What To Wear Postpartum: Clothes For Your New Body After Birth

Trying to figure out what to wear postpartum can be challenging.  While there are dozens of baby clothes at home waiting for the new baby, there usually are not many options waiting for the new mom. 

Plan ahead with the right postpartum clothes and buy a few postpartum essentials (you don’t need a ton) to have ready for when you get home from the hospital. 

I’ll also walk you through repurposing your current maternity clothes and how to start dressing your new body.  

What to wear postpartum. How to dress your new body after birth. Mother holding a newborn baby. mommymakerteacher.com
What To Wear Postpartum

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Postpartum Clothes For The Hospital

As a first-time mom, I went through every hospital bag checklist there was.  I packed so many things in my hospital suitcase… Only to use body wash, a nursing top, stretchy pants, and a few hair ties. 

In all likelihood, you are going to spend the majority of your hospital stay in your hospital room in your hospital gown.  

The hospital provides most of what you need including socks and slippers, soap, postpartum recovery products, mesh underwear, sheets, towels, and pillows.

Sure, if you want your own items from home, feel free to pack as much as you want.  I’ll even link up my favorite hospital bag packing list here

If you’re more of a minimalist, here is what I suggest for what to wear postpartum in the hospital: 

  • Tank tops (bonus if it is a nursing tank top) 
  • Maternity leggings (yes, go for maternity leggings, and don’t try to squeeze into regular leggings right away)
  • OR Breastfeeding gown/robe if you don’t want to deal with pants and a top
  • Hair ties

What To Wear Postpartum

What To Wear Postpartum: In The First Days At Home

what to wear postpartum
Stretchy Pants And Loose Cotton T’s

In the first few days with the baby at home, plan on wearing stretchy pants and loose cotton tops. 

You’ll want to choose breathable materials as you will likely have fluctuating body temperatures–ahem night sweats anyone 🙃?–(from hormones) for the first couple of weeks.  

Also, don’t be afraid to live in your maternity clothes.  Just because you aren’t carrying your baby anymore doesn’t mean you’re no longer able to wear your favorite maternity leggings and tanks! 

Go with whatever is the most comfortable for you. 

Here is my list of what to wear postpartum in the first few days at home: 

  • Sports bras
    Preferably soft with nursing clasps if you choose to breastfeed. 
  • Comfortable underwear
    You can also buy disposable postpartum underwear for the first few days, and light cotton briefs. 

    💡Pro Tip: See if your nurse at the hospital will put together a bag of postpartum essentials for you to take home, including extra mesh underwear.
  • High-waisted stretchy pants
    Leggings, joggers, sweats, yoga pants, whatever you want… As long as they are forgiving on your belly. Bonus for high-waisted options that will provide a little support for your healing tummy.  

Mom Tip: Having the right postpartum essentials for the healing process and recovery at home is so important.  You can make your own DIY postpartum survival kit just like I did with recovery essentials like postpartum padsicles.

What To Wear Postpartum: In The First Six Months

what to wear postpartum black maxi dress
A Simple Black Maxi Dress And Long Necklace

After your initial recovery–no pressure here mama, some of us recover in a few days, others need weeks–you might want to start wearing “real clothes” again.  

This is not the time to worry about your postpartum body (although I’ll give you some tips on how to dress your new body below).  

Focus on finding clothes that are going to be flattering, and that you are comfortable wearing.

If there is a particular spot that you are self-conscious of, find clothes that will accentuate your best features like flowy tops or loose tops to highlight your shoulders, neck, and collar bone.

Try to think about dressing your body at this stage as highlighting your best features while still flattering any areas that have changed since pre-pregnancy. 

Take the pressure off of yourself when it comes to fitting into your pre-pregnancy jeans at this point and wear high-waist leggings, tunic tops and sweaters that smooth your belly. 

A simple pair of black leggings should be a staple in your wardrobe during this time (if it isn’t already). 

Maxi dresses and flowy dresses (like a-line summer dresses) will also hide your hips and belly without looking like you are trying to hide your hips and belly.

There is a lot to be said about your hair and makeup routine and accessories during this stage. 

I always felt that adding a few accessories back to my wardrobe (like a long necklace with a maxi dress, or my favorite boots with my leggings) made me feel like a million dollars. 

Pro Tip: Sneaking away for 30 minutes to grab a shower, do your hair, and throw on some mascara and lipgloss will have you feeling like yourself again too. 

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Dressing Your Postpartum Body

How to dress your postpartum body. Mom putting on a belly band sitting on a bed. mommymakerteacher.com
How To Dress Your Postpartum Body

After delivery there is so much that your body is going through that is out of your control.  You might be struggling with stubborn pregnancy weight, loose skin, or diastasis recti (ab separation) to name a few. 

Did you know breastfeeding could actually be the reason why you aren’t losing weight?!

It might sound like a cliche, but everybody responds to pregnancy so differently. 

Some women find themselves with their pre-pregnancy bodies only a few weeks after giving birth.  Others (like myself) have new curves to dress in forever.  

Try not to compare yourself to anyone else during this time, and allow yourself some grace–you just grew a whole human being! 

