I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding.
I love being able to feed my baby (and love the gazillion calories it burns while doing so), to comfort him in a way that is unique to me, and I love the warm, fuzzy we share from all that oxytocin flooding the system.
One of the things that I hate is attempting to feed the baby in public, particularly in a shirt or outfit that isn't easily accessible for nursing. Not that I often wear clothes that aren't nursing-friendly as I am concerned my child has confused eating with breathing. So I find myself gazing longingly at my closet full of dresses that I won't be able to wear until sometime in 2012, the halter necks, the long-sleeved ones, the fitted ones, essentially any that don't have a hidden, plastic snap or an awkward cutout to free up a boob. You'd think with every celebrity popping out a baby, somebody (Heidi Klum, I'm looking at you) would have come up with a seriously cute, affordable line of nursing dresses - and here is the big catch - that don't look like nursing dresses. If I am going to invest upwards of $70 on a dress, I want to be able to wear it beyond the year or so that I will be nursing in it. I don't want it to be a cheap rayon or polyester. Yes, I know it washes out well in the machine, that's half the battle, right? But I don't want to look so... cheap.
So my solution? The unintentional nursing dress. Hopefully the first in a series. Even better, the precursor to its own website. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The little green dress from Urban Outfitters
Yes, the irony is not lost on me that the first place I scored an UND was the mecca of super hipster anti-babyness Urban Outfitters. And the dress is not without its faults. But first, the pros:
It's comfortable and super cute, coming in three different colors.
The dress opens in the front via four brass snaps which makes for easy boob access.
It's made of linen so it is machine washable.
It has pockets! Mine are filled with passies, wipes and a lipstick that helps me ignore the passies and the wipes.
Cost - $59. Not super expensive but not Target-cheap, so I feel good knowing this is a dress that I can and would wear long after nursing
The snaps require you to use both hands to refasten, and if you are by yourself and cannot briefly put down or handoff the baby to cover up, this could get tricky. Or make you very popular, depending on where you are.
It's made of linen which means that if you don't snag it from the dryer immediately, this sucker needs to be ironed. Or should be. You just need to remember where you stowed that iron. Leaks are also hard to hide as linen is a very thirsty material.
The back of the dress has a bra-like strap that is fastened with a snap, highlighting a cut-out section that reveals the small of the back. Kinda sexy, great for summer, but kinda impossible to wear with a nursing bra, which may be a deal-breaker for the larger of the mama-llamas out there. Or those whose nipples are so raw they might set fire to the dress upon contact. I have worn the dress with and without a bra, and found it to be fine either way, but big boobied buyer beware.
*belt in photos not available with the dress