A huge thank you to Diana of Sew Very Crafty for sharing this DIY Breastfeeding Cover tutorial with us! I know all my nursing mamas who sew will love to try this one out.
Ever looked at a breastfeeding cover and thought “why buy this when I could make one myself?” This nursing mom essential can be made in an afternoon from a wide variety of fabrics that you can find at Fabric.com and Hobby Lobby. I created this project so that the new mother can have a breastfeeding cover that is beautiful, sturdy and functional.
This post contains affiliate links that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
This is a simple sewing project that only requires beginner sewing skills, a yard of fabric, parachute clips and some boning. Don’t stress about the boning it is very easy to work with and is readily available at any fabric store.
In this project I used two different fabrics but you could use one or more if you like. For the top and the straps, I used a home decorator weight fabric for sturdiness and a lightweight quilting cotton for the rest of the body.
Breastfeeding Cover Supplies
26″ x 32″ for the bottom of the cover (you can make larger for older and bigger babies as well)
32″ x 6 1/2″ coordinating or contrasting fabric for the top of the cover if doing a contrasting strip.
20″ x 4″ for one side of the strap using coordinating or contrasting fabric
9″ x 4″ for the other side of the strap using coordinating or contrasting fabric
With right sides together, sew the coordinating fabric with the main fabric along the short ends. This should give you one long piece of fabric that measures 26″ x 38″. Press the seam toward the darker fabric and top stitch along the seam for a professional look.
Step 2: Create the Straps
Fold each strap piece in half lengthwise and press. Open the straps then fold the raw edges to the center fold and press. Fold in half along the original fold line and press. Fold the short raw edges inside the straps and press then clip. Top stitch along each long edge for a finished look.
Step 3: Add the parachute clip or the D-rings
If you are adding a parachute clip, unclip the pieces and fold through the end of the long strap through one of the pieces and the end of the short strap through the other. Sew the straps using a box to firmly secure them. If using the D-rings, place both of the D-rings trough the short strap and sew in the same manner.
Step 4: Sew the Hem
On the bottom long edge of the cover piece fold over 1/2″ and press, then another 1/2″ and press. Sew along the turned edge. This is the hem of the breastfeeding cover.
Repeat this step for the shorter sides of the cover.
Step 5: Make a Channel for the Boning
On the top of the cover fold the raw edge 1/2″ and press. Fold again another 1″ and press. Find the center of the long top edge of the cover and mark with a pin or erasable pen. Measure 7″ toward the side from the center and mark with a pin pr pen on both sides. Sew along the folded edge from one 7″ mark to the other 7″ mark. You will be inserting the boning into the channel you just made.
Step 6: Sew In the Boning
Boning is a curved polyester strip that is used to create a bowed effect to the front of the cover. Insert your boning into the channel that you just created with the curve facing toward you. Sew perpendicular to the hem next to the ends of the boning to secure.
Step 7: Add the straps
Add the straps by inserting them right side up under the hem next to the boning. Fold over the hem and press. Sew the straps to the cover using a box to make sure that they are totally secure.
Step 8: Complete the Top Hem
Sew the remainder of the top hem from the straps to the corners and you have completed your DIY nursing cover. I hope you enjoy making this simple breastfeeding cover.
Check out your finished product:
About the Guest Poster
I am a lifelong learner, sewing enthusiast, parent, spouse, lawyer, and die hard St. Louis Cardinals fan. I live in California with my husband and one fat dog. My kids come to visit occasionally from college, especially when it is time for laundry or they have run out of food whichever comes first. I love God and my country but am proud of my Irish heritage. I enjoy sharing my creativity and the things that I love with others. In my spare time, what little there is, I make and sell handbags and write my blog.
Did you know that since the start of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) it is now mandatory for insurance companies to cover breastfeeding supplies? So many people aren’t aware of this, and they waste their money buying or registering for a breast pump. Keep reading to learn how to get a free breast pump with insurance- the easy way!
This post was written in collaboration with Aeroflow Breastpumps, but all opinions are my own.
How To Get Your Free Breast Pump With Insurance
The process for getting your insurance to cover a breast pump can be a little confusing. If you’re an introvert like me, calling your provider for a prescription and then dealing with the insurance company may seem overwhelming. That’s why I was so excited to learn about Aeroflow Breastpumps, which will take care of all that for you.
