Navigating The Postpartum Wardrobe for the Breastfeeding Mother

Multiple times during the third trimester of my pregnancy, I found myself staring longingly at my favorite little black dress hanging in the closet. Memories of date-nights and bachelorette parties of the pre-pregnancy days flashed in my mind. Hmm...still smells of stale white wine and reapplied deodorant. I thoughtfully picked it off the rack and held it against my heavily pregnant body. "Will I ever wear this again?" I mused. "Nevermind that...will I ever fit into this again?!"

Although I have yet to update you and proclaim my postpartum triumph of fitting into that little black dress, I can honestly say that even if I were by some miracle to squeeze my maternal curves into that dress my victory would be shadowed by its new-found impracticality in this brave, new breastfed world. Here are a couple of tips to help you- the expectant/new mother- prepare your postpartum and breastfeeding wardrobe.

1. Keep Maternity Clothes Handy- DON'T toss the maternity clothes just yet! Although I would love to tell you that as soon as you come home from the hospital that you'll be able to slip on those skinny jeans, the reality is you more than likely have a few months before this will be possible. Most of us will in fact leave the hospital with what looks like a little baby bump in tact. Embrace your battle scars mama and keep those elastic-wasted pants and skirts handy! These will be the most comfortable clothes for you to wear for a few months yet.

2. Find Breastfeeding-Friendly Clothes in Your Closet- Channel some of that nesting energy- go through your pre-pregnancy and maternity wardrobe and keep button down and cross-over shirts and dresses handy. Put anything else in storage for a little bit. More than likely if it doesn't fit this criteria you'll have to remove the whole top or dress for your baby to access the breast. Trust me this experience is anything but fun.

3. Buy Yourself a Few Breastfeeding Tops and Dresses- In honesty, I would have loved to have bought myself a whole new wardrobe of clothes tailored specifically for breastfeeding. The reality was however that I couldn't afford to do so. I did however buy a few shirts and dresses with well-tailored breastfeeding access and they were a god-send! So go on Amazon and buy yourself an item or two- you'll be happy you did.

4. Make Some Room for the 'Girls'-Be kind to yourself and your enlarged breasts and put any skin tight or small fitting shirts of yours in storage for a bit. Instead have some larger, looser tees and shirts available. What many of us new breastfeeding mothers don't realize is that our already larger pregnant breasts will become even larger once our milk comes in postpartum. And many of our pre-pregnancy tees and tops will be too snug and uncomfortable.

5. Purchase Nursing Bras- Just do it! Trying to contain and breastfeed with a non-nursing bra is like trying contain a feral cat in your house...they will stop at nothing to get out and they will leak everywhere.

6. Speaking of Leaking...-Compile a stash of disposable or washable breast-pad inserts in your bra drawer. Trust me...last thing you want is to leave a trail of breastmilk in the baby isle of Walmart.

7. Have a Few Bathrobes Handy- Between your postpartum hospital stay and lounging around the house a bathrobe will quick become your new favorite wardrobe item; easy to slip on, comfortable, and effortless access to the breast and skin on skin. Also nothing says 'I'm not ready nor willing to entertain company' quite like a bathrobe, an unkempt messy bun, and a screaming newborn.

Breastfeeding, while a wonderful bonding experience between mother and child, can also prove one of the more challenging. Knowledge and preparation are key to breastfeeding success- so go ahead - prep your wardrobe and be one step ahead of the game. Happy feeding!



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