7 Pieces You Can Breastfeed In That You Also Won’t Hate

When you’re pregnant, as excited as you might be for the new addition that will soon be in your life, there’s a lot you have to give up. And among the things you find yourself missing (dirty martinis, $1 oyster happy hours, lying on your stomach), wearing your non-maternity clothing again might be near the top of the list. After all, maternity clothes kind of suck. So it makes sense you’d look forward to getting back into your regular stuff as soon as the tiny human inside of you gets evicted.

BAD NEWS. It turns out, if you’re breastfeeding, having a baby means just as many wardrobe adjustments as getting pregnant, and I am not talking about weight or even spit up — although you’re definitely going to want to steer clear of dry-clean-only items for a while. A nursing mom spends literal hours each day with a small person attached to her chest (according to my baby-bodily-functions app, it was about seven hours a day for me at first), and that can get really cumbersome if you’re wearing “normal” pieces.

If you’ve recently given birth (or are about to), you’re likely seeing a whole lot of targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram trying to sell you fairly hideous nursing clothes. This well-intentioned but overpriced garb tends to be grandmotherly in shape, and either tacky or questionable in color (you’ll see everything from yellow chevron to the medium-tan color of ice skating tights). Hey, if you find them non-hideous, go for it. But I’m here to tell you that you can look at least reasonably put-together, feel comfortable, feed your child, and also not spend a ton of money. Ahead, you’ll find the essentials I added to my wardrobe that fit all of the above.

The Nursing Tank

A friend gave me one of these excellent tanks before I had my kid, and the week after he was born, I immediately purchased four more. There’s a built-in shelf bra, and the front panel detaches from the straps so you can fold it down to feed, without having to pull your shirt up from the bottom (or somehow shove your child underneath your top, which seems unpleasant). You can wear them solo and just bring the kid up to your chest, or layer them underneath a sweater and pull it up when it’s time for a meal.

I’m pretty color-averse and found black and white to be the most useful. I learned the hard way that milk leaks are hilariously apparent when you’re wearing gray.

Gilligan & O'Malley Women’s Nursing Cotton Cami, $19.99, available at Target.
The Nursing Bra

I am not exactly well-endowed in the chestal region, and this didn’t change much even after I started breastfeeding. So the caveat here is that I don’t need a ton of support in a bra. That, combined with the fact that underwire bras felt incredibly uncomfortable in the early days of nursing, meant that a soft nursing bra made for sleep was just right for me, even during the day. That this one is actually sort of pretty (and looks nice peeking out of a low-cut top — more on that ahead) was icing on the comfy-bra cake.

VERY IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE. About three days after giving birth, I experienced engorgement — while my breasts figured out how to manage their new responsibilities, they temporarily got enormous, and the nursing bras I had received as gifts were way too small. I panicked and rushed (okay, waddled slowly and painfully) to my local baby store and spent an inordinate amount of money on a larger-size bra. Two days later, my breasts had figured shit out and gone back to a more reasonable size…and that overpriced, too-big bra has sat in the back of my drawer ever since. See if you can avoid this.

Gilligan & O’Malley Women’s Nursing Sleep Bralette, $16.99, available at Target.
The Deep-V

Because you’ll get sick of wearing that one (or four) nursing tank every day, a super deep V-neck shirt is another great choice. You can just tug the neckline down a little, unhook your nursing bra, and get to work. My personal favorite of these was the Justin Bieber T-shirt I bought on the street for $3 and attacked with scissors to deepen the neckline, but I also loved this super-soft one that came pre-V’d.

Abercrombie & Fitch Relaxed V-neck Tee, $18, available at Abercrombie & Fitch.
The Nursing Dress

Some clothes designed for nursing have a pretty genius structure: a regular top with holes or slits cut into it, and then a second layer of fabric on top to keep things covered when you’re not nursing. Not all babies are huge fans of eating with a bunch of fabric covering their heads, but this kind of dress (or top) is one way to add a little variety to your nursing wardrobe. It’s particularly useful if you’re sneaking out for a nice dinner and know you’ll want to nurse right before you leave or after you get back, but don’t want to change your clothes. (The one you see here doubles as a maternity dress!)

Ingrid & Isabel Double Layer Midi Dress + Nursing, $88, available at Ingrid & Isabel.
The D.I.Y. Nursing Dress

If you’re slightly adventurous with a pair of scissors, you don’t even have to buy a special nursing dress. I am a terrible seamstress, but inspired by the Ingrid & Isabel dress you just saw, I bought a couple of regular (non-nursing) dresses with an extra flowy layer on top, hacked a couple of holes into the bottom layer, and sewed back the sliced-up fabric so it won’t fray too much. It’s not perfect — I do have to check my kid’s mouth for errant threads, which maybe means I am a terrible parent? Don’t @ me! — but it works.

Abercrombie & Fitch Ruffle Tie-waist Midi Dress, $31.20, available at Abercrombie & Fitch.
The Button-up Top

It’s surprisingly easy to breastfeed in a button-up, and they look a little more polished than many other nursing-friendly options. And you probably already have a few of them hiding in your closet!

Everlane The Relaxed Poplin Shirt, $65, available at Everlane.
The Henley Shirt

My son was born in July, but once fall started setting in, I wanted a couple of warmer options that weren’t just cardigan-over-a-nursing-tank. Long-sleeved Henleys, with their extremely convenient set of buttons at the neckline, were the perfect solution. (P.S.: Make sure the buttons on your Henley of choice actually un-button and aren’t just decorative.)

Old Navy Semi-fitted Rib Knit Henley, $19.99, available at Old Navy.