Most birth moms kick off their postpartum wardrobe with the ever-classy hospital gown and mesh underpants. But don’t worry; it gets better. While there’s certainly no shame in lounging around with your newborn in baggy sweats and XL T-shirts — or doing the skin-to-skin (read: naked) thing as long as possible — parents who want to make breastfeeding a snap without sacrificing their sense of style have plenty of choices with the items ahead: the very best nursing tops on the market right now.
What should you look for? First and foremost: panels, zips, snaps, buttons, and slits that make getting your breasts out as easy and efficient as possible. A designer label and cute style are worthless if something feels restrictive or prompts your upset infant to furiously paw at the fabric.
Material also matters. Anyone who has accidentally blasted their baby with an out-of-control-hose-style shot of breast milk can tell you that weird breastfeeding problems such as superleaks happen more than we’d care to admit. It makes sense, then, to choose a color and fabric that will dry quickly — and won’t make damp patches too obvious. Ideally, you can also pop the whole thing in the wash (because goodness knows there’s no time for trips to the dry cleaners these days).
From basics you can grab at the mall to boutique finds that’ll help you reunite with your pre-baby babe self, these breastfeeding essentials can make the process (almost) easy. Accessorize with your breast pump — or, you know, your offspring — of choice.
Mitera Jennifer nursing tank
Utilitarian, but still you. Available in black, olive and gray, this wear-anywhere top features secret zippers to offer easy access to your nipples, plus a smooth modal-elastin blend that feels so much more sumptuous than your basic cotton tank. Go the athleisure route and pair it with yoga pants for your next rocking-chair nursing session, or rock that racer-back on a moms night out — hey, a girl can dream, can’t she? — to show off what lugging around a growing baby has done for your upper arms.
Jennifer nursing tank, $48 at Mitera
Loyal Hana Cybelle dress in black birds
This playful, blousy number can take Mama through maternity clothing o’clock and straight into mealtime for baby. The concealed zippers eliminate the need for any awkward fumbling as your impatient infant wails, while the pockets can house all kinds of new mom essentials: pacifier, bib and the number of the perfect babysitter who can give you the freedom to give this dress the parents date night it deserves.
Cybelle dress in black birds, $125 at Loyal Hana
Seraphine asymmetric sheer flutter nursing top
This sheer overlay doesn’t just add a feminine frill that your new-mom wardrobe may be lacking; it also doubles as a makeshift nursing cover for when you’re breastfeeding on the go. Simply pull down the layer below and let your hungry baby do their thing. If you’re back to work and using a pump, this is the perfect pretty-but-professional top to help you express yourself… while you express, um, yourself.
Asymmetric sheer flutter nursing top, $59 at Seraphine
Kindred Bravely French terry nursing & maternity tank top
Just want something that’s no-frills, no-fuss and comfy enough to live in? Stock up on this baby in every color. The V-neck is breastfeeding-friendly, and the loose empire waist is flattering. Kindred Bravely’s nursing bras are also big a hit with new moms — though we recommend buying a size or two larger to accommodate breast pads and your (possibly ample) new chest.
French terry nursing and maternity tank top, $27.99 at Kindred Bravely
Would you wear your favorite nightgown 24-7 if you could? This breezy midi-length dress is just as good — or better if you’re the type of person whose heart skips a beat for pockets. Effortlessly chic and accommodating to prenatal and postnatal weight adjustments thanks to its adjustable wrap belt, this caftan comes in blue, coral and gray. Undo a few buttons, and you’re good to go in breastfeeding mode.
Caftan, $125 at Storq
Rosie Pope Anita nursing tee
This stylish cowl-neck top — available in black and rose — features a discreet nursing overlay that’s attached to the shoulder by snaps. And because there’s no room in your life for dry-clean-only anymore, take comfort in the fact that this puppy can be popped straight into the washing machine.
Anita nursing tee, $68 at Rosie Pope
H&M Mama nursing tops
The best basic (and budget) option for breastfeeders of all shapes and sizes, these easy tops offer inner layers you can pull up for feeds. And at this price, you might not even mind the inevitable leaks and spit-ups that come with the job.
Mama nursing tops (set of two), $29.99 at H&M
Envie de Fraise lift-up off-the shoulder nursing top
Here’s a hack for moms who want the easy option: Wear a strapless top and simply pull it down when hunger strikes. This flirty version, however, also offers vertical slits underneath its top layer — if you prefer to keep your feeds relatively under the radar. It’s available in navy and red.
Envie de Fraise lift-up off-the shoulder nursing top, $41.98 at Destination Maternity
Jo Jo Maman Bébé pleated tunic dress in pebble print
Dressing up needn’t come saddled with breastfeeding drama. This bright young thing — which also doubles as a maternity dress — comes with hidden nursing slits and a sunny print that’s just right for work or play. Bonus: It’s machine-washable.
Pleated tunic dress in pebble print, $79 at JoJo Maman Bébé
Boob Amelia jumpsuit
Inspired by your infant’s love of onesies? Get in on the trend with this irresistibly loungy one-all, which comes in black and olive green. Just lift up the wrap-style midsection for your nursing needs. If the design feels functional-chic, there’s a reason: It’s named after Amelia Earhart.
Amelia jumpsuit, $155 at Boob