As I nursed Miss Q off to sleep tonight, convinced that she managed to skirt the latest flu – that took down the rest of her family and most of her neighbourhood friends – because she’s still breastfeeding and getting all those delicious antibodies, I wondered just how much longer this would go on.
I’d always planned to let her self-wean, as her brother did. And as we approached the 18-month mark, I thought We’ll discuss this when she turns two. Well, she turned two before Christmas and here we are, with no visible signs of self-weaning.
Yet I’m starting to feel ready. I never planned to nurse a preschooler, but I really want the transition to be a positive, loving one, too.
Well, after 38 cumulative months of breastfeeding between my two babes, I can tell you with every confidence that one of the most important pieces of your nursing arsenal is the breastfeeding top. Not a top that can simply be used to nurse, but one that is designed specifically for the task. Make no mistake: there is a difference.
I’ve tried many different brands of nursingwear; and though I certainly haven’t tried them all, when a new breastfeeding apparel line followed me on Twitter and I checked out its website, I was excited to do a review. Milk Diary sent me a Colorblock Two-Layer Knit Top to test out, which happened to coincide with a photo shoot I was doing for my breastfeeding story with Mama’s Milk Project. (You get to see what this shirt looks like on a model, and on a real mom. Keep reading!)
The brand boasts “sophisticated nursingwear” and it delivers. I would have loved to try a couple more pieces from Milk Diary to test for sizing consistency and other fabric choices, but from what I can see on the website, there are many options for the fashionista breastmilk-barista mamacita. (Say that five times fast.)
I wear a street size 10 (on good days, or in a designer brands) or 12 (in lower-end labels) and opt for a medium or large shirt. My lululemon Be Still pants are an 8. I wear a large in the BOOB Design brand but an extra-large in The M Coat. I share these details only to help you gauge your own size, because I find ordering clothes online stressful. Clearly, since being so many different sizes can be confusing and frustrating. Milk Diary creator Lana Hegstrom suggested a size large, and the fit of the two-layer top is great. It just falls, rather than clinging to any lumpy bits or bulges. It’s also got a nice, long torso, which you’ll appreciate if you’re tall, and if you’re short-waisted like me, it’ll come down to around hip-length. It’s got some shape through the waist, too, so it doesn’t just hang like a box.
The fabric (at least that used for the Colorblock Two-Layer Knit Top; as an aside, I really want to add a “u” to “color”) is forgiving. It’s one of those great jersey knits that you could crumple up into a ball and pack in a suitcase for a 16-hour flight and it would still emerge wrinkle-free on the other side of the world. It’s also just thick enough that it works in your body’s favour, too. And let’s not forget one of my clothing must-haves: Lycra. It’s got a decent amount of stretch so that it’s always going to bounce back into shape.
The price is fair. In the grand scheme of nursingwear, $75 for a good-looking, high-functioning breastfeeding top is about average. I’ve paid less and I’ve paid far more. In fact, I’ve paid more for nursing tops that I like less.
It’s not my absolute favourite breastfeeding top. It’s not the one I grab first when I’ve got the whole batch freshly laundered. But if I’m venturing into the big city or to a social function that doesn’t warrant jeans, it’s one of my go-to tops because it’s on the dressier side and you really can’t tell that it’s a nursing shirt.
While I’m in love with the concept that this shirt wants to be (you pull up the top layer to reveal two slits that expose your nipple zone when your nursing bra is let down), I don’t find it as easy to manoeuvre as the flap-style nursing top, used by other brands.