What to Wear When Nursing

Congratulations! You have made it through abandoning all your tiny-waisted pants during your pregnancy and now your boobs are exploding! It is time to find a nursing-friendly wardrobe.

I’ll introduce you to many wonderful brands that cater to nursing mamas, as well as creative ways to adapt your current wardrobe to accommodate growing, leaking boobs. Whichever you’re looking for, you can find it here!

A new mother’s milk will typically arrive three to five days after giving birth. In the early stages of nursing, I was often engorged, and my chest size was all over the chart. Fortunately, I wasn’t wearing many “real clothes” during those early postpartum days.

In the beginning, my postpartum and nursing essentials included:

  • A nursing gown with a robe—This was my favorite after both of my children’s births. It was loose and comfy and made nursing very easy. Even better than a bathrobe, because I could stick nursing pads in it!
  • Nursing padsBamboobies is my favorite brand of nursing pads because they are soft, comfortable, and capable of stopping a flood. I personally haven’t tried their nursing tanks and gowns, but if the quality compares to their nursing pads, they’re great. By the way, keep these things around for longer than you assume you’ll need to. Any time I stepped out of the house confident I wouldn’t have a leak, I was very likely to end up with an undeniable wet spot on my shirt. 
  • A couple of nursing tanks—for the days when you feel like getting dressed. I didn’t find it necessary to wear nursing tanks the whole time I nursed, but they made things as easy and breezy as possible when I was still figuring it all out, and that was much needed. 

When you are ready to reintegrate yourself into the public with your little one, organize your closet first! 

Don’t be like me and drive halfway to church one day before it occurs to you that you’re zipped into a dress and can’t feed your infant without getting naked. 

I recommend selecting nursing-friendly items and bringing them to the front of your closet. It will save you a lot of rushed or panicked searching down the road. 

Once you start to get the hang of nursing, you can get away with wearing anything that has a neckline that stretches easily, or a nice v-neck or scoop neck. Fun fact: boobs are stretchy! 

The key is to make sure your bra and your shirt have some give, or that you’re wearing a nursing bra or stretchy sports bra under your shirt. 

My “girls” aren’t picky. They blossomed in thin, scratchy, Walmart sale or hand-me-down wanna-be-bralettes. So, I opted out of purchasing a whole new set of nursing bras, partly out of sheer laziness and partly because I have a lot of sports bras and bralettes that were stretchy and supportive enough to work just fine. 

If you’re wanting more support or some padding, or you made a big jump in sizes, your boobs will typically settle on a semi-permanent nursing size around three months postpartum. That’s the best time to invest in some quality bras to finish your nursing journey. That was also about the time that I could somewhat comfortably wear a good strapless bra (with nursing pads) under a romper or a sundress (yay?!).

I asked around, and here are the bras nursing mamas loved the most. 

Bravado has many types of bras, all specifically designed for breastfeeding mamas. 

Third Love is a brand I haven’t tried myself, but according to many Instagram influencers popping up in my feed recently, they have great bras!

I was impressed that Kindred Bravely had everything I could possibly imagine a mom needing, from maternity to post-nursing bras in all varieties including organic cotton bras. The French terry nursing bra was highly recommended as one of the most comfortable bras you will ever wear. They also have tanks, camis, support bands, and just about everything. 

The Dairy Fairy has a great range of sizes and caters well to moms who are pumping as well as nursing. I loved all the cute lacy bras they offer. 

In the cooler months, I layered a sweater over a tank top, so that I could easily stay covered while pulling up my sweater and sliding down my tank for baby to latch on. It was a relief to still be able to wear all of my sweaters! 

A lot of my fitted and more formal dresses haven’t left my closet since my littlest one was born. But I could easily wear some sundresses, rompers, or soft and stretchy dresses while nursing; I just had to find the right strapless bra to pair it with and tuck some nursing pads into it.

This soft and stretchy dress from GAP has been a go-to in my wardrobe for years…sometimes with more spandex than other times.

It seemed impossible in the beginning, but soon I was confident enough to be able to nurse by quickly pulling something up, down, or to the side.

If you need something more professional than a nursing tank, button-down blouses are perfect while still providing easy access if you need to nurse or pump!

When shopping, I gravitate toward this style of blouse: cute and great for nursing.

I’m all for nursing however and wherever you please, but man am I grateful that I was gifted with a Milksnob cover. It came in handy many times, and I wouldn’t suggest leaving home without it. 

In the early days, when I practically had to get naked to get our latch right, it was nice to have a barrier between myself and the outside world. Also, my youngest was born in the winter, and I preferred avoiding goosebumps on my boobs! As my little one got older, he was frequently distracted by new sights and sounds while we were out. He would constantly pop off my boob to do some sightseeing. Having a cover helped him to focus and finish eating before he continued his tours of the world. Plus, a cover can be used as a blanket, scarf, car seat cover, store cart cover, etc. One woman mistook it as a skirt and wore/rocked it for a day, so you really can’t go wrong with this purchase.

I took for granted the wonderful freedom of sleeping topless in the past. Once I began nursing, I quickly tired of constantly having my boobs confined. When I first rebelled against bras, I would wake up to my boobs having wet the bed in the night…not fun. But, if I wore a thin bathrobe to bed, or a baggy tank top (I stole my spouse’s), it would catch some leakage while still allowing me the freedom of sleeping bra-free. Plus, it makes feeding baby super easy during those late-night nursing sessions. 

I hope that this has helped you realize the potential of your current wardrobe while guiding you to the perfect place to buy any new essentials you need. After all, imagine all the bucks we’re saving not having to buy baby food! We deserve some new clothes, right?!

Happy nursing, mamas!

I was born and raised in Houston, but I got to S.A. as fast as I could. I'm staying here for the tacos, the parades, the hill country, and the caring people. This city only has cedar fever to keep us from being too perfect. I'm momma to a strong willed girl, an adventure loving boy, and a rescue mutt. Wifey to a man working in the oil field. Don't mistake me for Laura Ingalls, but I do love homeschooling, baking, candle making, nature exploring, coffee sipping, and photo taking. Favorite Restaurant: Bird Bakery (cake and pies, duh!) Favorite Landmark: Hemisfair Park Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Cascarones