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Breastfeeding Tops

My Quest For the Best Nursing Top

Sarah Ann Noel:

by Eunice BrownleeI may be on my second child, but I'm a novice nurser. Having had broken boobs with my first, I'm learning how to nurse to begin with, let alone while balancing it with the energy of my rambunctious 2-year-old. I wish I was one of those hippie moms who could effortlessly swing her nursing babe around while doing one-handed laundry and cook dinner at the same time like it was nothing. I'm not. Edith and I like to sit quietly on the couch with the Boppy pillow and focus.

So I think it goes without saying that, while I'm not afraid to nurse in public, it's a struggle for me to do it effortlessly. I fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to the modesty vs. "my right to nurse in public" argument. I'm not going to not nurse while I'm out and about; but I wouldn't say I'm comfortable whipping my boob out in the middle of the mall.

Using a light blanket or nursing cover has been working fine for us; but I've got to say, sometimes it's hard to get set up without looking while remaining covered. I mean, put a nursing cover over me and it's like I've forgotten how to unhook a bra. I'm sure it's not as complicated as I'm making it; but after sweating under a cover while trying to balance baby and get my boob out of my shirt one too many times, I decided to begin a quest for the best shirts for nursing.

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Nursing Clothes

When I was shopping for maternity clothes, I was also exposed to the fabulous world of nursing clothes. Nursing clothes. They are contraptions. I mean, we're talking devised-for-Lady-Gaga contraptions. Aside from the clumsy bras, which you inevitably seem to fall out of, the add-on camis and stretch-top shirts are in a league all their own. Classic first-timer, I purchased a few of the said stretch-top shirts, assuming that it would be easiest to pull the shirt down and put baby to breast. But what I found myself doing more often was lifting my shirt from the bottom. It just seemed easier and more natural. This was especially true when nursing under the Hooter Hider. It made more sense to get baby to boob from underneath the cover and my shirt at the same time than to pull my boob out of the top of my shirt while keeping everything under the cover.

So, I've got some on-stock for at-home nursing; but nursing clothes and I? We kind of struck out.

Button-Downs

My next choice was to try the button-down. It seemed like a great choice: I could open my shirt as low as was necessary to bring baby to breast underneath the cover, but I wouldn't have to lift my shirt from the bottom, potentially exposing the crazy mess of love handles and stretch marks going on all over my lower back. I mean, I'm getting into my pre-pregnancy jeans, but it ain't pretty.

And while this method was good in theory, it didn't work out so well for me. I don't know what your nursing boobs like like, but even four months in, mine are crazy-engorged Barbie-boob double-D water balloons. What I'm saying is, the idea of squeezing them into a button-down blouse without the inevitable in-between-the-button gap is comical. And I just don't feel like busting out of my shirt all day just for the convenience factor come feeding time. 

The V-Neck

Enter my best solution. It started as an effort to create my mom uniform. I wanted something on-trend but comfortable, simple, and easy-to-wear with anything. V-neck tees seemed like a great solution. They are cozy enough to wear with yoga pants around the house, and should early morning turn to late morning too quickly, it's easy to add jeans, cute shoes, and some lipstick and still make it out of the house looking chic. Plus, companies like Everlane are turning out slouchy tees that even the fanciest of fashionistas are scooping up for their daily wear.

To me, the wonder of the v-neck is how well it serves as a nursing shirt. They're roomy and light enough to bring baby to boob underneath with little effort; but if you opt for a deep-v, you can practically slide your boob out of the top without drawing attention to yourself. It's easy to do that, then cover up if you need a little extra modesty. 

I'm telling you, a slouchy v-neck is a busy nursing mama's dream. 

Here are a few of my tried-and-true favorites:

Everlane Ryan Tee
Victoria's Secret Essential V-Neck (I wear it a size up for the slouchy effect.)
Mossimo Supply Co. Junior's V-Neck (Purchased from Target.)

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Join The Conversation
Frances-Frost Frances-Frost 2 years
hey Sarah Ann - I nursed 4 kids - you'll catch on. I found that as important - maybe moreso - than the shirt is the right nursing bra. There were different kinds, but I preferred the ones where the cups had a clip and "opened" (can't think of a better word for it) - the key is to find one that you can comfortably and easily unfasten and refasten, while juggling baby and nursing top. I found lifting the shirt up was easier, though.
SE-Weav14383572 SE-Weav14383572 2 years
I think you covered everything perfectly. I concur, I concur! Deep v's are great. For modesty I would always wear a nursing tank-top under my shirt. That was my secret for concealing my mid-section in case I needed to lift up my shirt. It also helped with leak protection, just having one more layer over my nursing bra.
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