My first night back home from the hospital, just three days after the exhilaration and joy of giving birth, I woke up in the middle of the night enveloped in soaked sheets. Why didn’t anyone tell me my breasts would leak like a large sieve? How did I not know I’d need to sleep in a supportive bra lined with nursing pads, two sizes larger than my regular pregnancy bras? Why had I been so consummately focused on my maternity clothes throughout my pregnancy and not my postpartum needs? I realized I did all my reading and research on being pregnant but was unprepared when it came to what I’d need afterward to care for myself and stay comfortable.
The reality is, of course, you don’t need a lot. I essentially lived in three items throughout my maternity leave: loose sweatpants, a nursing bra, and an oversize V-neck T-shirt. (Let’s be honest; even the T-shirt didn’t stay on for long due to countless feedings and spit-ups!) It is, however, essential to have the right postpartum pieces on hand so that your precious time healing, bonding, and recovering is as comfortable and practical as possible.
Throughout my 14 weeks of blissful, emotional, tender, exhausting, and joyous maternity leave, (and yes, there are plenty more adjectives to describe this extraordinary, life-changing time), I tried and tested a ton of items to decipher which clothes were really essential for me and my new postpartum body—a body that was still going through quantum shifts. Below, I’m sharing the must-have pieces I absolutely could not live without.