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The 25 New Mom Wardrobe Basics-- The Summer Edition

This gorgeous cotton kurta is easy, breezy and looks so good.

My first baby was born in July. I left the hospital in a droopy sarong and one of my husband’s XL t-shirts. The sarong– unsure of whether to stay above the wobbly bulge of my immediate postpartum belly or under it– kept falling down. And the shirt was too floppy to hoist up for nursing. Once I got it up for a feed, my aforementioned bulge was exposed for the duration.

I thought I had figured out a cheap solution to “transition wear:” Who needs to buy specific clothes for postpartum? This is just a couple of weeks or maybe months. I can manage. And I didn’t care how I looked. Really, I didn’t. My mind was totally, appropriately consumed with other things.

But I had nothing to wear. Like not even ugly things to wear. My pants were either too big– maternity sized– or too small. The lovely cotton sundresses I’d pictured myself in were, Duh, not going to work for what amounted to constant breastfeeding. My underwear bras were killing me. My Mommy Brain (very smart about some things, totally idiotic about others) was completely useless when it came to surmounting this obstacle. Eventually, a sympathetic mother stepped up with some hand-me-downs.

When my second baby came, I sorted it out early on: I got the cotton robe, the good nursing bras, the right loose-but-shapely shirts, many a stretch waistband, the granny underwear… A little thought about what to wear postpartum made it possible for me to do what I’d wanted to do the first time around:  not ever have to think about what to wear. Many of these basics are still in rotation some four years later.

So, based on these experiences and countless conversations with new moms, I’ve come up with The 25 New Mom Wardrobe Basics. I’ve searched the web for actual click-to-buy examples of each item. When you have a baby in the summer you’re a leaky, milky, perspiring furnace sun-kissed, life-giving goddess. This wardrobe accommodates those circumstances.


