Pumping 101: Work Fashion

Dressing for (pumping) success may be easier than you think.

Pumping 101: Work Fashion

Heading back to work after baby isn’t all bad -- you also get to head back to wearing real (fashionable!) clothes, after spending much of your maternity leave in sweats and t-shirts. But if you're a nursing mom and you’re planning on pumping at work, you may have to also do some forward planning on what you're going to wear. As you probably already realized, your body has gone through a few changes, plus you’re going to need pretty steady access to your boobs.

You don't have to restrict yourself to pumping-specific clothes, although there are a few brands that are really making an effort to help you look good. If you're looking in a "normal" store, look for dresses and tops that will allow you to somewhat comfortably expose your boobs without taking the garment off or pulling it up around your neck (even if you are at work and your office door locks, you don’t want to be sitting around in your underwear…do you?). Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Cowl-necks. Enough said. Cowl-neck Top at Shop Bu Ru, $30

2. The crossover/overlapping V-neck. Wrap dresses are a good option, too, except they can make a post-baby tummy even more noticeable, so think about Spanx if you care about that sort of thing. DVF Jeanne dress, $345

3. Button downs. Don’t forget the "henley" shirt, too – not a true button-down, but it has a few buttons at the top. Yumi Kim top at Bump Brooklyn, $146

4. Scoop and V-necks. But these have to be pretty deep scoops or Vs to work, or you'll end up stretching the hell out of them, so try these out with very full (aka big) boobs to make sure they are work appropriate. If they're not, you're back in camisole territory. Unless you work at Hooters, in which case, go deep V all the way. Ivana Helsinki Dress at ASOS, $114.82

5. The camisole with something else on top. This allows you to pull your shirt up but not have an exposed belly. In general, you will find yourself wearing a lot of camisoles. But beware the nursing-camisole-at-work idea: We like to tell ourselves this just looks like a tank top, but it doesn't. Those gigantic plastic snaps just above each boob to allow you to open up and nurse? Everyone sees them snaps, and no one thinks this is a normal tank top. Topshop Strappy Cami Top, $12

After picking up a few fashion basics, you may want to think about your underthings as well, like a pumping bra, which is a truly medieval device that is basically a tube bra with two nipple holes in it. Some women just find a way to stick their pump horns into their actual bra cups. Either way, you want an option that holds the pump horns for you, rather than having to hold them to your chest while you are pump.

It’s also worth investing in a “hooter hider” or nursing cover. Even if this isn’t your taste, you may want to get it for work, home when company is over, and being out and about. While some babies simply won't tolerate being covered up, you can use it while they're still little and helpless to defend themselves. And at work, having an extra barrier between your boobs and your co-workers is never a bad thing.

Whatever you do, don't despair that your fashion is not where it used to be. This is a temporary situation, and one in which you at least get to enjoy a temporary boob job. And keep your non-nursing friendly clothes in the closet and out of storage (those that fit) -- you can always wear them on date night, as a reprieve from all of those cowl necks.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

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Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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