How many nursing clothes should you have?

A frequently asked question is, “How many nursing clothes do YOU have?” Makes sense, right? I mean, I would want to know how many breastfeeding clothes the lady who sells them has too.

So I’ll start at the beginning.

I found nursing clothes when I was about 4 months into breastfeeding my first child (circa early 2012). I was suspicious of the cost and use but tired of wearing oversized shirts and feeling self-conscious about my back and belly. To prevent those risks, I scheduled my day around when I needed to breastfeed next (so I only went out in 2-3 hour chunks of time). I still planned to do that but I ordered these two items for fun:

IMG_1895

And while I didn’t love them as much as I loved my Banana Republic, GAP, Loft, Ann Taylor and Anthropologie clothes, it was surprising to me how easy it was to feed the baby and still feel like I was dressed as a human. I can’t remember if I ever really breastfed in public with those tops but I recall my husband finding it nice that I was wearing clothes that weren’t pajamas or old t-shirts too.

So I bought another shirt in something that was more my style:

IMG_1888

And it worked. If I was going out to get groceries, meet a friend or walk the dog – with the possibility I might be a little longer than planned – I wore THIS top. I pretty much lived in this top (even if I pumped a bottle before we left the house) because I felt like I could nurse the baby if I needed to and I felt pretty.

That was pretty much it for my first time breastfeeding because I only made it 9 months. (So 3 shirts that I used all. the. time. for 5 months). That was also 3 years ago. And a lot has changed.

First of all – the breastfeeding support networks have grown tremendously; There are Facebook groups, tons of local LLL chapters, private lactation consultants, hospitals that train their nurses in lactation and more. For example, kellymom was my only resource when I needed help and let me tell you, 3 years ago, the site was bare. It was very useful but compared to what it is today, it was slim pickings.

I also live in Pittsburgh now – home of The Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh. That one resource alone (and there are so many more) is phenomenal.

So as you can imagine – the style and availability of nursing clothes is a little more phenomenal now too. When I became pregnant a second time, I went out there looking for the best (also a little more determined to make it to my 1 year breastfeeding goal).

First of all, there are so many more designers. From Loyal Hana who said hello to the scene in 2014 to Boob which goes back 15 years. Milk Nursingwear has also been a staple and now that I’ve been The Maternity Girl for 2 years, I’m able to provide exclusives of my own.

Next, the styles have increased as well. From lace sleeves to assymetrical hems, nursing Moms no longer have to choose between just colors.

With my breastfeeding history (I struggled), I didn’t go out and buy 10 pieces of breastfeeding clothes but I did set myself up for success: one basic t-shirt (which I can’t even find for a photo and wore while pregnant), two tanks, one nursing camisole and a nursing nightgown (which was also useful in the hospital; [sidenote: I can always tell when a Mom has delivered her second or later child based on if she’s wearing “normal” clothes or a hospital nightgown]) and I brought myself to 2 months of breastfeeding with those 8 (remember the earlier 3?) pieces of clothing:

IMG_1893

IMG_1892

IMG_1890

I wore THE HECK out of all those clothes … to the zoo, to preschool, around the house, out to dinner:

IMG_1777 IMG_2444

IMG_6045IMG_2952

IMG_3246 IMG_4248

When the weather started to turn, I invested in 2 more tops and a dress that would allow me to breastfeed in public without feeling like I was stuck in new baby purgatory. This was actually more of a requirement than an option since I was so busy maintaining the toddler’s schedule that I had no ability to arrange my day around when the baby needed to eat:

IMG_1894

IMG_1889 IMG_1891

I wore the heck out of those items too. That dress? It even made an appearance at the circus:

IMG_3613 IMG_3504

A few more months in, I invested in 2 more “fancy” tops (here’s 1):

IMG_1896

This was a personal favorite as I felt I had mastered not only the art of breastfeeding, breastfeeding in public and being a Mommy of 2 – I felt like a normal, pretty woman too! (This was my favorite way to style the above):

IMG_1897

So where does that put us? 12? Somewhere along the way I “retired” my first 2 tops to pajama tops. I had worn them for so long, I didn’t want to wear them in public anymore. Then I retired the nightgown (“for another pregnancy, MAYBE”) and one of my earlier basic shirts became a night time nursing t-shirt too (I get cold easily). Overall I think that left me with about 7-8 items in my “daily wear collection” and if 1/2 of it was in the laundry at the time, I still had 3-4 options to wear (which also worked out really well since I went back to work and didn’t have time to stress or worry about clothes).

