only showing boobs at appropriate times
July 14, 2016 3:30 PM   Subscribe

I'm going back to work as a middle school teacher and I'm going to be pumping during the school day. I need suggestions for tops and dresses that suit both those roles.

Just got hired at a middle school (thanks for previous help with interviews, folks!) and I have very few clothes that fit my bigger boobs and allow for easy pumping access so I need to get some new stuff. Criteria:
* I pretty much always wear knits
* easy boob access but doesn't have to be an actual nursing or pumping top
* should be pretty high cut and not too tight
* I live in Massachusetts so things that go with tights and boots will get the most use
* I can get to most clothing chain stores and I'm happy ordering online

Thoughts? Specific links would be the most helpful but I'd appreciate general ideas too!
posted by chaiminda to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I pumped for a full year and simply hiked up my shirt and pulled my bra down. No special clothing required. I would definitely recommend one of the halters that hold the flanges in place though, so you can use your hands while you pump for reading or whatnot.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:36 PM on July 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

Undercover Mama (forgive the cis-normative name) + Pumpin' Pal flanges + nursing bra of your choice (I got mine at Target because I couldn't find big enough elsewhere) and you're pretty much set to wear whatever else you want.
posted by teremala at 3:45 PM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, I just wore a nursing bra and hiked up my regular tops. I didn't have any dresses that worked for pumping. When I stopped pumping when my daughter was a year old I celebrated by wearing a dress. And a real bra.
posted by Kriesa at 4:22 PM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wore singlets underneath - not necessarily nursing ones, just normal ones with stretch - so my belly was covered and I felt less naked.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:35 PM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nursing tanks are pretty great under most things for minimizing skin showing during pumping and minimizing cleavage in tops that suddenly look a little more "hubba hubba" than they ordinarily would. Otherwise, most separates work pretty well, as long as you can hike it up to get the pump in place. Dresses are trickier, but button down shirt cut dresses and wrap dresses worked fairly well. Avoid one piece dresses that zip up the back or similar. Also, the hands free pumping bra is a life saver. I also used hair ties to fashion my own hands free contraption as needed like so.
posted by goggie at 4:48 PM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Agree on hands free nursing bra. Clothing wise I typically took my outermost shirt off to pump. I wore tank tops underneath. I had some nursing tanks that I liked; in the event of regular ones I hiked them up and undid bra. Agreed with others to avoid one piece dresses that don't open easily. You can make a cross-in-front wrap style dress top more decent by wearing a camisole or such under it. But it's easier just to stick to shirts and pants, with a base layer that works for you.
posted by telepanda at 5:15 PM on July 14, 2016

I wear either tank tops or tshirts with a cardigan on top, and regular work slacks. Right now I'm wearing Merona brand tshirts, as they are cut well enough for my needs and have just a bit of stretch in them. Comfortable and easy to lift when I need to put on the pump.
posted by vignettist at 6:13 PM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Make use of your nursing cover when you are pumping, just in case someone walks in on you. The only time I've ever used my cover is when I've been pumping, and it's definitely saved me from embarrassment a couple of times.
posted by vignettist at 6:16 PM on July 14, 2016

Best answer: I love the Casual Jersey Dress from Boden. It has a wrap-style top, plus a higher waistline and some subtle gathers just under it that help conceal my post-baby belly without looking too maternity. I have two of them and am probably ordering a third here soon. It layers nicely under a sweater and will be cute with tights and boots when it gets colder.

I was never much of a dress person before, but I just love how it's like boom! Dress = outfit that makes you look put together. Which was very helpful as I navigated baby + going back to work + everything.

I do find the V to be a bit too low for me, so I always wear Merona tank tops underneath, which stretched to the side easily when I was pumping. (Caveat: my pumping style/setup was one side at a time so I only needed things to stretch or open one way or the other.)

I'm also eyeing the Pretty Ruched Wrap Dress, but will probably need a tank top under that too.

Agree with the suggestion to at least have a nursing cover handy in your bag... I often used mine just because the office was cold and it helped keep me warm!
posted by scarnato at 7:02 AM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

A shirt you like for easy access paired with a cardigan is a great option. I had a nice zip up knit thing that was great to throw over a nursing tank.
posted by LKWorking at 9:16 AM on July 15, 2016

Best answer: Corporette Moms has a once-a-week feature of tops/dresses that are good for nursing/pumping & the workplace. Lots of great stuff in the archives there.
posted by Jaclyn at 10:44 AM on July 15, 2016

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