February 29, 2012

Dresses For Very Busty Nursing Moms

Mamas, one of my very favorite things about blogging is you.  Our readers.  I love that there is a virtual army of awesome moms at all of our fingertips, always ready to share advice, tips and support.  You guys rock.  And our latest example of your awesomeness is this guest post from reader Crunchy Con Mom.

After our article about finding nursing-friendly day dresses on Zappos, we received an email from Crunchy Con Mom: 

I noticed a comment someone left on your recent post about nursing in dresses. She was baffled at your categorization of cowl necks as nursing friendly and I could totally empathize with her. I'm down to about a G cup now that my son is 2, but was a 34J at first, and even stretchy necklines generally can't hold up to that kind of stretching and still look good! I wondered if you might be interested in another guest post?

Um…YES.  Abso-freakin-lutely.  At the biggest, my nursing rack hangs out around a D (M's is bigger, but only by a bit…and WOW I know an awful lot about my friends' chest sizes since becoming moms, LOL), but clearly there's a whole lot more to think about for the truly busty nursing mama.  So let me turn this topic over to someone who has lived it, Crunchy Con Mom: 

(BTW – this is not a picture of Crunchy Con Mom.  Just thought I'd clarify.  It's the Elomi Beatrice Nursing Bra model.)

Screen Shot 2012-02-29 at 10.45.38 PMThe first time a friend mentioned pulling necklines down to nurse, I was frankly, confused.  Eventually, the geometry of the situation made sense.  To nurse, you have to pull your neckline not just down 6-8 inches but also out the distance your breasts stick out. For a mom with a C cup, that’s just 3 more inches. For a mom with a J cup, like me when my milk first came in, that’s 10 more inches. So a mom with a bigger cup size might be asking their shirt to stretch twice as much as a mom with a smaller cup size. That’s a lot to ask of a neckline, and the smaller you are other than your breasts (i.e. small band size), generally the less fabric you have in your shirt or dress to do that stretching. So when I saw another ANMJ reader similarly baffled at a suggestion S made to buy a cowl neck dress to nurse in, I wanted to help.

So, once we accept the premise that some of us just can't make the geometry work to pull down necklines to nurse, what’s an ultra-busty mom to do? Here are a couple of styles I’ve discovered work really well for me while I’ve been nursing (I included mostly day dresses, but also a few that would be more appropriate for date night or a wedding you’ve been invited to!):

Solution #1 Button & Zipper Fronts

Both classic button-front dresses and edgy zipper-front dresses are stylish while still allowing easy access when you are ready to nurse. Put a cami underneath and when it’s time to nurse, unzip or unbutton and pull your cami up for modesty on top. Or, wear a cardigan over the sweater and button just the top button while nursing. Most of the styles I found were fairly fitted, so they’d probably be best for once your tummy is back close to “normal” size/shape again.

Zip & Button-Front Dresses

 

 

 

Solution #2 Real Wrap Dresses

Wrap dresses provide great flexibility for nursing moms. With most of these your cami will be showing, so buy a cute one intended to show! I especially love lacy ones-they provide a little bit of sexiness and modesty at the same time! You can match the accent color of the dress, or go wild with something like a red lacy cami under a leopard print dress. Most of the wrap dresses I found would be pretty flattering even with a pooch because the ties naturally create a nice waistline with some drape underneath. Look for one that ties wherever you are smallest!

Wrap dresses

 

 

Solution #3 Deep V’s

Look for deep plunging V-necks. The less stretch in the fabric, the deeper you need the V to be. Again, your cami will be showing so look for a cute one. These sexy deep V’s are easy to pull aside to nurse, and many of them would be pooch friendly, like the red one with the fun ruching, or the black flowy belted one. Some of them are quite short, but would be adorable with leggings underneath, especially in the cold weather of early spring.

V-Neck Dresses for Nursing Mamas

 

 

 

Also, here are a few cute camis that can be layered underneath:

 

Tanks for dresses

 

 

So there you have it: 3 basic types of dresses to look for if you are a nursing mom with a large bust who wants easy access for your little one – without stretching your neckline out of shape. There is so much variety within these 3 shapes you’re sure to find one in a color and pattern that makes your heart beat fast.

Happy shopping mamas!

