A Guide to Postpartum Fashion for the Brand New Mom

Much like a survivor of tragedy, I’ve largely blocked out the very early days of Lucy’s life. I’m trying to recall now, 7 months later, what it felt like to never sleep more than 2 hours in a row, not eat a meal that wasn’t initially frozen, and simultaneously wear an F cup and a disposable diaper for adult women. Sure, I was in awe of my little newborn because she was beautiful and I loved her, but also because I had no idea how someone that small could shit that much. I mostly remember trying desperately to keep her calm so I could play Donkey Kong or watch Netflix and try to process how my life and my body had completely changed, really it felt like falling apart, overnight.

Based on my experience of having done this one time, I’d like to offer you my guide to postpartum dressing as a simple, four part plan. Dress for success, ladies!

1. Kiss your hospital frump goodbye with this matching, two piece set in luxurious cotton with an embroidered overlay Champion logo.

it's okay to match your cat

it’s okay to match your cat

The elastic accents of the suit will highlight your slimmest features: your wrists and neck. The roomy and fashionable harem-style pant will accommodate the most audacious of adult diapers.

Selecting the suit in orange will hide the electric-colored residue of organic, low calorie snacks, like possibly carrots, but definitely Nacho Cheese Doritos.

Bonus: selecting the suit in blue will likewise hide the evidence of the Cooler Ranch option.

rest when you can

2. Wear something sexy to bed so your husband finds you desirable.

date night

date night

No man wants to come home at the end of a long day to a frumpy wife with streaks of barf collating her unwashed hair into temporary dreadlocks.

While I don’t recommend a lace thong for the days immediately postpartum, a fitted pajama set in heather grey will help to accentuate the bags under your eyes. A delicate, silken robe screams “come hither, and bring the Haagen Dazs or I’ll murder you.”

3. Instead of eating fattening processed meats and cheeses, become the meats and cheeses.

IMG_4304

totally normal

This type of look proudly proclaims, “I swear I’m ready to leave the house!” No one will question you in this outfit. In fact, the moment you put it on, several family members will insist on taking the baby for a few hours so you can get some sleep. Essentially, you are wearing a meat tube with magical powers. (Because sleep is nothing if not pure magic).

4. When in doubt, accessorize your look with a colorful scarf!

scarf barf

ready for anything, for example, a nap

Is that breastmilk leaking through your top? Just pull the scarf a little to one side for a more French interpretation of the look.

You’ll look effortlessly polished and ready to seize the day just by adding a simple scarf. No one at Stop and Shop will be able to tell you just gave birth to a bowling ball while you mindlessly dump 8 kinds of cheese into your cart and try to remember the last time you showered.

If you’re still too overwhelmed by the whole motherhood thing to follow these four simple rules, then just remember this one thing: you are the best.

Now send your partner out to 7-11 and do not let him return without $40 worth of processed snacks. Try not to wipe Cheeto stains on the baby but if you do, it’s okay.  You’re still the best.

Advertisements

Sleeeeeeep

Sleep is the holy grail for pregnant women and new moms. We talk about it in hushed, reverent tones like it’s heroin and we’re all jonesing for a fix (Are you getting any? Where can I get some of that? Is it good?).

My sleep problems began during pregnancy. For my entire first trimester and part of the second, I was commuting 4 hours a day and working 10 or 11. My day started at 5:00am and ended around 10:00pm, when I’d eat a frozen meal on my couch and stare out at the Real Housewives of Something with purple zombie eyes, shoveling forkfuls of flaccid organic lasagna into my mouth. I’d head to bed after that, where I’d stare at the ceiling and listen to repeats of This American Life for hours. “This is just preparing you for new motherhood!” people would say about my insomnia. (Someone should write a book about what you should not say to pregnant women, and this should be the second item, after “OMG are you still pregnant???”)

IMG_3235

Eventually, I transferred my job to be closer to home, which helped with the insane hours, but the insomnia remained. Becoming a walking vessel for hormone soup (aka getting pregnant) made me realize that I had been taking all of the normal activities of daily life for granted. I literally could not imagine how I’d ever been able to eat things without wanting to puke, go to the bathroom EVER, or sleep at night.

