When I first started on my breastfeeding journey, I did not feel comfortable nursing my baby in public at all, choosing instead to pump and bottle feed the baby when we went out. But as time passed and I got used to the idea of feeding the baby with people around, the nursing cover eventually became my best friend. Hungry, crying baby? No problem. All I had to do was throw the cover on and my daughter and I were good to go. Plus, there’s one key advantage to having a nursing cover — apart from protecting one’s modesty of course — and that is it prevents babies from being distracted by their surroundings, ensuring that they focus on their meal!
Having nursed my baby for close to 18 months (and counting!), I’ve tried nearly every variation of nursing covers on the market. Some key criteria I look out for include how easy it is to put on, the choice of fabric, proper coverage and preferably, it should be multi-purpose. With that in mind, here are my thoughts on the three most popular types of nursing covers:
1. The Apron
The most commonly found type of nursing cover in the shops, these covers are essentially large squares of fabric with adjustable straps that you put on like an apron. Most (if not all) of the nursing covers in this category come with a rigid neckline which allows you to look at your nursing baby and ensure proper air flow. The apron design only really covers the front and is most useful when you have a really young baby that you need to keep a constant eye on.
From left: Bébé Au Lait, Cambrass, Mothercare Breastfeeding Shawl
- Bébé Au Lait ($50, available at Motherswork): Known for its patented Rigiflex open neckline that allows mum to clearly see the baby, these nursing covers from Bébé Au Lait come in a wide range of patterned designs and doubles up as a sunshade on a stroller. My personal favourite is the premium muslin version ($55) that is ultra-breathable and lightweight enough for the weather here in Singapore.
- Cambrass Nursing Cover ($49,90, available at Motherswork): From popular Spanish brand Cambrass, this nursing cover has multiple uses. It serves as a light blanket, as a cover to protect baby from the sun and also comes with four inside pockets to store items such as dummies.
- Mothercare Breastfeeding Shawl ($59 — currently on sale at $35 —, available at Mothercare): Made out of 100% cotton, this cover comes with the requisite reinforced structure in the front and two inside pockets for convenient storage of breast pads or tissues. One of the best things about it boasts a towelling back to wipe away any spillages or runaway milk.
2. The Poncho
The nursing poncho is basically that — a poncho. It could quite easily pass of as part of your outfit if you choose a stylish design/fabric. They tend to be made out of lightweight materials and do not have the rigid neckline that the apron styles have. They do however, cover both the front and back of your body so you don’t have to worry about putting on a side show! Without the rigid neckline, these covers fold away easily and take up very little space in the bag.
- Mon Petit Jardin Nursing Poncho ($39.90, available at Mothercare): Although it doesn’t come with the rigid neckline, this poncho’s wide neckline allows you to easily check up on the baby and I love how it covers the sides and back well so you don’t need to feel shy when when having lift up your shirt. It can be used as a blanket, a sun-shade and also a nappy-changing mat if you forgot one. The Mothercare version is made out of a soft 100% cooling rayon knit fabric but if you prefer the bamboo fabric option, they are available at Pupsik.com ($39.90).
3. The Scarf
Probably the most versatile of the three, the nursing scarf is a big scarf that can be tied to create a little cradle for the baby. It looks just like a scarf so getting one in a plain design means that you could quite easily just untie it and use it to keep warm even when you’re not nursing, making it the most fashion friendly version of the lot. Everyone would be none the wiser that it’s for nursing purposes!
- Mothercare Innosense Breastfeeding Shawl (currently on sale for $29, available at Mothercare): Conveniently a one size fits all design, this shawl makes for a great baby shower gift. It’s made out of a soft, comfortable viscose fabric which that works as well as a blanket as it would as a scarf for mama to keep toasty!