Do you need 12 pieces of nursing clothes to breastfeed a baby? No. But I feel that the nursing clothes and the great support I have found in Pittsburgh (especially at the St. Clair Baby, Breastfeeding and Me meetings) have brought me the farthest I’ve ever been breastfeeding – 13 months (and change). On days when it was hard, I didn’t think, “I should just stop this and then I can wear my regular clothes and drink and hire a babysitter.” I mean, I wanted to drink and hire a babysitter but I LIKED. Correction – LOVED my clothes. I didn’t WANT to wear my old clothes. And my investment in those clothes? I didn’t want to abandon that. Or my baby (even when she bit me). So yes – maybe clothes and fashion may seem superficial, but I TRULY believe it’s not. It’s about looking good. And feeling good. And being able to easily do the job that you have when you are a breastfeeding Mom (that is of the MANY jobs all Moms have). As if being a Mom, dealing with your changing body, doing it all on limited sleep and more wasn’t hard enough … at least nursing clothes remove the anxiety of, “What am I going to where?” and the feeling of “Nothing looks good on me!”

So yeah – I think the lady that sells nursing clothes had about a dozen in her closet (but let’s be real, that’s maybe 1/3 of all the clothes you have in your closet if not WAY less. Am I right? ;))

xo,

Elena


Maternity Girl sells new and resale maternity and nursing apparel in Pittsburgh, PA via private appointment and can also be found at Moms Markets, Trunk Shows and all around town in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. She also offers styling services for maternity and breastfeeding photoshoots and offers dress rentals locally. Maternity Girl, aka Elena Petzold, is also the creator of Mama’s MilkBox – a nursing apparel subscription service. With Mama’s MilkBox, all the breastfeeding Moms across the United States don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort just to breastfeed their baby (for only $39/box, you can bring the boutique to your door).

Advertisements

Breastfeeding Photos – next year’s holiday card!

Are breastfeeding photos the new holiday card? Probably not. But it’s definitely an up and coming genre – you know, like a maternity photoshoot, newborn photoshoot or family photoshoot – all the things people flock to due. I’m excited to be a part of this process of the changing times. People don’t think twice when they remember to schedule a family photoshoot for holiday cards but rarely does a Mom think – or more importantly do – a photoshoot of one of the things that takes up a significant part of her life while her child is a baby.

I personally scheduled a breastfeeding photoshoot during a “crisis” when I didn’t think my little one and I would make it to my 1 year breastfeeding goal. I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown and just wanted proof – something beyond my sleep-deprived memory – that indeed I did breastfeed my child and it was beautiful. The finished product was indeed so beautiful [you can go see for yourself] that it re-energized my breastfeeding spirit. Further, it made me call Sandy of Red Lotus Photography to say, “We have to do a bunch of mini sessions – Moms NEED this!”

And so we did!

Sandy just finished sending off all the photos to the lovely Mamas who signed up and guess what? They’ve agreed to let me share some with you!

I debated for quite a few hours about how to share these (my favorites) … a blog post a day? This one post with an in depth commentary about each Mama and their beautiful baby/babies? Should I include details about why these are my favorite? Nah. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? All I can say is that this photoshoot was one of my favorites:

Tory-20

 

Michelle-02

Julie-22

Lindsay-01

Readers – what do you think?

And okay, just a little commentary … one of the Mamas actually breastfed her twins. TWINS! Exciting, right? Dad was actually in attendance so I encouraged him to step into the frame. A lot of people think breastfeeding is about Mom and baby (or babies!) but I like to think that behind every successful Mom and baby breastfeeding team there is also a really good support network which often includes Dads. If these photos are about capturing real life, how could we not include Dad, right?

44

Just writing this post almost has me in tears; I’m having flashbacks to the fun and beauty of this day. It was such a privilege to be a part of such a special treat for these Moms.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos just as much as I enjoy sharing them!


