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Thread: work clothes--what do you wear?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    522

    Question work clothes--what do you wear?

    Hi,

    I am writing to see if anyone has suggestions for pumping- and infant-friendly work clothes. I've been back at work three months (Robert will be five months old tomorrow) and the hassle of scrounging up something to wear is driving me bananas!! Between some belly and thigh weight I still have to lose and my now-ample chest, I don't fit into most of my pre-preg clothes. The styling of most of them wouldn't allow for easy pumping, anyway.

    Another problem is that one drop of milk stains dry-clean only clothes, and I don't seem to be a neat pumper. I keep trying to remember to bring some kind of lap blanket, but bringing the bottles back and forth each day seems to be all I can manage.

    I bought some tops from Expressiva, which are ok. (I couldn't get a spit-up stain out of one of them, which was a disappointment.) What clothes have you all found that are appropriate for work and pumping?

    I know this might seem shallow, but some days it's just enough stress to make me cry. I appreciate any suggestions, advice, and support you have to offer. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: work clothes--what do you wear?

    Many mothers have found clothing at consignement shops to wear. These clothes aren't as expensive, so you can don't feel as bad when they get stained.

    Can you bring a stack of blankets or towels to use as lap blankets, and just stash them at work, so you don't have to remember to bring a new one each day? Or maybe in the trunk of your car?

    I seem to remember one mother who kept a change of clothes and a bottle of shout in the trunk of her car, for when she dripped on her work clothes.

    Another mother that I know switched her shirts to all-cotton, washable shirts, and still wore her business suit and blazer over it. She would take off the blazer, take off her nice shirt, pump while wearing what was essentially a tshirt, then get dressed again. She must have had more time at work than most of us have!

    I hope some other working mothers chime in with what they do, I'd love to see the responses!
    Shannon
    LLL Leader

    Protect your privacy online; don't use your full name. Click My Alias at the top left corner.

    I'm horrible at html and encoding links, so I apologize in advance for all the long links!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: work clothes--what do you wear?

    I have been back to work for two months now and pump three times a day. I was a "messy pumper" at first, but have since gotten better and don't have nearly as many spills or drips, but they do still happen! I have a few nursing tops but find that they're not the easiest to use for pumping. What I have found that works the best are button-up blouses. I also use a hands-free pumping bra so I can sit in my office and get work done (or post on this forum!) while I pump. I still have about 5 - 7 pounds of baby weight to lose, so none of my regular pants fit yet but I bought some in-between sizes for those first months of my pregnancy when you just barely show and regular clothes are too tight, so those are coming in handy again. Also, I keep a roll of paper towels with my pumping supplies in case I drip or spill so I can wipe it up right away. Also, shout makes individually wrapped wipes that are great for stains/spots.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: work clothes--what do you wear?

    It's not shallow to wonder what the heck to do with these postpartum bodies we have! It's a constant challenge, I'll admit (even 2 yrs later! Everything seems to be in a different place, LOL.)

    I personally have had great luck with a few I'll call "investment pieces" from good quality stores. My favorite is JJill. I have a pair of black pants from them that maybe cost $70, but is INDESTRUCTIBLE! It's machine wash, and made of a jersey knit (rayon?) that doesn't show wrinkles at all. The best part - ELASTIC waist! Since they are this rayon knit material, they drape really nicely and look quite professional (they don't fade the way a cotton pant would.) I actually bought the same pant in a capri, in another color, and the same material in a long skirt. That gave me a lot of options for bottoms, along with some lower-cost pants I got from Old Navy (elastic waist and drawstring) or places like that. Other friends recommended stores like the Gap, Eddie Bauer, and Banana Republic for good quality dressy casual separates. If you're in business suits, this is a little trickier but elastic waists can be a godsend.

    For tops I mostly relied upon sweaters and sweater sets that I could wash at home, possibly needing to iron to get back to "work" shape after washing. I also had some luck with those "at home" dry cleaning bags. Have you seen them? There are a couple brands - Dryel is the one I remember having, and it's a big plastic bag that you put dry cleanable clothes in, add some solution, and then toss in the dryer. They're not equivalent to dry cleaning, but they definitely get you by for in between times. They also usually come with some type of stain-treating solution too.

    I know I had to move away from silk blouses, since milk seemed to stain those so much (and god forbid a bad leak happen!). Those are stored in a special place in my closet for "one day". Some got sold on ebay already. (Another good source for previously loved name-brand clothes.) I found patterns and stripes helped obscure milk stains more than solid colors, and of course dark colors too. One thing that helped me was to just accept that my fashion options were a little more limited while pumping in the early postpartum time. Eventually I did lose most of the baby weight and fit back into some of those pre-pg clothes (sad to say, even after a further weight loss of almost 20 lbs, some of those clothes still don't fit! just a weird body shift that happens...)

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Warmly
    Karen Smith
    LLL Leader, IL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: work clothes--what do you wear?

    sweaters, sweaters, sweaters....

    I have a few button-down shirts--but with these, I'm always worried I'll forget to button back up again! My outfits are really v simple--slacks and a sweater. I'm fortunate we do not have a strict dress code--business casual m-th and jeans on Friday if we want.
    Last edited by Maya's Mom; February 28th, 2006 at 02:32 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: work clothes--what do you wear?

    I also go pretty casual at work. Our office is casual to begin with, but now I wear nothing that isn't machine washable, and I go with shirts that are pull overs (lifting the shirt seems easier to me than undoing a lot of buttons--that extra effort might be too much for me! ). Shirts with a little stretch in them help with the lifting up and over the pumping gear. Also, I feel like if I ever do get walked in on, I feel a little less exposed because I can sort of let the shirt drop down a bit. You can also dress up a little with a jacket over a turtleneck and not have to worry about ruining a nice silk blouse or anything.

    And I always have a paper towel or something handy to clean up any drips quickly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    281

    Default Re: work clothes--what do you wear?

    I have also had the best luck with pull over shirts/sweaters. More than once I have somehow ended up with milk on the front of button up shirts. The key for keeping mess to a minimum for me is to drape a receiving blanket over my lap while I pump. I try and keep a stack under my desk and I take them home to wash periodically.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    149

    Default Re: work clothes--what do you wear?

    I keep a cloth diaper (I bought some to use as burp cloths) in my PIS backpack to drape over my lap when I'm pumping. Small, convenient, yet effective. Perhaps this would work for you?
    Eva
    Mom to Alyssa (11/26/05)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: work clothes--what do you wear?

    I tend to wear turtlenecks or light sweater sets so I have something that can go on over the shirt. That way I can conceal a leak. I also think the stretchy ribbed turtlenecks are easier to lift and tuck the pumps under. Those with some nice khakis are pretty good. I really like jackets too, but it's cold here so... As for messy breastfeeding, I keep a receiving blanket in my pump bag and I pack my pump bag at the same time I pack my lunch each night.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: work clothes--what do you wear?

    Old Navy was a God send!! You can find pants that are cheap and some look really nice. I wear cardigans, so if I am messy or can't get to my pump and start leaking(Oh, how embarrassing!!) I can button them up. I have the same problem with my chest - nothing really fits with my breasts.

    It was really hard for me to buy size 14 pants when pre pregnancy I was an 8. After I bought them I was so happy to have something fit nice.

    Good Luck,
    Kristy

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