How to Create a Postpartum Wardrobe
Maternity clothes get a lot of attention, but many people overlook an equally important category of pregnancy garments: postpartum outfits. Dressing after your baby is born requires a slightly different approach than dressing during pregnancy, and you might need to get some additional pieces to help you stay comfortable and stylish as your body heals and changes. As both a mom and a Personal Shopper, here are 12 of my must-have garments to put together the perfect postpartum outfit.
Regardless of whether or not you’re planning to breastfeed, you will need a comfortable, absorbent bra for those first days after pregnancy to prevent leakage during the night. I love Leonisa’s maternity bras because they offer both stretch and support, as milk can cause your breasts to expand dramatically.
The engorgement will settle down as you get adjusted to breastfeeding or let your milk dry up. If you’re nursing, you will want dedicated, comfortable nursing bras with fold down cups that provide easy access. You definitely do not want to have to take off your bra every time you nurse your baby. If you’re not nursing, I suggest wearing sports bras or other bras that are sturdy enough to hold your nursing pads until your milk goes away.
When you give birth, the hospital will likely offer some disposable mesh panties. Take absolutely as many as they will let you—trust me on this. You will be dealing with a lot of bodily fluid for up to six weeks after delivery, and these disposable briefs will absorb it and then can be thrown out once they’re saturated. Additionally, get yourself some large, high waisted postpartum underwear that will stay in place and accommodate your maternity pads. You might need to size up in order to get a comfortable fit with the maternity pad; however, you don’t want them to be so large that they will move around and potentially cause leakage.
Once you’ve healed up, you might want to wear some postpartum shapewear to provide support or give your figure a little boost. It should not be too tight or compressing, as this can interfere with healing. Shapewear can cradle your belly, give your bottom a little lift and make you feel supported and confident. Even if you don’t like to wear it around the house while you’re lounging around, it can make you feel more put together whenever you have to leave the house with your new baby in tow.
Loose t-shirts are essential to any postpartum outfit. They’re easy to get in and out of and can be dressed up with a jacket or sweater if you’re leaving the house. Find a loose t-shirt size and style that you like and buy multiples of it. You’ll need backups because they will often be covered in milk and spit up. Some of your maternity tops might work at the beginning, but as your post-baby bump decreases, you can go back to regular t-shirts, though you might want a larger size than usual to accommodate your swollen breasts and other post-pregnancy changes.
Easy Access Tops
If you’re breastfeeding, you might want to buy some specially designed nursing tops that allow for easy access to your chest. There are nursing tops that are meant to do just this, and some regular top styles—such as wrap tops—provide this kind of access as well. Having a few of these tops in your wardrobe will really make a difference, especially if you’re breastfeeding during the cold months or out in public when you might not necessarily want to take off your entire shirt in order to breastfeed. If you can find loose button-up shirts in soft, flowing fabric, that can also work, though you do need to be mindful of the buttons gapping or popping open around your chest when you’re not breastfeeding.
If you want an easy, flowy top that you can throw over jeans, but still feel comfortable in them, tunics are an excellent solution. You may have worn these during pregnancy, although maternity tunics designed to accommodate your bump can often feel like a tent after you give birth. If you have some tunics from before you got pregnant, try them on to see if they still fit. If they don’t, it’s worth adding one or two of these tops to your postpartum wardrobe for days when you need something nicer than a t-shirt but still want to cover that post-baby bump.
These comfortable, stretchy dresses are perfect for the hot months when you don’t want to wear pants. Some women who have C-sections may also find it more comfortable to wear a nursing dress, as the waistbands on pants and shorts can sometimes hit right at the incision site. If you live somewhere warm or are planning to have a C-section, you’ll want to have a couple of these in your closet. You can even make nursing dresses work for colder places by getting full-length versions and throwing a warm sweater over the top. You might wonder how you ever wore pants in the first place!
Lounge Pants and Shorts
If you’re like me, these are already a staple of your wardrobe even when you’re not pregnant. I love lounge pants for their loose fit and comfy fabric, and lounge shorts are perfect when it’s hot out. These looser pants are especially great to wear right after giving birth, when you might not want to wear tighter leggings quite yet. Invest in some slightly nicer lounge pants that you aren’t ashamed to wear while walking around the neighborhood or hosting visitors who’ve come to see your new baby. You might want to size up a little if your pre-pregnancy ones are still a little small, as you’ll be moving around a lot and don’t want them to chafe.
If you haven’t already gotten on board the leggings train, you are about to. About a month after giving birth, once your bump has really shrunk in size, you’re probably going to be ready to move into leggings. Look for extra stretchy leggings that can expand to fit any weight fluctuations. Some women prefer high waisted leggings that cradle their stomach, while others like lower waists that hit below their bump. Whatever your preference, make sure that the leggings don’t have seams or panels that will constrict your movement or dig into your skin. You want to be comfortable and have a full range of motion.
Robes are great for both modesty and comfort. They keep you warm, open easily for breastfeeding and are perfect to throw on if the mailman suddenly appears at the door and needs you to sign for a delivery. If you don’t already own one, you will definitely want one to keep in your closet. I personally like to keep two robes on hand: a thinner cotton one for summer time and a thicker plush one for winter. Because of a robe’s forgiving and adjustable size, you can keep wearing them long after giving birth.