Nursing Clothes for Working Moms: Five Companies To Try

nursing clothes you can wear to work2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on the best brands of workwear for nursing clothes, but you may also want to check out our new page on the best nursing clothes for working moms

In the few years that I’ve been paying attention to nursing stuff (both personally as well as for the blog), I’ve seen the same companies over and over again. I thought it might be fun to round them up for new moms who are searching for nursing clothes and unsure if that BabySteals or Zulily deal is worth it, or trying to gauge the quality of a brand in a local maternity shop, or experimenting with what kind of nursing access works best.

Pictured at top, clockwise: one / two / three / four.

Personally, my consistent favorites were shirts that lift up, either with partial panels or entire second front layers — they kept my tummy covered while providing some coverage for my breast. The biggest hits and misses came from a second category that kind of overlaps with the first that I’ll call the “secret panel” access, like the red top below. Depending on how the cutout hits you and your bust, it could be great — or horrible. Finally, my least favorite were the types that pulled down — the pro here is that there’s very easy access, but the con is that the top of your breast is totally exposed. (For some reason, the phrase “whip it out” kept coming to mind whenever I used one of these tops!!!) There are still other tops with different sorts of nursing access, like the secret zippered panel brands like Loyal Hana offer. Most of the serious maternity shops (like the excellent Figure8 Maternity) focus on the first two types. Ladies, which kind of nursing access did you like best? What were your favorite brands for nursing-friendly workwear?   

types of nursing access for workear

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Postpartum Tuesday: Underlux Underwear

Panties: Dear Kate Underlux Underwear I recently found an old thread on Corporette where readers were raving about these “period undies.” (Thinx is another similar brand.) I just placed my first order and haven’t, er, tried them out yet, but according to the website, they’ll hold from 1-3 teaspoons of liquid (depending on the style) and can be rinsed, then machine washed/tumble dried. Obviously, don’t try to wear these things for the 4-8 weeks postpartum — but if your postpartum life includes issues from unpredictable periods to fear of leaks, these undies could help. They’re $32-$48 per undie and go up to size 3x, and it’s pretty easy to get a 20%-off code if you sign up for the mailing list. They also offer free U.S. shipping. Dear Kate Underlux Underwear

(L-2)

Mom Brands – Do You Buy ‘Em?

shopping for mom brands

Here’s a question Kate and I were just discussing (and I believe the readers were yesterday as well): at a certain point, have you found yourself buying brands for yourself that you would have previously considered “mom brands,” either out of convenience (like if you’re already buying your kids’ clothing at the store), a lack of patience for delicate-care clothing, or the desire for a more forgiving cut than you wore prior to kids? Do you seek out brands where the in-person shopping experience is best suited for moms, like the Evereve stores (here’s an interesting Inc. article about them)? 

Let’s face it, Lands’ End, J.Jill, Eddie Bauer — these are not usually the brands the stylish 20-something wears. In their marketing, the companies even try to brand themselves as mom brands, using models who are past their 20s (some even, gasp, with gray hair) and who have medium-sized and actually plus-sized bodies. I always think of the ill-fated Jones New York as the classic example here (although I did wear a ton of their clothes in my 20s), but I used to love the model they used on their site because she was pretty but medium-sized, with a much boxier, almost athletic build than you see on most models. So let’s hear it: Which brands have you recently tried, or tried again? Which do you like? Which brand used to be in the “mom brand” camp but is now crossing over — for example, Talbots has made huge strides lately to getting more fashionable clothes and cuts in.

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Open Thread: Work After Maternity Leave

work-after-maternity-leave

2017 update: We still stand by the advice below, but you may also want to check out our discussion on what to wear to work after maternity leave!

What are some of your best tips for adjusting upon returning to work after maternity leave? What do you wish you’d known, or what did you come to realize?

For my own $.02: Among my friends, the end of maternity leave has loomed large in all of our lives — but on a kind of sliding scale. Women who had to go back to work at 10 weeks (or even sooner) dreaded it terribly, while women with longer leaves — 6 months or more — typically felt much better about it and almost welcomed the end of their leave. A few bits of advice along those lines:

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Body Image As a Mom

Mom Body Image | CorporetteMomsKate and I were discussing the troubling issue of body image as a mom — even if you get back to your old “size,” what do you do when you just feel different in your skin, or when you feel like your shape has fundamentally changed? Kate generously offered to share her thoughts in more detail… —Kat

New mothers are given two choices for looking at and thinking about their post-baby bodies. These general messages are:

Message #1: “If Kate Middleton can do it, so can you!”
Come on, it’s time to lose that baby weight! Look, these skinny celebrities did it — you can too! Don’t worry, breastfeeding will make the weight just FALL OFF. This mom isn’t even a celebrity and it wasn’t a problem for HER. In her words, “What’s your excuse?”

Message #2: “Hey, you went through pregnancy and childbirth! Be proud of your body — it’s amazing!” 
Sure, it looks a bit different now, but it created a new life! Maybe you even breastfeed your baby — you produced milk that kept a little human being ALIVE! Celebrate and love your body, stretchmarks tiger stripes and all!

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Nursing Clothes for Work

nursing-clothes-for-work2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to buy nursing-friendly clothes for work — links have also been updated below. You can also check out our page with all of our advice on nursing clothes for working moms.  

Which are the best nursing clothes for work? Can you look professional in comfortable, accessible, washable clothes? Reader E, who is lucky enough to have a daycare at her office, asks:

I’ve come back from maternity leave and can’t find any clothes that are both work appropriate and nursing friendly. I’m lucky enough to have a daycare at work, so I nurse her at lunch time, and pump in the afternoon, so I need versatile outfits. So far, I’ve been relying on ponte skirts (easy to wash if she spits up on it…), and a couple of motherhood nursing tops that look professional-ish, on Fridays I also wear nursing tanks from Nordstrom that have wide straps so I feel I can get away with it on casual days.

I don’t want to spend a lot of money as I still have a lot of weight to lose, and will stop nursing her in 3 months when she turns one. However, it’s getting really boring …. so I’d love to have some more tops that I could use that don’t scream “I used to wear this when pregnant,” but are still user-friendly.

Interesting question — and one that I can see a lot of women struggling with as daycares at work get more and more popular. I have a few thoughts, but am curious to see what other people say:

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