What To Wear After C-Section (Recommendations By Registered Nurse)

If you have a scheduled cesarean delivery or have just undergone C-section, it’s important to prepare your wardrobe because the right clothes can ease and speed up your postpartum recovery! Here’s what to wear after C-section: most comfy nightwear and nursing-friendly clothes to wear during the day.

What To Wear After C-Section

Article by Jessica Pierce – Registered Nurse & Nationally Registered Paramedic

Whether you’re a die-hard fashionista or dress purely for comfort, curating your wardrobe only gets more complicated once a new baby is on the way.

Maternity clothes are even more difficult to pick out if you’re a C-section mama. If you’re not sure what to wear postpartum, keep reading for a list of the best clothes for post C-section recovery!

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

What To Wear Post C-Section

Key concepts to keep in mind when shopping for C-section mamas attire include loose clothing that won’t rub on your incision site as well as supportive but breathable undergarments to protect your stitches throughout the healing process.

The postpartum clothes recommended here will help reduce swelling, minimize incision pain, and make your early days home with baby as stylish and comfortable as possible!

What To Wear After A C-Section In The Hospital

While a C-Section doesn’t come with all the same pain as a vaginal birth, it’s still a major surgery! You may want to stay in a hospital gown for the first few days, but eventually you’ll need to change into your home outfit to head back to your nest.

During your hospital stay, ask your nurse for a few extra pairs of mesh underwear. These make great C-Section underwear because they usually sit above the bikini line and are less likely to irritate your incision. They’re also quite stretchy!

If a hospital gown isn’t your thing, make sure to pack a nightgown or cozy robe in your C-section hospital bag. It will feel just as comfortable while providing a bit more modesty.

PRO TIP: I recommend this Universal Labor & Delivery Gown from Kindred Bravely because it’s ultra convenient for post surgery checkups, providing easy access to your incision site, for breastfeeding and tummy time, and even has an opening down the back for epidural access (some moms actually use it also for delivery). It’s secured with Velcro, meaning there’s no straps to tie and no risk of flashing the entire maternity ward either. What’s not to love?

What To Wear Home From The Hospital After A C-Section

A soft, stretchy, and comfortable nursing dress is a top choice for a going-home outfit. It’s both functional and stylish, while avoiding undue pressure on all your sensitive areas.

If you don’t care about looking cute, baggy sweats or an oversized sweater and postpartum leggings will work just as well.

Best Clothes For C-Section Recovery During The First Few Weeks At Home

A C-Section recovery can take up to 6-8 weeks, depending on how well your incision site heals1.

Having the right nursing clothes that feel comfortable as well as look flattering is a total game changer. C-Section mamas, keep reading – your dream post C-section closet awaits!

1. Dresses

After a C-Section, comfortable clothes are a must. Dresses are a staple for a lot of new moms because there’s no waistband and a nice flowy skirt stays away from all of the sensitive areas. Any dress that fits well and looks cute on you will do.

My absolute favorite is the incredibly cozy Sleep Etc. Nursing Dress from maternity and postpartum clothing brand called Storq. It can be worn both day and night. The empire waist gives your healing stomach plenty of room, and a built-in shelf bra provides both support and access for your bosom.

If you’re on smaller budget I recommend you this Lounge Dress from Kindred Bravely (in classic black). It looks flattering on postpartum belly, nothing digs in and it has convenient openings for quick access to your breasts when it’s time for feeding sesh.

Kindred Bravely Eleanora Lounge Dress

By the way, this dress is my fav rote thing to wear during postpartum in summer (both after C-section and natural birth).

2. Best Tops To Wear After A C-Section

Invest in some comfortable nursing tanks before you give birth to make breastfeeding a better experience. Find a nursing tank that provides easy access to your boobs but is long enough to cover your C-Section scar without rubbing on it.

Compression tanks can be another option for the mama who needs a little extra tummy support during her postpartum recovery.

This nursing cami is a great option (it’s also pumping-friendly!). Moms wearing this tank love that the design allows for one-handed boob access, which makes nursing so much easier. They note that it works great as an undershirt or with a light cardigan or sweater on cooler days. It’s made from a stretchy fabric and molds around your body which means it supports your weakened abdominal muscles and smoothes out your belly.

Kindred Bravely Sublime Pumping Tank

Other fashionable choice is the Storq’s Soft Touch Nursing Tank (the red version is so pretty!). But there is one thing to keep in mind – some wearers find the tank isn’t long enough to cover their shrinking belly. If you don’t love the cropped tank top look, it might be a good idea to size up.

