Maternity and Nursing Wardrobe Staples and Hacks

Not preggo or nursing and still want some wardrobe tips? Jump over to the Vlog to get Holly Jo’s tips wardrobe staples. 

Fun(??) Fact about ME: I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding for 3 years straight! Eek!

So, safe to say I know a thing or two about dressing for the need to fit one, the other (and occasionally both!)

Here’s the secret (especially you first-time moms): You don’t NEED to spend a fortune on a specially marketed maternity and/or breastfeeding wardrobe. I’ll admit, I did have an amazing friends/family who lent a lot of maternity/nursing clothes, cutting down on my individual shopping for any, but I still stuck to the essentials in what I did wear and what new stuff I bought. 

Before going on a shopping spree, take a look at this list and tips… Don’t go crazy and instead save some funds for that solo outing you’re going to need after baby arrives so you can use it to buy something cute just for YOU and just for FUN.


The Staples 

Camis & Tank Tops – Call me crazy, but I can’t have enough of these. Wind. Rain. Sun. Snow. I wear them year-round. Through pregnancy and breastfeeding, tanks have been my life. 

  • They’re stretchy and comfortable, but fit tight enough to be worn underneath pretty much anything and everything.
  • They’re CHEAP. (Walmart, Target or any department store will have them in a slew of colors for next to nothing prices–so why not get every color??)
  • For maternity: Get a few in larger sizes. They will stretch kind of long, over your belly, and even if they stretch out too much to wear beyond maternity–you will get your money’s worth.
  • For breastfeeding: I find tanks with built-in-bras handy for around the house or even low-key outings in postpartum (when your nursing schedule is very unpredictable).

Leggings/Yoga Pants – Hallelujah for leggings and yoga pants being “in” right now! It’s a preggo ladies dream come true. Trust me, no matter the style, you’ll be sporting some elastic waistlines through pregnancy; this way you’re not alone and can still feel cute.

  • You can be comfortable at home, but not need a full wardrobe change to run out.
  • They can be dressed up or down: wear them with a hoodie or t-shirt; wear them with a nice sweater or even a cute dress.
  • For maternity: You may want to buy some that are actual maternity style OR accept that they will get stretched out (this is what happened with me). 

Accessories!!! – Yes, the exclamation points are necessary. I have a mild obsession with all accessories–from hats and scarves, to sunglasses and jewelry. Why? Because accessories are what can make a limited wardrobe go a long, long way.

  • They work in different ways through different seasons.
  • They can dress up almost any outfit.
  • You can mix and match so much that the same top can have a thousand looks, thanks to different accessories.

Maternity Wardrobe Hacks


Don’t limit yourself to a maternity selection–a lot of it is too costly anyway. Look in your own closet or add to it by purchasing some things you can wear again next year, sans-baby bump. (Note, if you buy something to fit your normal size, it may not work in your final weeks or pregnancy, but some of these things will work through the second trimester.)

  • Maxi dresses/skirts – If you’re going to have a bump in the warmer months, Maxi dresses are your new best friend. Dressing while preggers is all about comfort, and don’t we all know that a Maxi is about as breezy and nice as it gets in the summer? 
  • Tunic Tops/Dresses – Great news about this one… There are awesome options for all seasons. Add a pair of leggings (also comfortable for maternity) and you are set! **These tops–not dress–are also handy for breastfeeding.
  • +1 Size – You have to be careful with this, but I found that buying certain tops in a size or two up worked out well. Let’s be clear: This doesn’t work with all shirts. A huge t-shirt? That won’t be so flattering. (Not that I didn’t wear my husband’s clothes from time to time!) A good example? I found some cute, women’s long-sleeved tees at Walmart and bought a couple in a size large and wore them into my third trimester. Since they were designed to be a little fitted, the arms fit nicely, but the large size accommodated for my belly. I wore a tank underneath to make sure my belly was fully covered.

