The last thing you want to worry about during the first days and weeks as a mom is what to wear. Your time and energy are consumed with meeting the needs of an adorable yet demanding little person, your body is healing from the physical destruction wrought by said little person, and you are trying to navigate fluctuating hormones that impact everything from how easily you cry to how much you sweat. On top of all that, what used to seem like a no brainer – throwing on some pants and a top – has suddenly become ridiculously complicated. Your body is no longer pregnant yet it is not anything close to the same shape it was prepregnancy. Clothing must now comfortably accommodate nursing, and efficiently camouflage spit up, drool, and milk leaks. So many things to consider when you are in a daze of sleep deprivation and cloud 9 nine giddiness!
A little preparation ahead of time can make all the difference. Each mom’s needs are unique, but I would like to share with you a few things I learned from my two postpartum experiences. I hope these ideas will help you create a functional and stress free wardrobe so that you can focus all your energy on loving your little bundle.
The First Few Days
Hopefully you will spend the entirety of these days in bed! Looking fashionable should be the last thing on your mind as you allow your body to heal from the amazing task it just accomplished. Still, if you’re like me, you may find that putting on a fresh change of clothes every morning helps you feel more comfortable and more human.
Since they have a built in shelf bra for a bit of support, these are comfortable enough for me to wear without a real bra. They are soft and stretchy, perfect for the uncomfortable days of engorgement and changing breast size. And of course the clip down front is handy for nursing. I tried one from Target with my first baby, and did not like the way it fit (too baggy on the bottom to be layered under other tops, and uncomfortably small on top). These ones from H&M come in plenty of neutral colors as well as some prints and fun colors, and they fit me much better. I wore one alone most of the first few days and nights. If someone was coming over I would throw a t shirt on top. You can also find some decent nursing camis on Amazon, which makes it super easy–no going out of the house required!
Maternity and over-sized tees
When I did need to cover up with a tee, I found myself reaching for one of my maternity tops first. This one is nice and roomy but doesn’t have the rouching on the sides that screams “pregnant!” I will probably invest in a few more of this style next time I get pregnant since they work so well both during pregnancy and after. I also had a couple over-sized Target tees from pre-pregnancy that are nice and stretchy, which I also used for this purpose. Either way, you want something that will be easy to lift up for nursing. You could also pull down the neckline of a very stretchy tee, but if you don’t want to bother with a cover all the time, lifting up is more discreet.
Rule number one for these first few days is to always be dressed in something you can comfortably sleep in, since you will be catching naps at all hours of the day and night whenever you have a chance. But since you also might want to look somewhat presentable in case someone brings a meal by or comes to see the baby, PJ shorts aren’t ideal. I would recommend either a pair of athletic shorts or soft shorts like the ones pictured. With an oversized tee and a front tuck you will look less like you just rolled out of bed and more like a style blogger. 😉
Yoga pants are also super comfortable (and completely acceptable!) during this period, but keep in mind that anything too thin or fitted may show lumps and bumps from monster sized pads and the granny panties necessary to accommodate them! My boys were both born in the heat of summer so I wore shorts almost exclusively, but if I needed pants I probably would have looked for some inexpensive joggers that are less fitted, still super comfy, and a little more stylish than yoga pants.
In the first week, hopefully your only outing will be to the pediatrician. In the following few weeks you may start venturing out to church, the grocery store, or to visit family. Here are three outfit formulas that are comfortable, nursing friendly, and easy to put together with what is already in your closet.
Maternity pants/shorts + oversized/maternity tee
Full panel maternity bottoms are great for when you don’t fit back into your old jeans yet. The panel is helpful for extra coverage while nursing. Paired with a non-ruched maternity top or drapey tee, this is a simple, no fuss outfit. Ideally go for a tee with a small print in dark colors. (I originally thought black would be the way to go, but I didn’t realize that new babies have flakey skin! It looked like a had a perpetual case of the worst dandruff ever.)
