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The Postpartum Pajama Trap

How one hot mama almost gave up on style without even realizing it. Almost.

The Postpartum Pajama Trap

A few weeks ago, my husband came home from work and saw me in the new lounge pants I had just purchased from Gap. I had reached the last stretch in the kids’ bedtime routines and in the middle of making baby food for the next day.

“Those pants are really cute,” he said, loosening his tie. “Oh, thanks! I just got them,” I told him. He had started to say something else, but I’d pressed the blender setting at that moment and whatever he'd been saying got lost in the loud whir of my Beaba. “Sorry, what was it you were saying?” I finally asked, after the sweet potato had been adequately pureed. He sheepishly admitted, “Well, I was saying ‘thank god’, because it’s time you burned everything else you’ve been wearing at home lately.”

My first reaction was rage of the “how dare you comment on what I wear when I’m putting our children to bed?” sort. “Do you know how many times I’ve gotten meat sauce and spit up and sticky god-knows-what on me in the past two hours alone?”

As a feminist, I took offense to being told that my Mommy Mode look was not a turn-on. Like that should even be a factor in my what-to-wear-at-home equation. I also was shocked, because frankly, I never imagined he would even have a sartorial opinion about my “at-home” look.

But once I got over the initial sting of having my fashion choices criticized, I allowed him to elaborate. He explained that lately, because of our vastly different schedules, he only sees me in my “home” clothes. He leaves for work before I’ve showered and he gets home after I’ve changed out of my daytime wardrobe. “I like seeing you look cute,” he said. Understandable. Plus, he pointed out, I’d been wearing this stuff since I was pregnant and it had been nearly a year since I’d given birth to our second son. “Do you still need to be wearing the only shirts that fit you when you were nine months pregnant?” he asked.

Before we had kids and we were both in office jobs, we would meet for a drink after work and then go to dinner (and drink some more). By the time we came home it was time for bed. I basically had one pair of Hard Tail pants (remember those?) and a slinky tank top for the rare nights I was home before eleven-o-clock.

Since becoming a mom of two, the Bedtime Look has taken on a whole new meaning. The second the boys and I return from an afternoon at the playground, I tear off whatever I’ve been wearing. Off comes the cumbersome nursing bra and on comes the flimsy triangle bra. My jeans, covered in avocado and playground muck, go straight into the wash. And if my shirt has escaped unscathed that day, I put it away, grateful to have one less thing to wash.

My at-home clothes signal an end to the day and are the first step in my evening routine that ultimately culminates in me having a little time to myself. Once this outfit is on, I know I won’t have to fiddle with any snaps to nurse my little one before he goes to bed, and I know that when I climb into my preschooler’s bed to sing him songs that I’m not bringing the filthy subway seat or playground floor in with me.

But...while there is no arguing my need for a separate wardrobe when I come home, it doesn’t mean that I should still be cycling through the same three extra-large men’s t-shirts and Old Navy wide-leg pants from my last trimester.

Now, I’m not going to be greeting my husband at the door every night with a martini while donning a sexy maid’s costume (not that that wouldn’t be a fun idea one night). But I can wear clothes that don’t say “I give up completely on being attractive” that are comfortable, too. As a realist, and as a person committed to the work that a relationship-after-kids takes, I decided to take his advice.

Clothes carry with them so many associations and memories of what we were doing when we wore them. And truth be told, the feelings of the tail-end of pregnancy and those early, sleepless, newborn days were not things I needed to hold onto anymore. It wasn’t just my husband who thought I needed a new look--I did too. I made a “burn” pile of my clothes (ok, a “donate” pile), and began Operation Wardrobe Refresh.

And that night, as I grabbed my computer to start my new wardrobe search, I told him, “I appreciate your feedback, Love. But just so you know, it’s gonna cost you.”

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Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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I have two kids—and I think I'm done

The idea of "more," making more money, obtaining more things—and in my case, creating more life—is not necessarily the ticket to a happier life.

I met my best friend Katie in fifth grade and one of our most favorite games to play was MASH. Our future fates would be decided by one "magic number" where one of us counted the rings on a spiral circle after the other screamed STOP as loud as humanly possible. "Future Husband" and "Number of Children" were clearly our two favorite categories. I remember my "magic combination," and it was marrying Mel Gibson plus having four kids.

And my plan was to do all of this by the time I reached 27. Getting married and having children would be the ultimate climax of life. At the age of nine, the pressure was on to best prepare for the long climb to the top.

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