Wearing dresses can be slightly tricky when you’re a nursing mom. You don’t want to be out and about in a dress that is uncomfortable or hard to nurse in. And if your dress doesn’t have easy access to you know where, you don’t want to focus on finding a private area to nurse-you want to focus on feeding that babe! Thankfully, button down dresses are in style right now, but it’s also nice sometimes to wear a dress that doesn’t button down. You want to utilize what you already have to make it work for the stage of life you are in. The longer I nurse, the more I find myself reaching for my regular clothes and finding ways to make them work instead of feeling like I need special nursing clothes.
When you’re not wearing a button down dress, it may be kind of tricky to figure out the easiest way to feed your baby. I use either a swaddle blanket or my Copper Pearl nursing cover so I will refer to those in my tips since that is what I personally use. Once I place my cover or blanket on, there are some ways I can maneuver my dress to make it nursing friendly to easily feed my son.
First off, here are the nursing bras I use while wearing dresses:
Strapless Bandeau Bra This is a regular bandeau bra that I wear when I don’t want my straps to show in a strapless or spaghetti strap dress. It’s comfortable and you just flip the cup down to nurse (it doesn’t stretch out). Just place your nursing pads inside and it’s basically a nursing bra.
Ingrid & Isabel Beige Nursing Bra This bra is a great basic to own as a nursing mom. Soft, affordable and supportive! I love this one!
Auden Blush Nursing Bra BEST. NURSING. BRA. EVER. Why? It’s feminine, pretty, soft, padded, comfortable, and inexpensive. Definitely get this, you won’t regret it! It also comes in other colors if pink isn’t your thing. (By the way, it’s a neutral, soft pink that hides under light color clothing too).
Kindred Brave Reusable Nursing Pads These nursing pads are organic, reusable, and inexpensive. They come in a pack of 8 and have a little bag to store them in. I bought two sets so I don’t run out in between laundry loads.
Here we go!
Tips to Nurse in a Dress that does not Button Down
1). Spaghetti strap and strapless dresses are your friends! I actually learned this trick from a friend. Wear a bandeau or strapless bra where you can fold the cup down and nurse. This now means that you can wear a dress with thin or no straps without your nursing straps showing, because they’re often thicker than regular bra straps.
2). Pull the dress sleeves down and off. Grab your sleeve and pretend like you’re taking your dress off by reaching for your sleeves instead of the hem. Slide the sleeve down your arm. If you are standing/walking, leave the sleeve up on the side you are currently nursing so that your dress does not fall down. The top of your dress will go to your waistline depending on what side you need to access. If you are sitting down, you can pull both arms out, nurse, then slide both back on. This makes wearing a lot of dresses possible!
3). If possible, pull the neckline of the dress down. If your dress has a low enough v-neck or scoop neck, it is possible to simply pull down the neckline to give your baby access. This is especially easy if the neckline is stretchy. I’ve seen a lot of people do this in the nursing room at church and it works great for them. However, I only do this trick every so often because I don’t want to chance stretching the neckline of my dresses out. But it works!
4). Wear your dress backwards if there is a zipper in the back. Turn the dress around! I’ve seen friends do this trick, but I’ve never tried it simply because I don’t own any dresses with a low enough zipper in the back. The zipper essentially becomes the purpose of a button down dress.
5). Reach around to unzip your dress. Reach around to your back, unzip your dress, and pull the sleeves off. Your dress will gather at your waist and allow access for your baby to eat. This way only really works if you’re sitting down. If your dress has buttons in the back that are accessible, then reach around and unbutton them to make this way work also!
6). If all else fails, wear shorts underneath your dress and pull your dress up. I’ve been doing this all summer because I love my swing dresses and I just can’t quit them! However, this way only really works well with a dress that does not have a lot of fabric on the hem. A follower on my Instagram page also suggested BIKER SHORTS and I thought this idea is pure genius. Here is an inexpensive pair that will do the trick. Tighter workout shorts or biker shorts are perfect to wear underneath because they won’t show. If you’re nursing with an accessible bathroom nearby, you can always run in and out to slip on and off your shorts (that’s what I when I’m at someone’s house).
There you go, six ways to nurse in a dress that does not have buttons down the front. If you have a tip that’s not listed, feel free to drop it in a comment below so all us mamas have a great list to reference. I hope these six tips are helpful to you and your baby on your nursing journey!