What is Aeroflow Breastpumps?
Aeroflow is a company that was founded in 2001 and started their Breastpump division in 2013 in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act. They specialize in helping pregnant and nursing mothers obtain breast pumps through insurance. Their user-friendly website gives mothers easy access to all the information and supplies they need to have a successful breastfeeding experience.
If you go with Aeroflow, the process to receive your pump looks like this:
Your dedicated Aeroflow Breastpump Specialist will contact your insurance company and verify your specific benefits
Your Breastpump Specialist will obtain the prescription from your provider
Aeroflow will contact you to review your benefits and pump options
Your breast pump will be shipped right to your door!
That’s a lot less hassle, which is a total win in my book. And the best part? Their services are entirely FREE.
Here’s an even simpler outline of the process:
How long does this process take?
After you fill out the Qualify Through Insurance form, your Aeroflow Breastpump Specialist will get in touch with you in 3-5 business days. Once your eligibility is confirmed and you’ve selected your pump, it will be shipped out to you as soon as possible at no charge to you. Aeroflow ships using UPS ground shipping and will provide you with a tracking number.
At what point during pregnancy should I contact Aeroflow?
You can reach out any time during your pregnancy. Depending on your insurance provider’s regulations, you can expect to receive your breast pump 30-60 days before your due date.
If you are in need of a breast pump after baby is here, you can even qualify for one up to a year after birth. This is a fantastic benefit because sometimes pumps can lose suction power with extended use- which happened to me when I tried using the same pump for Luca that I had used with Elle!
Your insurance plan won’t specify a pump brand or specific breast pump they will cover. Instead, they cover certain features. Your Breastpump Specialist will help familiarize you with the different options for features that you will need for your intended pumping use.
If you want additional features, you can choose to upgrade your pump by paying the extra amount out of pocket or with your Health Savings Account (HSA) or FSA. Upgrades might include extra sets of bottles and parts or a transportation bag if you’ll be carting your pump back and forth to work.
This chart can help you compare the different breast pumps available based on their specific features:
Different moms will have different preferences about their breast pump level of suction, size, noise level, etc. Think about where you will do the most pumping- will you have access to an electrical outlet? If not, make sure you get one with battery power.
A closed system pump is also a wise choice as it ensures milk can not flow back into the tubing. You want to keep your pump parts clean and dry to avoid the risk of mold.
That’s how easy it is to get your free breast pump!
Going through Aeroflow means more convenience for you, so you can have a happy and stress-free pregnancy.
With all the breastfeeding misinformation pregnant woman hear, reality is bound to bring you some breastfeeding surprises! Here are the 7 things that completely shocked me when I started nursing my first baby.
1. Breastfeeding REALLY hurt in the beginning- but not where you think.
Based on everything I had heard and read about breastfeeding, I was expecting my nipples to be cracked, sore, and bleeding once I started breastfeeding. For me this turned out to be completely untrue, even with my second baby who was tongue tied. I used lanolin on my nipples for the first few days each time, but they never cracked or bled and they barely hurt at all.
This is largely because my babies had a good latch, so you want to make sure you get that checked early on by a lactation consultant. If the baby has a bad latch it will almost certainly lead to nipple damage and pain.
Anyway, back on track. Where did I feel pain the first couple days of breastfeeding? In my uterus.
The pain felt very similar to labor contractions but was actually even MORE painful at times.
Prior to giving birth I had never even heard of this, but apparently when you breastfeed, your body releases the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin has several reproductive functions, but after birth it’s job is to stimulate your uterus to contract back down to size.
They say the pain is more if it’s your second (or more) birth, but I had serious pain even with my first baby. I was writhing in pain every time I nursed her in the hospital and had to request extra pain meds because of it.
Other moms I’ve talked to said it didn’t hurt them as much, so this can vary from person to person. But don’t be surprised if you have contractions as bad as labor contractions for the first couple days (and yes, it does completely stop after the first few days).
2. You don’t actually make breastmilk for the first few days.
Ok so maybe I was a little unprepared going into breastfeeding. I did take a class, but I must have been spacing out during the part where they talk about colostrum.
