What to wear when you’ve just had a baby…
So you were pregnant for 9 months and got used to what to wear – didn’t that bump look cute in everything?? And FINALLY baby arrived! What a lot to wrap your head around – the labour, the birth, your precious, wonderful baby, all these new skills to learn, and the disappearance of that big old….hold on a minute…what’s that bump still doing there??
…Well, let me assure you – this isn’t abnormal. You just had a person living in your body for 9 months and all your organs have slowly moulded around the baby, and that doesn’t all ping back overnight. Unfortunately. Your womb will take 6-8 weeks to shrink back to it’s previous size, but that’s not taking into account your tummy as a whole, with extra skin and the fat that your body’s been conveniently hoarding for breastmilk supplies. So just when you’ve got your body back to yourself, it isn’t the body you remembered having before…because, for most of us, it isn’t the body you had before. And that can take a lot of getting used to.
However, you’ll also be distracted in the healthiest possible way, with a wonderful, gorgeous new little person who depends on you! Eat when you’re hungry (which may feel like pretty much all the time) and don’t worry about dieting/exercise until a few more months down the line – that can wait, but your baby can’t! You’ll never get these precious days and weeks back, so why not relax and try to enjoy every moment?
But, alas, you may need to leave the house from time to time…and you do need to wear something, right? So here’s where I come in with a few tips!
Firstly, there is a lot that you can continue wearing from your maternity wardrobe. This includes:
Tops and Dresses* (more on that in a moment)
Trousers and leggings/jigging
Fitted jackets and coats
I know what you’re thinking – I’m sick of these clothes. I miss my old clothes! Maybe if I just try on a few of…Let me stop you there! Think for a minute: do you really want to put yourself through this?? Very few women (and I really mean very, very few) can pop on pre-pregnancy clothes just after having a baby and find that they fit. But many, many more women are discovered by their husbands, crying on the bedroom floor with half a leg stuck in one jean leg…my husband included!! This is a mistake I only made once – with my second and third babies, I knew I would be wearing maternity clothing for at least 3 months, and was so much happier in myself having altered my expectations.
Having said this, I didn’t wear all of my pregnancy wardrobe, I was careful not to wear tops or dresses with an empire line. The reason for this is that dresses with an empire line drop just below the bust. They are perfect when you’re pregnant because they highlight and show off your beautiful bump! But when you’re postpartum, they still show off your bump! They draw attention to your stomach, and when you’ve got more important things on your mind, why would you make yourself feel self-conscious? For this reason I stuck to lose, comfy, baggy tops, (basically shapeless), with fitted jackets or cardigans.
Fabrics that drape are your friends! As are tailored blazers, jackets or cardigans.
Instead opt for a loose, more flattering and comfortable shape, like this one (RIGHT). To feel a bit more stylish, add an accessory like this hat.
You’ll feel much less self-aware in a dress or top with layers! And don’t be afraid of wearing colours!
One simple, classic and stylish cover-up is the poncho. There are so many styles out there, for all seasons – this one is from Willow Cashmere, London, and is particularly beautiful! But they’re also available on the high street, or would make a fun knitting project whilst pregnant! The other huge benefit of ponchos is that you can breastfeed very easily and discreetly in them. What’s not to like??
Another brilliant cover-up is…your baby! Babies love these snugly slings, and they are so practical for carrying your baby around with you on foot. And as an added bonus, the baby completely covers your tummy, and is the most beautiful accessory you will ever come across!! Nowadays there are so many different kinds of slings, and they come in pretty much any print and colour you can think of.
You can still look stylish by adding accessories to even the most boring outfit – leggings and a tunic can become more of a ‘look’ by throwing a big chunky necklace into the mix! Here are a few other ideas to accessorise with:
A final note
So what should you wear when you’ve just had a baby? I would say the real key is not to put pressure on yourself, and plan for this temporary period of time to be dedicated to keeping you and your baby clean, fed and rested. However, when you do get to the wardrobe, try to reach for simple, stylish, comfortable pieces that will flatter. Then you’ll feel comfortable in your own skin, and able to concentrate on more important things!