Formal Nursing Dress?

Updated on October 01, 2009
A.D. asks from South Bend, IN
17 answers

I have been thinking about what to wear, & doing a little bit of searching for a suitable dress to use to my brother's wedding in Dec. This will be one month after giving birth! I am planning to be nursing as well, so I am having some difficulty, not knowing exactly what size I will be by that time & finding something I can nurse in. Have any of you had experience in this department? I am not normally a dress wearer, so I don't think I have anything that will work from my first post pregnancy. Also, it needs to be for warm weather as the wedding will be in Puerto Rico. AND I have a very tight clothing budget to work with. :( I have seen some nice nursing dresses online, but I can't afford to pay $50-$60 for a dress, especially since I will probably only use it once!
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all your kind & helpful fashion advice!! I told my husband it feels like I'm getting advice from my older sister-in-law (which is a good thing!). :) Anyway, I had a chance to go to Target & Kohls over the weekend & look at their clearance items. I found a couple of tops & a dress at great prices. They are the kind with the empire waist w/ criss-cross top. They actually fit me now while I am pregnant & will work well to nurse in, so I feel I got dual duty with all of them. I am really happy & thankful!

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answers from Cleveland on

You are going to Puerto Rico one month after giving birth with an infant? Yikes...

Anyway, you have a lot of leeway on what you wear. You can be much more casual than is required. You could even try a mternity dress. I have one that I bought at Motherhood that is a wrap dress of sorts with an empire waist and is black. Look at target also.....You may also get lucky because it is the end of the summer season so there may be a selection on sale. I would go with the size that you wear now pregnant. Don't go too formfitting because you may still look pregnant, but slightly bigger and more comfortable would be the way to go.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

Depends on how formal you need to be. Are you looking at like a black tie wedding? or something a little more casual, but still dressy? When I was pregnant I got a few of the cotton empire waist dresses from WalMart. The one has the pieces that kind of cross in the front. I'm able to nurse in it very very easily. I would recommend something like that. You don't have to take anything off, just pull the front of the dress off to the side. I don't know if you could find something like that now or not. You could also look at second hand stores for nursing apparel. Good luck and have fun!



answers from Indianapolis on

If possible I would go with a 2-piece outfit, perhaps with a gauzy, filmy longish skirt, and a colorful top that is loose enough to be lifted for nursing.
Remember, your presence at the wedding with your infant should surpass any concern about how formally you are dressed.
Since summer is just past, I would think that clearance racks should provide just what you are looking for.
P.S. If your top is a print, and you should leak or be spit upon, it won't show.



answers from Columbus on

Hi A.!

I suggest a bit of layering. A skirt and a stretchy top or button-down top with a short-sleeve jacket or a large scarf or wrap that can cover up your sides while you're nursing (more classy than a nursing blanket). Another idea might be to get one of those dresses or blouses that has the criss-cross style top. You can just pop out the top to nurse and use a scarf or blanket to cover yourself up.

Think about what you have in your closet already and try to work with what you have there. If you don't have a nice black skirt already, that might be something to invest in. If you can find one made of a nice smooth, stretchy material, it can serve you well in a variety of weight stages.

Another bit of advice - try to limit how much weight you gain. My first pregnancy was in Japan and they told me not to gain more than 1 kg a month (2.2 lbs.) for the first 7 months and 2 kg a month (4.4 lbs) for the 8th and 9th months. I stayed pretty close to that had all my baby weight off in 2 months after my daughter was born (although I think I was so busy I forgot to eat sometimes!). The second pregnancy, I wasn't so careful and I'm still working it off...almost 4 years later... :(

Best of luck to you! Enjoy the wedding! (Newborns are actually pretty easy to travel with - it's that almost-2 yo that will be more difficult!)

J. B



answers from Toledo on

I can think f three viable options:
1. Buy a maternity dress (on sale of course) that ties or cinches below the boobs and above the tummy. That way, you can try it on while you are still preggo, and be able to tighten it up for the wedding after you've lost your belly. Also, maternity dresses are usually very stretchy, and you can likely pull one side down to BF. (You'll be using a pretty shawl to cover up while nursing at the wedding--do not feel obligated to go to the bathroom or car...nobody wants to eat their dinner there, baby included.)

2. Buy a normal dress a couple sizes too big, again with a cinch or A-line waist so you will be able to fit your form.

3. Wear a nice set of pants/top/sweater. No one will mind. Make yourself comfortable.

have fun and congrats :)



answers from Terre Haute on

I would suggest a halter style dress with an empire waist. This would allow you to untie the strap for nursing and won't be too tight over the baby belly. You can look for something that isn't terribly low cut and use the clear plastic straps on whatever bra you are comfortable in. It may be a little harder to find something with colder weather coming up here, but then again most of the department stores will be discounting their Homecoming dresses soon. I picked up a dress similar to this back around Prom time for about 20 dollars when I had to attend a wedding while 5 months pregnant. It was really comfortable and I didn't feel like I was disgustingly fat and pregnant wearing it either.