Joggers + oversized/maternity tee + nursing cami
This is a great, easy combination if you don’t yet have a well fitting nursing bra and you can get away with the coverage of just a tank and tee. (I need more coverage so I am more likely to wear a nursing bra and regular cami, which is a good formula once breast size stops fluctuating so much and you are comfortable investing in a good bra. Nursing cami + nursing bra is just too much bulk and hassle, so after the first few days I use my nursing camis almost exclusively at night.) If joggers feel too pajama-like for you to be comfortable in public, take a look at theseimages I pulled from a quick Pinterest search, and see if you change your mind. 🙂
Stretchy waistband skirt + nursing cami + vest/cardigan/denim jacket
It doesn’t get much more comfortable than a skirt with a stretchy band like a maxi skirt. If you are going to be wearing your baby, I recommend putting him or her on before adding the cardigan or vest. Not only will your wrap or carrier fit better, but wearing a baby can make you very warm (and if you’re like me you will sweat more than normal for a while postpartum) so this will allow you to remove the layer as needed.
Through the Second Month and beyond
Once your body has mostly healed and you are getting the hang of being out and about with your baby, consider purchasing a couple items that fit you well and make you feel good about your new body. You very well might get back to your pre pregnancy size soon (or after a while) but this is a challenging time regardless and one or two pieces that you love and are easy to wear will be indispensable.
Pants, especially jeans, will probably be the hardest to fit back into, so think about purchasing a versatile, comfortable pair in your current size, especially if you’re like me and normally wear jeans 90% of the time. I have started buying denim at ThreadUP since I can get high end brands (which I find fit much better and last much longer) for what I’d spend at Target or Old Navy. Thredup is also a great place to find maxi skirts and big, comfy ts as well!
I also found it helpful to buy a well fitting, nursing friendly dress for church at this point. I hate being stressed about my outfit as we are trying to get out the door Sunday morning, and one easy go-to option makes all the difference, especially when it can be changed up with a vest or cardigan or tights. Think button front or wrap front dresses for easy nursing.
Other than a couple items like these to anchor your wardrobe, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on special nursing clothes, especially not at this point when you still might be dropping weight. You can still wear much of what is already in your closet.
If you like your maternity clothes, keep wearing them! No one will know if your pants have a panel unless you are wearing a crop top and my guess is most of you won’t be reaching for crop tops during this season of life! Many maternity dresses and tops are flattering even without a baby belly, and indistinguishable from regular clothes. They tend to be stretchy and forgiving, to accommodate increasing pregnancy size, which often makes them nursing friendly and very comfortable. Maternity tanks are nice and long, which is helpful for nursing, and you can easily layer them to hide any rouching.
Look for any pre-pregnancy skirts with stretchy waistbands that are already in your closet. Maxi skirts often have very comfortable and forgiving waistbands. Unbuttoned as a top layer, all your old cardigans and button downs will be useful as well. Most regular tees and tanks will likely still fit you also. If they aren’t quite as flattering as they used to be, layering is your best friend.
Keep in mind that you will probably be most comfortable in super breathable fabrics. And if you plan to baby wear, remember that the sensitive skin on your baby’s face will be right up against whatever shirt you are wearing, so be careful with buttons, zippers, etc.
I hope these ideas give you inspiration and confidence as you learn how to dress your postpartum body. If you can embrace any limitations as ways to help you learn more about your style and how to express yourself through practical clothing, you can have fun with this phase of your fashion journey. Enjoy it!
An Easy Shopping List for You
Here is a handy short list of things you may want to buy or make sure you already have in your closet before Baby is born:
- Soft shorts and/or joggers
- Nursing camis
- Oversize tees and/or maternity tees without ruching
- Skirt with a stretchy waistband
- Well fitting jeans in your new size (purchase after baby is born)
- A versatile, nursing friendly dress (purchase after baby is born)
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