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How do I Choose the Best Breastfeeding Shawl?

By J. Bean
Updated May 17, 2024
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Breastfeeding mothers might have a difficult time choosing from the large variety of breastfeeding shawls available. There is a large variety of fabrics, styles and features from which to choose. Choosing the best breastfeeding shawl is a matter of personal preference. It is important to consider many varying factors, including the baby’s nursing style, ease of use, mother and baby’s comfort, laundering requirements and durability.

There are many styles of breastfeeding shawls available. Some resemble a normal shawl or scarf, and others have clips to hold them in place. This is an important feature to ensure privacy, especially when baby is old enough to tug on the shawl. Others have a strap around the neck similar to an apron, and this type of cover allows a breastfeeding mother to look down at her child while maintaining privacy. Some shawls also wrap completely around the waist, keeping the midriff hidden.

Fabric choice is a major factor to consider when choosing a breastfeeding shawl. It is important to choose a fabric that is breathable and will not smother baby. The weight of the fabric is also important, especially in very cool or warm climates. Choosing a fabric that is soft to the touch will keep both mother and baby comfortable.

It is wise to choose a fabric that is easy to launder. A shawl that can be laundered in a household washer and dryer is preferable. Mothers typically carry their breastfeeding shawl in a diaper bag or purse, so choosing one made of fabric that doesn’t wrinkle easily is a good idea. It is important to bear in mind that repeated laundering might cause certain fabrics to shrink, fade or pile.

Durability is another key factor to consider when choosing a breastfeeding shawl. One with double stitching of heavy thread or one with seams that have been surged will last for quite some time. A well-made shawl might hold up well until a baby is weaned. If properly cared for, it can be used with future children — possibly even future generations of children.

A handful of breastfeeding shawls have nonessential but useful features. Some are lined with a soft nonirritating fabric and have a durable waterproof outer shell. This might come in handy in rainy climates as a way to keep the baby dry. Others have built-in pockets that the mother can use to store nursing pads or a burp cloth. There a few available that have hook-and-loop fabric fasteners on the sides, allowing them to double as stroller or carrier covers.

Choose a breastfeeding shawl that is easy to use. A shawl that is easy to put on while holding the baby is important. It is a good idea to practice using a shawl before purchasing it. It should be easy to situate the baby and the shawl with one hand and to adjust the shawl after the baby begins to breastfeed. Avoid purchasing a shawl that might require a difficult series of maneuvers or lead to undesired exposure.

Breastfeeding shawls are usually worn in a public setting and will be seen by others. Some breastfeeding mothers like to maintain their personal style when choosing a cover. Many mothers choose a neutral color, such as black or brown, that will match their wardrobe. Other mothers like to choose bright colors and bold prints as a way to add some fun to their look.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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