Starting with maternity clothes, new motherhood is a slow decline into a netherworld of “fashion.” Cool and tailored is out, washable and comfy is in. And breastfeeding just adds to the uncool criterion. Sure, some mothers manage to look clean and even styled, but those mothers are not me. Here are my nursing “fashion” tips for all the breastfeeding moms out there looking wistfully at fashion magazines and longingly at the shower:
DO call it fashion to make yourself feel better.
DON’T confuse it with actual fashion.
DO consider access.
When first nursing, test out all new tops to see how quickly/easily you can expose your boobs. DON’T wear a high-necked dress unless you want to nurse shut away in a room with a dress up around your ears and one foot up against the door to prevent unwelcome visitors. However, if you continue to nurse into toddlerhood, DO invest in turtlenecks and consider inventing a padlocked bra, as otherwise you may find your breasts exposed in Trader Joe’s while your toddler delightedly shouts “nummies!”
DON’T buy a sexy nursing bra.
If there was ever an oxymoron made clothing, this is it. There is nursing and there is sex and never the two should meet. Besides, the less attention you can draw to your boobs the better, since they will most likely be out of commission for all things other than baby feeding for the duration.
DO get a hands-free pumping bra.
DON’T put it on your registry unless you’re prepared for your bachelor friend to buy it for you and giggle as you open it.
DO shop for clothes in shades of yellow, brown, and green.
Splotchy patterns, even better. DON’T wear white unless you would like to change it to a shade of yellow, brown, or green. Machine washable is a must. Wipeable is best.
After a nursing session and before going out to a fancy restaurant with an old friend, DO make sure you pull the strap to your top back up.
DON’T go out for dinner with your bra entirely exposed and only realize your error an hour into the evening when demonstrating to your friend how now everything you wear has to be nursing friendly.
DO resign yourself to everything being stretched and stained.
Even things you never wear will somehow become stretched and stained. It’s the rules.
DON’T Google whether bras can come in two different cup sizes for two different sized breasts on one woman.
Because they DO not.
DO make your peace with your hair looking like this:
(This likely has nothing to do with nursing and everything to do with being a new mom. But I’m going to blame nursing anyway.) Also, DO consider wearing this top and hope people believe you:
Or go with a more honest shirt of your own creation. You never know, someone may take pity and give you free coffee:
DON’T use washable nursing pads unless you’re prepared for them to sneak up and out of your bra on occasion, like a rising moon.
If you have made your peace with this humiliation, however, go right ahead and DO use them. Cheaper, more eco friendly, and you’ll be doing laundry daily anyway.
DO consider joining a nudist colony for the duration of your nursing phase.
It’s surely cheaper, easier, and involves far less laundry.