Nursing Friendly Clothes on a Budget

nursing friendly clothes on a budgetWhen my daughter was born, I was woefully unprepared for the requirements of a nursing wardrobe. Somehow, I hadn’t thought about it much during my pregnancy and once nursing was a reality, I was shocked at the prices of clothing specifically marketed as “nursing wear.” I couldn’t afford them, so instead I went with whatever I had on hand that worked. Needless to say, I spent most of the next 16 months in a rather bland, limited, repetitive wardrobe.

Should I have the chance to do it again, I now know a whole bunch of tricks for rocking some stylish nursing clothes without breaking the budget. The key is all in what you buy and where you buy it.

First, let’s start with the “what”:

  • Inexpensive camisoles. Nursing tank tops are great, and can sometimes be found at decent prices. Another option, though, are basic, inexpensive camisoles. I absolutely love the two packs that you can get at Costco for about $12. Layer the cami under any other shirt. When nursing, outer shirt goes up, cami neckline goes down, baby goes on. If they’re worn out by the time your nursing journey ends, you won’t feel guilt over their price tag when you toss them.
  • Button-down tops. Sometimes, you want a garment that gives you a bit more shape or visual interest than your basic t-shirt. A few button down tops are great for this. They open for nursing access and then button right back up!
  • Wrap-style tops or dresses. Wrap dresses, or those with the overlapping V neckline, are great for nursing! The neckline adjusts however you need without really stretching out of shape. Drapey necklines work just as well. A plus, wrap dresses are generally thought to flatter pretty much any body type!

Now that we’ve talked about what types of clothes to look for, let’s talk about where to get them.

  • Thrift Stores. Secondhand or consignment shops are excellent places to look for a nursing wardrobe. My personal favorites are Goodwill and Just Between Friends Sales. Not only do these stores often have a specific maternity/nursing wear section, you can also pick up all of the “what” items of clothing off of the normal racks for far less than retail. Don’t forget to look at baby resale shops, as they also often have a mom section. Along with being more affordable, you again don’t have to feel so bad should a top become stretched out, stained, or otherwise ruined during your time nursing.
  • Zulilly. Now, zulilly has the drawback of being a no-returns discount site, but if you choose your purchases wisely, you can pick up a great nursing wardrobe for less. They often offer stylish clothing that is specifically designed for nursing, so you’ll have those options in addition to what you’ve managed out of normal clothes. Tip: Many items you see on Zulilly are on sale on Amazon at the same time, so check both sites for the better deal.
  • Big-Box Stores. Sometimes you may have to shop online only, but large brand names like Gap often have a few nursing items available at reasonable prices. Even better are the sales racks at stores like Target. Between the specifically nursing/maternity items and the normal sales racks, you’ve got a lot to choose from.

So, you are now armed with the information I really wish I’d had when my daughter was born. Let’s get out there and show the world that a nursing mom can be a stylish mom too (without breaking the bank)!

Kate Cunha is a Pacific NW mom of a nearly 3 year old little girl. She can’t quite manage to be the better clothed one in their relationship!


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