The Difference Between Maternity & Breastfeeding Clothes

Posted by Nancy Skuce on

If this is your first pregnancy, you're probably overwhelmed by all the advice and birth stories coming your way and overwhelmed by the price of maternity clothing in retail stores. Money is tight, you have mat leave on the horizon, you have to provide for the new little person coming into your life, and you need to dress your changing body. 

So why do you need new clothes for your pregnancy then again after your baby is born? In this blog post, we'll explain the difference between maternity clothing and breastfeeding (a.k.a nursing or feeding) apparel.

What's the Difference between Maternity & Breastfeeding clothing?

Maternity clothing is designed to fit your growing belly. That’s its only function. Some offer shaping, some support, but the cuts of the shirts, the side ruching, the panels, and waistband designs are there to accommodate your baby’s growing real-estate needs.

Breastfeeding apparel is designed to give you quick access to your breasts so you can breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding apparel can be designed for different stages of pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy. Some breastfeeding apparel is also designed to fit during pregnancy. These tops are made in a way that will accommodate your bump and retain their shape so they can be worn in the 4thtrimester.
  • 4th Trimester friendly. After delivery, you’ll still look 25 weeks pregnant. The time it takes your bump to shrink, varies from women to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. These tops are designed with your comfort in mind, they have a relaxed or loose fit around the mid-section.
  • Fitted to show off your new mom-curves. Some breastfeeding apparel is fitted to provide a flattering fit later in your postpartum journey when you've started to lose some or all of your pregnancy weight (a.k.a getting your body back).  PLEASE note, you never lost your body, it changed to grow a human being. When breastfeeding, yes you burn a lot of calories, but your body needs fat stores to help produce milk. Some bodies lose weight very slowly while breastfeeding. Some not at all. Not losing the weight quickly is healthy and natural, but it can be hard on self-esteem, especially with the social media pressure to “get your body back” after pregnancy. Trust your body.

To sum things up

The main difference between breastfeeding apparel and maternity apparel is its intended function.  Maternity clothing is for the belly, breastfeeding clothing is to get access to your breasts. A great way to save money is to buy breastfeeding pieces that can be worn during pregnancy.

Don’t undervalue the convenience Breastfeeding Attire Offers

Breastfeeding apparel is very important. It’s not just clothes, it’s a tool. The right bra and top will make your breastfeeding journey much smoother at home and in public. You’ll be comfortable, stylish, and be able to pump or breastfeed with ease. Keep in mind, you'll wear your breastfeeding apparel for much longer then you wore your pregnancy clothes. Breastfeeding bras, tops, and dresses are worth the money you spend on them. Don’t undervalue the convenience they offer.  

How to save money

There are a few ways to get back into your pre-pregnancy tops after your pregnancy even if you plan to breastfeed. We don’t advise wearing tops you love in the first two weeks postpartum. When engorgement starts, you will be overwhelmed with abundant milk supply and breastmilk leaves a greasy residue on clothing that can be hard to wash out.

Here are some of our favourite money-saving hacks for breastfeeding. To get back into your pre-pregnancy clothing sooner, it's all about the base layer.

  • The Bellyband. Wear the belly band on your abdomen, under your shirt, to cover your midsection when you lift your shirt to access your bra.
  • Seamless Nursing Cami. Some seamless camis are designed to be worn like a bra. Wear them as layering pieces under your tops, and turn any top you own into a breastfeeding top.
  • Strapless Nursing Tanks. These tanks are designed to attach to your bra, that's why they are strapless. They make great layering pieces. They cover your abdomen when you lift your top layer to access your bra. 
  • Naked Nursing tanks. These tanks are designed to be worn as a base layer. They have a plunging neckline that sits below your bra to keep you covered during pregnancy and give you full access to your breasts.
  • Cardigans. Cardigans make great nursing covers!
  • Infinity scarves. Infinity scarves also make great nursing covers.

Another great way to save money is to buy breastfeeding pieces that can be worn during pregnancy.

I hope you found this information useful!


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