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Nursing Tops (Are They Necessary, Worth Buying, When Should You Buy Them)

Nursing Tops (Are They Necessary, Worth Buying, When Should You Buy Them)
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You may be wondering if nursing tops are really necessary and worth buying. If you decide to buy a nursing top, when is the right time to buy them?

In some cases, it can be really useful to have a shirt that is designed specifically for breastfeeding. In other scenarios, you can get away with just using a loose flowy top instead of a nursing or breastfeeding top.

You also might wonder if you really want to spend the money on a shirt that was created just for nursing. The good thing is that you can create a small capsule wardrobe, and only buy a few of these shirts to make your life easier.

Are Nursing Tops Necessary

No, nursing tops are not necessary. That being said, I bought a few nursing tops and a nursing dress, and I got a lot of use out of them. It may be surprising that they were actually very useful when I was pumping after going back to work.

You can get away without a breastfeeding shirt. If you have a loose, flowy top, then you can wear these types of tops and breastfeed your baby. 

A loose shirt is easier than a tight one because you can move it around and pull it up when it is time to feed. You’ll want a bit of an oversized top so you can fit your baby under your shirt while they are feeding.

It is also nice to have a loose shirt with a wide neckline so you can see your baby while he or she is feeding.

If you are pumping, I found that it was much easier to pump when I wore a nursing top. It allowed me to stay more covered up, and I found that it was much more comfortable when I was pumping bottles for daycare at work.

Pro tip: If you are spending a lot of time pumping, my favorite pump is the Spectra. Here is an article with all of the best Spectra settings to use, plus many tips and tricks to make pumping easier.

Here is an example of a loose flowy top that would work well in the fall or winter (link to Amazon).

And here is another example of a loose flowy top that would work well in the spring or summer (link to Amazon).

Should You Buy A Nursing Dress

Even though nursing tops aren’t necessary, I think it is worth it to buy a nursing dress. These come in handy if you have a special event to go to, or if you like wearing dresses around town or to work.

My husband and I went to four different weddings and two rehearsal dinners during the year after our daughter was born and before she turned one year old. It was a lifesaver to have a nursing dress during those events.

Benefits To Dresses Designed For Nursing (and Pumping)

1) You won’t have to get undressed to nurse or pump for your baby

I liked wearing a nursing dress with a cardigan when I went to work. It was just not comfortable for me to pump at work with any of my normal dresses.

This is because if you are wearing a normal dress, you might have to get all the way undressed in order to breastfeed or pump for your child. 

I found that when I wore a normal dress, I didn’t have the space to maneuver and fit my pump parts under the dress.

I would end up hiking my normal dress up all the way around my neck and then sitting on a cold chair in our mother’s room at work.

A dress that is designed for nursing mothers allows you to keep your clothes on while you are breastfeeding or pumping for baby. 

One of the benefits is that you can easily push the fabric out of the way which makes it so much more convenient.

2) You don’t have to go searching for a mother’s room

If you are at a special event like a wedding, there isn’t always a designated mother’s room available. If you are wearing a nursing dress, then you can breastfeed or pump without going on the hunt for a private room (or resort to using the bathroom – yuck).

I found one that wasn’t too expensive on Amazon. I wanted a dress that had “easy access” but didn’t look too much like a nursing dress. 

It was useful to have a normal looking dress in case I wanted to wear the dress after I was done breastfeeding. Here is a link to the nursing dress I bought on Amazon. 

Do You Really Need Nursing Tops

You don’t need nursing tops and breastfeeding shirts, but they are nice to have. I found that they were really useful when I was out of the house and needed to pump. 

Many nursing tops also double up as maternity tops (like my favorite ones I’ve linked below). If you are going to buy maternity tops anyway, you might as well get some that do double duty.

4 Reasons You Need A Nursing Top

Here are a few reasons why you would want to buy a nursing top. These breastfeeding shirts can come in handy in many different situations.

1. You are modest and prefer to be more covered up when breastfeeding (or pumping)

A nursing top will keep your chest and stomach more covered than a loose top. If you prefer to have less skin exposed while pumping or breastfeeding, a nursing top will help with this.

I definitely felt more comfortable (and less exposed) when I wore a nursing top while pumping.

2. It will be cold or chilly where you live when you are breastfeeding

A nursing top can help keep more of you covered up while breastfeeding. If it is cold out, you may appreciate having a nursing top that allows only a small amount of skin exposure.

3. You plan on breastfeeding or pumping outside of your house

When you are at home, you may be comfortable with more skin exposed. When you are at home, it might not even occur to you that you’d need a nursing top.

This depends on your comfort level, but when you are outside of your house, you may prefer to expose less skin. A nursing top will help with this.

You may want to wear a nursing top if you are taking your little one to the doctor and need to feed in the waiting room.

Or, it may be easier for you to wear a nursing top when you take your baby to storytime at the library or out to a mommy and me group.

4. You work and plan to pump at work

Before I went back to work, I was worried about privacy in the mother’s room. I had heard horror stories about women were pumping and then were walked in on by janitors or another person. 

Sometimes the janitor would even go so far as to unlock the locked door to the mother’s room! In some workplaces, the mother’s room doubles as a utility closet. I know that I didn’t want to take any chances when pumping at work.

Again, this is totally dependant on your comfort level. I just preferred to pump while wearing a nursing top and a cover, so I was not exposed if someone walked in on me while pumping.

When pumping, not every pump works well with every pumping bra. You will definitely want to check out more about the best hands free pumping bra.

Is It Worth Buying Nursing Tops

It can be worth it to buy nursing tops. You will wear these shirts for a year or more with each baby. I justified buying a few tops because I was saving so much money on formula. 

It was ok for me to get a few nursing tops that made my life easier and more convenient. A few of these shirts were a lot less expensive than buying formula. I also planned to use the tops with our next babies as well.

When Should I Buy Nursing Tops

A good time to buy nursing tops is if you are more than 5 months pregnant, or anytime after you have given birth. 

Many nursing tops also double up as maternity shirts, so they are comfy when you are pregnant.

You will need to buy some maternity shirts to fit your pregnant belly. You might as well get a few that also double up as nursing tops so you can get more use out of them.

The maternity and nursing shirts are also loose so you fit in them immediately after you give birth, and before your stomach has shrunk down.

You may end up wearing these tops for 18 months (or more) with each pregnancy if you get them while you are pregnant.

My Favorite Nursing Tops

Here is a link to my favorite nursing cami from Amazon. I bought a 3 pack. They were so easy to use when I was pumping at work, or if I pumped in the car.

Here is a long-sleeved nursing top on Amazon. I like how you can wear it during pregnancy and then later as a nursing top.

You can also check out nursing tops through this link at Target.

More Pumping Tips

Don’t forget to Pin this to your BABY board on Pinterest for later

Follow PumpingMamas on Pinterest for more great breastfeeding and pumping tips!

NEXT, Check out these articles

  1. How You Can Save Money On A Breast Pump
  2. Pumping Schedules to Help You Pump More Milk
  3. Does Body Armor Really Help Milk Supply While Breastfeeding?

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