Nursing-Friendly Dresses: Mission Possible!

Long, long ago, I used to really enjoy wearing dresses to look, wait for it…dressed up! A blouse and skirt was all well and good as a daily teacher uniform, but for Sunday Mass, outings, and special occasions, dresses felt 100 times more flattering and appropriate for the occasion. Also, way less complicated, as all I had to do was grab the one piece of clothing off the hanger and find coordinating shoes and accessories.

Enter the wonderful world of breastfeeding, and suddenly, dresses seemed to be outside my realm, unless I wanted to risk baring it all (um, nope), or spend my time nursing the baby in a bathroom stall in a state of half-undress (again, no thank you). I have spent the last two years nursing, and/or pregnant, so I have had considerable time to rant and rave about missing dresses, as well as to actually find dresses that work. By work, I mean that they fit the following criteria:

1. Do not require me to remove half the dress in order to nurse

2. Can easily allow me to access the goods for the baby

3. Are not too revealing

4. Are pretty and comfortable

Turns out that is easier said than done. But my trusty fellow Facebook mamas came through with some wonderful suggestions, recently, and I’ve been able to expand my repertoire with some more nursing-friendly dresses.

There are three basic types of dresses that I have found work for me. ALL these dresses, needless to say, will require nursing under a cover or a scarf (please and thank you).

Nursing-Friendly Dresses

Wrap-Front Dresses

My favorite version of this dress is Lands End’s Fit and Flare dress. It’s a soft, stretchy jersey, and comes in some really fun prints and solids. I have it in both the sleeveless and 3/4 sleeve, and love both. Because the bodice is a criss-cross/wrap style, they are easily pulled away in order to nurse. If you buy it during a sale, it’s a steal. Highly recommend. Sizing runs large, so keep that in mind.

Another great-looking dress in this category is Banana Republic’s Gemma Dress. I don’t own this one, but will invest in it at some point, should it ever go on sale!

Button-Down/Shirt-dresses

 These dresses are so cute and can work well for breastfeeding, though they do take a few extra seconds to unbutton every time you nurse. Keep that mind if you have a particularly hungry, impatient, squirmy babe. I have a couple of these types that work well in my summer wardrobe.

Modcloth, which makes absolutely lovely dresses, has a great button-down shirt-dress, and this chambray one from Old Navy looks really fun too.

Specialty Nursing-Ware

Now, this is another option, and I only own one of these types of dresses, from the Liz Lange Maternity line at Target. It works ok, but the style of the dress is nothing to write home about. There are several sites that make dresses with special openings built into the dress for easy nursing access. The one from Milk Nursingware looks comfortable, and Seraphine makes some too, though they’re a little pricier.

Hope this is helpful for anyone who is looking for dresses they can nurse in! Please let me know if you have any other sources I’ve missed!!

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Nursing-Friendly Dresses

Nursing-Friendly Dresses

Banana Republic cosmic dress
bananarepublic.gap.com

Longsleeve dress
milknursingwear.com

#Five Faves Home and Cleaning Hacks

I love reading people’s curated lists of useful products and things they recommend using. Here are five things I use very regularly in my attempts to keep our house (basically) clean.

1. The Spaghetti Scrubber

Is it weird to get excited about the thing with which you will make your dirtied dishes clean? Probably. Oh well, I really DO love this thing. And so will you, if you have ever bemoaned the fact that your sponge takes on each and every food you attempt to scrub off, pills up after a week or two, and gets downright nasty any longer than that. The Spaghetti Scrubber is able to dry out completely between uses, so that bacteria can’t grow as easily, virtually NOTHING gets trapped in it, and it somehow lasts for a VERY long time. We started using our first one in early January and it is still going strong. Each pack comes with two, so it’s a great value. I’m going to look into their other types of scouring pads and heavier duty sponges as well.

2. Collapsible Laundry Basket

I have three of these and I love them. They fold completely flat, they hold a ton of clothes and can be stuffed since they’re made of canvas, AND you can carry your load up and down the stairs on your shoulders with the long straps, while also carrying your baby and holding your toddler’s hand. Win!

3. DIY Swiffer Wet Pads

I really like the Swiffer for day to day mopping, but dislike the expensive and chemically-scented wet pads they make. I use this recipe to make my own wet pads, and they work great. It’s harder to avoid mopping when you don’t even need to get a bucket and soap out each time, but just have to pop one or two of these onto your mop!

4. Natural Disinfectants

This is kind of a category covering several different things I use regularly. All of them are good, natural, non-toxic alternatives to the heavy-hitters like bleach, ammonia, and pre-made cleaners containing them and other chemicals.

Hydrogen Peroxide: great for stain removal, especially collar stains; disinfecting baby toys/gear;  and disinfecting bathroom and kitchen surfaces.

Tea Tree Oil: great for routine mopping (it’s in my DIY Swiffer pads) and bathroom cleaning

White Vinegar: this one’s kind of my workhouse, and I use it in a spray bottle for everyday counter cleaning, table cleaning, and windows/mirrors. I just mix it 50-50 with water and spray down all the surfaces. Bonus if used with microfiber cloths.

5. A Really Good Podcast to Listen To

Don’t underestimate the power of distraction to make your housekeeping burden far more bearable. I’ve even found myself extending some chores just to keep listening to a great episode. Tom listens to The History of the English Language pretty regularly, and it’s super interesting, and I really enjoy all the episodes of Fountains of Carrots. I also like This Inspired Life, RadioLab, and have heard good things about The Art of Simple so I should probably add that to my feed too.

What do you use to make your cleaning better and more bearable??

Linking up at Jenna’s for Five Favorites!

Lately

Hello from Vacation-Land! AKA, Staying at My Parents’ for a Week. Tom has jetted off in a “hair-plane” to beautiful, sunny Greece on a week-long trip with his high-schoolers. We have taken refuge with my parents and find it easier to be holed up with 2 extra adults plus an uncle!

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I know, looks like he’s having a horribly awful time, huh.

The first couple weeks of Lent were quite trying, as Magdalena caught Lucy’s cold and one (or two or three) upped it. She and I shared many sleepless/snot-filled nights together, until I began to wonder when I would sleep a continuous hour again. But finally, she has turned the corner, and we’re all sleeping much better. It’s always good though, when God sort of chooses the Lenten sacrifice He thinks will be best for you: no milk in my coffee now sounds like child’s play. Parenting two sick kiddos on hardly any sleep is actually much more sacrificial, especially since it required finding hidden reserves of patience, surrendering to the fact that the house was going to be a wreck for a week and we would eat mostly leftovers, and not feeling guilty for letting Lucy watch several-many episodes of Winnie-the-Pooh and Curious George. It was a good reminder that I’m not in control, and the most important aspect of my life right now is simply loving and taking care of the girls. Even/especially at 3, 4, 5 in the AM!

Still, I know how exceedingly lucky I am that I have them, they’re healthy, and I get to stay home with them. Lucy’s first two years of life have already seemed to whizz by, and she’s talking in complex sentences and forming pre-alphabetic doodles. It’s a little crazy.   I can’t wait to see how Magdalena’s personality develops, but for now she’s a little fat, smiley bloop who wants to skip crawling and go straight to walking.

Literally, her favorite activity of all time (right now)

Literally, her favorite activity of all time (right now)

She prefers to stand... always

She prefers to stand… always

And speaking of the little goober, I hear her awaking, so I must away. Ciao!