Breastfeeding Clothes 101

Breastfeeding Clothes 101

Baby wants access to the goods ‘round the clock, and if it’s not your baby telling you it’s time to nurse, it’s your pump that needs your attention. What’s a milk making goddess, such as yourself, supposed to wear? How do you balance easy access with the kind of smart coverage that eases you through your day and boosts your confidence? If the array of choices feels overwhelming, fear not—we got you!

There are as many ways to dress right for breastfeeding as there are breastfeeding and pumping mamas, and we salute all the designers who are mindful of the needs of those among us who are essentially dressing for two every day. If you have the budget, the time and interest to spend browsing online websites and shopping for breastfeeding clothes, you will not be disappointed with the sartorial options available to you. 

Here at the Empowered Blog, we would like to offer a few simple hacks to level the playing field and point you in the right direction when it comes to dressing for two. Armed with a few universal concepts, you can dress for breastfeeding your way and on your budget, even repurposing clothes you already own.

  • Easy on/easy off. Choose lightweight, soft fabrics with some stretch and give. Loose (but not bulky), unconstructed garments will be much more comfortable and versatile to feed or pump in, rather than something snug and form fitting. Choose tops that you will lift from the bottom to feed in (or pull to the side), rather than pulling down from the top. Pulling down from the top will maximize skin/breast exposure.
  • Almost any top can become a breastfeeding garment if you have a breastfeeding cami or tank underneath it. Invest in one with side panels or in a wrap style and expect to get a lot of mileage out of it. A cami or tank under any top you lift from the bottom will keep your belly covered while baby bellies up to the bar!
  • Avoid complicated openings and closures. Sure, after kindergarten, buttons aren’t technically complicated, but they are not the breastfeeding or pumping mother’s friend either. Avoid! Who has time for time for that? There is a very good chance that you will be fastening and unfastening garments with one hand while the other holds the baby, so use the KISS method and Keep It Simple. Oh, and no tops with back closures. Back zippers are simply impossible.
  •  Also impossible: Dresses that pull on or off over your head. You heard it here, avoid at all costs—you will be breastfeeding or pumping in your underwear!


Exception: Dresses that are specifically designed for breastfeeding with special openings. If you love dresses, a wrap dress or breastfeeding dress is a must-have.


  •  Also must-have: Nursing bras, if for no other reason than to keep nursing pads in place. Moms who pump will need hands-free bras, whether store bought or repurposed. Make sure you have a soft comfy one to keep those pads in place at night while you try to catch some sleep. Avoid underwire and anything too tight that constricts the breast and could impede milk flow. 

And there you have the basics. Next up—breastfeeding clothes for babies, and a word on hooter-hiders. Check back soon!

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