–Crunchy Con Mom

 

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Want to see more from Crunchy Con Mom?  Read her blog, find her on Twitter (@CrunchyConMom), or check out her other guest post on ANMJ called Whoa…Skorts??

10 Comments
  • Carin
    February 29, 2012

    Amen! I was that baffled commenter from the other post, and this post totally speaks to me! Thanks! :)
    I will say though that one of the challenges with the button/zipper front is that my frame is so small otherwise (besides my chest) that if the garment fits nicely everywhere else (across the shoulders, across the hips, etc), then I can’t do up the buttons. But if I get it big enough for the buttons, then it’s so loosey goosey everywhere else. Too bad because button front dresses are just my preppy style. Love that teal one… sigh.
    I know Stacey & Clinton would say to buy the piece in the bigger size and get it tailored, but I can’t part with the money for tailoring of clothes that will fit differently once I soon stop nursing.

  • Ginny
    February 29, 2012

    Oh, what a great post! I was up in the H/I region after my second baby was born–now down to “just” DDD–but with the added loss of, shall we say, perkiness. (Do your girls hang low, can you swing ‘em…etc.) I have pretty much gone without dresses for the past two years, figuring there wasn’t one that would work for my…geometry (lol). Even those designed specifically to nurse in didn’t always work with my large bust (I gotta hoist what where?!).
    Now that my nursing career is almost over (knock on wood), I can’t wait to wear dresses again, especially once it gets hot. May your excellent advice help other busty mamas enjoy dresses while nursing!

  • Megan
    March 1, 2012

    This is definitely something I struggle with, too. I was a C before kids and now I’m an H/I! After 2.5 years of nonstop nursing (and a pregnancy in there too) I’ve done quite a few of the low Vs and wrap style dresses, but button ups elude me still. I’m with the first commenter. I can’t get those things buttoned up to save my life without it being a huge baggy mess. I’ve even tried tailoring them myself and they’ve never looked right. One thing that I’ve loved is wearing a Skinies nursing cami underneath dresses (or everything). It has holes just at the boobs so super easy access but still keepin’ it modest. Thanks for this post!

  • Shannon
    March 1, 2012

    I was an H when I was nursing, and the few times I tried to nurse in a V-neck, I could barely get my boob out and I was afraid I’d ruin the neckline. I liked the Mossimo kimono dresses at Target, because they have a very deep V. I wore a contrasting cami under it and it was easy to nurse. Wrap dresses are also great for hiding pooches. Thanks for the great post.

  • Crunchy Con Mommy
    March 1, 2012

    Thanks so much for letting me post!
    I too have had problems with button-ups, but have had luck with either 1.) don’t button the top button or two-which might achieve sort of a sexy secretary look with that teal dress or 2.)buy a size or two bigger and add a belt to accent my waist
    Also, alterations might be less than you think. That teal dress is only $50, so even with $20 of alterations, it’d still be cheaper than many of the other dresses are off the rack!
    And Shannon, I totally agree-there’s a big difference between V Neck and DEEP V neck, and deep is definitely the only kind I can nurse in!

  • Jenny
    March 1, 2012

    Thank you SO very much for this helpful post! I will be going back to work and pumping (for a 3 mo old) for the first time in August & I think these dresses would really work well for me pumping & looking appropriately (hopefully fashionably) dressed.
    Thanks for sharing your secrets!

  • Pam
    March 1, 2012

    Strangely enough…as a small busted woman (36C was the biggest I got, evened out around a 34B), I ignore advice about pulling the neckline down to nurse. I can’t pull my boobs up and out of the shirt at all, so I have to pull the shirt all the way down under my chest, and once its stretched out even the tiniest bit…my boobs aren’t big enough to help the shirt hold its shape again later. I tried a couple and ended up having shirts that were just baggy in the chest and showed my nursing bra/tank in an unflattering way.
    So anyway the zipper/button dressed at the top are perfect for someone my size. I also loved any top that was a lift up style.

  • Olivia
    March 1, 2012

    Love these suggestions. I’m too big busted to just pull down the neck line either. I’d have to pull down and then lift my breast up and out of the shirt for it to work.

  • Holly
    March 1, 2012

    Great suggestions! Even though I don’t mind nursing in public, with dresses it always seems like there’s no way to avoid having about 2/3 of your boob out there, especially if you have a large chest ;)

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