Breastfeeding is a wonderful choice you’re making for your baby’s health. However, having to feed on demand or at regular intervals takes time and commitment. Therefore, a good nursing wardrobe that supports your breastfeeding efforts is crucial in establishing an enjoyable breastfeeding journey.
If you intend to breastfeed your baby, you’ll need to be prepared for times when you’ll have to breastfeed your baby in public. There are nursing rooms in Singapore shopping malls – well most of them at least — but they may not always be available when Baby demands a feed. With the right nursing clothes and accessories, all you have to do is find a seat and you’ll be able to give Baby sustenance immediately.
Some mums may tell you that you can still nurse Baby while dressed in normal clothes. That’s true. So what’s different about nursing wear?
Nursing wear is specially designed to make breastfeeding easy. Constructed with openings on the front of the clothing, nursing wear allows Baby to reach the nipple without you having to take off your top. This offers breastfeeding moms convenience as they will not need to find a private room when it’s time for Baby to feed.
Nursing wear can also be stylish additions to your wardrobe, helping you ease into your post-pregnancy lifestyle while your body is in the transition stage between post- and pre-pregnancy sizes.
How to Select Nursing Tops
All nursing tops come with breastfeeding access, but not all are cut the same way. In fact, there are many different nursing access types! Some are cut across the chest, some have a pull-down neckline, and some have side openings.
These cater to the needs of breastfeeding mums depending on their body shapes, the frequency of feeds, and the mums’ own personal style preference. “Some moms prefer more subtle pieces while others like more clear cut designs,” explains MEV (Mothers en Vogue) founder and director, Sharon Ho-Norton.
In an empire access, you lift up a front layer to feed Baby through the slits at the lower breast line. An inner later of material covers your body, making it look as if Baby is simply having a nap in your arms. The empire access does not revel too much skin, and allows for very discreet feeding.
The neckline access works well with robust, stretchy knits such as cotton as you have to pull down the material to access the nursing slits.
Vertical openings are usually hidden behind or within pleats, folds, or gathered material. This makes for a convenient opening as there are no hooks, buttons, zippers or clips to fumble with. It’s also allows for discreet nursing.
How to Choose Nursing Bras
Just like how nursing tops are specially designed to make breastfeeding easy, the nursing bra is constructed with the same principle in mind. Often made of stretchable fabrics or with clasps that unhook at the strap, nursing bras offer Baby easy access to the nipple. Here’s what to look out for when choosing yours:
Ensure that there’s Maximum Comfort
While rewarding, breastfeeding can be painful and challenging if you get engorgement, mastitis, or nipple rash. Thus the more comfortable your nursing bras, the better! Sharon recommends nursing bras with an inner cotton lining.
“As far as possible, go for natural materials. Cotton is gentle on the skin and won’t irritate already tender breasts,” she advises. On the other hand, stitches and seams (especially lace) on the inner lining of the bra graze against the skin and are more likely to irritate your skin.
Look for Unconstricted Support
During breastfeeding, your breast size will fluctuate due to repeated milk production and release. (Supermodel Chrissy Teigen posted a picture on Snapchat last Saturday showing how “My expanding bust incredible hulk’ed this dress in one night”!)
Make sure your nursing bra provides ample support for your burgeoning bosom. Instead of underwire support (which can press against sensitive breasts, potentially causing blocked ducts), nursing bras jusually have a wide underband as well as wider shoulder bands to lend unconstricted support.
Get the Right Size
Your breasts have already increased in size from pregnancy, and will continue to do so once your milk comes in. So when would be a good time to shop for nursing bras?
“For the best results, split your bra shopping into two trips,” says Sharon. Make the first shopping trip when you are starting to breastfeed or in your last month of pregnancy. This is when your body is preparing for breastfeeding and your breast size will start to change.
The second time to go shopping is after you have established breastfeeding. Your breast size would have stabilised by then. This can be any time up to three months after childbirth, says Sharon.
Invest in a Nursing Cover
In addition to the nursing top, some moms like to use a nursing cover for added privacy when nursing on the go. This is a piece of cloth shaped like a wrap that you can drape over your bosom area while Baby is latched on. It often comes with a rigid neckline so Baby gets some air, and so that Baby can still see you.
Of course, you can always improvise with sarong wraps, shawls, and even baby blankets. The bottom line is, a solid nursing wardrobe will make your breastfeeding journey easier. As a result, you’d be more likely to persevere and breastfeed for a longer time, ensuring that your baby has the best nutritional start in life!