Nursing Friendly Clothes on a Budget
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Nursing-Friendly Clothes on a Budget

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When you’re pregnant and getting everything ready for baby, it can sometimes seem overwhelming how much everything you need (or think you need) costs.
We often get so caught up on making sure our baby has everything he or she needs that we tend to forget about ourselves.
Then, when we have the baby and are suddenly thrown into the world of nursing, we realize that we never thought to prepare our clothes like we did our baby’s.
While making your wardrobe nursing-friendly doesn’t mean you’ll be able to wear everything you wore pre-pregnancy (and, I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to fit into most of that clothes), you can make most of your clothes nursing-friendly on a budget with these few simple tips.

No need for special nursing clothes

Before my son was born, I headed to Walmart and got myself some nursing bras and tank tops. I thought I needed them and that I wouldn’t be able to wear my regular ones for as long as I was still nursing.

Turns out, the little clips that come on nursing-specific undergarments annoy me to no end. It seemed like every time I tried to juggle a baby and fasten them one-handed, it took forever.

I eventually realized that I could just wear my normal bras and tank tops as long as they were stretchy enough to pull down.

But won’t that stretch them out?

Maybe it will eventually, but I’ve been doing it for a year and haven’t had any problems yet. As long as the material is somewhat stretchy to start with, you should be fine.

Plus, if you’re on a budget, that’s a couple fewer things you need to buy! And even if you stretch them a bit, regular tank tops tend to be cheaper to buy again than the ones with the built in clips.


Tank tops are your friend

When it comes to adapting the tops in your wardrobe to be nursing-friendly, all you need for most shirts is a tank top.
While lots of shirts (or all of them if you’re like me and don’t like wearing v-necks) can’t be pulled down for easy nursing access, wearing a tank top renders the neckline inconsequential.

Two-Shirt Trick

I saw a friend of mine use the “two-shirt” trick for nursing her baby and I realized it solves lots of my problems with nursing clothes (and my son disliking nursing covers).

The two-shirt trick is simple:

  1. Layer a tank underneath your shirt.
  2. When it’s time to nurse, pull your top shirt up and the tank down.
  3. Nurse without being exposed, all without a nursing cover!


Note: This may not work for newborns who are just learning how to nurse or for older, more active babies. But if you’re established in nursing and your baby isn’t too mobile yet, it’s a wonderful trick.

When my son was little, he would keep coming unlatched all the time. If I didn’t use a nursing cover in combination with this trick, I would have been exposed a lot while he was nursing.

If you’re still confused about what I’m talking about, just search “two-shirt trick nursing” in your search engine and you should be able to find some videos.


Choose larger sizes or stretchier fabrics

You might be able to fit into some of your pre-pregnancy tops after you’ve had your baby, but that doesn’t mean they’ll all be easy to nurse in.

For example, I put on a t-shirt in my pre-pregnancy size and tried to nurse in it. It “fit”, even over all the extra baby weight, but it was really hard to pull up enough to nurse in.

Some t-shirts come in that gloriously soft, stretchy fabric that I love, and those would probably work fine even in a smaller size, but for your run-of-the-mill t-shirt with little-to-no stretch, I would choose a size bigger.

If you don’t have larger t-shirts, check in your husband’s clothes. A lot of my husband’s t-shirts came from the same events or places my did. Since he wears a size larger than me, I can feel like I’m still wearing one of my shirts and be able to nurse easier in it.

Stay clear of bulky sweaters

I guess this doesn’t quite count as making part of your wardrobe nursing-friendly, but one part of your wardrobe I would avoid when nursing a young infant is chunky sweaters.

Thinner sweaters can work fine, but the thicker they are, the more they tend to fall on your baby’s face as their nursing.

Obviously this isn’t going to be so much of a problem if you have a baby in the spring or summer, but if you have a fall or winter baby, it’s something to keep in mind when choosing what to wear.

Add layers

Just like the two-shirt trick, adding layers can help you feed your baby without being exposed to the world.

I like when I can wear layers in the winter because when someone unexpectedly comes into the room, it’s easy to pull some of the fabric over to cover yourself.

This will work better in the winter than in the summer, but if you layer a cardigan over your shirt for extra warmth, it will be easier to nurse in because you won’t have to move a bulky sweater or sweatshirt out of the way.

Scarves – More Than Just a Fashion Accessory

While I am admittedly not that much of a “scarf person” when it comes to accessories, they can be a very versatile nursing accessory.

Large scarves can double as nursing covers when you realize yours is no longer in the diaper bag like you thought it was.

For older babies, they can also serve as a deterrent for those who think nursing can be “self-serve” whenever they want (my son is at that stage right now and it’s been dictating what type of outfit I can wear to church).


Looking to put together your nursing friendly clothes on a budget? Here’s where I would start:

Things you won’t need

  • Nursing bras or tanking tops
  • Nursing-specific clothes (they seem to always be more expensive that nursing-friendly clothes sold anywhere else)
  • Pants (obviously this doesn’t realize play a role in whether or not you can nurse in an outfit, unless you’re wearing overalls)
    • Depending on which sizes of pants you have in your closer or storage, you may need to buy some larger sizes for postpartum

Things you might have to buy

If you’re going to buy one piece of nursing-accessible clothes, make it a dress or two. Due to the fact that the two-shirt trick obviously won’t work with them, you’re left at the mercy of the neckline style of the dress and the stretchiness of the fabric.

When looking for nursing-friendly dresses, here are a few things I’d suggest:

  • Look for v-neck or wrap dresses
  • Scoop neck dresses can work as well if the fabric is stretchy enough
  • Check out companies that make nursing-accessible dresses. If you don’t like v-necks, like me, it may be worth it to get a dress that fits your style and that you can still nurse in.

If you’re look for complete your nursing wardrobe on a budget, check out your local thrift store!

Are you expecting a baby soon? Will this be your first? Second? Fourth? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to tell me your favorite place(s) to find nursing-friendly clothes.

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