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First Post-Baby Swimsuit. (With Photos. Of Me. In Swimsuit) Gulp

By Monica Bielanko |

Too bad these suits are no longer in style.

The horror.  The goddamned horror of trying on a swimming suit.  In WALMART, no less.  While your toddler whines and you have to resist the urge to grab handfuls of your mottled flesh and scream, “See this!  You did this to me!  You did!!!”

I resisted the urge.  But I thought it really hard.

Henry is nearly five-months-old so I figured it was time for me to get over my fat self and just go buy a swimming suit already.  It’s humid here in Pennsylvania and we discovered a very excellent outdoor pool just over the mountain in the next valley over.

Get over yourself, I thought.  Take your daughter swimming.

Now, there was a time when I would’ve visited all the fancy stores for just the right swimming costume.  Very cute platform wedges may have even played a role.  Not anymore.  Mama’s got skin to cover, yo. Those fancy stores don’t excel at covering skin.  Which, therein lies the dilemma:  a swimsuit is meant to reveal skin which is the very opposite of a post-baby mama’s goal of covering as much skin as possible.  Where is the middle ground?  It done got lost somewheres a long the way when your boobs began nestling onto rolls of doughy stomach flesh, yes?

Fancy no longer, I scanned the swimsuit racks the very next time we were food shopping at that grandest of marts.  I’ve always been a bikini gal.  I’ve been known to rock a bikini in my day but what to do now that the lingering presence of Hank the Tank has forced my body in directions it previously never traveled?

I knew one thing for certain:  there would be no bikini bottoms this time around.  But I didn’t want a giant one piece “MomSuit” with an enormous ruffled skirt meant to cover my ass but would only serve to make me look like my grandma – when she was my grandma, I mean, and not some young hottie rocking a 1940′s suit.

Ultimately here is what I settled on:






What say you? The arms are still reasonably toned and I’ve got my waist back.  And the boobs are okay.  May as well highlight that region and cover up the… ahem… the problem areas down below.  I haven’t been working on weight loss at all, really.  There has been a lot of beer drinking on the porch this summer.

My tips are this:  highlight the positives.  If your legs are still lean, but your middle is thick, wear a slimming one piece with a swimsuit cover-up.  If, like me, your top half has recovered first, but your booty leaves a little to be desired, rock the bikini top and wear a sarong or shorts on bottom.  Regardless, I highly suggest a swimsuit cover-up.  That’s the ticket there.  What about you?  What have been your post-baby swimming suit experiences?

Also.  Yes, that is my dog lying on the floor behind me in the first photo.  My ass may be battling gravity like a mofo, but it did not grow another head.

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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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38 thoughts on “First Post-Baby Swimsuit. (With Photos. Of Me. In Swimsuit) Gulp

  1. Jessica says:

    My baby is almost 6 months old and I WISH I looked half as good as you do! I had to settle on a one piece (from Walmart also) with a runched up middle to (hopefully) hide my doughy belly, And I have completely given up on my ass. If you don’t like it, look away! :)

  2. S says:

    You look amazing & hot! I could never tell that you had a baby 5 months ago. Give yourself a break lady, you look hotter then me round the middle and I have not had ANY babies! Definitely like the idea of a cover up. Also, rather then a Bikini or a one piece, I get a vest like top and bottoms, which is sort of a compromise, not too mumsy, but also not too stomach revealing.

  3. MonicaBielanko says:

    @Jessica – I love the word “runched”.

  4. Elle says:

    You just made my day. You look awesome. I’m still only 37 weeks pregnant with my first (will he EVER come?), but I keep telling my husband that I will most certainly be wearing a trashbag to the beach next summer. At this point I can’t imagine my body ever partially resembling what it used to look like (where does the skin go?!). I, too, have always been a bikini girl…and since I’m only 26, the thought of wearing a giant grandma suit from now on is quite disheartening. Thanks for giving me hope!