(By the way, if you are looking for an amazing breastfeeding class you can do from home on your own time, I can’t recommend this course from Milkology enough. I took it after breastfeeding two children and still learned things I didn’t know!)
So after you first give birth, when your baby nurses he is getting colostrum. It’s like a condensed antibody-rich super version of breastmilk. It is perfect because your baby’s stomach at birth is only the size of a marble, so the way they get a huge boost of immunity while taking in very little.
Colostrum tends to be thick and yellowish, so don’t be alarmed if you see it and don’t think it looks like breastmilk.
It also has a laxative affect to help babies have their first bowel movement and flush out jaundice. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
You will be even more amazed a few days later when you wake up with ENORMOUS, firm and sore breasts. Ta-da, your milk has come in!
Honestly, take whatever mental picture you’re imagining of how big your breasts will be and just double it. That’s how big they will be at first. Your body starts out thinking you’re feeding triplets and makes that much! With time it will settle down and regulate to the amount your baby is actually taking.
3. You don’t really have to drink gallons of water.
I’ve never been a big water drinker, and people had me thinking I’d need to choke down a gallon an hour in order to successfully breastfeed. It seriously had me scared that I’d never be able to do it.
Yes, your body will need more water than it did before. But lack of water is rarely the reason for having low supply. I’m pretty sure water intake is one of those easy scapegoats people jump to whenever there is a supply issue or other nursing problem.
When you feel thirsty, drink. When you think you might be hungry but it mayyyybe could actually be that you’re thirsty, drink. Don’t make it something to obsess over and drive yourself crazy about.
The official guideline for drinking water when breastfeeding is 100 oz per day, up from the normal 64 oz per day (not that I ever, EVER drank that much pre-pregnancy, but yeah, that’s what the rules say). 100 ounces roughly equates to 3/4 of a gallon, which is not impossible but still could be challenging for some people.
Here is my UNOFFICIAL guideline for drinking water when breastfeeding:
When you wake up in the morning, before drinking a coffee (more on that later) drink a glass of water
Make it a habit that anytime you sit down to nurse, you bring a glass of water with you and try to drink it while you’re sitting there mostly distraction-free
Any other time you happen to find yourself thirsty (or dizzy/sluggish), of course drink some water
Keep up a healthy diet including lots of fruits and vegetables, which are mostly made up of water
That’s it. No need to measure ounces and beat yourself up over water. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
4. Your breastmilk is not the same as it was 10 minutes ago.
That is to say, the milk that comes out at the beginning of a feeding is not the same milk that comes out at the end.
When you begin a nursing session, the milk that comes out is known as foremilk. It is lighter in color and contains less fat. This can be thought of as more watery milk, to quench baby’s thirst.
Gradually during the feeding, the fat content of the milk changes. The milk produced at the end of the feeding is called hindmilk, and it has a high fat content which helps baby feel full.
The properties of foremilk vs. hindmilk isn’t something most nursing mothers need to concern themselves with. (Yes, if you pump all the milk will get mixed together and that is totally fine.) The only reason for knowing the distinction is to understand why you should NOT switch sides until baby fully empties one breast.
Do not take misguided advice of timing the feeding and switching sides after some arbitrarily determined time. You want to make sure the baby empties the first breast to get the fatty hindmilk before switching.
You will know it’s time to switch sides when baby stops actively nursing on that side. They may continue to suck on an empty breast, but you will be able to tell when they are no longer swallowing. At that point it’s fine to switch sides and offer them the other breast.
5. You can successfully breastfeed using just ONE breast!
At around 4 months old, my daughter went through a phase of preferring the right side only. Luckily, it didn’t last too long and I was able to get her back to eating on both sides, but during that time I did lots of frantic research about one-sided nursing.
It turns out tons of people have managed to do it! Remember that breastfeeding is regulated by supply and demand, so if one side is getting all the demand that side will produce the supply. The other side will dry out!
For the record, I was able to solve my problem with some baby trickery. I positioned her the way I would if I were going to feed her on the right, but twisted my body and offered her the left. This would eventually bother my back, so slowly during the feeding I’d scoot her over to a left side football hold.
6. You do NOT need to quit drinking coffee while breastfeeding.
It is a common myth that drinking coffee or other sources of caffeine will negatively affect your baby when breastfeeding.
