Zips, Buttons, or Layers? Different Maternity Nursing Styles

Newborn & Breastfeeding

Today I've put on my graphic designer hat and illustrated some of the most common types of breastfeeding access in nursing wear. I've also put together a list of pros & cons for each style to further help you decide on the best style for your needs. 

Without further ado, let's start with the most common style to the least. 



This style usually involves an outer layer that pulls upwards to reveal an underlayer with slits or holes cut into it.

Pull-Apart Layer

The pull-apart design is similar to its counterpart, except it may not have a top layer or slits in the underlayer.


  • Fuss-free, very quick access
  • One of the most common styles, easily available
  • Cheaper than most other styles because it is so frequently produced


  • Doesn't always look the most fashionable
  • Does not always allow for hands-free breastfeeding - you will often need to use the other hand to hold the top layer so it doesn't drape over baby's face
  • If the pull-apart fabric is tight, it might loosen and lose shape over time with all the pulling and stretching

Some of our products with layered nursing access:

>> Long Sleeve Thermal Top

>> 2 Piece Sleepwear Set 

>> Office Wear - Skater Dress

Mid-Length / Full Length

This style is hugely popular because non-maternity retailers can easily market their pieces as "nursing-friendly". The buttons can do down to any length, but in order to pull-apart wide enough to be nursing-friendly, it needs to extend at least past your under-boobs. 



  • Looks amazingly chic as maternity wear
  • Doubles as non-maternity wear after you stop breastfeeding
  • Allows for hands-free breastfeeding


  • Hungry babies hate it - When you have a screaming baby at hand, you don't even want to waste three seconds undoing buttons. 
  • Buttons may be a distraction when the baby is feeding.
  • Poor workmanship may cause buttons to break off easily, especially with the frequent undoing and redoing (or when the baby plucks at it).



Like the button style, the vertical zip is another style that non-maternity retailers often use to attract nursing mothers. 

(One-way vs Two-ways)

This is my favourite design simply because it is so unique but convenient.




The one-way zip only has one zip, and can only go in one direction at a time, which means the entire length of your chest is exposed at any give time when breastfeeding. The two-ways zip, on the other hand, has (you guessed it) two zips that can go in opposite directions. This means you can unzip to reveal only the side of the breast that baby is feeding from. This is particularly useful when there's a chill in the air and you want to keep warm.


  • Probably the most fashionable style out of all the above mentioned
  • Unique design, seldom seen in the maternity scene
  • Allows for hands-free breastfeeding


  • Slightly more expensive than the other styles, because the zip is an extra manufacturing and labour cost
  • Poor quality zips can catch the fabric (or fingers) or break

    Some of our products with zips:

    >> Two-Way Front Zip Jumper

    >> Maxi Dress with Side Vertical Zips

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