Maternity Girl sells new and resale maternity and nursing apparel in Pittsburgh, PA via private appointment, Moms markets and trunk shows. She also styles for photoshoots and rents maternity dresses (in Pittsburgh only). Her newest (and most popular item) is called Mama’s MilkBox – it’s a nursing apparel subscription service for Moms who want to look good and feel good all while feeding the baby. To see what’s new, you should definitely check out her Facebook page and for fun, look at her maternity and nursing musings.

I don’t want to buy clothes that I’m only going to wear for 9 months …

Hope you’re having a good day everyone! I have a secret that I’ve been holding onto for a few weeks months now and I’m finally ready to spill the beans.

You ready?

IMG_8271

Wait for it …

I’m 9 months post-partum and I am still wearing my maternity jeans:

IMG_8270

 

Is that as mind-blowing as you thought it was going to be? Probably not. And is it a shocker that a woman did not “bounce back” to her old body after having a baby? No. But you know why I’m telling you? Because I hear time and time again, “I don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes I’m only going to wear for a few months” and I’m hear to tell you it might be longer than you think.

This post is not meant to instill fear about what maternity does to your body – it’s my way of saying, “Do those pants feel comfortable? Do you look good? Do you feel special in that shirt? Then buy it!” It blows my mind, time and time again, how women go into a store and have no problem dropping $50-$100+ on clothes when they are not pregnant but struggle to spend any money on clothes while they are growing a human. I mean – our body is ever changing, so why do you have to deprive yourself of looking and feeling good while you’re also experiencing a very special time in your life?

For the record, I have not kept these maternity jeans because I can’t or won’t be able to lose my “baby weight.” I lost it all with my first child and have about 15 more pounds to go [and I know I can/will do it] … I keep wearing them because they’re comfortable, I think they look good (this picture excluded – seeing as I just snapped these photos while my kids are both still sleeping!) and I don’t see why I should have to stop wearing them just because they’re “maternity.” I mean – sure they look a little Steve Urkel-ish, but that’s only when I lift up my shirt to show you, right? I decided long ago that even when I lose my last 15 pounds [and can thus fit into all my “non-maternity” pants] I will probably still hold onto these jeans until I die – just for Thanksgiving.

So what are you waiting for?

The baby just woke up. I have to go! Until next time,

Elena


Maternity Girl sells new and resale Maternity and Nursing apparel all over Pittsburgh. You can shop online (the online store is a work in progress) or make an appointment if you live in the Pittsburgh region. Styling services for breastfeeding and maternity photoshoots are also available and if you’re struggling to find a dress, guess what? Maternity Girl rents those too! Follow her on Facebook for more cool ramblings and giveaways – just be sure to “Follow” after you “Like” the page so you’re always in the know.

 

Maternity Concierge Appointments Galore!

The year may be winding down but Maternity Girl is just getting started! 2014 is going to be welcoming a lot of new babies and until then, I’ve been helping their Mamas get comfortable and stylish here in the ‘Burgh:

NYE app appt2 app

casappFrom casual clothes to formal wear and everything in between; with prices starting at just $19 – if you’re pregnant and want to have some shopping fun, give me a call! To stay current with Maternity Girl, be sure to “Like” it on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MaternityGirl … I post pictures frequently of new inventory and sales.

The Cute (or Ugly?) Holiday Sweater Party

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, correct? So tell me – do you think this maternity sweater is cute? Or just perfect for your ugly sweater party? (Either way, I think it’s eye-catching! If I wasn’t limiting my inventory this year, I’d definitely have it in stock) 

Image

Top 6 Rules for Maternity Shopping

1.  Give yourself some TIME

Is it your first time Maternity Shopping? Allow for at least 2-5 hours. Are you into your second/third trimester and you know what you want or need? Then give yourself at least an hour.

That may sound CRAZY, but you’re about to embark upon 40 weeks of an ever-expanding (beyond your control!) body and while the selection of choices is growing, with budget and style limitations, you’d be surprised how hard it is to find good-looking and good-fitting maternity clothes. Unlike typical “Size 8″ or “Size 10″ – there is no one size fits all for maternity. Sure the manufacturers will say “stick to your pre-pregnancy size” but even when you do that, you’d be surprised how one person’s pre-preg-size-8 maternity is not another person’s pre-pregnancy-size-8 maternity.

