Opting to breastfeed brings many considerations, not least the best breastfeeding clothes to ensure comfort and accessibility, and our wardrobes often become more about functionality than fashion. One important factor for many newly breastfeeding mothers lacking confidence or simply wishing to retain some modesty is how to breastfeed discreetly.
Best Breastfeeding Clothes for Discretion and Functionality
During pregnancy, our body changes beyond all recognition; hopefully we love our blossoming shape – but either way it’s a very new and different one to what we’ve lived with for the past two or three decades! And on top of our new body – both before birth and then postpartum when it changes again – we must inevitably also modify our wardrobes…
Become a mum to a newborn, is not just a new facet to our identity – we actually lose all sense of self. And that’s perhaps one of the hardest adjustments to make.
Ensuring women feel confident when nursing in public is vital for so many reasons. It will:
- Help you and your infant to establish breastfeeding;
- Encourage you to be out and about in public at a time when it’s all too easy to remain cooped up indoors which is not good for your mental health;
- Normalise, and as a byproduct, promote nursing.
Accommodating Our Changing Body Shapes and Needs
During pregnancy, it’s simply (haha) a case of dressing for our bump. As long as our clothes are generous enough in the tummy department to accommodate a mahoosive great bulge, we’re good to go. There are actually some quite lovely designs available now which, rather than being an insult to our appreciation of fashion as they were for our poor mothers, can instead be surprisingly flattering.
However, finding breastfeeding-friendly clothes that are both practical and pretty can be a minefield: I had a funeral to attend when my baby was four months old, and I was sorted in the dress department – until I realised that my smart black dress was not breastfeeding friendly. Dammit. You’ll find this happens frequently in the beginning!
How to Discreetly Breastfeed in Public
I wish this were not of such huge importance to women starting out on their breastfeeding journey, but I remember all too clearly exactly how mortified I felt in those first days and weeks. It’s only through time I became desensitised to the experience of whipping a boob out in public and feeling sickeningly conspicuous.
Because I understand and empathise with the women who desperately want to nurse but are also feeling nauseatingly self-conscious, I’ve put together a few breastfeeding fashion tips to help you with breastfeeding discreetly.
How to Breastfeed Discreetly
Layer Up Separates
Though getting your baby fed is a priority, your modesty is a close second. Using layers has been my go-to choice of attire, and has become my breastfeeding signature style. One-up-one-down tops essentially mean keeping yourself entirely covered, which is a blessing for those reserved mamas such as myself. And for the cold-blooded lady (also me).
Layering also allows you to work a capsule wardrobe through every season, and every eventuality: vest and cardi; shirt and jumper; vest and shirt – the possibilities are endless. And you can keep your finger on the fashion pulse by investing in a few key items in a classic colour palette, while opting for more in vogue colours for vests and tees.
For an alternative to playing it safe with layered separates, why not be brave and give a dress a go? Simply opt for a stretchy fabric with a neckline that’s not too high, and pop a sheer shirt or comfy jumper over the top. This combo still allows you to employ the one-up-one-down trick, whilst also giving your wardrobe another dimension.
If ever there was a time in your life to embrace patterns, this is it! Why? Camouflage. I’m not suggesting you should hide those bountiful bosoms you’re currently blessed with; I am of course referring to the embarrassment of inadvertent milk stains.
Trust me – a patterned shirt hides a multitude of sins!
Big Scarves, Capes, and Pashminas
Whilst camouflage and subtlety are my preference, when it comes to nursing covers I’m not personally a fan of breastfeeding aprons. I find them unnecessary, and in my opinion they actually highlight the fact you’re nursing. However, you can absolutely use the same concept in a less obvious and more stylish way:
An oversized scarf or poncho is a fabulous alternative: they’re a classic piece which will never be out of fashion – plus you probably already own one!
Simply pull your pashmina around you and your baby to create privacy, without drawing unnecessary attention. In my experience, if the mother doesn’t make a fuss, it’s entirely possible to feed your infant so discreetly that it passes completely under the radar.
I hope these tips prove useful, and I promise that with time your confidence will grow – which will naturally translate to being proud and more open about breastfeeding.