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What to wear postpartum: 4 strategies to look + feel amazing

Astrid Glass, founder of Tapered, is saving the world.


Okay, that might be an overstatement, but she is making sure your T-shirts stop annoying the heck out of you.

We’ve all been there. You’ve just found the perfect shirt, you wear it once and golly it’s amazing. Then you wash it. Ru-roh! The garment that emerges from the spin cycle bears little resemblance to the sweet tee you remember. And it’s back to the drawing board.

Astrid had had enough, and she decided to put an end to all that nonsense. With her perfectly flattering, tapered T-shirts that don’t shrink or fade, she’s managed to take that one (looming) worry off your plate: What will you wear today? Well, the perfect tee, of course!

Postpartum, it’s even harder to find clothes that make you feel good. Why settle for good? We want GREAT!

Here, Astrid shares her 4 secrets for combining fashion + comfort when dressing your post-baby body.


1. Focus on fabric.

Not only do high-quality fabrics look and lay better on the body, they also feel better. Your postpartum hormones will be wreaking havoc on your body temperature, so fabrics that retain heat are a major no-no. Look for sweat-wicking, easy-washing fabrics that are thick enough to provide a flattering silhouette.

Astrid Glass: It’s time to put aside that dry-clean-only clothing and fall in love with washable fabrics again. For everyday looks, grab washable, soft cotton basics (think button-down tees, leggings and casual dresses for warmer months) that you can dress up or down for any occasion.

2. Focus on fit.

It’s been said that the difference between a great outfit and a horrible one is one inch of tailoring. The lesson? Fit is incredibly important to how your body looks in clothing. It affects everything from comfort to proportions and should not be underestimated.

Astrid Glass: Before baby, those clingy tops that showed off the baby belly were spot on. After baby, that fit might be less than ideal. Now, loose, flowy tops like tunics and button-downs are great for a more polished look. For casual days, layers such as a tee paired with a long, open cardigan work really well to disguise the post-baby belly.

For bottoms, leggings and pants or skirts with elastic waistlines provide the most comfort for new moms. Keeping it slim on the bottom and blousy on the top makes for a flattering silhouette on any figure! When ready, ease back into a soft, stretchy jean with a higher waist to conceal lumps and bumps.

Ahh...to be little and twirl again. I love having Cate participate in our photo shoots ❤️️❤️️❤️️. Makes me happy we are going through this journey together! #girlswhotwirl #mommydaughtertime #imnotthemodel 😜 @aliceandames

A photo posted by Astrid Glass (@taperedcollection) on

3. Focus on flexibility.

You spent nearly 10 months growing your baby. Now it’s time to spend time with them, nibbling on toes, kissing noses, and booping belly buttons. Not to mention changing, nursing and the endless ups and downs that come with having a new baby. If your clothes don’t move with you, you’ll end up feeling like that tailored shirt is actually a straightjacket.

Astrid Glass: There is nothing more frustrating than an outfit getting in the way of quality time with your child. Try to avoid the pencil skirts and dresses without give, or fabrics that are too stiff to get on the ground for some tummy time.

If nursing, dresses and tops with front buttons can provide easy access without having to disrobe.

So happy to have a day without this insane summer heat. Cheers to being outside without intense sweating! #summer #outside

A photo posted by Astrid Glass (@taperedcollection) on

4. Focus on color (or lack thereof).

It’s not secret that neutrals are a thing. And we’re not talking your grandmother’s beige. From navy and black to white and camel, neutrals in the 21st century are chic, modern and flexible.

Astrid Glass: While it might seem boring, black is indeed slimming and can also hide myriad issues (spit-up, spills and general baby mess). Keep colors neutral to make getting dressed a breeze and outfits interchangeable. For all seasons, a colorful scarf is a woman’s best accessory to add that pop of color you need, while also providing a privacy screen for nursing or, in a pinch, a blanket for your babe.

More Motherly Insights from the founder of Tapered

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Each morning is a bit of a fire drill. I try to keep things running as smoothly as possible by setting up the breakfast station each evening. My kids are old enough to make themselves food, so I provide bowls, plates, silverware, cereal and bagels. It’s all ready to roll, making the morning routine a little more predictable and less about food choices.

I usually set out clothes for my kids the night before, except for my daughter, who would prefer to pick her own looks. And homework, papers, etc. are lined up on the counter each night ready to go out the door.

The life hack or tip that changed my life...