The big secret is: most of what your postpartum body looks like is hormonal and genetic. 

This means that no matter how much you work out or watch what you eat, you may never go back to your normal size. 

I’m here to tell you that it is ok!  

So much of what your body does after you give birth is out of your control.  But there are definitely some “tricks of the trade” to make the ride a little less bumpy and help you feel confident in your new body.  

  • Belly Band 
    A belly band (sometimes called a postpartum girdle) will be your best friend.  A belly band is a piece of fabric that goes around your postpartum belly to support your muscles and organs after delivery. You can find so many types online that range from mild support to super-supportive.  You can wear one as long as you would like! The belly band gives the illusion of a slimmer, smoother midsection, and some will give you a little more waist definition.  
  • Postpartum Jeans And Leggings
    Something that I didn’t know about in my first pregnancy, but are definitely on my shopping list for my second pregnancy are postpartum jeans and postpartum leggings.  

    Remember your maternity jeans and leggings that you love so much?  The ones with the full panel that snuggled your belly all day? 

    Postpartum jeans and leggings are the full-panel cousins to your maternity pants.  Think of them like pants with a belly band built right in.  The nice thing about having the support band built in is that there are less pieces and layers of fabric to worry about riding up or sliding around during the day. 

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  • Comfortable Clothes… Meaning clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in!
    Don’t be afraid to dress your changing body.  You might be thinking “why should I spend money on new clothes when I’m not the size or shape that I want to be?” 

    This is definitely a fair question, but as I personally experienced, your body is going to continue to change over the next weeks and months.  

    Why not invest in some staples that you will feel comfortable and confident wearing?  

    No one has to know that your new skinny jeans are 3 sizes bigger than before.  It’s way better to have flattering clothes in your closet that you can feel comfortable and confident in.  The alternative is feeling bad about yourself every time you try to put on your old clothes that don’t fit or don’t look the same as they used to.  

Mom Tip: This is all definitely easier said than done mama.  This advice is coming to you from a woman who has about half of her wardrobe full of clothes that are probably never going to fit even 2 years postpartum🤣. It’s a process, and we’re all going through it! 

What To Wear Postpartum After A C-Section

Recovery after a c section is usually a little longer than a vaginal delivery because of the c-section incision.  

The incision site will be sore, so you will want to find lounge pants, leggings, and jeans with a stretchy waistband.  

I would recommend using your pregnancy jeans and leggings that have panels that come all the way up over the belly button.  Then you don’t risk having shirts or pant lines rubbing against the incision area.  

Finally, the hospital should provide you with an abdominal support band that you can use in conjunction with your maternity pants to keep the area well protected.  

Once the incision is healed, you can go back to “normal” clothes and use the tips I provided earlier to dress your new body. 

Postpartum Clothes For Breastfeeding

You might be wondering if you need nursing clothes for breastfeeding postpartum.  

Honestly, I think you can get by with a few nursing essentials like nursing bras and tank tops, and forget the rest.  

If you are very social and will be bringing your baby to lots of events, then you might want to invest in a few cute nursing tops or nursing dresses.  Otherwise, your maternity clothes and basic postpartum gear will be fine. 

In the first weeks of breastfeeding easy boob access is the most important part of your postpartum wardrobe.  

Feeding on-demand is a difficult task for news moms since there usually isn’t a schedule to go by and it’s hard to predict when your newborn will want (or not want) to eat.  

Plan on wearing a comfortable nursing bra at home for the first couple of weeks. I like these nursing bras because they give a little support, can hold a nursing pad to catch leaks, and have easy access without worrying about any clips or buttons.  

Until you have a breastfeeding routine down, I would recommend avoiding clothing that is difficult to take on and off (like button-down shirts, dresses, and jeans).  You are likely going to get spit up on or have leaks that you need to change regularly.  

I lived in sweatpants and leggings with a nursing bra and cotton t-shirt for the first 3 or 4 weeks postpartum while I was breastfeeding.  

Once we got a routine down, I started branching out to other clothing.  

Avoid dresses (unless they are wrap dresses or nursing dresses) at all costs! It is not worth the hassle of trying to lift the dress all the way up or take the dress all the way off to breastfeed. 

How To Reuse Maternity Clothes Postpartum

You can reuse all of your maternity wear in the postpartum period.

Your maternity bras probably have nursing clips on them so you can continue to use them if you are breastfeeding.  Otherwise, maternity bras are great even if you aren’t breastfeeding because they are stretchy and will accommodate your fluctuating cup size. 

Your other maternity essentials like maternity shirts and maternity pants are great because they are loose in the belly region, so they will be most comfortable while you are healing.  Although, some maternity clothes accentuate your belly, so if you are self-conscious about this you could stick to regular stretch tops and pants.  

The Ultimate Postpartum Survival Kit (A Complete Guide For New Moms)

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How To Quickly Fix Diastasis Recti With Every Mother In 10 Minutes A Day
How To Use A Haakaa Breast Pump: Tips And Tricks For New Moms
Postpartum Girdle Benefits And Finding The Best Belly Wrap