One of the first things you learn as a new mom is that nothing with a baby is what you expect it to be, and so it was with the dress I bought for my first day back at work following my maternity leave.
I was pretty excited about my purchase of a chambray dress that zipped up the back, but upon seeing me, my boss (herself a mother) exclaimed, "How are you going to pump in that? You'll have to completely disrobe!" (Since then, "Can I easily access my boobs?" is the main criteria all new clothes need to meet. I recently forced myself to walk away from an adorable Max Mara LWD—on sale, no less!—because it made doing just that impossible.) Needless to say, I went home that day and re-examined the contents of my closet in a whole new way.
While I was able to make some pieces work (like wrap dresses and button-downs) others were entirely off-limits for the foreseeable future. And lest I wear the same five outfits every week, I headed out on another shopping trip, and luckily hit upon a few retailers specifically for nursing moms that manage to keep things chic and cost-effective in that you will definitely want to wear these pieces again and again. Because, as you might have heard, a new baby—let alone a new wardrobe—is more expensive than buying three top-of-the-line Birkins.
Au LaitThis shop’s most innovative piece may just be its pullover cardigan (pictured top, middle): the faux tank with nursing vents on either side of the torso turns into an entirely new look by swapping out the interchangeable front panel with just a few snaps. Pictured, top, from L-R: The Tee Dress, $188; The Pullover Cardi, $218; The Flutter Dress, $198.
Loyal HanaThe genius in these designs is in the zippers hidden in the side seams of each garment—so discreet you’ll be able to wear each piece well after you’re babe is eating solids. Pictured, below, from L-R: Nicole sleeveless blouse, $88; Julia short-sleeve blouse, $88; Cybelle pocketed short-sleeve dress, $105.
SeraphineNone other than Kate Middleton is a fan of this brand and, well, if it’s good enough for a princess… Tops and dresses feature snap-down fronts, clip fastenings and other secret openings that look on-trend, not obvious. Pictured, below, from L-R: Natalie striped wrap front sweater in bamboo, $99; Rebecca mint bamboo v-neck jumper, $89; Polka dot mock wrap dress, $99.