When you're pregnant, there's a plethora of maternity clothes out there, from cute to comfortable and even sexy. But, once your body transforms from an incubator to a milk machine, it's a lot tougher to find cute nursing wear. I've always thought this was puzzling, as so many women spend more months nursing than they do pregnant. The only nursing wear I have found in stores near me is the extremely limited section at my local Motherhood store. While it's great for picking up some of the basics like bras, pj's, and t-shirts, there's not a whole lot to choose from in the retail locations for clothing, and certainly not a lot that ever goes on sale. (I rarely buy any clothing that is not on sale!)
I've found some good deals through Motherwear's catalogs and website. The only thing I don't like about some of their clothing is that they seem to get one kind of fabric pattern and re-use it for several styles of clothing...for example I've seen a tank top, a long sleeved dress shirt, and a full dress all made from the exact same fabric. It's kindof a bummer if you like a couple of the styles but don't necessarily want a closet full of the same repeating patterns. Other than that, I've found some great deals in their clearance page. (Just make sure you know the size will fit you before stocking up on clearance items, because sale items can't be returned.)
If you find the right nursing clothes, you can discreetly nurse without even the need for a nursing cover. (by the way, if you'd like to make your own nursing cover, check out this post!) While I do like to have a few pieces of clothing designed specifically for nursing, I have found that by purchasing just a few nursing tank tops from Target's lingerie section, I can turn any of my regular shirts into nursing shirts.
The design problem that is solved by nursing clothes is that the hidden openings they have allow you to nurse your baby without having to pull your shirt way up and show off your bare belly, which seems to show even if you use a blanket or nursing cover. (I don't know about you, but my post-baby belly is not planning on seeing the light of day anytime soon!) However, by wearing one of these tanks underneath a regular shirt, the two together function the same as a double-layered nursing shirt. I can lift up my top layer and still have the tank top layer covering my belly. Getting a couple of these for just $16.99 a piece can save a lot of money versus buying a whole new nursing wardrobe, and they double as your bra as well. Plus, you can save your money to buy new shirts that you can still wear after you're done nursing. I have them in a few colors, so most of the time they even match the color of the shirt I'm wearing and totally blend in.
There are situations, however, where lifting a shirt doesn't quite work right...for instance, when you need to wear a dress, or a swimsuit. For those situations, or when you just want to buy a few nursing shirts for the fun of it, there are actually a lot of places you can shop if you're willing to buy online. Here are just a few I've come across:
Milkstars (recently featured on Daily Candy)
Hadley Stilwell (also featured on Daily Candy)
Figure 8 Maternity
My Nursing Wear
One Hot Mama
Pea in the Pod
The Funky Mama
Breast is Best
Also, here's an article on the best swimsuits for nursing moms on Babyzone.
So don't settle for the limited selection of your local maternity store...get out there and do a little web surfing! You'd be surprised...you might just find that you can nurse discreetly, and look good doing it, too!