How to build your wardrobe after a baby? It's probably one of the most common questions I receive.
And I understand why... from personal experience, those weeks (or months or years) after having a new baby can feel like some of the frumpiest. But who wants to be stuck with shabby clothes just because you haven't reached your pre-baby weight?
To help us out, today I'm having the owner of Peachymama, an online store for nursing clothes, bring us her tips on what to wear and how to shop when you're in the middle of losing those extra pounds.
At 16, Merril Bainbridge began her career in the Australian fashion industry. In her early 20's she left to launch a successful Pop Music career which saw her at the top of the US Music Charts. Retiring to start a family, she found a new purpose helping breastfeeding women with her fashion label, Peachymama.
Aside from looking after the needs of their new baby, women who have recently given birth have a significant new concern: their new body.
Your post-baby body is undergoing a transition — from expanding to accommodate your little one, it is now starting to shed the baby weight, but not as quickly as you'd like it to.
As a result, you're caught in that awkward space where maternity clothes are too big, and you can't quite fit into your pre-baby clothes yet, either. Mmmm - it’s truly a dilemma.
Shopping right for your body
You may be tempted to simply throw on those sweatpants every day because they're comfortable and they can be very good at hiding problem areas. But it's also important to think about dressing right for the body you currently have.
Now, as you probably know, I’ve been designing postpartum clothing for many years. So I know that with clothes that fit well (such as specially designed postpartum clothing), you'll be comfortable and better able to go about your daily routine. But you'll also look good — and that can often make you feel a whole lot better about yourself and more confident to go out and socialize (with baby in tow).
Here are some helpful tips for shopping for clothes while you're in the middle of losing your baby weight:
1. Be mindful of the fabric
I’m very particular about fabrics. You'll want to get clothes made with fabric that can be extra forgiving to slight bulges here and there. New moms are sure to love soft, flowing materials like cotton blends, silk jersey or fabrics combined with Spandex — these will drape smoothly over your body rather than squeezing or clinging to it.
2. Choose tops that highlight your decolletage
Since there may be extra padding left on your rear and abdominal area, it's a good idea to pick pieces that will draw other people's eyes up to your face. Examples would be scoop neck, V-neck and boat neck tops that will divert attention to that little bit of glowing skin they reveal around your neck area.
3. Invest in some shapewear
Picking out favourable pieces to wear underneath your clothes can also go a long way in helping your body look smoother and more polished as you're shedding the baby weight. You don't need to buy a lot — Spanx can effectively hold in your hips and tummy simultaneously, or you can choose tops, skirts and leggings made by shapewear companies that provide enough control so you won't need special garments underneath.
4. Pay attention to the hemline
Remember, calf- or mid-calf-length skirts can make a woman look shorter, so go for more flattering hem lengths. You can either pick a maxi skirt or a skirt that falls just at or above the knee.
5. Check out clothing designed for breastfeeding
For moms who breastfeed, there are clothing brands that are designed to enable effective and comfortable breastfeeding while also offering the best fit, styles and designs for post-baby bodies that are in the process of shedding excess weight. You can find breastfeeding tops, pants and dresses that feel wonderful on your body and are pretty to boot — perfect at home or for any occasion.
6. Pick the right accessories
You can add oomph to your outfit with some simple yet strategic accessorising. A long necklace that ends around the cleavage or lower can have a gorgeous, elongating effect and this can help you appear slimmer. Scarves are also pretty additions, especially if you choose one that will give a great pop of color to a plain top. Make sure to use a scarf that goes down to the top of your thigh; it's a stylish yet creative way to give additional coverage for your tummy.
7. Get the jeans
Here's a common dilemma among new moms: Their maternity jeans are now too big, but their pre-pregnancy jeans are still out of the question. They feel that it's a waste to purchase jeans in their in-between-pre-and-post-baby weights, so they hold off on wearing jeans until they reach their preferred size.
The simple truth is that jeans can be versatile and comfortable, and there's no reason to miss out on wearing them because you're waiting to become a smaller size. Go ahead and see what breastfeeding clothing makers have to offer. Their jeans are designed to hug your curves with just enough fabric without being too tight or too frumpy. Being a busy mom, you deserve clothes that make you look and feel great, right now.
The good news about being more discerning with choosing clothes during this transition phase is that you can actually put your worries about wasting money to rest. Investing in good quality clothing from companies that dress new moms is actually an investment; it means you get clothes that are just right for your changing body, so you won't need to keep buying new ones elsewhere because they don't fit properly.
You also have the option to have your favorite maternity pieces tailored to fit better now, or to swap clothes with friends who are similarly sized.
Being a new mom means you have a new bundle of joy in your arms — but that doesn't have to mean that your own needs need to take a backseat. Wearing clothes that fit well and flatter your body can make you happier, more comfortable, and better able to function in your new role. Always take time to find the best clothes for you — you certainly deserve it!