One of the hardest parts of breastfeeding initially is maintaining a feeling of modesty in a very vulnerable situation. Before my second daughter was born, I made a DIY nursing cover and it really helped me gain a sense of comfort when breastfeeding in public.
Shortly after my third daughter was born, my friend, who lives in London, England, came over to visit with her son who was a few months older than my daughter. When it came time to feed him, she just unbuttoned her shirt, and away they went. Despite being on my third child, I still didn’t feel comfortable doing that in front of her.
She told me that a lot of it is cultural. Her first child was born in London and she only had experience with nursing in European countries. The people there were very open about it and there isn’t the embarrassment attached to it that there is in the United States.
A lot of the time, I ended up just using a blanket when I was feeding my kids, particularly at home, but the nursing cover was super useful. Aside from giving me a layer of protection, the boning layer near the top of it provided me with the ability to see my baby, make sure she was latched properly and do it all without worrying about the blanket slipping out from under my chin.
Blankets are also heavier than I made my nursing cover. I used a really light fabric so that I would be comfortable using it outside in the summer months to feed my babies. It was also wide enough to wrap around the side of me just a little bit, which was helpful when my children started grabbing things when they were nursing and would occasionally try to expose me to the world by pulling back the cover.
I got the pattern from Pretty Prudent, which used to be Prudent Baby. The cover was actually pretty easy to make–and I’m not a really great sewer. If you can follow instructions and have a tiny bit of knowledge about sewing, you can handle this.
FROM PRETTY PRUDENT:
1. Wash, iron and cut your fabric. A yard will do it. I used Paula Prass Summer Soiree chevron in leaf green (still available here). You need three pieces.
26″X38″ for the cover
30″x3″ for one side of the strap
10″X3″ for the other side of the strap
You also need a piece of boning 14″ long (i bought one foot and they threw in the two inches) – you can get this at any fabric store for about 50 cents – and a set of d-rings, also about 50 cents.
2. Take the strap pieces and fold them in half, right sides facing. Sew them together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
3. Turn them inside out with a loop turner or like so. Insert a safety pin to one side. Feed it back in on itself. Work it through until it turns. Then iron flat with the seam in the middle, repeat on both straps (the seam side will be the back of your straps).
4. Now take one edge of each strap and fold it over 1/4″ and iron. On the short strap, grab your d-rings and fold the fabric over them and pin like so. Sew in place with a strong stitch as this area will get a lot of stress on it. On the other strap, just fold over and sew.
5. Now grab your cover fabric. On the bottom edge, along the length, fold over 1/2″ and iron, then another 1/2″ and iron. Sew in place with a straight stitch.
6. On the perpendicular sides (the two shorter sides) do the same thing.
7. Now for the top of your homemade nursing cover. Fold the top edge over 1/2″ and iron, then another inch and iron:Fold the whole thing in half to find the center of the top. Measure 7″ in from the center and mark with a pin on both sides. Sew the seam with a straight stitch in between your two pins. Insert your 14″ piece of boning with the curve out to the right side of your fabric. Sew up the seam (perpendicular to your hem) to secure the boning in place:7. Now to attach our straps. Insert the strap right side up under the hem next to the boning. Fold it up over the hem, iron and pin in place: Repeat with the other strap on the opposite side. Sew in place with a straight stitch forming a box (to give your straps holding power).
Here is my DIY Nursing Cover:
I picked a gender neutral pattern in a light fabric so that it wouldn’t stifle either of us in the summer months.
This is me nursing my baby in the suite a Detroit Lions football game on Thanksgiving Day with my DIY nursing cover. I’m not sure why I didn’t have it done up all the way, but she liked to keep her other hand tucked inside of my shirt, so maybe that’s why.
Breastfeeding Series: Nursing is hard, here’s my story
Breastfeeding Series: DIY Nursing Cover
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