Dress Like A Businessman While You Breastfeed! Um, No Thanks


Over at The Guardian, Naomi McAuliffe wrote the weirdest thing you’ll ever read about neckties. Even weirder than her longwinded piece about the “sexiness” of ties? She suggests that a shirt and tie is the perfect thing to wear while breastfeeding. O-kay.

Using the closing of Tie Rack stores all over the UK as an opportunity to launch into a random rant about how women should wear shirts and ties more, McAuliffe somehow concludes that dressing like your dad is totally convenient for feeding your baby. She writes:

Plus, I have recently found a new reason to wear a shirt and tie: breastfeeding. Stick with me here. A shirt and tie mean that the top of your chest is covered so you feel less exposed; the tie provides something robust for the baby to hold and play with (I’ve had two necklaces broken while holding baby nieces), and no one would ever dare admonish a woman for breastfeeding in public if she is wearing a shirt and tie. She clearly means business and only a badass mother wears a tweed suit.

Um. I’m so confused about this. Why and how would a shirt and tie for the perfect thing to wear while breastfeeding? I guess she means that the baby can tug on the tie rather than a necklace but….wouldn’t that choke you? I haven’t personally breastfed myself, so I can’t say, but it also seems like a button-down shirt would expose even more of your breasts than a shirt specially designed for breastfeeding moms. I mean…doesn’t it flap open? So there’s the shirt flapping and the tie flapping and all the while you get to look like a businessman while feeding your baby. Doesn’t seem ideal to me, that’s for sure.

Her point about people being less likely to admonish women for breastfeeding in public if they’re wearing a shirt and tie is also…weird. You should be able to feed your baby in public no matter what you’re wearing. You can totally be a badass mother without wearing a tweed suit!

If wearing a shirt and tie works for McAuliffe while she breastfeeds, I’m all for it. But somehow I don’t think this is a trend that’s going to be catching on anytime soon.

Photo: Joerg Steffens/Getty Images

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  • Blueathena623

    I see this as tongue in cheek. And as for more women rocking dress shirts and ties — Annie Hall.

  • Carinn Jade

    I used to wear button down shirts (if not full button, then half way down) because they are more convenient for modest breastfeeding. Plus, I kind of like my old lawyer wardrobe getting barfed on. But now I just have Suit and Tie stuck in my head…

  • Kay_Sue

    I can see the right button up shirt being quite easy for breastfeeding, but I never found it during my time nursing, lol.

  • LeftCoaster

    I don’t know about other women, but there was NO way my breasts would have fit in a button up shirt while I was breastfeeding!

  • lyzl

    I can see the button up shirt suggestion. I bought a few because they are so convenient for boob access, but a tie? Hells no. That’s just another thing to wipe spit up off of.

    • http://carrie-murphy.com/ Carrie Murphy

      Another valid point!

  • esuzanne

    I was so completely unprepared for the wardrobe conundrum that breastfeeding causes because I don’t know, I was an idiot? After getting home from the hospital, I realized that I had hardly any pre-pregnancy clothing that would allow me to bust out a boob quickly and easily while still maintaining a slight sense of decorum. And I found that any shirt or dress that includes the word “nursing” in the title is either crazy ugly or a bazillion times more expensive than normal clothes. I’m still trying to find things that work well for nursing. Maybe that’s not how it is for most people? I don’t know—I’m newish to this whole thing. But I think I could get on board with the whole shirt-and-tie deal. I think nursing my baby while dressed like the cast of Reservoir Dogs would make me feel like I had mastered motherhood badassery. And the baby could tug at the tie instead of clawing up my chest.

    • BW2

      I wear nursing camis from Target with sweaters that open up. The camis are nice enough to wear in the summer alone.

  • The Kez

    I’m lucky enough to be able to take my 3 month old to the office with me, and I struggle to find clothes that allow me to feed her and still look like a professional person. Button up shirts might work in theory, but there is no way I am going to bother with all the ironing – getting out the door with matching shoes is an acheivement. Further, the size shirt that I would need to buy to accomodate my “enhanced” figure is both terrifying and depressing. Stretchy fabrics all the way for me thanks.

  • Momma425

    I didn’t breastfeed, but I am well endowed and have some experience with button up shirts.
    Mainly, that I can never get them to button correctly without puckering over my boobs. I cannot imagine the tent-sized shirt I would have had to buy if I had breastfed and tried to wear one of these. Maybe this is where the tie comes in- to hide the fact that your shirt isn’t buttoned?
    Also, I feel like many button-down shirts have very thin material. I didn’t have this experience too often as my milk dried up in 2 weeks after not breastfeeding at all- but I feel like the thinner the material, the more likely it is to show if your milk leaks. Call me crazy, but before my milk went away- I was wearing the thickest shirts and bras and nursing pads I could find so that if there was a leak while out in public, it was less likely to show. Again, maybe I am just talking out of my butt since I didn’t even attempt to breastfeed…I guess whatever works.

    • pixie

      I can totally relate to not having button-down shirts fit properly. The size that fits my waist and ribs will never button across my chest properly and the one that buttons across my chest will be a tent on the rest of me. And I’m too poor to pay for tailoring/don’t know how to sew. I’m slightly afraid of how large my boobs will get if I decide to have a baby and breast feed.

    • tSubh Dearg

      The reason ladies get puckering with button shirts over our boobs is because the buttons are positioned in the same place as on a man’s shirt. If the buttons were positioned slightly differently this would not be an issue. Though there is also companies like Pepperberry who provide clothes for bustier ladies – the rest of the fit is the same as your dress size but there is extra material in the chest area for those who are really curvy, super curvy or super extra curvy. I own several of their dresses which have a much more flattering fit than a standard size alone.

    • pixie

      I haven’t come across that brand up here in Canada or any similar ones, so I stick with regular shirts for now.

    • tSubh Dearg

      They’re an online based UK company and they certainly deliver to Ireland, but I don’t know about further afield. I love their clothes. You can find them here:


  • TashaB

    I always found button up shirts more of a pain in the butt when nursing – you have to fiddle with all those buttons while dealing with a cranky & hungry baby!
    A tank top layered under a knit shirt or tshirt (top shirt lifted up, tank top pulled down) provided tons of modesty while still looking decent.
    Plus, machine washability with minimal ironing is key since there’s going to be all sorts of bodily fluids on your clothes.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/empresstouch Empress Touch

    Very much Diane Keaton – both in the ’70′s and now too.

    It is not the dynamic look itself that should be brought into question, it is the trademark cigarette smoke. The reason why some ladies opt for a smartly-worn trouser suit, shirt and tie is because ties can subtly reveal a lady’s personality and taste.

    Then-Grattan model Samantha Janus sported a black, pinstripe suit, white shirt and red, polka-dot tie in 1996. Marks & Spencer released a lilac shirt and tie set for ladies in 2001, very similar to that which Julia Roberts wore in the 1999 Notting Hill movie. Next then brought to us a £5 black jacquard tie for ladies in 2005, before many shops in the UK retailing blouses and ties the following Spring (TopShop, Dorothy Perkins amongst others).