After Lucy was born, I tried to breastfeed. That meant that every two hours for 24 hours a day, I’d latch a screaming purple goat onto my body and let her terrorize me until she drew blood (some women love to breastfeed, but I was not one of them). When I wasn’t able to breastfeed (because I was trying to heal), I was pumping every two hours instead. Even when my husband would take the night shift, and be with our daughter for 5 or 6 hours in a row so I could “sleep,” I’d have to wake up every two hours and pump for half an hour while I groggily soaked in an episode of Friends.

Have you ever seen Homeland? You know the scene where the CIA is questioning a terrorist, and their method for getting him to talk is to blast loud music every time he almost falls asleep? Replace the loud music with a screaming infant and bingo. And that guy didn’t even have barf on his clothes and shit in his hair.

To moms out there who have ever or are still breastfeeding: you guys are TOUGH. Olympic athletes don’t even train that hard. You’re like millions of all-natural Hulk Hogans.

Around two and a half months, I got her on a schedule. I want to share a little bit about that, because I hear a lot from new moms who are seeking any and all suggestions about where they can find their next sleep fix. This is what worked for me, (though every kid and every mom are their own unique snowflakes, and we are all doomed unto the apocalypse for offering mommy advice, because nothing will work for everyone forever).

Another side note: one of my very coolest friends ever, R, has a son who has actively REFUSED to sleep since the moment of his conception. I would like to hereby induct R into the hallowed halls of Sainthood, because she still manages to get dressed every morning (AND cleans her house, and makes beautiful drawings).

Lucy and I follow this schedule: EASY-Schedule-Cheat-Sheet from here.

I take a lot of liberty with it. For example, I let her nap for however long she is tired (instead of letting her “cry it out,” which I have no problem with, theoretically, but it’s just not for me). Some mornings she naps for two hours, and sometimes (okay, most of the time) for 45 minutes. I trust her to make up that time later in the day, and she does.

I also need the freedom to be able to leave the house every day, so she takes naps here or there in the car, at Target, or in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts where I accidentally might buy half a dozen donuts and a box of Joe and make an afternoon of it. I’m not one to say, “I can’t eat 12 donuts today because I have to be home by 1pm for Lucy’s nap.”

But I do follow the scheduled feedings. According to my pediatrician, the two biggest things you can do to get your kid to sleep through the night are:

1. Make sure they eat enough during the day. (So when I have a 6 oz bottle scheduled, I try my best to make sure Lucy eats 6 oz, even if it’s over the course of an hour).

2. Don’t let them graze. You want to get them used to going for a stretch without eating, so they can go at least 8 hours at night (by 3 months) without eating. This means don’t let them have a little bit of food all the time, instead of larger feedings at greater intervals.

In addition to eating, I enjoy mathalete tournies, coding, and World of Warcraft

“In addition to eating, I enjoy mathalete tournies, coding, and World of Warcraft”

Lucy is now 4 months old. She gets between 25-30 oz of formula during the day, plus a little vegetable puree. We put her to bed at 7:15pm, and she goes right to sleep. We wake her up at 11pm for a dream feed, and put her back to sleep. She wakes up around 7:00 am.

Granted, much of her ability to sleep through the night is pure luck on our part as parents. I don’t think you can take a baby who refuses to sleep, or is colicky or whatever else, and put them on a schedule and expect magic. But for those lucky moms who are almost there, like I was, and need a little nudge to get those really life-changing extra Zs, this is what worked for me.

Another thing I can’t recommend enough is finding other moms you can talk to about this stuff. My neighbor-friend down the street has read all the parenting books, which I have not (because I literally haven’t read a single one- aren’t you glad you’re reading my advice column?). She has a daughter who’s just a little older than Lucy, and has faithfully figured out all this parenting stuff just ahead of me and then told me all of her brilliant secrets. This particular schedule was one of her magnificent finds.

Please share if you have any other tips for me! Especially if they involve how to achieve optimum weight loss through an all-donut diet while watching 9 hours of t.v. a day and still raising a well-adjusted genius.

FullSizeRender-19