Night Nursing: What To Wear

night nursing what to wear

It’s always a bit of a problem to know what to wear in the early days of breastfeeding, when you’re still recovering from the birth and you’re basically a sodden mass of milky skin and sweaty bits of mismatched clothing. You’re told that your various lady bits need to be “left to air” so that stitches and chapped nipples can heal, but nobody really takes into account the fact that you’re leaking from just about every place you could possibly leak from.

So, what to wear to bed? You’re probably going to be feeding the baby more than you’re going to be sleeping, but you need to be comfy and you need to stay dry. (Waking up knackered at 3.30am to a mattress and duvet soaked in breastmilk-turned-cold is one of the most hideous experiences.) You need something that will, ideally, hold your nursing pads in place (I use the ones from Lansinoh or these washable bamboo ones) but you don’t want anything too structured that will put pressure on your breast tissue or cause you discomfort.

Here are the three things I’ve been alternating between for the last month – if you’re currently pregnant and trying to think ahead to the things you might need, then do sort out some bits and pieces to wear if you’re intending to breastfeed. If you’re anything like me then you won’t get out much for the first few weeks and your bed clothes will also be your daytime clothes, so it’s worth planning in advance…

breastfeeding night tops

Most-worn item, the Mamas and Papas x Blossom and Bloom Lace Nursing Top, £19 here. “Lace” is misleading – it’s just a lace trim – but the whole Blossom and Bloom range from Mamas and Papas is just gorgeous. Very luxe and heavy jersey, beautiful colours and prints… The nursing top has clip-down cups with pockets to keep your pads in place, but no restrictive underwiring or tight elastic.

nursing tops

Then we have the Ribbed Henley Tank from GAP, here. Not actually a nursing top, but the poppers down the front are so handy for easy access and I tend to wear it with a soft nursing bra underneath. They have it in a few different colours; I have them all. I bulk-bought a load when the latest good offer code was running, but they always have a code at GAP, you just need to check the home-page! These tops are really long – they just about cover your bottom, unless you’re very tall, which is brilliant if you’re feeling self-conscious about your hip area.

breastfeeding tops

Finally, the Grey Marl Nursing Nightie from excellent maternity brand Seraphine. Just about enough structure to hold your nursing pads in place, though not if you start walking around all over the place, but the drop cups make for an easy feed without having to get your shoulders and chest cold and the jersey is so soft and lovely. This one is £35 here – there’s a matching robe which looks nice, though I’m well into my cuddly massive one I got from ASDA because it hides peanut nips if you answer the door and you can virtually get away with being naked beneath it, should the fancy take you…




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  1. Rhonda
    March 8, 2017 / 3:03 am

    Never a truer word spoken re waking up with your sheets soaked in cold breast milk! Made me chuckle until I remembered what it actually felt like…*shudders X

  2. March 8, 2017 / 6:22 am

    I used to have a special soft nursing bra for the nights and two sets of nursing pajamas that I would alternate. The pants were a little tight at the beginning, but as I had no c-section scar to worry about that was fine for me.

  3. March 8, 2017 / 9:35 am

    Such a helpful post! It took me a while to figure out what worked best for night feeds too. In the end I found the Victoria Secret Supersoft Sleepshirts the best – these are very comfy and they’ve got buttons at the fron for easy access. They also look a bit like loungewear so you can get away with wearing these around the house for most of the day. I do need to wear a nursing bra underneath, though – I really like the Mothercare Lottie wrap ones.

  4. Violet
    March 8, 2017 / 10:44 am

    My baby is 7 weeks… how do you tell when night begins and day ends? Hehehe I’m kidding – kind of. Maybe I should ask how do you know when you’ll be sleeping?
    I’m buying the henley tanks for sure though. So hard to find button down in anything it seems.

  5. RC
    March 8, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    ugh yes breast milk sodden bed is the pits. I wore a soft feeding bra at night to hold pads in place and oftentimes not much else so it was free and easy access for bub!

  6. Sharon
    March 9, 2017 / 12:48 am

    I used sleeping bras from target with my first baby. They were like a sports bras but super comfy. I’m going to have to find them as we are expecting again! I’m definitely going to look into the Henley option as I hated my nursing tanks from target since they had those horrible thin elastic right under the boobs….

  7. Anna
    March 9, 2017 / 8:56 am

    Hi Ruth – what do you do with breast pads when feeding during the day/in public? I’m fine at night/at home as I just whap them out and stuff them back in when I’ve finished. I don’t imagine I can do the same in a cafe and leave them on the table next to my tea! Haven’t yet braved public feeding, but any advice welcome!

    • March 9, 2017 / 10:46 am

      I haven’t been out yet, hardly, just trying to think.. pretty sure I just shove them in the other side that’s not being used, or sandwich between my thighs. Usually find that the dog has gone off with it otherwise! Gross. x

    • Lili 2
      March 9, 2017 / 4:19 pm

      I totally leave them on the table! I’m assuming that most people would not know what they are, or are nursing mums themselves. Otherwise I just sort of fold them down with the drop down bra cup, but they can get all creased up and hard to straighten out again after the feed. Spending five minutes with a hand down my top post-feed, trying to get it all back into place – makes for not-so-discreet breastfeeding! Haha.

  8. Heather
    March 11, 2017 / 5:09 pm

    Hi Ruth, completely off topic from breastpads but I’m looking into antenatal classes (NHS or nct) and would love to see a post on your experience. I’m really not sure which to go with, obviously nct comes at a cost. Love this blog – so much advice and no scare mongering which as you’ll know isn’t ever helpful when you’re feeling fragile and overwhelmed x

    • Helen
      March 11, 2017 / 8:01 pm

      Heather, my personal experience of NCT has been hugely positive. I think either sets of classes would be useful preparation but, in terms of the support network that the NCT themselves have given us as well as our fellow classmates post partum, it’s been invaluable. No one can truly prepare you for the birth itself though it’s massively beneficial to feel well informed and this is what NCT did for my husband and I. We’ve been hugely lucky to gel with our group though and these women have been my lifeline in the last few months. Best of luck with what you decide.

  9. Sarah
    March 12, 2017 / 11:26 am

    I’m loving this brand I stumbled upon on Amazon- Kindred Bravely. So far not used for nursing yet- due in less than a week though! The sleep bras, especially French terry, are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn!

    Don’t know if they ship to the U.K., but I highly encourage looking into it!

  10. Louise
    March 12, 2017 / 10:43 pm

    This is so useful, thank you! I’d love a post on the best and most comfortable nursing bras you’ve found this time round too 🙂

  11. Sarah
    March 14, 2017 / 8:45 am

    Thank you this is really helpful. I’m due in the summer and I would also love a post on the most comfortable nursing bras you’ve worn x

  12. March 20, 2017 / 1:15 pm

    Great tips here. I’m still breastfeeding so I might have to invest in the Gap vests! Can’t believe I haven’t come across them before.

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