An open letter to high street clothing retailers.
This letter was first published at the inception of Can I Breastfeed In It? and with a few more followers and a few updates it still stands today. With all the recent success of certain high street fashion lines, it is a timely reminder that things still need to change to acknowledge breastfeeding friendly clothing as a valuable consumer market. We have a couple of exciting leads at the minute which hopefully we will have some great news about soon! 👌 ….
I swear shopping never used to be this much of a chore. Before having a baby I could walk into the shop knowing all I needed to do was find something I liked the look of which was also flattering for my body (which at times could be a challenge in itself). Now that I’m a breastfeeding mother (who has trouble enough concentrating at the task on hand with that tricky baby brain and a potentially grumpy child to contend with), browsing a high street shop is becoming a chore rather than an enjoyable experience.
Many stores have a maternity section with nursing friendly maternity clothing. I’m sure your thought process goes something along the lines of: “well pregnant ladies will buy our maternity wear and have the additional feature of it being nursing friendly when baby is born”. Great, except I’m not currently pregnant. I have a 9 month old. I don’t want to wear maternity clothing. I want nice well fitting clothing which I can also get a boob out of when my baby is hungry. Colours which are forgiving on leaky boobs and baby drool are always a winner too!
I’m not asking that you create a new range of nursing wear (some of you already have a small selection of nursing wear already available), that would be asking too much. Many of us mothers like shopping online for our clothing, especially as often the easiest time is whilst baby is asleep or whilst up feeding through the night.
So, what would be REALLY handy, and this is SO simple, within your online shops, is a search filter that tells us if the clothing item is ‘breastfeeding friendly’. Just as you may have “petite” or “tall”. To fall under this category a top or dress could potentially be easily (and discreetly as a bonus!) breastfed in without having to just ‘lift it up’ and give the world a sneak peak of our jelly bellies. Yes we could wear vests underneath all of our tops but not so practical when we get those hot days! We want to be able to wear high street fashion and feel confident, just because we are breastfeeding doesn’t mean we want to lose our identity.
The first shop to adopt this feature will gain a huge amount of business and support from the breastfeeding community. There are currently 55k UK women waiting for this feature to be implemented in the Can I Breastfeed In It? UK Facebook group alone.
So please, do a little more research on your breastfeeding customer base. It’ll pay off! It will not only be a positive for your sales and nursing mothers, but it would also be another (albeit small) step in normalising breastfeeding in our society. It would help mothers realise they don’t need to be wearing frumpy, bland or styleless clothing and allow them to be the individuals they are!