When I had my first child, I lost my keys constantly. If I did have my keys, they were always somewhere inconvenient in my purse, and I would jostle a baby around trying to find them to open the door, close the door, get in the car, etc. After losing my keys for the millionth time (it’s easy to forget keys when you have children!), I finally put my house and car key on one of those coil rubber key chains and kept it around my wrist. I lived like this for about eight years before finally graduating to putting keys back in my purse. I always could find my keys and they were easily accessible at all times!

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Mood Changer! It’s amazing the power a mom has to change a child’s mood. They look to us for everything, and can go from sad to happy in seconds with a hug. A tantrum can be avoided with a simple challenge instead of a showdown. I try to remember this power and use it for good!

This quote inspires me...

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” —Katharine Hepburn

To me, Motherly means...

...all my love, all my life. It’s a saying from a birthday card my parents gave me for my first birthday and later hung on my bedroom wall. After having my own children, I can truly say I understand that “motherly” means a life of love.



Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.

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For the first couple years of a child's life, their feet grow so rapidly that they typically need a new shoe size every two to three months (so, no, you're not imagining how many shoes you've been buying lately!).

Fortunately, things tend to slow down as they start walking and hit school age. Even so, it's important to make sure they're wearing the right size for maximum comfort and healthy development.

That's why we teamed up with the experts at Rack Room Shoes for tips on helping the whole family get back to school on the right foot.

1. Get professionally fitted at least once a year.

We love online shopping as much as anyone, but for the health of your child's feet, it's worth it to make at least an annual trip to a store to get them properly sized on a Brannock Device (yep, those old-school sizers you remember as a kid are still the most reliable indicators of foot length and width!). Back to school is a great time to plan a visit to a store with trained associates who can help ensure your little one is getting the right fit.

2. Remember not all feet (or shoes) are created equally.

Most babies have naturally pudgier feet that thin out as they get older, and many kids need a wider or narrower shoe than their peers. Visiting a store and speaking with a trained associate can help you gauge which shoe brand will best suit your child. Once you have that benchmark, shopping online will be easier.

3. Get good closure.

Shoe closure, that is. Nowadays, there's a variety of ways to fasten kids shoes, from slip-ons to velcro to elastic laces. Provide your child with a few options to find the closure that works best for you both.

4. Watch for tell-tale signs your child has outgrown their shoes.

Children will often be the last ones to tell you their favorite shoes are uncomfortable. If your child is tripping or walking funny, it may be time to size up.

5. Try the push-down toe method.

Think your kid has outgrown their kicks? Push down on the toe of their shoe with your thumb to see how much wiggle room they have. The ideal size is to have about half a thumb's width between the tip of the toe and the end of the shoe. (That space equates to about half a size.)

6. Pick a style they'll want to put on. (Here are some of our favorites!)

Most moms know the struggle of getting kids out the door in the morning—the right pair of shoes can help cut down on the (literal) foot-dragging. Opt for a fun style (consider shopping for their favorite color or a light-up design) that they'll be begging to wear every day. (But feel free to buy a second pair that's more your style too!)

You'll love that they're classic converse. They'll love the peek of pink.

Converse Girls Maddie, $44

BUY

7. Don't forget the sneakers.

Whether they're running through the recess or racing in P.E., school-age children need a pair of well-fitting, durable sneakers. Be sure to get them professionally fitted to ensure nothing slows them down on the playground.

8. Understand the size breakdowns.

Expert retailers like Rack Room Shoes break up sizing by Baby, Toddler, Little Kid, and Big Kid to make it easier to find the right section for your child. For boys, there's no size break between kids shoes and men's shoes. Girls, though, can cross over into women's shoes from size 4 (in girls) on—a girl's size 4 is a women's size 5.5 or 6.

Looking for more advice? Step into a Rack Room Shoes store near you or shop online. With a "Buy One, Get One 50% off" policy, you can make sure the whole family will put their best foot forward this back-to-school season. (We had to!)

In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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I can vividly remember the last time I remember feeling truly rested. I was on vacation with my family, and my dad and I had started a tradition of going to sleep at 10 p.m., then waking up at 10 a.m. to go for a run. After five days of twelve hours of sleep a night, I remember actually pausing and thinking, "I am truly not at all tired right now!"

That was probably 15 years ago.

Of course, being tired pre-kids and being tired post-kids are two entirely different beasts. Pre-kids, tiredness was almost a badge of pride. It meant you had stayed up late dancing with friends or at a concert with your boyfriend. It meant you had woken up early to hit a spin class before gliding into work, hair still damp from your shower, for a morning meeting. Being tired meant you were generally killing it at life—and I was still young enough that, with a little concealer, I could look like it.

