Getting your back-to-work wardrobe together after having a baby can be a real challenge – your body has changed since you were last wearing those pencil skirts and buttoned-up blouses, and heels seem like an unnecessary torture after the joy of wearing sneakers and sandals as a mum-about-the-house.
But if you’re still breastfeeding when you return to work, you have an extra dimension of difficulty thrown into the mix.
If you’re seeing your baby for feeds or expressing milk throughout the work day, you’ll need outfits that allow boob-access quickly -and discreetly. Because it feels a little weird to be expressing milk with your work dress hitched up around your armpits while your colleagues go about their business on the other side of your office wall.
What to avoid:
- Pale fabrics and fabrics that stain/ watermark easily: There’s always a chance of a leak or spill, so make sure the fabric you choose will hide stains. This goes for your bottom half as well as your top.
- Dresses: Unless they can be easily pulled down or undone at the front to allow access, it’s going to be tricky to express without getting undressed. Top-and-skirt/pants combos are much easier to manage.
What to look for:
Tops that can be pulled up, down or out
Loose shapes, stretchy fabrics and button fastenings will all be your friend when you need expressing access.
Tuck this cutie into a pencil skirt or pair of high-waisted pants and fake your way to an hourglass shape.
Dresses that provide access all areas
Look for dresses with front buttons or zips, cowl necks or wrap styles so you can open the front easily without needing to strip down to your undies.
Pop a blazer over this baby and you’re ready to go:
The last thing you want is twin milk-stains appearing through your top mid-meeting. Insure your dignity with good-quality breast pads; try these ultra-thin Pigeon Breast Pads ($13.95).
A bag that is big enough to accommodate your breast pump, containers (and maybe a little cold pack if you have a long commute) is a must. Don’t feel like it has to be a purpose-built diaper bag — pick something you will love to show off.
Australian workplaces that are accredited as “Breastfeeding Friendly” should provide a private room (not a toilet area) with a comfortable chair, a refrigerator where you can store expressed breastmilk, somewhere you can store an electric breast pump or manual breast pump, and time to express milk during lunch break and other breaks if necessary. More info at breastfeedingfriendly.com.au
For more tips and ideas on building a back-to-work wardrobe, check out our 5 back to work essentials for every working mum.
Did you go back to work while you were still expressing or breastfeeding? What are your tips for making it work? And was your employer supportive?