While caffeine does pass through to breastmilk, it is at a rate of about 1%.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and La Leche League confirm nursing moms can drink up to 3 cups of coffee per day. There have been studies that show drinking 5 or more cups per day can cause irritability in babies, so stick to 3 or less to be safe.
This is great news for all the breastfeeding moms who are being woken up every 2-3 hours all night and REALLY need their coffee!
I wanted to end on this positive note because I feel like the common dialogue pregnant moms hear about breastfeeding is always that it’s going to be SO DIFFICULT. Don’t get me wrong, for some people it really is. But for a lot of people, it actually does go smoothly.
It takes effort and commitment to breastfeed, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be hard. And if you have the support and knowledge, I truly don’t think it will be hard.
I can boil it down to three things:
your family being supportive of your desire to breastfeed, especially your husband/partner
having at least one close friend (or female family member) who is breastfeeding or has in the past
arming yourself with in-depth knowledge about breastfeeding
Read as much as you can about breastfeeding. A good motto is hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. You may not have any problems at all, but if you do, you need the support and knowledge to find a solution. You don’t need a partner who is going to say “just give him formula” the first time you encounter a problem.
There is tremendous value to feeling knowledgeable and confident at the start of your breastfeeding journey. Taking a class through the LLL or the hospital you plan to give birth at is a great plan. If you find the class times or locations are a hinderance for you (or if you just prefer to learn at home in your PJs), The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class is the best one I’ve found on the internet. And at $19 it’s very reasonable for the value you’ll get out of it.
What are your burning breastfeeding questions?
I am happy to answer any questions you have about breastfeeding, either here in the comments or in another blog post. Just let me know what you’d like to learn more about!
One thing I hear all the time from friends who struggled with breastfeeding is “I wish I had done things differently at the start”. Pregnancy is such a whirlwind with all the preparations we make for baby, especially when it’s the first. Many people don’t give much thought to breastfeeding ahead of time, assuming it will just happen naturally after birth. The truth is, being prepared and knowledgeable can be the difference between breastfeeding stress and breastfeeding success.
1. Nurse as soon as possible after birth
Following an uncomplicated delivery, request that the baby be put directly on your chest for skin-to-skin. Just following birth, the baby has a window of time when they are unusually alert and awake so you want to take advantage of this period. Research has shown that babies that attach to the breast within an hour after birth have more successful breastfeeding outcomes months later when compared to babies who were not placed at the breast until 2 hours later or more.
In the event of a C-section or other complications, it may not be possible to breastfeed within that first hour. Just make sure your medical professionals know that you wish to breastfeed as soon as it is safe for baby and mother.
During those first attempts at breastfeeding, some babies immediately latch on correctly and instinctively suck, swallow and breathe correctly. (Remember they have had practice in the womb drinking amniotic fluid and sucking their thumbs!) Other babies will not latch on right away but instead just hold the nipple in their mouth or move their tongue unproductively. This is not cause for concern, and after a few more tries baby should catch on.
2. Meet with a lactation consultant
If your goal is to breastfeed, part of your planning during pregnancy should be to line up a lactation consultant. Many hospitals have their own on hand, or you can ask your OB for a referral for one to meet with you shortly after birth.
A lactaction consultant has expertise at checking to make sure the baby has the proper latch and can fix any latch problems early on. A bad latch can cause damage to mother’s nipples, pain when nursing, poor letdown and subsequently poor supply. Meeting with a lactation consultant while you’re still in the hospital can prevent problems from happening later on. She can also make sure your posture and positioning is correct so you aren’t straining your back while nursing or disturbing your incision if you’ve had a C-section.
Note: I have heard a few stories of people who had a bad experience with a specific lactation consultant. If you are unhappy with yours, do not be afraid to find a different one! She is providing a service to you and if your needs are not being met, by all means have them met elsewhere.
Need help finding a lactation consultant in your area? The United State Lactation Consultant Association makes it easy with this searchable map.
3. Check for tongue tie
Some doctors do this routinely but you should take it upon yourself to make SURE yours does. I have heard a few breastfeeding horror stories centering around an overlooked tongue tie!
