I nursed my first ’til he was three, with no nursing clothing. I was feeling very groovy and 70s about it, I guess. Memories of my mom nursing my youngest sister at the Poppin’ Fresh Pies was an imprint stamped on my young brain of how easy and normal it was to nurse. At 24 I spent two years in the Peace Corps living with smart women in a small village in Morocco who lived with a breast out for a babe. My comfort level with breastfeeding was so ingrained I could not imagine doing it any other way… until my lovely LLL leader and friend Nancy Machaj gave me a few nursing tops and I really felt the comfort and ease of having a top made especially for nursing.
However, I am way too cheap to buy a new nursing top, and way too distracted to bid on ebay… and I’m always looking for any excuse to go ‘thrifting’. I started creating some DIY nursing ensembles modeled after the nursing tops from my friend. They are super easy and NO SEW (T-shirt type fabric does not fray)! The basic principal is to have two layers: an under layer, which you cut holes in (near the side seams), and an over layer that hides those holes you just cut. The underlayer can be long, short sleeved, or sleeve-less.
My first foray into this universe was a long sleeved super stretchy patterned shirt with a tank top to go over. When I want to nurse, I lift the tank up, and have breast access from either side of the under layer. I can use the top layer to be as discreet as I want to be. Tummy and back are always covered! Like you, I am a superwoman who makes milk for my baby. It is just nice to feel a bit more pulled together and not yanking at the back of my shirt while nursing… (I did that for three years, and it was manageable, just nicer to have something a bit more functional.)
Style number two I have cooking over here: same under layer idea, but the top layer has a crossover. I just pull down either side and have breast access. This is an espeically good style for when I’m wearing a sling and I need breast access from the top. I don’t have to re-arrange the bottom of my shirt, which is trying to stay nice under the sling (I’m using a moby type carrier for now). I take baby out of carrier to nurse, but love being able to get to my breasts without messing with the already-on sling.
Looking back, I wish I had bought a pumping bustier with baby number one. Who doesn’t want to be a hands-free pumping goddess? Oy my g-d. I cannot believe I did not have this with the first. I was too cheap to buy an unproven accessory. This time around, I just snapped up a vaguely my-size bra off the thrift store rack, tried it on at home, and marked where my nipple fell. I then cut a vertical slit about an inch long. Now I can let that one dollar bra do the work and hold the phalanges in place while I look at real estate on my smart phone.
Nina Lichtenstein, Logan Square mama of two fantastical boys, ages 4.5 and 3 months – the first of whom I breastfed till age three. I am a massage therapist who specializes in massage for the childbearing year, and am hot on the trail of promoting breastfeeding while trying to contain my excitement over how very cool it is.