked milk ducts and mastitis are caused by restriction and compression of the breast, this can be caused by non-wire or wired bras and is generally due to wearing the incorrect bra size. That is why it’s so important to get fitted or understand how correctly to fit yourself at home.
          You can measure yourself easily with following these steps – https://www.cakematernity.com/how-to-measure-bra-size

        • Ashlyn

          My Lactation Consultant informed be that underwires were fine as long as you are wearing an appropriately sized bra and that any issues surrounding underwires are caused by women not wearing proper fitting bras (which is super common). :) I wore one with wires the entire 12 months I was nursing because it provided better support for my girls.

  • PeaceIsTheWay

    Baby is attached as I type … eyes shut, don’t judge. My taste in dresses is generally conservative- been eyeing this one from Boob!

    http://www.boobdesign.com/storage/ma/a653878bc2604181b44117edc4a88c2e/aeda6b062ae946d48c9d6a3ee4c7e518/jpg/0FF258EBBC4EF56D54A4057379A5B05B8ED9676F/01566m3.jpg

    • Jess

      I feel like commenting on APW is a very nursing-appropriate activity, myself!

      Also, that dress is So. Very. My. Style.

      • PeaceIsTheWay

        Thanks :) I try to make eye contact if baby is interested, but as soon as the eyes close I often check APW, ha.

    • JLC

      WAIT. I love that dress but I can’t find it on their website??

      • PeaceIsTheWay

        Oh no, I can’t either anymore! ☹️ Bummer, I should not have waited… guess it’s been discontinued or sold out or something in the last couple weeks? Google offers this option, but I dunno… https://m.zalando.co.uk/boob-dress-midnight-blueoff-white-bx329f01p-k11.html

        For what it’s worth, this company is not cheap but the two tops I’ve ordered from them are my very favorites – comfortable, practical, and get a ton of compliments.

  • Laura C

    I just didn’t wear any dresses other than my one official nursing dress. Which only worked because I was basically a hermit while we were in SF, but finding dresses just seemed like a really big challenge that would be too much emotional work.

  • S

    I’m an Aussie and there’s a great new Australian brand that make tops and dresses for nursing mums! Not sure about their shipping policies but these dresses look genius if anyone’s interested: https://www.stylefeed.com.au/ (I’m not affiliated with them, and I’m not a mum so can’t personally vouch for them, I’ve just seen these dresses come up a lot in my Instagram feed – lots of my friends are fans!) Meanwhile some of those ones in this list with the fiddly buttons all down the front where you’d have to unbutton like 20 buttons then do them up again….I’m super stressed just thinking about it, yeesh. I do love all the jumpsuit suggestions though! And that two-tone velvet number is A++

  • Angela’s Back

    I needed that animal print mini dress in the header image *yesterday*

  • Kelsey

    Not nursing, so you know, not helpful but…HERE FOR ALL THE VELVET!!!

    • Zoya

      If Maddie did a velvet roundup, I would not be mad.

      • Jenny

        My fav outfit roundup of all time was the holiday outfit non sparkle edition because it was all lace and velvet! So great!

  • emilyg25

    I generally had no problem wearing a scoop or v neck, or button up, and just whipping my boob out when I needed to. But for my grandmother’s memorial service, I wanted something a little more discreet. I bought a dress from Milk Nursingwear and it was awesome! I’m not generally a fan of specialized nursing clothes, but there are some good options. (Also, after 15 months of nursing, I totally stretched out basically all my shirts.)

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Milk is so good. That’s where I got my best no wire nursing bras.

  • Aubry

    I want that ASOS fit and flare so damn bad! Alas, I am very busty and it would be essentially lingerie with a neckline that low! I’m also super tall so maybe not as bad but I’d have to try on.

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  • In order to make your nursing dresses more cool you need to wear you nursing inner wears in order to keep your body in shape and look more attractive.

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