2. Invest in pieces that have more than enough room to grow

I am of the mindset that the earlier you go shopping for your maternity wardrobe (12-16 weeks), the better off you are.  Some people would say that you should wait until the end (or as  long as you can stand it) because that’s when you’re going to really grow, but my theory is if you’re going to buy new clothes, for a new bigger, body, then buy them sooner rather than later so you get to really use them.

If you follow that rule, that’s why you need to invest in pieces that have room to grow. But what does that mean and how do you do it? Read on …

3. Don’t purchase it unless you’ve tried it on with a belly

For newbies out there, the “belly” I’m talking about is a “fake belly” with velcro straps that you can strap on your waist, under your clothes, thus simulating what you might look like down the road of your pregnancy.  Here’s an example of what this fake belly looks like:

Following on the rule above in terms of size, you’d be surprised how many things you try on that look “really cute” and then suddenly “very hideous” once you’re sportin’ a fake belly.

I was in a Motherhood Maternity once and I saw the cutest little pink and trendy top; It actually looked like something I would wear!  So I tried it on.  It was cute! Then I put on with the belly and checked myself out in the mirror again. The second time around? Not so cute! In fact, disgusting.  It looked like I was wearing a mumu (and I almost cried, but that’s neither here nor there …)

Many stores that sell maternity clothes don’t have a belly, including consignment stores. All that being said, here’s the rule: No belly, no buying!  Maternity attire can be expensive. Do yourself  a favor and save your dinero for establishments that cater to your situation and investments.  Unless you’re picking up something that can be easily returned, or for super-cheap, or you know it will last because it’s so stretchy you can’t imagine it won’t, then don’t touch your wallet.

4. Speaking of the belly, when you try it on, sport it high and low

Have you heard? Girls carry high and boys carry low. Or vice versa? [I can’t remember] Or how about “torpedo belly” (I made that one up, you’ll have to follow my blog for the exact definition ;P).  My main point? You can’t quite be sure how your belly will grow, so while you’re trying on some new clothes, move the belly all around underneath (high, low, and off to a side!) and make sure that your potential new attire looks good from a variety of angles (PS – now you know when I said you need HOURS in Rule 1 above!).

5. Purchase every day pieces in BASIC colors and make sure everything else is in the same color palette

This may sound overwhelming, particularly to those of you who are colorblind or who are not designers, but so long as you can help it, do yourself a favor and try and pick pieces that are kind of similar in color.

First and foremost, buying pants? Stick with black, brown, and white.  Sure you could get something plaid (how trendy!) but do you know how hard that’s going to be when you’re trying to “make outfits” a few weeks down the road – with “pregnant brain”? – Trust me:  HARD.

As for shirts, sweaters, and other tops, try and get things that are in the same color palette to maximize your ease at assembling your new clothes. For example, if you’ve got brown pants that you’re planning to wear a lot, then purchase some khaki, white, dark brown and navy blue shirts for mixing and matching. And if you get a navy blue shirt that you love? Then pick-up a navy blue dress should you decide to invest in that piece because you’ll be able to wear the same shoes for each outfit. Does that make sense? I’m going to assume the answer is yes for most of you and leave this rule at that. Leave me a comment if you have more questions.

6. Consider your current accessories for what colors you should be choosing as your “palette”

Maternity clothes come and go, but accessories are forever. While you’re indulging on some new attire, you’re probably going to be buying less bags, shoes, scarves, and jewelry. So, do yourself a favor and consider this:  Whatever colors are dominant in your current accessory closet should be dominant in your new attire.

For example: Don’t really own a lot of purple? Then I’d err on the side of disregarding that “really cute purple maternity top.”  Why?  Because: (a) chances are you won’t wear it and (b) even if you try to, you’ll probably wind up in a situation where “nothing matches!” (and then changing). Going back to the rule above, if you already have navy shoes, then navy would be a wise choice for any investment pieces or color tops/jackets.

This rule, overall, probably shouldn’t be too hard since most people gravitate towards the same colors (i.e., their favorite), but since hormones mess with your brain, I just want to put this rule out there so we can also prevent it from messing with your wallet.

Happy Shopping!