If you’ve delved into the archives you’ll find I took a very, very systematic approach to my newborn baby’s clothes and maternity wardrobe. Then baby boy was born and I realised that I hadn’t given a single thought to what I would wear after his birth. Suddenly all of my favourite dresses were unworkable and I spent the first few months in increasingly tent-like maternity tops.
To make matters worse, we then decided to move from hot Brazil to wintery Portugal. I had no idea how I would manage to cobble together even a handful of outfits from my 2-year old winter clothes, maternity tops and whatever I could scrounge from the Christmas sales at Zara.
Turns out I needn’t have worried, as nursing in the winter is so much simpler! Because you’re wearing lots of layers anyway you can use anything for the top layer, as long as you’ve got a stretchy undershirt below. To nurse, just lift the top and go! I’d read this piece of advice so many times before but I never really understood how it worked until I had a baby and realised that it’s not all about nipple exposure: I also don’t really want everyone at the cafe seeing my white, winter stomach.
I thought it would still be weird lifting my jumpers up in public, but I actually find this system much more discrete than tops that button up. See, your top layer gives a nice cover over the top of your boob, while the undershirt hides your tummy. I find I can wear practically everything except for long tunics and dresses (because I definitely would feel weird hiking a dress up to my neck!)
A short note on covering up: I don’t think any woman needs to cover up while breastfeeding. Generally I wish women would cover up less, as a statement that nursing anywhere and anyhow is completely normal. But in the end it all comes down to personal choice. I don’t like nursing covers, but feel like I’m being a bit more discrete if there is something between my neck and nipple (unless it’s summer, I’ve been nursing for over a year and really don’t care anymore what anyone sees!). I can understand how your personal comfort level might require a blanket or cover. Whatever gets you nursing in the great outdoors is fine by me.
My favourite type of undershirt is a simple stretchy tank top that I can pull down. I don’t do nursing bras. Instead I do a sports bras that can be pulled up or down along with the top.. The beauty of this technique is that even works at night! I wear a long tank top under a comfy jumper: baby gets to eat at will and I stay warm in the winter nights. I’ve also learnt that black leggings and a comfy sweater will pass as “daytime” clothes on many (if not all) mornings around the house. And don’t you dare tell me otherwise….