When it comes to those first few months with a newborn, most moms would agree that comfort comes first. You’ve recently given birth, your body has been through immense change, and you have a baby with nearly constant needs to tend to; picking out a cute outfit for a night on the town with the girls isn’t really a top priority at this time in life. Instead, from the moment you begin to note those first signs of pregnancy to your baby’s first birthday, you have a free pass to opt for comfort above all when it comes to your personal style. Flowy dresses, joggers, and maternity leggings reign supreme during this period.
However, this isn’t to say maternity and post-maternity clothes can’t be trendy. More often than not, maternity clothes mirror the current styles that are in-vogue, but the top priority is still comfort. So if you’re just putting together your post-maternity shopping list, or you’re a few weeks along and prepping for the changes coming to your body, here are a few must-haves for your wardrobe that will get you through the coming months in style and comfort.
Maternity Leggings: a Necessity
You’ll notice pretty quickly that when you’re pregnant (and in the months following it), those ultra-tight compression leggings that are so flattering pre-pregnancy are the last thing you want to try to squeeze into once you’re getting ready to give birth, and definitely not right after. For obvious reasons, the size of your midsection is going to be quite different during and after pregnancy than it was before. Maternity leggings are your answer.
Maternity leggings are one of the best pieces of maternity clothing when it comes to comfort and practicality. Leggings are already a great wardrobe staple, perfect for public or home wear. But maternity leggings are special and very different from those staple black leggings already in your closet. A good pair of maternity leggings will be just stretchy enough that they’ll grow and change size with you, but not so stretchy that they remain expanded when your midsection begins to shrink again. This isn’t an easy balance to maintain, but that’s the magic of maternity leggings. They also fall perfectly on the fine line between being tight enough to be leggings, but not so tight that they’re compressing your body in any way. Finally, most maternity leggings are extremely high waisted, with the ability to pull them all the way up to just below your breasts or the option to fold them over and wear them at waist level.
Nursing Shirts: Discreet Access? Check.
The next answer to your postpartum prayers: nursing shirts. Nursing shirts are specially designed to allow you breast access in some way, so you can nurse or pump when needed. But the best part about nursing shirts is that you can never tell they’re nursing shirts; they’re often simple, but stylish, and look just like your average top – but of course, these shirts have a secret. There are two main kinds of nursing shirts so you can have the right one for any occasion.
- Snap fronts. A snap front nursing shirt has snaps in front that allow you breast access by unsnapping a few and opening the shirt in the front. Naturally, you could just wear a button-down shirt, but snap front shirts are trendy and may be found as t-shirts, long-sleeves, tank tops, or just about any cute style you can think of. And while they look like just a regular shirt with a few buttons at the top, they’re actually designed with nursing women in mind and will make your nursing experience just that much more convenient.
- Double-layered. A double layered shirt is an even more discreet option for a nursing shirt, as you can’t even tell there might be breast access just by looking at it. Double-layered nursing shirts allow you to pull aside (or up, or down) one layer for breast access while keeping the rest of the shirt intact and keeping your body covered. Pulling aside the top layer will generally give you access to a slit in the underlayer of the shirt that allows you to nurse or pump with the shirt still providing coverage.
Sets & Bundles: Let Someone Else Do the Work
A lot of maternity brands that are really making their clothes with new mothers in mind will offer sets and bundles for various occasions. Like we said in the beginning of this article, if you have a new baby at home, you’re probably not spending much time picking out the perfect outfit. A set or bundle, however, does the work for you. Don’t worry about matching those pants with that shirt or wearing maternity leggings with a top that doesn’t provide the same comfort. Instead, have a couple of sets on hand. You can find sets specifically made for that “coming home from the hospital with a baby” trip, you can find sweatpants or lounge-wear sets, you can find full outfits ready for public wear, you can find pajama sets – the list goes on. You already have enough on your hands. Don’t worry about picking out the perfect outfit.
Maternity Dresses: Comfy and Trendy
Naturally, dresses are a popular choice for pregnant women and new mothers. They can be flowy and loose, they’re the best option for air flow on warm days (why deal with pants or shorts?), and they’re pretty much always cute. An added bonus? Some maternity dresses take a page out of the nursing shirts book and become nursing dresses, meaning they give you discreet and convenient access so you can nurse when you need. And much like with the sets and bundles we mentioned above, a dress takes away the hassle of picking out a whole outfit. You just throw it on and go.
Jumpsuits & Onesies: Not Just for the Baby
Riding that same “why pick out an outfit” wave, may we suggest: onesies. Once again, this is a single piece of clothing that comprises your entire outfit, so it’s already making your day easier just by deciding to wear it. And just like with dresses, some maternity onesies double as nursing onesies. But if you’re not in the mood for a dress, or if you’re going for a different vibe, or even if you just don’t want to have your thighs touching, a onesie is a very viable option for maternity clothing.
As we said at the start, maternity clothing is about comfort above all else. Of course, there’s the added bonuses of trendiness or the practicality of a piece of maternity clothing giving you nursing access. However, before you consider those factors, remember that your body has been through (or is currently going through) a lot. Between major bodily changes and stress and the added responsibility of having a new baby to take care of, do yourself a favor and choose comfort. And remember: maternity clothes can be cute, too.