If you prefer loose-fit tank tops that don’t “wrap” you body that much – I recommend this Bamboo Nursing Tank. It has built-in shelf bra that offers light support and nursing clips (for easy access whenever you need to breastfeed).

If you’re a fashionable mama, the Abbi Nursing Top from Simple Wishes is an incredibly stylish option. It comes in a variety of colorful hues and doesn’t look anything like a standard nursing tank.

PRO TIP: Undercover Mama’s $5 Grab Bag is a great place to get super cheap nursing tanks. Items on clearance are marked down to $5 each, with no fine print and no strings attached! Now if that’s not a good deal on postpartum clothing, I don’t know what is!

3. Best Maternity Leggings

Many women swear by a good comfortable pair of leggings post C-Section. The key here is to avoid tight leggings with a low waistband as these can be extremely uncomfortable or irritating to your incision area.

Opt for high waisted leggings that provide gentle compression and light belly support.

These Kindred Bravely Martina Crop Leggings (now on final sale 61% OFF) are a fan favorite among modern moms who have undergone C-section. They’re stretchy, they’re adjustable, they have a phone pocket, and their 7/8 angle length is super stylish and looks awesome with sneakers. What’s not to love?

Kindred Bravely Martina Leggings

The uber-tall waist of these leggings means that they can be pulled up all the way over your tummy, or folded down as you recover or if a below-the-boobs fit is uncomfortable for you.

Moms who have purchased these leggings verify that they fit true to size and rave about the quality of the material and comfortable fit. A few, however, complain that the inner thighs of the leggings wear out within a few months with regular wear and tear.

If you’re on tight budget, check out these Motherhood Maternity Leggings. They don’t wear out that fast and have a long elastic belly band that you can use to support and smooth out your postpartum belly.

4. Other Pants To Wear Postpartum

Loose pants are the name of the game, mama! This could look like a tried and true pair of sweats, some stretchy yoga pants, or even a favorite pair of maternity jeans. If yoga pants and dry shampoo are already staples of your daily routine, you’ve got a head start!

These Lounge Joggers are crazy soft and stretchy – just what you need when you recover after cesarean delivery. The waistband easily expands to accommodate your baby bump as it grows and shrinks again. I like that the legs are loose but not too baggy, so they don’t block your movements or rub your skin, and they also look flattering.

Kindred Bravely Everyday Lounge Joggers

5. Best Postpartum Panties

Postpartum underwear needs a bit more thought when you’ve had a C-Section versus a vaginal delivery. You’ll want extra comfort and protection for your abdominal area, so your pre-pregnancy undies may not be the best fit for a few weeks after cesarean delivery.

For a new mom, high waist underwear is the way to go. High waisted undies provide a layer of protection over your surgical site during your C-Section recovery.

Here’s my recommendation for the best post C-Section underwear: this Kindred Bravely High Waist Underwear both looks and feels incredible.

Kindred Bravely Postpartum High Waist Underwear

The full coverage panties come in packs of 5, with a variety of colors available. Moms love the wide lace waistband for abdominal comfort. These panties were also designed to provide room for pads.

By the way, during those first few days after the surgery (before you start wearing those high-waisted panties) the best option will be disposable stretchy mesh undies. They are definitely one of C-section recovery must-haves.

6. Nursing Bras

A good nursing bra is an absolute must for the postpartum and breastfeeding periods. There are a number of great breastfeeding bras on the market that take both style and comfort into consideration.

This Kindred Bravely Simply Sublime nursing bra is a top-of-the-line example. It comes as a standard bra as well as in sports bra form, with a number of different styles available. It’s also available in multiple sizes (up to 46I), so I’m pretty sure you’re find a good fit whether you’re a petite or plus size mama, and whether you’re looking for nursing bra for large boobs or small bust.

Kindred Bravely Simply Sublime Nursing Bra For Postpartum Recovery

Moms love the Simply Sublime bras for their adjustability and underwire-free support. A few women found that the bras didn’t hold up well in the wash after a few months, but the vast majority of reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

Another good choice is the Love and Fit’s Athena 3.0 Nursing Sports Bra, designed specifically for mid to high impact activity, for the CrossFit moms that the rest of us envy so badly. The straps can be worn multiple ways and reviewers have actually done HIIT in the bras (of course you need to wait a bit with intense workouts until the healing and recovery are finished and you have a green light from OB-GYN!2).

7. What To Wear At Night

The best pajamas for postpartum recovery are whatever you feel relaxed in! Many C-Section moms prefer nightgowns, since it doesn’t have a waistband to rub against their incision site.

