So, looking back on my recent posts, I don’t think I’ve actually properly spoken about my son, Teddy. He was born in November last year (a few weeks early), and had to spend a couple of scary weeks in hospital. One day, I will write more about the incredible people we met and the amazing NHS teams who looked after us, including our midwife. She will remain nameless as I don’t know if she’d be happy being named here, but she looked after us when I was pregnant with Dorothy and having her involved in our care again was one of the things that kept me on an even(ish) keel for months.
Anyhoo, the nurses gave me tonnes and tonnes of support with breastfeeding while Teddy was in hospital, and once we were home, I was keen to keep it up. And, when I could find the stamina (roughly once a week), I was also keen do my hair and make up and get dressed in my usual vintage style.
So, if you’re breastfeeding and want to keep up (or try) vintage styling, here are some things I’ve learned over the past nine months (which has gone by in the blink of an eye, something I’m reliably informed happens to everyone, even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic and everything still feels like it should be April).
Invest in nursing tops
If you can afford to, it’s definitely worth investing in a couple of nursing tops. I bought two from Boohoo, which I can really only wear around the house as they ripped/wore out very quickly.
I also have a couple of stretchy cotton tops from Peekaboobie, which are fantastic. They’re really comfy, with poppers around the boobs. Wearing these is probably the most comfortable I’ve ever felt while breastfeeding. I have the polka dot and thin stripe prints, so they’re really easy to accessorise with vintage skirts.
If buying something new isn’t an option, then the following tips might be useful when it comes to using what you already have in your wardrobe.
“Button, button, who’s got the button?”
(Yes, that is a quote from Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland. In double checking before I published this post, I’ve discovered it’s an actual game. I’m delighted.)
I learned that buttons are the best for breastfeeding after sitting in a coffee shop with a tiny Teddy who wanted feeding while I was wearing one of my long sleeved jersey tops. I found trying to juggle baby, boobs, top and wrap quite stressful, and since then, if I’m out and about (a dim and distant dream at this point), I wear something with buttons. Sometimes it’s a shirt dress, or other times it’s a cardigan and skirt.
Have you thought about a nice top?
As I mentioned earlier, I do have a couple of nursing tops (am I considering wearing the Peekaboobie ones backwards once I stop breastfeeding? Yes, yes I am.), but I also wear a lot of cardigans with skirts.
I’ve found it much easier to button and unbutton a top than unbuttoning the top part of a dress while worrying that I’m going to accidentally slip the dress off both shoulders and watch it slither to the floor when I stand up. I am both clumsy and an overthinker.
Wear reproduction vintage – save your original vintage for best
I have lots of beautiful vintage clothes in my wardrobe. They are gorgeous and precious, and I don’t think milk is an especially easy stain to get out.
So, I wear my beautiful reproduction clothes instead. I keep my vintage style and can easily pop them in the washing machine at the end of the day (or .
In case you’re reading this when life has somewhat got back to normal and you can go out for the day: if you want to wear something original and you’re worried about something happening to it, I’d definitely suggest expressing.
Foundation garments (get yourself a nursing bra)
Something that is talked a lot about in the vintage world – if your foundations are good, your clothes will fit better.
When you’re breastfeeding, a nursing bra makes things much easier (you’re just unhooking one bit, rather than having to mess around with sliding straps down or dealing with the discomfort of lifting a cup over your boob).
Keep a spare set of clothes with you, just in case
This isn’t exclusive to breastfeeding. Many parents bring along a spare set of clothes for the baby, but forget about what they’ll do if something happens to their clothes. I’ve been thrown up on, weed on and had food thrown at me, so it’s helpful to have something presentable to change into.
I spill various things down me on a regular basis, so this is something I may consider doing even as Teddy gets older.
Where to shop
Peekaboobie – stretchy cotton jersey tops that are perfect for every day.