Tongue tie, or ankyloglossia as it’s called in the medical world, occurs in about 4% of newborns. It’s when the connective tissue holding the tongue to the bottom of the mouth extends too far. This makes it difficult for the baby to stick out their tongue, as it is seemingly “tied” down to mouth.
There’s a range in how severe tongue ties are. My fourth child was born with a mild tongue tie, meaning that his tongue was attached to the bottom of his mouth farther than normal but he was still able to extend the tongue past his lips. We monitored him at birth to see if he would need to have the procedure done to “snip” the frenulum (called a frenotomy). It turned out not to disturb his nursing so we opted not to do it. He has had no problems with his tongue tie since.
With a more severe tongue tie, the tongue is held almost completely to the bottom of the mouth. When the child attempts to stick out his tongue, the tongue will take on almost a heart-shape appearance as the center is still firmly tied down. Attempting to nurse a baby who can’t extend his tongue will result in painful, unproductive nursing.
4. Feed on demand
Of everything you’ve ever read about what you must do for breastfeeding success, this is THE MOST CRUCIAL.
You can schedule your baby all you want after the first couple months, but in the beginning it is very important to breastfeed on demand. This is how you establish your milk supply.
The law of supply and demand is what regulates the entire breastfeeding process. Nursing frequently is what cues your body to make more milk. If you don’t nurse as often as baby wants, your supply will be too low. In the beginning stages when your body is just figuring out how much to make, it is not wise to go by the clock and try to “hold off” the baby from nursing again. Let nature do its thing and allow baby to determine how much milk you should be producing.
This means you will be breastfeeding very, very often in the first few weeks of your baby’s life.
One of the reasons newborns need to be fed very often is that their stomach is literally the size of a marble at birth. The small amount of colostrum you have to feed them after birth is enough to fill this tiny stomach. But their stomach is too small to keep them satiated for long, and they will need to refill themselves often, sometimes every hour to at the start.
Secondly, breastmilk is very easy for baby to digest. This is part of why it’s a perfect source of nourishment for your little one! It also means it is digested extremely quickly, much quicker than formula (about 1.5 hours vs. 3-4 hours). So even if you feel like you just fed them, they very well maybe hungry again.
It is extremely common and expected to feel like you are constantly feeding your baby during the newborn stage. Prepare for it and accept it!
5. Nothing else in the mouth for 3 weeks
The supply and demand process can be disturbed by giving baby a pacifier to try and buy time until the next feeding. When baby is crying to eat, that is the “demand”. Pacifiers delay the time between the baby demanding food, and you giving them the breast. When you are still trying to regulate your supply this can disturb the cycle.
Many new moms inadvertently sabotage their own supply by worrying that they aren’t making enough milk. They may be tempted to pump and feed the baby bottles to see how much they’re getting. However this can lead to several more problems:
1.) The pump does not drain the breast as well as the baby does, so moms may see the amount they pump and think there is a supply issue when there really is not.
2.) Bottles are less work to drink from than the breast. The baby may decide he prefers the bottle and start to refuse the breast or start latching incorrectly at the breast.
3.) Pumping and feeding from a bottle may satisfy a Mom’s desire to feel “in control” of the feeding process. She may lose faith in her body’s natural ability to provide for her baby.
Remember that frequent nursing in the newborn stage is normal and does not mean the baby isn’t getting enough!
If you are unsure whether baby is getting enough, here are the signs:
A note about nipple confusion: The idea of “nipple confusion” is debatable. Many babies, my own included, had no problem switching back and forth from bottle to breast. However I did not introduce a bottle (or pacifier) to them in their first few weeks of life.
Want to be as prepared as possible for breastfeeding?
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class from Milkology covers it ALL. If you want to take a breastfeeding class but don’t have one near you or can’t work it into your schedule, this is perfect. The video format feels like you’re learning from a guru in person, but you can do it at home in your sweats whenever works for you.
The course is extremely thorough, and comes with some amazing bonuses like the Common Breastfeeding Issues Troubleshooting Guide, and Tips From Pumping Moms in the Trenches. It costs $19 and at the end you will be that breastfeeding expert that all your friends call when they have problems.
What questions or concerns do you have about breastfeeding? If you’re an experienced mother, what helped (or hurt) you on your breastfeeding journey? Share in the comments!