Reader Question – Vacation Style Tips for Postpartum & Nursing Moms


Reader Question:

We’re traveling to Mexico in May with my in-laws and I’m already stressed about what to wear.  My post-2nd-kid body is not where I’m happy and the thought of a week on the beach with active kids 3-1/2 and 18 months when we go) is just killing me…its all going to be hanging out!  What should I start looking for?  Oh, and I’m still nursing, too!

ps- I need everything- swimwear, cover-ups, dresses, shorts (skirts/skorts?) tanks- the gambit.




There are few things I’ve dreaded more than showing up at the beach or the pool after having my two beloved babies.  Love them as we do, they tend to wreak havoc on the bod, from the first 9 long months on through the first few years, while it’s extremely difficult to fit regular workouts into super busy mom (or is that busy super mom?) schedules.  So Ann, please believe me when I say, I truly feel for you here, and I did double time looking for the best postpartum body flattering vacation items I could find.

I also paired everything here with only two, very flat pairs of shoes.  I’d love anything here with espadrilles, strappy sandals or cork wedges, but going easy on footwear, especially when going somewhere as laid back as a Mexican resort, is the easiest way to pack light for the rigours of traveling with two kids.  If you’ve already traveled with both your children, you know why this is so crucial, given the monumental task of transporting the belongings of four people (plus car seats) with only two adults to carry them.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, because your well-deserved vacay is coming up fast:

Date Night in Mexico
I’m going to start with a relaxed, super pooch hiding evening look because I am in love with both dresses.  Couldn’t decide which to feature, so I chose both.  The form-fitting bodices combined with voluminous ruffled skirts are going to make you look itty-bitty.  I love the flamenco hem on the Anthro dress–it’ll put the focus on your gams while the scoop neck, made of an easy-to-pull-down-for-nursing jersey, will elongate your neck and draw attention to your face.  The Old Navy tube dress is on sale for $25 right now, has fab reviews, will transition more easily to day, and has obvious benefits for nursing moms.  Pair either with gold & turquoise (I actually just bought the earrings from dear friend and–full disclosure–Stella & Dot stylist, Becky McBride and they’re gorgeous!) and a pair of Reef braided gold flip flops that will do as nicely at night as on the beach during the day.


Old Navy halter dress
$25 –


Night Moves Chemise
$68 –


Reef shoes
$36 –




Sexy, Shaping Swimwear
I’ve never been so excited about shaping, one-piece swimwear.  It’s come a long way.  I started my search planning to include one or two tummy control/slimming suits, but ended up with an entire set of shapewear suits plus two amazing cover ups that will do double duty as another dress or cover-up for cool evenings.  I’m particularly impressed with the Shape fx suit designs and price point, and just might pick up the twist front bandeau myself and the peridot green halter is a swim dress I could live with.  If you’re not fond of shaping swimwear, look for suits with ruching at the sides and over the tummy, deep v-necklines, and don’t forget to visit S’s post on totally hot swimsuits for moms.  The “Infinite Comfort” cardigan from Anthro is on sale now for $40 and will serve you well year-round, but hurry if you’re drooling for the black Mara Hoffman cover-up–it’s selling fast and is only available on Swirl until Friday.

Draped top
$78 –


$152 –


Miraclesuit slimming bikini
$146 –


$79 –


$69 –




Drapey Tops: The Postpartum Pooch’s Best Friend
After nine months spent in empire waisted tops, it’s time to give it a rest.  While S’s layered deep-v look is exceptionally useful for hiding a postpartum pooch in climes and seasons that better lend themselves to layering, cowl necks, draping and asymmetrical patterns can do the same at higher temperatures.  Pair these blousey tops with slimmer-fitting shorts or flouncey skirts and a pair of TOMS, which have replaced sneakers for me on vacations–they’re great for walking cobbled streets and I’ve actually done a moderate beach side hike with lots of cliffs and rocky scrambles in mine.  I snapped up the Gap “Geometric” shorts with their recent 30% off coupon because I’ve been dying for a pair of graphic print shorts under $200) and am drooling over the Anthro “Highland Hiking” shorts (which reviewers say are infinitely more flattering than they look) and the ASOS linen shorts in cinnamon.

