Even though we just had a HUMAN COME OUT OF OUR BODIES, most of us postpartum mamas are NOT feeling confident with how our bodies now look. A lot of change happened to grow that human and have that human enter this world. And, if you’re breastfeeding, more bodily changes are happening in order for you to nourish that human for however long you choose or are able.
Jeannine here again! I’m the founder + designer of Ailana J. Nursing + Pumping Apparel. ICYMI – I am collaborating ALL MONTH LONG with Rachel to create March Mama Month, completely dedicated to all the amazing mamas out there and helping you all live your BEST lives. Today, I’m sharing my TOP styling tips + tricks to make you feel as confident as you deserve to feel!
First of all, remember that your body is MAGIC. Take a moment to give your body the gratitude it deserves. Your body might look different from what you’re used to, but remember ALL it has accomplished. It’s pretty darn amazing.
BUT, while I’m all about giving your body all the kudos in the world for birthing a human, I KNOW there are some days when the changes your body has gone through just don’t feel so good. I have BEEN there. These 5 tips are going to make you feel CONFIDENT on those days when you feel like crap.
1. Invest in AT LEAST one week’s worth of KEY basics.
Basics that are good quality with simple, clean lines are a must for postpartum mamas. Think pieces that can be your go-to’s for any occasion AND feel good in – such as, a cotton knit tank (make it a nursing tank if you’re nursing or pumping), a nice woven tank to take you from desk to dinner (again, make it a nursing tank if you’re breastfeeding), and a few good pairs of pants and leggings. Having a few great-fitting pieces you look and feel your best in is so much better than wasting your money on mediocre pieces you are not happy with. You will find that you feel better wearing those pieces and you can do more with them, such as adding a jacket or accessories, to change the look. You will always feel good and you will gravitate to them over and over, which is TOTALLY worth it.
2. Make sure those pieces are the RIGHT FIT.
If you’re wearing clothes that are 2x your size because you’re trying to hide the baby weight, STOP. Wearing oversized clothing actually ADDS weight to your body, and I’m sure that’s the opposite of what you were trying to do. If you’re wearing your pre-baby clothes and they are too small, SIZE UP. I know, I know…you don’t want to waste money on new clothes when you don’t plan on being this size forever. But guess what? You don’t know exactly how long you’ll be breastfeeding or exactly how long it’ll take you to lose the weight you’d like. PLUS…even if you reach your “goal” weight, YOUR BODY COULD STILL BE DIFFERENT! I got down to my pre-baby weight at 18 months postpartum…and some of my old clothes STILL don’t fit. Why?! Because your body changes when you have a baby. In my case, my hips are wider so some of my jeans just
DON’T fit the same. But clothes that are too tight create extra lumps and bumps that I KNOW we’re all trying to avoid, right?! DO NOT get hung up on the letter or number on the tag. IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING!
3. Materials MATTER.
Choose soft, forgiving fabrics (and a major plus if they are machine washable!). Look for QUALITY – you want your fabrics to work FOR you and help minimize any extra baby weight you might not be so fond of. Thin cotton fabrics tend to cling to and accentuate parts of our bodies we’d rather not draw attention to. They also tend to pill easily and not hold up over time. We don’t have time for all that. We want our key pieces to LAST and give us FIGURE-FLATTERING CONFIDENCE. For example, the Ailana J. Josephina Tank and Olive Dress are made of a thick, luxe French Terry cotton/poly blend. No lumps or bumps over here when wearing a piece like one of those! Fabrics like that don’t cling to or show off my muffin top, which is SUPER helpful in making you feel more confident in your outfit.
4. High-waisted skinnies are your best friend.
I don’t care what all the Gen Z-ers have to say – SKINNY JEANS ARE AMAZING. And, when your uterus has expanded to 500 TIMES its original size in order to accommodate a growing baby, it doesn’t shrink back down overnight! Anything high-waisted was my postpartum best friend. High-waisted pants help smooth out your midsection, a popular area of concern for postpartum mamas. Just make sure you’re implementing tip #2 – wear your TRUE SIZE of this moment in time. If your old size is too tight, you’ll give yourself unwanted muffin top (plus, you won’t be able to breathe – uh, important – or move around freely, which is a must when caring for a newborn, yes?). If you size up too much, you’ll give yourself a saggy butt and that annoying experience of always having to yank your pants up. No time for that. Plus, remember when I said that wearing clothes that are oversized ADD weight? The same rule applies here. A skinny jean helps elongate your legs and creates a slimming silhouette – there’s NO added fabric to add any unwanted pounds to your frame.
AND…make sure you’re also implementing tip #3 here. MATERIAL MATTERS. I highly recommend investing in at least ONE good pair of quality denim and ONE good pair of leggings. If you have the budget for more, that is awesome, but, at the bare minimum, get those 2 pairs. I wasted so much time and money in trying to find the least expensive pants because I did NOT want to believe that I would be my postpartum size for very long. I ended up being SO frustrated with pants that kept stretching out or falling down that I bought the good stuff after all. AKA…I spent MORE money in the long run, which was a BURN. Here are a few of my favorite high-waisted skinnies (and, don’t worry…you can ALWAYS find a lot of these brands ON SALE!):
AG Jeans The Farrah Skinny Ankle
PAIGE Hoxton High Waist Ankle Skinny (pssst…a TON of washes in this style are on
sale right now!)
Fidelity Gwen High Rise Crop
5. Master the front tuck.
A good front tuck gives the ultimate COOL GIRL vibes, while giving your body a slimming shape. That’s what I call a win. Some tops can create a boxy shape to your body and an abrupt change in sightline between your top and bottom. That abrupt change can cut your torso off in a weird way, creating the illusion that you are bigger than you are. The casual front tuck allows for a softer, more seamless transition between your top and your bottom, which is a more slimming look. You can achieve this with any denim, shorts, leggings, joggers, skirts, etc. You can honestly work this look in to so many different outfits and apply it to t-shirts, button downs, woven tops, etc. It’s a very versatile option, especially when you don’t have time to think! This is an easy styling cue that you can quickly achieve, no matter how busy you are!
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Photo Credit: Stacey Northrup @smausernorthrup