Maternity leave is not glamorous. It’s not a vacation. You are sleep deprived, you are exhausted and especially with your first, you’re figuring out how to take care of a brand new baby. Sometimes moms don’t even leave their houses for the first few weeks. I know I couldn’t drive for the first month or so being on pain killers from having a c-section, so my wardrobe consisted of maternity yoga pants, nursing tank tops and maybe a shower here or there. I definitely was NOT wearing makeup (or very little), rarely washed my hair and certainly was still wearing my maternity clothes. My mind was on breast feeding, latching, was he getting enough milk? Also, sleep… swaddles, napping, not napping, tummy time, doctor appointments, etc. You get the point. It’s a lot of work and lot to juggle on no sleep and lots of hormones.
Reality Sets In
I spent 9 months enjoying my pregnancy (I know I might be the anomaly) but I was probably the happiest pregnant lady you ever met (with both my kids) til the end, when I was just so huge that my back hurt and my feet were too swollen that I could only wear Old Navy flip flops. My mind didn’t even go to AFTER maternity leave until a coworker came over to visit, meet the baby (bring me lunch, so nice!) and chat! Yay human interaction! Maternity leave is so isolating… Anyway… she asked me, so have you figured out how you’re going to get ready for when you come back to work?
Me: Ummmmmmm oh shit. No, I haven’t thought about this at all! (mini freak out in my head)
Coworker friend: Well, here’s what I did when I came back…. (internal sigh of relief)
My friend proceeded to share her BEST tips for formula packing, night before routines, how to get everything ready for daycare (we did daycare, not nanny, but I’m supportive of whatever you do!)
Then I realized that I couldn’t go back to the office in my yoga pants, nursing tank top and flip flops. I needed to get ready too.
I had gained a lot of weight with my first (my son). Probably gained about 80 lbs. On someone that is only 5’2″ that stacks up. I definitely overindulged and didn’t workout as much as I probably should/could have. So needless to say, I was NOT going to be fitting into my pre-baby work clothes at all.
Updating My Wardrobe After Maternity Leave
Shit. I had to go shopping… and the embarrassing kind of shopping. NOT the kind when you just lost a ton of weight and you need to get ALL new clothes because EVERYTHING is soooo big on you now. Oh no, this was the kind of shopping where I was going up in pants sizes, looking for styles that would cover up my mid-section, loose fitting styles, but still easy to nurse in if I wanted to. It was a mess. I hated it, but I had to do it. Mentally I wasn’t prepared to go back to meetings, deadlines, etc. either, but going shopping for postpartum work clothes was the first step to mentally getting ready to go back to work.
I went back to work after having my son (born in early October) after the holidays. I was lucky in the fact that my employer had a transition period where I could come back a few days a week for a couple weeks, then 100% full time in the office. Since it was January in Arizona (which really isn’t very cold at all, but still chilly) I got away with bigger sweaters, looser tops, lots of cardigans and scarves… but as it got warmer (and I was slowly losing the weight) I needed more transition pieces, and I ended up trying Stitch Fix, the mail order fashion, styling service. It actually worked out great because I didn’t have time to go shopping with working full-time and with a new baby, and they sent me items that were perfect for my body type and office appropriate.
Favorite Styles for Postpartum Office Clothes
Some of my favorite styles for work wear after having a baby, and coming back to the office from maternity leave are comfortable, yet stylish. My most favorite are wrap dresses, because you can adjust the waist, and most of the time they are flattering on all figures. They also have a v-neck which makes it much easier to either pump on your lunch break or go and breast feed your baby. Some great wrap dresses that I love are linked below in Shop the Post.
For postpartum tops, depending on the season, I usually go with a flowy or more “roomy” top that isn’t a bodysuit style. Ha! Also, sticking with nursing tops or wrap tops is another easy way to camouflage your belly. I’ve found adding in a scarf (in fall and winter) or layer with a cute cardigan is a great way to still stay stylish and feel like you’re making the transition from maternity leave to office life again.
When I went back to work after my first baby, I just went and bought bigger jeans and pants (mostly started wearing lots of dresses until I could fit back into my pre-baby jeans. But after my second (my daughter), I had a harder time getting rid of the weight and wanted to wear jeans right away. I found the best pull-on, suck-you-in, belly flattening jeans at Kohl’s (randomly) and they were the Rock n’ Republic brand, so I got them in multiple colors and styles. That was my saving grace for sure! Now we have so many options like Spanx leggings and Spanx pants that can help hold your tummy in too! I still wear the Spanx 5 years after having a baby! haha!
I’d love to know your favorite back to work office wear must haves! Feel free to drop me a line or comment below! We all need to support each other! You’ve got this working mama. We’re in this together!