Hello there 🙂
My first night at home from the hospital, just three days after the exhilaration and joy of the birth, I woke up in the middle of the night in soaked sheets. Why didn't anyone tell me that my breasts would leak like a big sieve? How did I not know I had to sleep in a supportive bra with nursing pillows that was two sizes larger than my regular maternity bras? Why did I focus so much on my maternity clothes during my pregnancy rather than my postpartum needs? I realized that I had done all of my readings and research about pregnancy, but I wasn't prepared for what I would need later to take care of myself and feel good.
The reality, of course, is that you don't need it a lot of. During my maternity leave, I basically lived in three things: loose sweatpants, a nursing bra, and an oversized V-neck t-shirt. (Let's face it; even the t-shirt didn't stay on long due to countless feedings and spit!) However, it's important to have the right postpartum items on hand so that your precious time heals, binds, and rest is so comfortable and practical as possible.
During my 14 weeks of blissful, emotional, tender, exhausting, and joyous maternity leave (and yes, there are many more adjectives to describe this extraordinary, life changing time) I tried and tested a lot of items to find out what clothes were really important to me and my new postpartum body – a body that was still going through quantum shifts. Below, I share the must-have pieces that I absolutely couldn't live without.
For the first few weeks after giving birth, I basically lived in stretchy night dresses around the clock. I still had pain from stitches, swelling, and bruises after giving birth. The last thing I wanted to do was put on some pants. A soft nightgown with a low V-neckline and spaghetti straps is simple and easily accessible to make breastfeeding easier (if you have chosen to breastfeed).
Right next to my nightgown, a cuddly plush robe was a must. This was especially useful when the door needed to be opened to the postman or unexpected visitors.
Do you remember the bras you bought when you were pregnant? They'll likely be too small for you for a while. When your breast milk sets in and blood flow increases, your breasts can become quite large, hard, and sore. This constipation should subside after breastfeeding or pumping. However, you definitely need a tight, supportive, and soft bra. A nursing bra is a great choice, and I particularly like the following styles of sports bra, which are incredibly comfortable and easy to nurse. I used these during the day and night while I was (kind of) sleeping.
A tip: take as many pairs of these disposable net panties with you as you will receive at the hospital after the delivery. Yes, even celebrities swear by it. Here is lovely Chrissy Teigen to wear after giving birth. I had no idea how much body fluid I would be dealing with after giving birth. For up to six weeks after delivery there is a lot of of blood, mucus, and discharge, so you'll need large, comfortable, supportive underwear that fits in these (enormous) maternity pads. I actually wore my husband's Calvin Klein boxer shorts in bed for a while when I ran out of hospital mesh panties, but I soon found that the bottom postpartum underwear is a much better, more seamless, and breathable option – good for you. I had a caesarean section or a vaginal delivery.
When I wasn't wearing leggings, I loved relaxing in roomy sweatpants. Especially for the first month after the birth when I couldn't wear tight leggings. I'm obsessed with those monrow that look casual yet cool – perfect for when you have visitors or just strolling around.
These are staples in a closet after giving birth. During maternity leave, I wore loose-fitting, comfortable V-neck or scoop neck T-shirts made of cotton every day. Style tops are also very handy and practical when you need to run errands and breastfeed. There are plenty of easy and affordable options from H&M, Amazon, and ASOS.
Stretch is the name of the game when you are thinking about maternity leave attire, and you most likely want to have a handful of flexible leggings on hand as you move up and down a lot of. I especially liked leggings with a low, elastic waist as a more comfortable option to maintain my postpartum frame.
I was on maternity leave in the fall and winter, so an oversized, cozy sweater – easy to breastfeed – was a must. Wrap sweaters are also a chic option.
I have the most comfortable, lightest, three-quarter length Cosabella pajama pants that I have lived in at home most of the time. I could do without pajama shirts, but pajama pants are a must! Eberjey also has some ultra-soft options.
A loose fitting cardigan is a fashion savior when you want to create the illusion of a stripped down frame. It's also the perfect piece to slip over your grooming tanks, t-shirts, and nightgowns in the cold.
This post was published earlier and has been updated since then.
Next up, I'm a new mom, and that's how I handle my back-to-work wardrobe.