Fun fact: I’ve spent almost all of the last three years nursing a small human. In fact, I’ve spent so much time nursing, that it’s odd to think that at some point in the not too distant future, I might well never nurse again. (Sniffle.) But having a new baby this summer threw me back to the land of struggling with nursing friendly outfits. Because little babies need to nurse on demand (no matter how good the party is) and your boobs are still leaking milk all over the damn place.
When it came time for my daughter’s baby naming this August, I knew I wanted to look hot. Feeling good in your postpartum body can be hard enough, and the fact that nothing in your wardrobe currently fits (YOUR BOOBS…) really doesn’t help the situation. The first time around I made plenty of mistakes. (Like the time I wore a one piece high necked dress to a wedding without thinking about it, and had to strip down to my underwear to nurse my baby in a cold storage closet… and then shortly thereafter leaked through the light colored dress and wore SHORTS for the remainder of the reception. Good times.) So this time I knew that my outfit had to cover the basics. Meaning, I wanted to be able to nurse my kid without leaving the party. But I also wanted to look good, and on trend. And that is not how I’d describe most outfits marketed for nursing moms.
Who could solve this problem for me fast? The Internet, obviously. So I googled “nursing friendly party dresses,” and I swear to god got APW’s nursing-friendly party dress roundup from last year. I was both pleased that we were producing helpful (to me) content, and pissed nobody else was. Plus the stupid post was out of date. And really? I had to solve my own problems? THANKS INTERNET. After heavy research (and quite a bit of shopping) I came up with the following go-to solutions for putting together a still hip nursing friendly number:
- Wrap Dresses and Other Low Necklines: But you knew that.
- Button-Down Tops: Snap up any dress that comes with a button down top.
- #NursingJumpsuits: I found an awesome vintage looking jumpsuit for our daughter’s baby naming, and loved it so much I proceeded to fill my closet with more of them. Jumpsuits usually have a low neckline. Good ones will be cut in a way that disguise your middle section, and they’re the definition of one and done. Can we make #nursingjumpsuits a thing?
- Long Crop Tops: I know “crop top” and “postpartum” sounds crazy, but hear me out. A long structured crop top should expose next to none of your skin, and you can also pair one with a support camisole that will pull down for nursing and make you feel better about all the extra tummy… fluff…
- Also Known As Co-Ords and Twosies: Blessedly, the long crop top with matching skirt (think of it as a dress cut in half) is currently in fashion. Co-ords and twosies are your go-to Google search terms, and they will keep you looking on point (with easy access).
- Skirts and T-shirts, and Other Separates: 2015 is sadly not the year of the amazing skirt. But if you can find a killer maxi and pair it with a slim fitting v-necked shirt, you’ve set yourself up to win.
- And Obviously Breast Pads: And fabrics that won’t make it too obvious when you leak. Think prints and sequins. Everything is better and easier with sequins.
Because the holidays are one of the best times to snap up party dresses (and rife with places you really do need to wear something other than your maternity jeans), today, I’ve enlisted Maddie’s help to round up some of the season’s best nursing outfits.
Editor’s Note: We leaned heavily on one-and-done outfits for this roundup because they’re easy. But don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t wear separates from your own closet. For festive attire, we’re particularly digging this sequined tee that is somehow totally flattering while being baggy enough to fit a whole baby up inside it. Or this shirt, which is actually designed specifically for nursing. Add black pants and you’ve got instant party. Also NastyGal is killing it in the glittery separates department this season, even if they often kill it in the “adult woman who needs to wear a bra” department. And with that, onto party outfits:
The beauty of this floral wrap dress (other than everything) is that it’s not specifically holiday-themed. So you can wear it to all your important events next year and no one will be any the wiser. Wedding season 2016, here you come. That basically justifies the investment, right? ($348)
Jumpsuits are the new dresses. And thank God, they’re finally making cute plus size ones too. ($144)
Buttons for easy access? Check. Busy print to hide stains? Check. Long sleeves for winter, but lightweight enough for summer? Check and check. ($110)
This plus size two-piece dress features a longer crop top, but it’s loose, so you can maneuver for feeding. ($44.79)
The picture doesn’t do this dress justice (click through for the close-up and you’ll get a better idea of it.) Sheer fabric hides stains well, and metallic polka dots distract you from caring. Plus, trust me when I say this will be the most flattering thing on a non-model person. ($158)
A zippered jumpsuit with (non stomach showing) cutouts that you can still wear with a bra? Is this real life? ($89.58)
With a secret hook and eye closure a the bust, this beaded Kimono-style dress was practically made for nursing. (Just make sure to wear a black bra or cami underneath to camouflage the keyhole. It’ll look intentional, I promise.) ($79.99)
In addition to having a nursing-friendly stretchy neckline, this metallic jumpsuit from NastyGal also has sleeves. Why do we keep pretending it’s not cold outside? Hell, it’s cold inside. ($98)
Ruching is basically the most flattering thing you could do to a dress. Add a front zipper and we’re in business. Though I’d pair this guy with some opaque black tights, because that crotch looks suspiciously high to me. And I’m still convinced that black on navy is the height of fashion-forward sophistication. ($63)
Because sequins are forever (and the baby can’t puke on you that much in one night, right?). And because this kimono dress works with a regular bra and regular underwear. ($153)
Who says holiday dresses can’t be bright and colorful? ($99)
Versatility is the name of the game here. Got a lot of events to go to? Switch up your hair and accessories with this 70s-inspired midi dress and you’ve got a new outfit every time (more or less). ($69)
This wrap front metallic maxi dress gets points for bra-friendly design. Plus, lamé tends to have all the stretch, so easy access won’t be a problem. ($54)
Do you see what I see? Because what I see is a jumpsuit with a secret snap that lets you take care of business. ($98)
And if all else fails, the LBJ has you covered (that’s little black jumpsuit, and not the thirty-sixth president of the United States):
Like this long sleeve plus size wrap jumpsuit ($51)
Or this all in one wrap jumpsuit ($75.24)
Or this leather look drawstring jumpsuit ($89.58)
Or this sequined plus size jumpsuit ($144)
Or this one with the cool cape thing. ($98)