  5. Lucky says:

    Rock it girl! You look awesome! BTW Target has an amazing little sexy one piece with ruching and tummy control and a little zebra stripe embellishment. I loved finding a one piece I could wear around my in-laws that didn’t make me look like I hate my body!

  6. Suzie says:

    You look fabulous, great advice for those who didn’t have a baby 5 months ago. Accentuate your positives!

  7. Larita says:

    Umm, hello? What the hell are you complaining about? I’m now 32 weeks pregnant with my second, but even when my first was 8 months old and I looked partially anorexic from 1st-trimester nausea, marital stress, and breastfeeding, there was no way I’d be getting away with a bikini. Celebrate the fact that you have no stretch marks and no pouch of extra belly skin that WILL NOT GO AWAY, and wear that bikini.

  8. Andrea says:

    I never had a bikini body to rock, but I have found plenty of two peice “tankini” options, including my current favorite, minimizing black bottoms and a tank top style top with criss cross straps, to keep the girls lifted and securely restrained while chasing the little man around the pool, and ruched sides to camoflage any stomach flabbiness. Just to distract the eye further from my less than toned physique, I opted for the top in the most eye watering, Cosby sweater flash back inducing, heinous ’80′s print I could find.

  9. Carrie says:

    I just bought my first post baby swim suit. I don’t know how I avoided it this long. I mean I live in South Florida and my baby is 18 months! I started my daughter on swim lessons and splurged on the perfect bathing suit from Athleta. It’s shorts and a tankini, like board shorts, but not long and totally cute and not clingy. Like the pink ones in your picture, but with a built in brief – genius. Not mommy or frumpy at all. Love.

  10. Kate says:

    I’m 6 months into this motherhood business and I bought my first onepiece suit since I was like 8 years old. Kind of sad, as I’m only 21, but yikes, the stretch marks! Luckily it highlights the boobage (F cup, hello!) and is actually pretty sexy.

  11. Jessica says:

    um, what? you look better than i did before getting pregnant. i guess beer drinking on the porch shall be my new postpartum diet!

  12. Julie says:

    Yeah, I’m with Jessica. You look better than I did before I got pregnant with the kid (at least, the most recent kid LOL). I’m almost 8 months postpartum now, and there is NO WAY I’d be rocking a two piece like you are. Be proud of your body, mama!

  13. El says:

    Lucky- I have that exact suit! It sucks in my post 3 kids belly, and I am not too embarrassed to wear it to the pool!

  14. sammarie says:

    I gained 75 pounds during my first pregnancy… I didn’t make that mistake the second time around. Check out the tips this site has to offer, the ease of the program may surprise you! :-) It helped me more that I can say.

    It is extremely emotional to gain so much weight during pregnancy, and there ARE ways to avoid it.

    Please do yourself a favor and check this out!

  15. sammarie says:

    sorry, wrong site! :-) This is the site I meant to post! :-)
    please don’t take this as spam! It really helped me!

  16. christine says:

    Woohoo you! I am too pale (with giant stretchmarks that make me look like a purple and white zebra) to inflict that sort of torture on the general public, but you look amazing, go swimming!

  17. Heather C says:

    My mother, currently 68, accidentally placed a double order to Land’s End a couple of years ago. She received two boxes of the infamous Tugless tanks in several styles. Horror of all horrors, I currently rock the same brown, skirted suit and navy blue tanks she does. Stay strong with your fabulous ‘kini and shorts combo because you never know when the day of the skirted suit might actually sound like a wise option.

    After publicly admittinf that I think I’ll go on a juice fast.

  18. gina says:

    How do you feel about the word ‘paunched’. That’s what’s going on with my gut since quitting the gym. Ew. I won’t try on suits and have hung onto the same speedo one peice for 10 years. I bought another but discovered the back comes up so high and makes my rearend look scary long. Ew. Even so you wouldn’t catch me dead in that Spanish-Italian Lace cover up. You are not an old Italian Grandma… Skirted suit or bottoms should only be worn if you plan on wearing a swim cap. Go with the surfer girl look and be happy!