For extra convenience, look for a nursing nightgown – this way, if you end up walking up and down your hallway while breastfeeding in the middle of the night, you won’t have a lot of bunched up fabric to contend with!

Kindred Bravely Lucille For Postpartum C-Section Moms

This Lucille Maternity & Nursing Nightgown is a popular option. The empire waist stays away from your healing tummy, and it looks just like normal lingerie (yes, you can feel pretty and sexy during postpartum!).

Moms who purchased this nightgown found the clip-down nursing cups to be a lifesaver for late night feeding times.

For those who prefer a full PJ set, Kindred Bravely Jane Nursing Pajama Set is made from a buttery-soft material and can even double as a warming under layer for the cold weather months.

Kindred Bravely Jane PJ Set

Mamas who have this set say that they live in it even during the day time, and are obsessed with how well they wash. No worries if a bit of spit up or a diaper blowout gets the best of you!

If you need two-piece PJs for warm weather, check out this cute pajama set with shorts and nursing-friendly cami. I just love the lacy details!

8. Footwear

Shoes might not be top of the list when you’re considering what to wear after a C-Section, but they sure will have an effect on your comfort level!

Typically, whatever shoes you were wearing during pregnancy should work just fine. Allow your stomach time to heal and your center of gravity to rebalance before getting back into high heels or shoes with lots of laces or buckles.

Trust me, the last thing you’ll want to do after a big surgery is lean over to tie your shoes!

What To Avoid Wearing After A C-Section Delivery

Avoid tight or restrictive clothing that could cut off circulation or irritate your C-Section incision. A C-Section is a major abdominal surgery, so you’ll definitely want to wear comfy clothes almost exclusively for the first few weeks.

Chances are, your body will tell you if you’re ready to wear something again or not. If you’re in a lot of pain or uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to put the offending article of clothing back in the closet for a little longer and change into something that you feel good in.

After all, the gentler you are with your incision area, the quicker it will heal…and the sooner you can get back to wearing everything that you love.

When To Prepare Your Post C-Section Attire?

As you get into the thick of pre-delivery “nesting” and putting the final touches on your baby’s nursery, it’s all to easy to forget to pack for yourself. With this in mind, it’s typically best to pack your own bags with everything you’ll need at the hospital sooner rather than later.

If you’re going in for a planned C-Section, pack your first few sets of postpartum clothes in your hospital bag a few weeks before your scheduled surgery date.

Of course, if you were preparing for a vaginal birth and ended up needing an emergency C-section, you might not be quite as prepared. In this case, stick to a cute nursing dress until you can get something a bit more comfortable for your postpartum recovery.

Do I Need Belly Band Or Abdominal Binder?

Belly band or abdominal binder is not a must-have, but it may be a very useful accessory when you’re healing after C-section.

While this isn’t a hard requirement, having some form of compression post surgery is a recovery staple for a lot of cesarean mamas.

Compression garments are helpful in that they minimize swelling post surgery while also providing gentle support that doesn’t cause extra pain.

A belly band is essentially a compression garment you wear underneath your regular clothing that wraps around your abdomen to provide extra support for your abdominal muscles as they heal.

Your hospital may be able to provide you with a belly wrap after your C-Section. If not, you can purchase a postpartum girdle online.

Here are the two belly bands that are most often recommend by postpartum moms and experts:

  • Frida Mom C-Section Recovery Band comes with 2 hot/cold packs and includes a supportive rear panel to help alleviate low back pain. Talk about multitasking!
  • This 3-in-1 Belly Support Wrap includes 3 panels designed to provide supportive shaping as well as correct posture. It comes in multiple sizes and appears to be quite adjustable.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this new mom-approved closet curation! It may feel overwhelming and frustrating trying to find the best fit (literally) for you, and that’s okay.

Many of these brands have great customer service and forgiving return policies if it takes you a couple of orders to find what works best for you.

Being a new mom might make you feel frumpy, but you’re not doomed to it! Treat yourself to one or two versatile new pieces that will help you look and feel your best, you beautiful and amazing mom. You certainly deserve it.

Article By Jessica Pierce, RN

Jessica Pierce is Registered Nurse, Nationally Registered Paramedic, writer, and contemporary dance artist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She holds two undergraduate degrees from Oral Roberts University – a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (2018) and a Bachelor’s of Art in Dance Performance (2019).

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.

Sources of pictures:

Pictures of maternity and nursing clothes belong to Kindred Bravely Brand. Source: https://www.kindredbravely.com/




About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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