Modern Moms Dress to Impress with Breastfeeding Friendly Fashion
I love fashion - beautiful dresses in particular. But it can be a massive challenge trying to feel feminine and fabulous when making sure I have easy access to 'the girls' in order to nurse my baby boy. I've made a conscious effort to seek out fashions to make this special time in my life a little easier. Because let's face it. It can be stressful to have a crying hungry baby out in public, trying to feed in peace. I believe wearing stylish nursing clothes will help me stick to my commitment to breastfeed Brooks. It seems every credible health (including WHO) or parenting website I go to recommends babies get human breastmilk for at least the first 6 months of their lives. So let's explore a few ways to stack our wardrobes with flattering clothes and accessories that take the stress out of it.
Although there are certainly days when I don't venture out of my activewear, don't wash my hair, or put on a stitch of makeup - for the most part at least once a day, I like to look halfway put together. It is easy to lose our identity as new moms. Putting all our time, energy, and effort into our bubbies, forgetting about what makes us feel like ourselves - particularly when we don't physically look or feel like our old selves. Nursing fashion has come a longgggg way! Even my friends with kids a few years older say they can't believe how the market and industry has evolved. Nursing tops and bras have too. Medela offers several styles. At least one has holes complete for helping mamas pump!
Below you will find a Q and A with the founder of an amazing clothing retailer dedicated 100% to helping new moms look and feel great while nursing their babies. Verity owns Breastfeeding Wear Australia and has impeccable taste that won't break the bank! The fashions are all breastfeeding friendly, but not necessarily designed for nursing. You will want to wear these threads even when your infant grows out of the breastfeeding phase!
ANNA: After having a baby it can be tough not feeling like we are looking our best. How do you think fashion can play a part in making new moms feel good about their new bodies?
VERITY: Its all about the fashion….even when you are not post-natal how good does it feel to be going out or going to work looking and feeling great in an outfit. I specialise in dresses as sometimes after very little sleep its just too hard to co-ordinate what to wear. Many of the dresses are loose fit and flowing. Not all bodies bounce back after having a baby, and the more babies you have the harder it can be. That’s why we stay clear of figure hugging outfits and specialise in loose fit but stylish. I often find that having a drawstring waist is the key, I know I could fluctuate in weight from a size 8 to a 12 when breastfeeding so having a drawstring that allowed you to pull the dress in and out with weight changes rather than a whole new wardrobe was the best.
ANNA: The WHO encourages new moms to breastfeed for 6 months exclusively. There are a lot of reasons new moms stop before then. What are the main concerns you have heard from women?
VERITY:Do you know what I think its changing….that data was from 2010 but it is the last available. I hear a lot of mums push for the 12 month mark when it is ok to change their babies onto cows milk rather than formula. But more and more I’m seeing mums still feeding until the recommended 2 years and beyond which is the actual recommendation from WHO. The more mums support one another, share their breastfeeding journey at playgroups/social media over a coffee…the more normal it becomes to do something we are totally able to do. Of course there are a few women that cannot breastfeed, I’ve met many women that are on medication that is not safe to breastfeed with or had a mastectomy or don’t have the supply for their babies to be making appropriate weight gains. I really feel for them but that doesn’t mean my clothing is not for them. It really is every day wear that’s flattering postnatally……and has access if needed.
ANNA: There are a lot of challenges new moms face in making it to the 6 month milestone and beyond. How does wearing breastfeeding clothes that provide easy access and/or coverage help new moms stick with breastfeeding?
VERITY: With my first I wore a dress one day that didn’t have feeding access. My little one was only 3 months and demand fed. I was meeting a friend for coffee and Master 3 months was screaming for a feed and I actually couldn’t breastfeed him…..and its not like you can order from the menu- this was an exclusively breastfed baby….what was I thinking! I literally had to go to the public toilets, remove my entire dress and sit on the toilet to breastfeed. Have you ever taken you’re lunch into a public toilet to eat?….it was quite disgusting…….hence how Breastfeeding Wear Australia all started.
ANNA: Your merchandise isn’t necessarily made for breastfeeding, but it is all conducive for breastfeeding. Can you list some of the styles you look for when buying stock for Breastfeeding Wear Australia?
VERITY: Soft zips are important for when mums are holding their little ones on their chest or babywearing. Flowing, cool fabrics. When producing milk we all feel those heat surges. Living in the tropics in Darwin the surges on top of the humidity are unbearable so we look for light cottons, bamboos and rayon materials….and our signature is pockets! Every mum on the go needs a pocket for her mobile and keys.
ANNA : Is there anything else you would like to add?
VERITY:We are super excited with the development of milkbanks across Australia. Think about being a mum with a premature baby….unable to produce the milk her baby needs. Breast milk increases the chances of survival- liquid gold some might say!!! It also ensures optimum physical and neurological development and assists in the treatment of allergies and feeding intolerance, immunologic deficiencies and inborn errors of metabolism. The World Health Organisation support milk banks as an alternative when a mothers milk is not available. The process of a milk bank is of course highly regulated by screening and pasteurising the donated milk.