answers from Dayton on

I think if you got a dress with an empire waist line it would fit under your breasts and above the waist and be more forgiving in the areas where you may still be swollen from the pregnancy. Also, maybe if you got something that either had one of those bodices that crossed over the chest kind of like an "X" you could slip one side off your shoulder and down, or if you had a dress where the bodice tied or clasped at the back of the neck you could unfasten it and pull one side down. Try shopzilla, overstock, and amazon on line. The good news is that all the warm weather stuff should be on sale.


answers from Columbus on

Hi A.,
How about just a nice skirt (or pants) and a formal blouse? that way you can unbutton the blouse on the top to feed the baby, and you can use the blouse again for future events you may have, nursing or not.
You can buy formal blouses to pair with a nice black skirt or pants, just about anywhere like, JC Penney, Sears and such (my favorite is Steinmart).
Good luck!



answers from Columbus on

Maybe you could check with a craigslist or a thrift store? Don't know if there's one close to you but I think it's called "clothes mentor". If you do a search for once upon a mom I think it will come up - it's like once upon a child for women with regular clothes and maternity clothes. Maybe you could also look into getting separates so you could at least get more use from the top. [I'm not a dress wearer either ;) ]



answers from Indianapolis on

Instead of a formal dress, what about a pr of black palazzo pants (ya know with the really wide legs) and a shimmery or dressy top? Or you could go with the gouchos that are shorter with a nice pair of dressy shoes. That way, you could still wear it all again and you can really dress it up with some shiny jewelry, etc. That would still look great and help with the nursing!!!



answers from Cleveland on

Hi A.,

Lots of good ideas already.....

I got a beautiful nursing dress when my second son was just a few months old, from Motherwear. It had a self-tie belt so I could wear it looser or snugger depending on my size. It isn't floor length, but more like low mid-calf, very apporpriate for dressy occasions, and OK for the not-so dressy ones. I still wear it (the "little guy" is 14 now) because it's so pretty! I couldn't give it up. So don't think you'll never wear it again, that's not necessarily true.

Could you borrow from a friend? fellow La Leche League member? (you can go to the LLL meetings even if you are not a member, and even if baby isn't born yet--they may well have good ideas too)

Check craigslist, ebay, freecycle, thrift stores, etc.

Can a friend make it for you cheaper?

If you go with a 2-piece top set, like a twinset (2 sweaters, or a tank/camisole plus a blouse) you can lift the one up to nurse and the other one still covers your sides, and can be pulled across baby's head while nursing. (Hope that made sense)

You could maybe buy just a nursing top (tank, camisole, short-sleeve top) and use a blouse or sweater you currently own for the outer piece.

Good luck and have fun!

K. Z.



answers from Cleveland on

Wow A. I thought mine were close at 21 mo's apart Bless You:) have you thought about a long skirt with an fancy blouse your going to have to cover yourself anyway and then maybe after the wedding you could put the blouse with some nice pants try TJ max or Marshals if they are in your area. I have found some real bargains there. Also you might find a skirt with elastic or draw string so you don't have to worry about you waist size
Good Luck



answers from Columbus on

I just wanted to offer my two cents. When I had a small baby and was nursing, I could not find button-front shirts that would fit. I think the easiest thing to do is to go with two pieces. It is so difficult to guess what size you will be. I think I would get a medium-ish maternity skirt (the stretchy panel would still fit probably if you got in the size you would expect to wear about halfway through your pregnancy) and a roomy, but sparkly or shimmery top. If you have a pair of fancy shoes you love, that would certainly dress it up, too. I liked to draw the attention to my legs when my middle was still puffy. Do you have girlfriends who have already been there done that? I'm sure they'd be happy to help you out. You could even borrow some costume jewelry to add flair. I know you want to look your best, but everyone will be very understanding of your situation so don't stress too much!



answers from Cleveland on

Look for a wrap-top style in a stretchy synthetic fabric . It will be lightweight enough for the weather, and I found the wrap tops to be ideal for nursing. I suggest a poly instead of cotton because it will snap back into shape better from pulling the top aside to nurse. This Diane von Furstenburg style is pretty popular now, as it has come back into fashion, so you should be able to find something inexpensive. Plus, you'll still be able to wear it after nursing, just maybe with a tank top underneath for more neckline coverage. Another alternative is to get a wrap-style top and coordinated skirt. Again, you'll get more mileage out of it, and people will be pretty forgiving since your baby is so young. I guess it all depends on how formal the wedding is. I've been to two in the Caribbean, and both were quite casual for guests.



answers from Cleveland on

A skirt and top should be fine, as long as it is dressy looking. Dressy shoes and some cool jewelry help (I love City Buddha for that) Accessorize with your newborn and no one will question what you are wearing.

2-1/2 years ago I went to a wedding with my 5 week old. I lucked out and found a stretchy dress at Target for $20 that had a cross over wrap type top. I got to flip down one side then the other to nurse. I had to go into a private area to nurse as my whole breast was exposed, but at least I didn't have to get totally undressed.

Something like




answers from Cincinnati on

Check out a Once Upon a Child store (or a resale childrens store), many carry maternity clothes also. Good luck.

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