Actually, there is a fascinating history to learn about, related to images of the Blessed Mother of Jesus breastfeeding. I'm going to have to explore that. Here's one cool thing I found: Check out this collection of images of the Blessed Mother breastfeeding Jesus! I have also discovered more than one statue of Mary nursing Jesus, with her breast bare and all, that has various fabulous cloth garments that get changed at intervals; La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto. Talk about nursing wear!
Often, when I post on facebook about breastfeeding, my friends who are grandmothers and nursed in the 60's and 70's talk about how easy it was to be pregnant or nurse in the clothes back then. They wore loose, comfortable things, and just lifted up their top discreetly. This brings us to my comment in my Quick Takes that 'low-slung jeans are not a helpful style for people who are trying to discreetly lift the hem of their top'. Yes, one prominent feature of fashion in the '90's and early 2000's was the plunging waistlines. None of us wants to wear 'mom jeans' of course.
I tried to put a clip of the original SNL video here:
I have used a few different systems over my 12+ years of breastfeeding (not continuously for 12 years! But almost. 5 kids for an average of 18 mos each, and still going with number 6). I feel pretty comfortable nursing wherever, and while meeting my baby's needs, it is also my aim to make motherhood look good, and show breastfeeding as the normal, manageable facet of mothering it is. I think it's good for people to see this. It's good for young people to be around a confident mother who is nursing, unashamed, in a non-confrontational way. Things we are all accustomed to seeing become the norm in our culture.
I am a lactation consultant, and I really do understand how very hard nursing can be for some women, and the many heroic efforts they make to do their very best for their babies! Nursing in public can be even trickier if you are using a nipple shield or having other complicating factors to deal with. Lets face it, there is strategy involved in making our days as mothers go smoothly. And there is strategy to what I'm wearing as much as there is in what I make sure to have in the van or in the diaper bag!
(I am not a fashion blogger or model. Most of my clothes are thrifted, (I talk about that here) and while they may be well-reputed brands, I will not be sharing brand names or where you can buy similar clothing items, because that is not really what this post is about.)
In the last several years these specially made nursing covers have come into vogue. 'Hooter Hiders', 'Bebe au Lait' and all the rest. And while I am glad if they make women feel confident to nurse wherever their baby needs to, and while it is really fun to see what great fabrics they come in, I just don't dig 'em. Personally, I think they are awkward and draw attention to the fact that one is nursing, and maybe suggest that nursing in fact ought to be covered up (and I disagree). They also may contribute to the myth that you have to buy lots of stuff in order to have and care for a baby.
So, here are the combinations I have developed for nursing in real clothes. It is awesome that layering is 'in' more and more, because that makes it even easier to feel cute and confident while wearing clothes we can nurse in easily!
The Nursing Tank
|The Bellaband! bellaband and it's cousins on amazon|
|For church, wear with a skirt!|
Third, tops with styling that is flattering to the postpartum body.
|One day after giving birth! I wore this top a ton.|
Number four: Long silk blouse and layers
|What the African ladies just call 'your wrapper'.|
But it really opens up possibilities as far as What To Wear.
(I wear another dress at the end of this post, without a drape.)
So, those are my five fave fashion strategies. I'm sure there are more! But these are what I'm relying on lately to function well and make motherhood look as good as I can.
I wanted to conclude with a pic of me out in my yard, nursing confidently in a real-life, real-mom moment, with no drape. I think, with my squirmy eight month old, that is exactly what we have here. Breastfeeding. I'ts real.