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I am often asked what exactly IS a Nursing top, and how does it differ from a Maternity top? The simple answer is nursing tops offer you quick and easy access to the breast for nursing your little one, whilst keeping your chest, tummy, back and sides covered. Many designs work well both during pregnancy and afterwards for nursing, giving you even better value for money. These dual purpose tops are known as “transition clothing” and ensure that you look fabulous from your first trimester to your fourth!
Many new mamas feel a little self-conscious nursing in public, and this is where well designed nursing tops can really help. With a little practice you will be able to simply and easily pull aside the nursing opening and latch your little one on, without anyone being any the wiser.
There are different styles of nursing access available, and everyone has their own favourite style. All of the tops have a concealed nursing underlayer which has slits or cut-out openings for easy access to the breast. Some styles are brilliant for nursing in a sling, others provide maximum coverage whilst you are feeding. All are skilfully designed and the nursing openings wonderfully disguised so you really cannot tell they are nursing tops at all!
This type of breastfeeding opening is accessed simply by pulling aside fabric at the top of the garment. These styles are simple to use and the nursing access can be gained single-handedly. These necklines of these styles vary and include crossover, deep vee necks or cowl neck styles and are available from a wide range of designers.
This style of top has nursing openings which are accessed by pulling up the top at the empire line, just under the bust. The styling of the clothing means that the empire band sits just under your bust, and is styled to look like a regular top. Milk Nursingwear’s keyhole dress is a perfect example of this style of nursing opening.
This style of nursing access is really clever – the overlayer of the garment is pulled aside to access the nursing layer underneath at the front. The very popular Dote Noir nursing dress features this unique type of nursing access.
Nursing openings are in an underlayer which is accessed by pulling down the uppermost layer on the clothing – the Dote Slate breastfeeding top is a fabulous example where the funky styling of the top ensures that the breastfeeding function is disguised brilliantly.
Two overlapping bands conceal the breastfeeding openings beneath. This style is fabulous for breastfeeding twins, as both sides can be accessed easily simultaneously. An example of this style is Annee Matthew’s Criss Cross breastfeeding top.
This style of top has two layers which sit on top of one another. Pulling the uppermost layer upwards will give access to the nursing openings, whilst keeping your back, tummy and sides covered by the bottom nursing underlayer. Bella Mama Maia breastfeeding top has two layers all the way around the top, whilst the Annee Matthew Kelly top has the double layer only at the front of the top. The double layer helps to keep you cosy in the colder months, by giving you an extra layer of fabric!
Nursing tops with a modesty layer don’t have slits for nursing access, but a panel of fabric which sits flat against the chest and can be lifted at either side to give access to the breast. This gives a very smooth line to the breastfeeding top as there is no “cut out” area underneath. Mayreau’s best-selling and immensely popular Mia tops feature this type of breastfeeding access.
Double Layer Nursing Panel
Two layers of overlapping panels cover the chest and one layer pulls down, whilst the other layer pulls up for nursing access. Peek-a-boo tops have this innovative style of nursing opening.
Each type of nursing access has been skilfully designed and the nursing openings in each piece of clothing are wonderfully disguised so you really cannot tell they are nursing tops at all!