Rock Out With Your Knockers Out

I’m sorry. I’d never refer to them as knockers normally, but I was struggling with the post title and I’m oh so very tired (the four month sleep regression is as terrible as everyone says it is, and at this point it looks like it’s going to run into the eight month sleep regression so hooray?). Rocking out with your knockers out though, such an integral part of the breastfeeding journey, no?

I’m very lucky that breastfeeding has been easy for me, since I know that’s not the case for everyone. I’ve got plenty of milk, and after a bit of a rocky start E’s been feeding like a champ. I got over the whole Everyone-I-Know-And-Quite-A-Few-People-I-Don’t-Have-Seen-My-Tits pretty quickly. It’s easy enough to pull up the bottom of your t-shirt, or unbutton your blouse, or pull down a low neckline, but god I miss my dresses. I have a whole wardrobe full of frocks that I can’t wear while I’m nursing, and a precious one or two that I can.

I was so delighted when I saw that Sydney label Made590 were doing a range with Nerida Hansen‘s Lisa Congdon line, and especially delighted when I realised the Every Body Laura Dress had both pockets AND functional shoulder buttons, making it (drumroll) breastfeeding friendly. I bought it immediately.

It’s made from a buttery cotton linen, which I personally vastly prefer to the cotton sateen that most Made590 dresses are made from. It’s unlined and has no stretch, but fits beautifully according to the size chart, and the wide straps are perfectly placed to hide my bra straps.

It’s a fabulous, bright, bold frock that I’m loving wearing in Melbourne’s current bizzare hot-cold weather (as-is on hot days, and layered over a long-sleeved top, or with tights and a cardi on the cold ones). I think E likes it as well – the shapes and colours look like they belong in one of his picture books.

I was moaning about the scarcity of plus-sized nursing-not-pregnant dresses in my last post, and reader Kris pointed me towards US brand Roolee. This Anthropologie-esque label has an entire section of nursing-friendly options on offer, with some available up to a size XXXL. A small XXXL (the dress I bought had a 44″ bust) but all items have different measurements, and – praise be! – all of them items have their own measurements listed for all sizes (why don’t more brands do this???). I had a really good peruse, and eventually decided to give the Van Buren MOM dress a whirl.

There’s no stretch in the fabric, and the dress is definitely tight across my bust, but it’s a pretty, flattering little frock that isn’t obviously designed for breastfeeding. It’s a simple little cotton midi dress in a minty green, fully lined, with pockets and (my favourite!) cleverly concealed zips at the bust to allow for nursing access.

Shipping from the US was quick and unexpectedly affordable. The dress was also on sale, so all up it just came to just under $60AUD, which is a steal for an easy-to-wear 100% cotton frock that lets me feel like I’m still dressing for myself, and not just for the boob access.

For others who might be looking for bump-free-nursing-clothes here’s a few of the places I’ve been browsing:

  • Little Party Dress (who recently expanded their size options up to a 22, finally and also hooray) have a section of nursing friendly dresses. Mostly button-down or wrap-style
  • Birdsnest also has a nursing section. I’ve got my eye on this and this in particular
  • Milkbar have some cute dresses up to about a size 18/20. I bought this one at the start of winter and I’ve been wearing the crap out of it. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have on offer for summer
  • Close To The Heart goes up to a size 18. I’m loving this spotty tank
  • Mama Clothing have some gorgeous options. I’m a whisper away from buying this stripey frock, and if I’d known about them before my brother’s recent wedding I would have 100% bought this (I still might)

New Two

So, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky that my breastfeeding journey has been (at least so far) relatively easy and straightforward. E is great at nursing, and my body seems to have taken to making milk with aplomb. I’m coping with the leakage (resuasble breast pads for the win) and the bras (Hot Milk for every day, and the terrific local brand Silent Arrow for something a bit more interesting) but I’m absolutely baffled why almost every brand that does clothing with breastfeeding access seems to assume that it’s synonymous with a nine-month pregnant belly. Surely once you start feeding the belly’s on the way out? No?

There’s a couple of brands that do non-maternity nursing clothes, but if you thought plus-size maternity options were a wasteland you should see what the plus-size breastfeeding options look like. I can squeeze into the largest size at New Zealand’s Milkbar, and I might be able to fit some items at Moolk, but otherwise I’m in button-up shirts and jeans (Good American. One day I might even get around the reviewing them).

I miss dresses, which might be why I’ve broken my own promise not to buy anything I can’t breastfeed in, and bought two brand-new, definitely non-nursing-friendly frocks. The good news is that they’re new new, so if you like them you should be able to find them in the shops right now.

The first is the gorgeous dove-grey dress above. I bought this one from Asos almost as soon as I saw the deep-v wrap over feature on the back. It’s pretty much identical to a dress that I bought years ago, grew out of, and then spent five years trying to replicate. except it’s not black (please Asos, do it in black).

While it’s still high enough to conceal my bra band, the deep v of the wrapped back will be lovely and breezy as the weather gets warmer. I rationalised my purchase by telling myself that even if I couldn’t feed in it, it would be perfect for when I (gulp!) go back to work in the new year. It’s only $56, and I’m deeply, deeply tempted to go back and buy it in the khaki too.

I don’t have “it’ll be perfect for work” as an excuse for this dress from Tirelli, unfortunately. I just saw the print and kind of had a moment, and suddenly it was part of my wardrobe. It’s made from a deliciously light cotton blend that I’m already looking forward to wearing on those nasty 35+ days. The dress has a drop waist, but skims my hips comfortably, and the tiered flouncy skirt is just crying out to be twirled in.

So that’s what’s new in my wardrobe!