  19. gina says:

    Look what I just watched on my MSN home page…You probably already know, but it was cool to see your Babble article mentioned ( a part of it shown) here:

  20. Danielle says:

    Dude, you have nothing to complain about, I promise. You look absolutely fabulous, and not at all like you just had a baby.

  21. Nichole says:

    You look awesome! Don’t sell yourself short. Those legs are super too. I hear ya on the bottom half though. My 2nd is 4 months old and my upper thighs are a mess. Not to worry though, it took 9 months to get that way and it may take that long or longer to get somewhat back to a normal. You look fabulous so rock that suit!

  22. Maggie May says:

    I just- a last week- did a post with a pic of me in a bikini for our vaca. I was SO freaked out to get in a bathing suit but I just made myself for the kids. Like you I ended up feeling OK about it. Gravity battling ass and all.

  23. Cheryl says:

    I haven’t rocked anything this summer since my 2nd son was born end of February! lol

  24. Ali says:

    This is a sick posting. You look wonderful and your words– calling yourself “fat”– may seem like humorous, self-depricating writing, but it’s a disservice to the majority of postpartum women. Most of us don’t look ANYTHING like this. Get some perspective before you call yourself fat, then go publishing sexy photos of yourself. I’m becoming more disgusted wirh Babble by the day.

  25. Michele says:

    Get a grip

  26. Angelica says:

    I concur with the above comments who wonder what you’re complaining about. You also look better than I did before pregnancy. No wonder women have body image issues; what are we supposed to think when we look worse than what you’re complaining about?

  27. Jennie says:

    As I was reading this I felt like you were in my shoes just yesterday. I’m a former size small. I bought a one piece from target and didn’t think I needed to try it on. Picked up a size med. Surely I could be only a med. Took it home and it wouldn’t go over my thighs. Turns out I’m an extra large. But only on the bottom. I opted for a bandeau top and skirted bottom and I’ll tell you I felt so confident! It’s been an experience dressing my new curves but I like these curves. :-)

  28. Bware says:

    Sweetie, I would take your body over mine anyday. Be proud of what you did (birthing a child) and take pride in your beautiful new curves. I think you look great!

  29. April says:

    Um, yeah, I wish I could go bare belly, and loose a lot of this ‘twin skin.’ You look great, I’m not sure what you are talking about…

  30. Teres says:

    sorry. EVERYONE is allowed to complain about their body post body. even people who are skinnier thank “you”.

  31. Teres says:

    *body post baby

  32. Ashley says:

    I’ll give you my ass if you give me your boobs. But lord knows what that will look like after I’m done with this pregnancy. Feel free to add a disclaimer to this “trade”!

    @Ali – What did you think would happen when you saw the link to this post? All of us that read Monica know that she is a hot mama but keeps it real. What woman doesn’t have a low self-esteem day / week / month / year? I’m sure she recognizes that she doesn’t look half-bad or she wouldn’t wear a bikini, she would wear a one piece AND a cover-up.

  33. Maria says:

    We had a trip to Hawaii planned 11 weeks after my second baby in two years was born! Greeeeeaaat! I opted for a tankini, it worked fine.

  34. Ali says:

    @Ashley, I don’t normally read Monica and I’m sure there are many others who happened upon the link who hadn’t read work or seen her photos before. I DO think that every postpartum mama grapples with her changed body. No matter whether you still look cute, I get that change is hard. Her photo simply doesn’t match her words.

  35. Pam says:

    u look great! you look better post-baby then I did pre-baby! lol

  36. Debbie says:

    You look great, don’t be so hard on yourself. I LOVE this article, I can totally relate to it! What I did was buy a tankini-style maternity suit that would be stylish enough to carry me through until I regained my shape. Overall, I did not spend a lot of money on a maternity wardrobe, but I did invest in the bathing suit and I’ve gotten a lot of use out of it pre and post baby. :)

  37. kelly says:

    Dude! I wish I looked half as good as you!

  38. Jon says:

    As a 41 year old married man with 2 children and 2 step children, I can give this unbiased and experienced thought to help:

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