Which means, more research into HOW medieval women nursed their children. Even today Boob Access is an issue, though you'd never guess it from our advertising world. I say "if I can get a breast out, it's a nursing top" and that is pretty much true. There seem to be several ways our ancestresses handled this particular life-stage, and I get the feeling that dress seams got split & re-sewn on a regular basis.
The main one seems to be the front slit, which goes from early representations in the 900's up through to today. The slit depth has to depend on breast height, and methinks some artists took a bit of liberty in anatomy and fashion to accomplish these illustrations.
Then there is the Front Slit with Sidless Surcote combo, which is what's been keeping us going. I just leave the front of the dress unlaced, which is covered by the surcote and then pull the outer to the center & the under to the side & a little impatience from my kid makes a meal on the go. This method (so far) is the most modest to modern eyes. Most people don't even know I'm nursing unless they scare him out of his food trance & he bites me. Good for 1100's-late 1300's
The next is a button front gown. This is on the To-Do list just because they are so lovely and I wants one. This gown can have both side lacing and front buttons, but I'll be honest, it looks odd in real life.
|Roger Van der Weyden was kind enough to give us "St. Luke Drawing the Virgin" 1435-40|
The neckline is low enough that she can just lift out, nurse & put back without much fuss.
I used to think his expression was unrealistic until my own kid did that.
Last are the chest slit fashions, mostly from Italy in the early 1500's, but some as early as the 1200's in Western Europe. Some show lacing, but most are just gathered material that close over the bust when not in use. I cannot see this ending well for me, so we'll skip that particular fashion.