Tired post-kids is a whole other animal.

Tired post-kids means you probably still went to bed at a reasonable hour, but you're still exhausted. Maybe you even slept in past sunrise... but you're still exhausted. You may not have worked out in weeks... but you're still exhausted. And staying out late dancing with your girlfriends? (I mean... is that real life? Was it ever?) Nope, didn't do that. But—you guessed it!—you're still exhausted.

Sometimes I look at my husband and say, "I think if I could sleep for about five days, then I would feel rested again."

But considering the average new mom loses almost two months of sleep in her child's first year of life, even that is probably a low estimate of what I really need.

Because being a mom is exhausting.

It's exhausting always putting someone else's needs above your own. I often find myself actually giving my daughter the food off my plate (because, when you're two, mom's meal must be better even if you're eating the exact same thing).

Or I'll sacrifice sneaking my own nap to lie uncomfortably with her on the couch because it means she sleeps an extra 30 minutes.

Or I'll carry her up and down flights of stairs she is perfectly capable of scaling on her own because, well, she's tired or it's just quicker than nagging her to hurry up all the time.

I often end the day bone-tired, shocked at the physical exertion of just keeping this little person alive.

It's exhausting remembering all the things. The mental load of motherhood is so real, and sometimes I'm not sure it won't crush me.

I schedule and remember the doctor appointments, keep the fridge stocked and plan the meals, notice when my husband is low on white shirts and wash and fold the laundry, add the playdates and the date nights to the calendar, and add any assortment of to-dos to my day because, well, I'm the parent at home, so I must have time, right?

And when I drop one of the thousand balls I'm juggling, I writhe under the guilt of failing at my responsibility.

It's exhausting not getting enough sleep. The sleep gap doesn't end after baby's first year.

Studies have shown that parents lose as much as six months of sleep in their child's first two years of life. That sounds unbelievable at first...but I completely believe it.

Because sometimes I stay up later than I should just to get a few minutes of "me" time. Because sometimes my sleep-trained daughter still wakes up in the middle of the night with a nightmare or because she's sick or for no real reason at all and needs me to soothe her back to sleep.

Because sometimes I'm so busy trying to keep it all together mentally that I don't know how to turn my own brain off to get to sleep. And because sometimes (almost always) my daughter wakes up earlier than I would like her to and the day starts over before I'm ready.

It's exhausting maintaining any other relationship while being a mom. I try not to neglect my marriage. I try not to neglect my friendships. I try to make time for friendly interaction with my coworkers. I try to be there for my congregation. I try to keep all these connections alive and nurtured, but the fact is that some days my nurture is completely used up.

It's exhausting doing all of the above while being pregnant. Okay, this one might not resonate for every mom, but we all know being pregnant is hard. Being pregnant with a toddler? I'm shocked it's not yet an Olympic event. (I'm not sure if we'd all get gold medals or just all fall asleep at the starting gun.)

Most days, I'm so tired and busy I honestly forget that I am pregnant, only to be reminded at the end of the day when I finally collapse on the couch and the little one in my uterus wakes up to remind me. My body is doing amazing things, sure—and I have the exhaustion to show for it.

Of course, I know that this is just an exhausting season of life. One day, one not-so-far-off day, my children will be a bit more grown and be able to get their own breakfast in the morning. One day, they'll actually want to sleep in, and I'll be the one opening their curtains in the morning to start the day (maybe before they're really ready).

One day, they'll always walk up and down the stairs themselves and will stop stealing my food and I'll be able to nap without making sure they are asleep or with a sitter. One day, they won't need me to remember all the things.

And the really wild part? Just thinking about that day makes me miss these days, just a bit.

So, yes, I'm tired. I'm always tired. But I'm grateful too. Grateful I get to have these days. Grateful I get to have this life.

But also really grateful for those days I get to nap, too.

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Who knew Amazon had so many dreamy nursery must-haves? Maybe you have a friend or family member about to have a baby or you're preparing for your new bundle of joy—either way, you can save tons on grabbing some essentials on Prime Day.

We've rounded up our favorite nursery items from basics, like cribs and changing tables, to the essentials you never knew you needed (hint: lots of storage!).

1. 6-drawer dresser

This gorgeous dresser has plenty of space for baby's clothing and accessories—and will transition seamlessly to a big kid room one day. Even better? The top is large enough to be used as a changing table. The shade of white is great for any gender, too!

Dresser, Amazon, $239.99 ($329.99)

BUY HERE

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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