What to wear after the bump (and beyond)

What to wear after the bump

I always loved dressing my pregnant bump. But I found the sartorial challenge of dressing my post-pregnancy body much harder.  This post looks at how to find your style after the bump (and beyond!) 

When pregnant your uterus expands to up to 500 times it’s usual size!  That’s a lot of growth and you do need to allow time for it to contract again.  Usually, this takes six weeks.  That’s just your uterus – it takes longer again of course to lose the baby weight itself.  So, no-one is walking out of the hospital in their pre-pregnancy skinny jeans and your maternity pants aren’t quite finished yet.   Those gorgeous dresses that showed off your burgeoning bump probably aren’t quite as flattering now that your baby is born and you have to learn a whole new way of dressing.

Here are my post-baby fashion tips …

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself or your body.  It has just achieved the most amazing feat of all.  You don’t need to subscribe to the celebrity trend of a concave stomach within three months.  They achieve that through countless hours in the gym.  Countless hours that they aren’t spending with their baby.
  • Particularly if your are a first time mother, you and baby are both learning and that’s not easy.  PJ days are inevitable.  So just invest in some lovely PJs that you feel comfortable answering the door in.   Lounge or light weight track pants with a maternity singlet or top are perfect.
  • The tops you wore in early pregnancy that skimmed over your bump, rather than showing it off are perfect for this time.
  • Scarves are wonderful things.  Worn over nursing singlets they hide the post-baby bump.  They add colour to an outfit.  They make nursing singlets look less like underwear. They offer a modesty cover if you want it when breast-feeding.   They can double as spit-up cloths.  Maybe don’t wear your Hermés.
  • Babies spit-up.  Babies do number 3s.  My Baby was a master of the ninja wee.  Somehow I am wet, and he isn’t.  Basically, you are going to get dirty.  Keep your clothes practical and washable.   Darker colours and patterns are great at disguising spit-ups.   You know to keep a few changes of clothes for baby in your bag – keep a change of clothes for yourself also.
  • It is easy to become lost in your baby.  Taking a little time out to make yourself look and feel nice is okay.

And if you are breastfeeding:

  • You will either breastfeed by unbuttoning/unzipping/pulling down your top or lifting it up.   Lifting up your top is probably more modest in terms of revealing your breasts.   Most women probably don’t want to bear their tummy flesh when feeding, so a good option is to wear something light and flowy over the top of a nursing singlet.
  • I was completely un-coordinated with the lift-up method and my babies would get caught up in material.  Ditto when I tried to use a breast-feeding cover.  I tended to do the pull down method.  This means I either wore low-cut tops with a bit of stretch to them, or button/zip down tops.  In order to preserve some modesty, I would often pair a singlet with a jacket or cardigan which covers the boob when feeding.  Again, a scarf can be useful here.
  • I was fortunate to have a lot of milk.  That meant a lot of leakage.  That meant breast milk getting all over my tops.  One way to circumvent this was to invest in a few newborn bibs (I always wondered what they were for!).
  • You will find that the first few times you breastfeed in public you are hyper-aware and thinking everyone is looking at you. They most probably aren’t.  The most important people in the breast-feeding equation are you and your baby.  As my gorgeous, uninhibited, Brazilian friend once put it “I got enough to worry about – I don’t need to worry about what people around me think.”  However, if nursing in public does stress you out – it will also stress your baby out.  Invest in a light-weight nursing cover.
  • It can help to feed your new baby in front of a mirror just once. You will see how very little you actually do reveal. Now, when they are months and months older and they come off to have a squizz around every five minutes, well that’s a different story.
  • Your boobs are doing a lot of work.  Treat them kindly and ensure you wear supportive bras.
  • As in pregnancy, don’t change your style completely – you will never get out of the house for lack of things to wear.  I don’t normally wear button-down collared tops and trying to adopt them for breast-feeding just doesn’t work for me.
  • Put away the things that don’t fit or work for this time in your life.  It will make getting ready so much easier!
  • You probably feel like you will never get back to your usual wardrobe again.  Keep in mind that the period of time when a baby feeds every 3 – 4 hours is limited.  Even if you intend to breastfeed past 6 months, there comes a time when babies just feed in the morning and evening.  Your wardrobe will open up again then.

What to wear when breast-feeding

My nursing kit

  • Wrap dresses – perfect for feeding.
  • 5 nursing singlets in black, white and nude.  Bonds do great ones.  Kmart and Target also do and they are a bit cheaper.
  • Jackets, capelets and/or cardigans.
  • Comfy pants (maternity or elasticated).  Elasticated harem pants are great if you don’t mind getting your hippy on.
  • Loose, flow-y tops.
  • Zip-down tops
  • Stretchy, low-cut tops
A variation of this post first appeared in Chasing His Sunshine  (my other blog which is about parenting, love, life and having babies after loss).

What are your tips for dressing after the bump?

6 thoughts on “What to wear after the bump (and beyond)

  1. Naomi Bulger says:

    Ha – I hear you. For nursing both my babies, I wore singlets (either nursing singlets or easy-to-pull-down normal singlets) under loose tops. My youngest is two months weaned but I’m still in the same outfits. Old habits! After my first child I remember celebrating when my waistline finally came back to a semblance of its former self… only to discover that my pre-pregnancy dresses and button-down trench coats etc didn’t fit anyway, thanks to that gigantic breastfeeding cleavage. Sigh.

    • Robyna says:

      We are on the same time line Naomi and I have yet to give up those comfy bonds feeding singlets – although I know the day must come!

  2. Heike Herrling says:

    Oh, why, isn’t this post good timing! I was starting to wonder what I should be doing with my wardrobe in preparation for the next stage (the one where the baby is on the outside!). I’ve gotten myself a couple of those singlets and I’m thankful I’m having an Autumn/Winter baby so that layering isn’t going to be too hot. I don’t think I’d feel totally comfortable in my post-baby body wearing the feeding singlet by itself – but you’re right, summer scarves would have to be the saving grace. Clearly I must invest in some nice cardies and wrap dresses! Thanks Robyna xx

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