The road to new motherhood can be exhausting. After months of growing and then finally delivering a baby, every new mom should indulge in a little self-care—especially those brave belly-birth moms who’ve gone through major surgery.
While you’re focused on caring for your precious baby, it’s important not to neglect yourself as you heal. Treat yourself to a super-soft blanket or your favorite meal—whatever will make you feel relaxed and rewarded. In addition to a little pampering, don’t forget to stock up on comfortable clothes to make your recovery easier.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to avoid bottoms with buttons as they may irritate your incision. Instead, focus your wardrobe search on items that are light and breathable; look for clothes that will provide the comfort you crave while you heal.
The right apparel is also key for post-C-section nursing since some postpartum clothes may be too tight around your incision site. Find clothes that are comfortable and convenient, so that breastfeeding is as easy as possible while you’re recovering.
Below are some tips on what to wear after a C-section. We hope these ideas help you find comfort during the early days with your new love.
What to Wear During the Day
The waistbands in pants and shorts can irritate the incision site for some moms; other moms just want an alternative to the “mom uniform” of loose tops and pants. Flowing dresses are the perfect solution.
Click the photo to check out the ultimate two-in-one!
Great for dressing up or down, a maxi dress is a versatile staple for your C-section recovery wardrobe. Choose one with breathable material that stretches so you can easily pull the dress down for nursing without aggravating your incision. These breezy dresses are sure to help you feel comfortable and stylish—ideal for those days when you don’t feel like sporting the athleisure look.
BraveMom Tip: Look for a comfortable nightgown that can double as a cute dress!
Loose Pants or Leggings
Depending on how your incision heals, you may love a comfortable pair of maternity/postpartum leggings (with or without a compression panel). Look for high-waisted leggings that rise above your incision and provide coverage while nursing.
Click the photo to see which leggings are best for you!
If you want a looser fit or feel too exposed in leggings or yoga pants, gaucho pants can be the perfect alternative. These loose, Bohemian-style pants date back to the Renaissance when horse-riding women wanted to maintain their feminine style. They’re a great transitional piece between seasons and can easily be dressed up with wedge heels or sandals. Look for a pair with a wide, stretchy, high-rise band at the top for optimal post-C-section comfort.
Another great option—especially for creating some cute, trendy outfits during your recovery—is the jumpsuit. Available in styles with varying sleeve lengths, jumpsuits can cater to many types of weather and occasions. Because they often don’t have a fitted waistband, they're a great choice for your recovery.
BraveMom Tip: Loose-fitting jumpsuits that crisscross in the front will make nursing a cinch!
What to Wear at Night
Comfortable sleepwear should be a priority for every new mom. Although pajamas are usually considered night-time apparel, new moms often wear them around the clock in the beginning. Look for a material that makes you feel cozy, a design that allows easy access for nursing, and a style that helps you feel beautiful instead of frumpy.
Click the photo to check out the lovely Lucille Nursing Nightgown.
If you’re not comfortable wearing nightgowns, go for pajama bottoms with a wide, soft waistband that won’t bother your incision.
BraveMom Tip: Look for pajama tops that are cute enough to pair with your favorite skirt or leggings!
What to Wear Underneath Your Clothing
Whether you have a vaginal or C-section delivery, all new moms should treat themselves to new underwear. As the uterus sheds its lining, moms can bleed for weeks. While the hospital’s mesh panties are functional (and we do sing their praises for a few days), they’re not really fashionable or practical for long-term use.
Go for great compression panties or stretchy, high-waisted underwear with a wide band across the top. You’ll want something that sits above your incision and won’t slip down as you move. Look for underwear roomy enough to accommodate large postpartum pads.
BraveMom Tip: Make sure your new underwear is breathable and comfortable, and keep in mind that these panties may end up with stains from postpartum leaking or spotting, so pick dark colors if possible and pre-treat stains if necessary.
Who knew that you’d be able to use one of your favorite maternity products for your postpartum recovery too? Many C-section mamas report feeling uncomfortably “jiggly” after delivery and say that wearing a belly band really helps. This simple wrap, worn around your torso and secured by Velcro, provides additional support for your body as it heals. Belly bands are also recommended for postpartum moms who have back pain or need additional abdominal reinforcement.
This structured, corset-like wrap promotes quick healing by keeping stitches securely in place and providing much-needed abdominal support. These features make it easier for you to move around during your recovery. Some hospitals will give abdominal binders to postpartum moms, but if that’s not the case, you can purchase one online.
The best advice for both types of wraps (and everything you wear postpartum) is to listen to your body. If something is uncomfortable or causing you pain, you may need to wait a bit longer to try wearing it.
BraveMom Tip: A postpartum doula we know recommends Ace Bandages for wrapping postpartum bellies!
Other C-Section Recovery Necessities
Belly-birth moms highly recommend keeping a pillow handy to hold close to your belly when you sneeze, cough, and laugh (especially on the ride home from the hospital).
Nursing pillows like My Brest Friend are great for belly-birth moms who nurse since they help lift your baby away from your incision. Carefully positioned regular pillows work well too!
To help relieve discomfort at the incision site, try heat therapy. You can purchase a microwaveable heating pad or even make your own at home. The use of heat, along with other pain management options, can make your recovery much more comfortable.
Last, but definitely not least, is advice for all postpartum moms: follow the instructions your doctor and health care providers give you. If you’re given pain meds and stool softeners, take them as directed. We’ve all tried to outlast physical pain at some point, but the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to listen to what your body is saying.
While motherhood can often feel like it’s full of “grin and bear it” moments, the aches and pains of recovery shouldn’t be ignored. Take heed of any physical limitations your doctor recommends, and remember your medical team is your best resource while you recover. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them with questions and concerns.
A Final Word of Encouragement
Recovering from a C-section can take time. Although you may be eager to return to your formerly active lifestyle, remember that it's both normal and expected for the healing process to take a while. Be patient. You have a lot on your plate, and you need to allow your body to heal. In order to be the best mom possible to your new baby, make sure you’re tending to yourself: get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and relish the hour-long snuggle sessions with your newborn.
While some moms bounce back quickly, others take longer to feel like their pre-pregnancy selves. Delivery is a unique experience for every mom (and family), so try to resist the urge to compare yourself to other moms. What you’ve just experienced is no small feat so allow yourself the time you need to heal. Do the best you can, and know that you're doing an amazing job!