Maternity items worth buying:

Pregnancy only lasts nine months and for some of those, you won’t even need maternity clothes, but there are certain items worth investing. Because, let’s be honest: you want to look cute [sometimes] while preggo… And sometimes you are NOT going to feel cute at all (and that’s OK), but embrace the moment and dress that bump. Here are a few things I was glad to have:

  • Jeans: Spend money on maternity jeans. For awhile you’ll get away with the whole rubberband through the buttonhole trick, but don’t ruin your favorite jeans. Invest in some that are comfortable and make you look (and feel) good.
  • Slacks/dress pants: Because I worked from home, I actually didn’t need these, but if you are working, you’ll want to be comfortable at work.
  • A cute dress: Whether it’s your own baby shower or a friend’s wedding, more than likely you’ll have at least one special occasion to attend during pregnancy. Pick out a cute dress for your bump. Check Zulily for some great deals.
  • Solid ruched tees: These come across as plain, but that’s the thing about solid, plain shirts: they can easily be jazzed up. The same black shirt can carry a hundred different looks with some of those accessories I mentioned. Having just a few maternity tees will go a long way.

Warning: I know you’re excited, but don’t buy everything too quickly… Pregnancy is weird and you might find certain materials and types of clothes drive you crazy. On top of that, you have no idea how your body will grow, so invest in things that fit and feel right. 

Postpartum/Breastfeeding Wardrobe Hacks


So… I had a couple of nursing tops in the beginning of my breastfeeding journey, but I honestly found them more complex and frustrating than helpful. Perhaps I was too “cheap” to buy better ones, but seriously, who wants to spend their fashion funds on nursing tops? 

  • Wraps/ponchos/sweaters: These have been my best friend through breast feeding.  By wearing one of my tank tops under a wrap of some sort, nursing became much more relaxed for me and my babes when out and about. I did this a lot in the first weeks/months when I knew the nursing schedule was very unpredictable. (i.e.: Sometimes the only solution to a crying baby is mama’s milk!) The tank top, covered my midriff in areas other than where I had to lift it up (sometimes I could pull down), and I could use my wrap to more easily cover and adjust myself before/after wearing my nursing cover.
  • Cute Hoodies: Working out isn’t just for high school jocks, so workout clothes are available for everyone. On top of that, there are super cute ones. These are great in the cooler months. Leggings, a tank and a hoodie make for a cute, comfy outfit that is easy to take care of baby in.
  • Button ups – So many nursing tops have these secret buttons and zippers and snaps to help get your ta-tas out without being exposed, but, I say, why be so secret? Just wear a shirt that is SUPPOSED to have buttons. Again, I throw on a tank top under a button up and I’m off

Piece of Advice: Avoid wearing dry-clean only clothes or things that can’t be thrown in the washing machine. You’ll have enough on your plate and specialty washing does not need to be added to that list,. Trust me when I say that the chances of getting milk (and worse) on you on a regular basis are extremely high. 

Nursing items worth buying:

I honestly cannot think of a lot of MUSTS for nursing. The downside is… wearing dresses are kind of out of the picture, unless you do buy a special nursing dress. I, personally never felt the need for this. Here are a couple of things I was glad to have:

  • Cute Jammies: If PJ’s aren’t your life the first weeks after delivery, you are a superhero. For me, I was in the comfiest of comfy clothes, constantly and having something that felt cute and not 100% slouchy-mcslumpster was nice. This will also help you if you have company visiting the wee-one somewhat unexpectedly.
  • Nursing Bras: I have spent a fair amount of time in sports bras or the built in bras in my camis, but I don’t know what I’d do without having a nursing bra. One piece of advice, though: don’t buy more than one of these in advance. Your size is going to be unpredictable.

How did you go about not spending a fortune on maternity and breastfeeding clothes? The biggest struggle is simply that you will likely get tired of your limited wardrobe, but by the final weeks, you really won’t want to invest in clothes you’ll wear for a short period. Keep in mind this is a fleeting time in life, and when you look back, your wardrobe won’t be the important part.

Not preggo or nursing but want some wardrobe tips? Jump over to the Vlog to get Holly Jo’s tips wardrobe staples. You may be surprised by things you already own that can be used in new ways or dressed up. 




3 thoughts on “Maternity and Nursing Wardrobe Staples and Hacks

    1. That is a GREAT tip! I actually meant to mention the fact I am not as *blessed* as some in my bust and that the built-in bras may not work as well for those carrying more; the nursing tanks sound fantastic!


  1. Wondering if you could share pictures of ponchos wraps and hoodies.
    Being a former gym rat, I lived in yoga pants and hoodies but can’t seem to make the hoodie work while nursing . Still a newbie to the nursing life but would like more clothes to feel comfortable nursing in public places or on the go,



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