1. Sort your closet and move easy-access nursing/pumping tops to the front.
As if it's not difficult enough to walk away from your tiny baby every morning, you also have to sift through your closet to find a presentable look for the office while living on almost zero sleep and working with a new “mom" silhouette.
It's a daunting task to say the least (but I believe in you, mama!)—so I put together a list of my top 5 tips for heading back to work postpartum.
1. Make easy-access tops easy access.
For all the nursing and pumping mamas: Take an hour to sort your closet. Move all the non-easy-access tops and dresses to a section in the back. Keeping them out of sight will help you to put together functional outfits that allow you to pump more easily.
2. Redefine “easy access."
Take time to understand what “easy access" really means, and add a few fresh styles to your wardrobe that make you feel great about yourself.
Pumping at work means you need to access both breasts at the same time. Think button downs, zippers and snap fronts. Note that lift-up and pull-down access are typically better for actual nursing when only one breast is required at a time. There is no need to buy actual nursing tops to achieve this.
It's much better to invest in something you love and are excited to wear than an item you're thinking of as an eventual throwaway.
3. Dress up your new body with pride.
Give yourself a pat on the back for making a human and find peace with the fact that your body may not spring back into place right away. Finding that peace will be easier if you choose styles and silhouettes that help smooth out postpartum bumps. Monochromatic looks are a smart approach, and I also recommend A-line shapes that don't cling to the body but don't add volume.
4. Make way for elastic waists.
Skirts and pants with elastic waists are your new best friends.
And if you can find them with a flat front (elastic only in the back), then buy even more. Pants, of course, are obvious, but there are so many amazing options for elastic-waist skirts that help you transition into your pre-baby pieces. They look amazing and non-moms are wearing them too (translation: they're not “mom pants"). An elastic waist is not a sign of defeat.
5. Remember you are worth it.
Don't tell yourself that now is not the time to shop.
You may feel that you don't want to spend money on clothes that are not your “normal" size—but the truth is that normal becomes something a little different post baby. It's okay to invest in yourself.
Going back to work as a new mom is overwhelming, especially if you work in a setting full of men or non-moms. You are tired and stressed to the max. The last thing you need is to feel self-conscious and insecure. The good news is that you don't have to spend a lot to look like a million.
Find these items and you are good to go in pinch:
A crisp white button-down shirt that fits you through the bust without adding width at the waist (you may need to have it altered). Buy two of them. White shirts go with everything!
A day-to-night dress that looks just as good with flats as it does with workday pumps.
A giant shawl/capelet that can work as a nursing cover, a modesty panel for pumping and a chic accessory to add new life to “well-worn" looks
A classic blazer (with some stretch) that will instantly make a more casual ensemble boardroom ready.
Black trousers with a simple, straight leg (not too skinny and not too flared). They must be understated enough to go unnoticed if you need to wear them more than once a week!