  • Good (Big) Underwear 1 of 25
    Good (Big) Underwear
    These "slimming briefs" come from the Swedish maternity company Boob and run $38. Big underwear are great postpartum; you can also buy a 'granny pack' of huge panties from the supermarket and wear those for the first week or two and then throw them out.
    Purchase at Figure 8 Maternity
  • Nursing Tank Top $18 2 of 25
    Nursing Tank Top $18
    This one from the Gap is affordable, cotton and simple.
    Purchase at The Gap
  • Cotton Cardigan $31 3 of 25
    Cotton Cardigan $31
    It's too hot for shawls, wraps and real cardigans but a lightweight cotton one can be essential in the summer time. You can through this over a nursing tank top at home or out. And you can wear it in the hospital as a kind of robe.
    Purchase at The Gap
  • Slimming Singlet $75 4 of 25
    Slimming Singlet $75
    It feels nice to wear stretchy and snug after giving birth. You don't want a Spanx-level of suction but a stretchy top like this is just right. It's pricey but it's well-made, and has "built-in zoned compression," and easy snap off straps.
    Purchase at Boob.com
  • Sleep Bra $24 5 of 25
    Sleep Bra $24
    The precise sizing of a sleep bra isn't as essential as with other bras so you can safely get one of these to wear in the hospital and when during the first (tender) days of breastfeeding.
    Purchase at The Gap
  • Anita Nursing Bra 6 of 25
    Anita Nursing Bra
    Anita Nursing Bras are especially good for women who want support. They have sizes going way up into the Fs, G, Hs... These are not cheap but they're extremely good quality bras.
    Purchase at BraSmyth
  • Post-Cesarean Underwear 7 of 25
    Post-Cesarean Underwear
    I've heard moms rave about these post-op underwear.
    Purchase at Figure 8 Maternity
  • Lightweight Nightgown And Robe $34 8 of 25
    Lightweight Nightgown And Robe $34
    You can't see it but there's a very cute grey striped tank top nightgown under this cotton long-sleeved robe. This is perfect for the hospital and lounging at home and it's not super pricey.
    Purchase at Motherhood Maternity
  • Built-To-Fit Bathing Suit $55 9 of 25
    Built-To-Fit Bathing Suit $55
    Lands End may not be go-to catalog for high-end fashion but their women's bathing suit line has taken off for one simple reason: the "special" sizes. There are A, Bs... and DDDs, if necessary. This is not a nursing bathing suit (they exist) but the flexi-sizing options make Land's End suits great for postpartum swimming.
    Purchase at LandsEnd.com
  • Blue and White Cotton Kurta $128 10 of 25
    Blue and White Cotton Kurta $128
    This gorgeous block-printed kurta comes from Berlin designer Lilit and is made in India. Easy fitting and made to be worn oversized, this is perfect for a postpartum summer.
    Purchase at NonchalantMom.com
  • Long, Jersey T-Shirt $43 11 of 25
    Long, Jersey T-Shirt $43
    A long jersey shirt that's not too clingy is a new mom's BFF.
    Purchase at Boden
  • Lightweight Button Down Shirt $88 12 of 25
    Lightweight Button Down Shirt $88
    A lightweight button down can really come in handy. It can be dressed up or down, and worn over a nursing tank top. This one from J. Crew is in a gorgeous pink paisley.
    Purchase at J. Crew
  • Loose Tunic $37 13 of 25
    Loose Tunic $37
    The length and loose cut are perfect for postpartum.
    Purchase at Boden
  • Boob Nursing Top $79 14 of 25
    Boob Nursing Top $79
    I cannot say enough good stuff about the Swedish brand BOOB. They make chic, simple breastfeeding-friendly tops.
    Purchase at Boob.com
  • Nursing Tank Top $15 15 of 25
    Nursing Tank Top $15
    Airy, light and New Wave. What's not to love?
    Purchase at Old Navy
  • Before, During & After Pants $69.95 16 of 25
    Before, During & After Pants $69.95
    Made from "ultra luxurious and sumptuously soft materials," these adjustable pants work on all body shapes and stages of pregnancy and post-pregnancy.
    Purchase at BellyBandit.com
  • Fold-Over Waist Skirt $19 17 of 25
    Fold-Over Waist Skirt $19
    The diagonal stripes are flattering; the fold-over waist is accommodating. This is *not* a maternity skirt so it'll last.
    Purchase at Old Navy
  • Linen Jersey Skirt $218 18 of 25
    Linen Jersey Skirt $218
    It's timeless, elegant and comes with a stretch waistband.
    Purchase at Garnet Hill
  • A Fold-Over Waist Maternity Skirt $29 19 of 25
    A Fold-Over Waist Maternity Skirt $29
    Get this now and wear it under your belly and then through the first few weeks (or more) postpartum.
    Purchase at The Gap
  • This Genius Dress $125 20 of 25
    This Genius Dress $125
    The Lila Tummy Tuck Nursing Dress boasts easy-access nursing and an under layer compression tank. It's so gorgeous, too!
    Purchase at Figure 8 Maternity
  • Breezy Sundress $125 21 of 25
    Breezy Sundress $125
    A seasonal floral sundress that accommodates easy nursing. Depending on where you live this kind of dress could be more or less essential during the dog days of summer.
    Purchase at Boob.com
  • Nursing Maxi Dress $115 22 of 25
    Nursing Maxi Dress $115
    The Maxi is in. This one is cool, cotton and breastfeeding-friendly.
    Purchase at Boob.com
  • A Good Sun Hat 23 of 25
    A Good Sun Hat
    I love this one from Garnet Hill ($98). It's got a nice, natural look inspired by the South of France. And it's not too heavy for a stinking hot day.
    Purchase at Garnet Hill
  • Hilanasa Scarf $128 24 of 25
    Hilanasa Scarf $128
    Made from a lovely Ethiopian fabric, this gorgeous hilansha scarf dresses up a simple t-shirt-- it works in spring, summer and fall. If you want a nursing "cover-up" this is less of a performance than some of the more tent-like option. (Plus, you can wear this when you're 50 and it'll still be fabulous.)
    Purchase at NonchalantMom.com
  • Big Sunglasses 25 of 25
    Big Sunglasses
    So who cares if you've had no sleep? These ones from Boden are $54 but any large, dark sunnies will do the trick. Soon your baby will be playing with them all day, so don't spend too much ;)
    Purchase at Boden

And don’t forget shoes: Here are The 13 Best Sandals for Pregnancy & Toddler Chasing

Follow Ceridwen’s pregnancy and birth blogging on Facebook or check out her book From The Hips.

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