Starting around 32 weeks pregnant, I would inssentently google “what to wear postpartum” or “what to wear after child birth” around 3am when I could no longer sleep and had to do something to pass the time. The confusion about what to wear and more importantly what I could possibly fit into after-baby was constantly on my mind toward the end of pregnancy. How would I feel? Would my legs and belly fit into leggings? How do I dress for nursing and going outside of my house? I had so many questions. Accompanied by these questions were thoughts and concerns about seriously wanting to avoid being that woman who looked like a slob and hoping that whatever I was wearing would make me feel good and feel (as much as possible) like myself. With some help from internet research and some great mommy blogs, I was able to assemble a postpartum wardrobe that kept me comfortable and presentable.
First and foremost: Absolutely no jeans. If any woman tells you that she hopped right into a pair of skinny jeans after having a baby, greet her with a high five in the form of a punch in the face. This is a postpartum mantra I’d recommend any expecting mother to repeat to herself over and over again. I promise you’ll be able to ease back into your jeans, but for the first month at least, repeat after me: “Absolutely no jeans.” If you’re a husband reading this, I’d recommend you also get your mind around this. There will be absolutely no jeans caressing your wife’s lower-half for a while. Start embracing this now.
Since you won’t be wearing jeans for a while, you’ll want to invest in a couple of pairs of postpartum high-waisted leggings and a pair or two of public-ready joggers. High-waisted postpartum leggings are complete with a lot compression to keep everything that’s still slightly larger than normal and moving around more than normal in its rightful place, and are designed to stay up just under your breasts providing coverage for you while breastfeeding (because you’ll likely need to lift up your shirt). I had two brands – Blanqi and Mothers Essentials – both of which were great. The Blanqi leggings were full-length whereas the Mothers Essentials were a capri fit.
As for the public-ready joggers, I realize it’s possible you’re not into the “joggers craze” like me, but the point here is that you’ll need at least one pair of pants that are ready for public viewing that are not leggings and are not jeans (see the mantra above). I lived in (and still live in) my joggers from Athleta. They are amazing and worth every penny.
A funny anecdote in the name of full disclosure: I tried to put on my postpartum leggings the day after we got home from the hospital while trying to dress myself for Hudson’s first pediatrician appointment. It didn’t go well. I got them up to my knees and couldn’t go an inch further. I cried a bit, then thanked the Lord for my public-ready joggers with their oh-so-gracious waistband.
The most critical part of your body as you enter postpartum are your breasts. Yup, that’s correct. Your breasts will need to be covered up carefully with a soft but supportive home, while still being ready for full exposure at a moment’s notice. This is true whether you’re nursing, pumping, or a combination thereof. I found padded nursing tank tops were amazing. The padding is critical because you’ll be lactating and because it makes them wearable without a bra out in public. Yes, I said it: no bra in public (on occasion and because you just had a baby so you get a free no-bra pass).
Beyond the tank tops, I chose a made-for-nursing tunic length sweatshirt and a few other tops that were loose and soft that could easily be worn with leggings or my joggers. The v-neck luxe t-shirts from Old Navy were wonderful to throw on and feel great in. I also purchased a few wrap-style shirts that were easy to wear with a tank underneath for nursing and pumping. When selecting these items I chose things that were in colors I loved so that I’d feel comfortable in them immediately, and chose things that I felt I could reasonably dress up with a nice pair of earrings and a bracelet and/or could be part of an athleisure outfit.
Have some fun when preparing your postpartum wardrobe and give yourself grace as you ease into it after your little one arrives. And if all else fails try one of these two things: 1) Give yourself a good laugh by re-reading my funny anecdote about not being able to get my leggings past my knees, or 2) repeat the postpartum mantra – “Absolutely no jeans.” – then lovingly put on your comfies.