Asymmetric top
$48 –


ASOS top
$36 –


J Crew top
$35 –



TopShop vintage short
$55 –


Gap short
$40 –




Red shoes
$48 –


Reef shoes
$36 –


Five Dresses in Mexico
Come summer, I live in day dresses.  These easy-breezy shifts will skim right over any postpartum mom body issues (including thick waists, poochy tummies, saddlebags and chunky thighs) and will let you nurse to boot (update 4/14/11: earlier I wrote that the ON eyelet dress may not be nursing-friendly but it totally is–it has about 4 inches of functioning buttons on the placket).

Old Navy cut out dress
$30 –




Marc by Marc Jacobs tank dress
$148 –


$58 –


Sunny Forecast Chemise
$68 –


Red shoes
$48 –


Reef shoes
$36 –


Poolside Pooch Hiders
Lastly, but not least, are three fab maxi dresses perfect for an evening out with hubs or a lazy nap time poolside lounge.  The gathering and halter neckline on the Rachel Pally for Piperlime maxi will smooth over a too-many-tacos-tummy, give the girls a boost and allow for easy nursing. The Anthro “Nautical Dreaming” maxi will flatter virtually any body type with it’s double-bias v-stripes, sweetheart neckline and perfectly-placed spaghetti straps that will look as good over a swimsuit as it would over a thin-strapped contrasting color bra or a racer back tank for more coverage.  I’ll just be honest about the Free People “Beach” maxi:  I just love it, and while I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t hide my postpartum pooch, I could get over it in seconds flat for its easy beachy-ness, flowing lines, and for the fact that it would definitely pass my five-year-old-self’s main criterion for choosing dresses: the “Twirl Test.”

Free People beach maxi dress
$98 –




$88 –


Ann, have a fabulous time with your family on vacation.  A week in Mexico sounds amazing after all this blah winter dreariness and a terrific start to your tan.  I hope this collection helps you find some things that will make you feel almost pre-baby!

– M.





  1. Holy MOLY, M. This article rocks. I want…uh…everything??? Am thinking we now need red TOMS. How have we lived this long without them? And the Marc Jacobs striped tank dress? OMG. Gotta love when MJ puts out something pooch-and-nursing friendly. But I seriously love everything. EVERYTHING, D@MN YOU!! GAHHHH!

  2. This post could not have come at a better time! I am three weeks away from a Florida trip with the littles and I was clueless. Thanks!
    ps–just picked up the Splendid Black Maxi from Net a porter this week–any styling tips? The drawstring waist has me a bit stumped…but it’s SO comfortable.

  3. This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read! THANK YOU!!!!! Perfect timing and I love the mix of high end and more budget-friendly. Great job!!

  4. I’m trying to figure out if I wrote this to you in my sleep. Except, I leave for Mexico in TWO DAYS and don’t have time to order those swim suits so…tank tops and shorts for me! (cue booing sounds).
    Thanks for the great suggestions!

  5. Love love love and thought I would share. C&C California, whose dresses are perfect for hot weather (I live in south FL and LOVE them!) is having a dress sale today only from Noon-6pm. It’s 40% off with code NOONER40. :o) BUY BUY BUY!!!!!

  6. Love this post – very useful and practical. I’m leaving in 8 days for Hawaii and I will use this as my inspiration for packing! Love the idea of just bringing 2 pairs of shoes, though it will be tough for me. I just bought a couple new dresses that are totally in line with this – except though ‘pooch hiding’ my MIL has asked twice now if there is some ‘news’ I would like to announce…perhaps that there may be baby #2 on the way (which is NOT the case and I barely even have a pooch!). Glad to be reassured that ‘pooch hiding’ clothes are in fact stylish and acceptable even if you aren’t pregnant!

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