Style counsel: Keturah Kamugasa
Identifying a stylishly chic look can be quite challenging for a breastfeeding mother who works. Unwanted weight that will not shift, engorged, leaking breasts and lack of privacy for milk expression at the workplace all add to the stress.
However, there is a solution to every challenge as three young mothers discovered.
“When I had my first baby last year, the biggest challenge was what to wear,” recalls 27-year-old Sumaya Mukisa. “I hated my maternity clothes and did not want to return to work in my old office wear because most of it did not fit anymore.
I had gained three kilos during my pregnancy. But nothing shocked me more than my breasts; they seemed to have tripled in size in a matter of months!” adds the banker, who resumed work three months after having her baby.
Mukisa says she opted for mostly leggings and button-up shirts for the next two months until she shed one kilo of weight. “I found the shirts comfortable and practical when I needed to express milk or change a breast pad.
Of course, they were also better when it came to breastfeeding my baby especially in public. I did not have to undress to do this!”
Seven months after childbirth, Mukisa was eager to wear more fashionable clothes. Soon the leggings were ditched for more corporate wear.
Hazel Amanya faced another challenge; leaking breasts. “Milk leaked out right through my blouse and onto the table during a department meeting.
I was so embarrassed. My boss allowed me to take the rest of the day off and I used this opportunity to stock up on thicker breast pads. I could not allow that incident to happen again,” she laughs.
Until her baby was nine months old, Amanya wore her maternity trousers and skirts, but teamed them with cotton and silk tops in vibrant colours. “Two days before I resumed work, I went to the salon and had my hair and nails done and my eyebrows shaped.
I also had a facial and bought some red lipstick to brighten up my face. It worked because my colleagues all went, ‘wow’ when I walked into the office.
According to Amanya, the hair and lipstick drew attention away from her tummy and obvious weight gain.
Thirty-year-old Jacqueline Arora used another weapon; beautiful underwear and shapewear. “I focused solely on underwear and it boosted my confidence.
The body shapers helped give my post-birth body shape and I could fit into some of my pre-birth clothes as a result,” she discloses.
So there you are, ladies. In spite of the challenges that come with childbirth, you can still look stylishly elegant, regardless of the expected weight gain. The trick is think of yourself too rather than focusing solely on the baby.
Seven tips to get that style
Change your hairstyle: it is amazing what a new hairstyle can do for your face and overall look. This could be a stylishly simple cut, a wig or weave.
Do whatever is easier for you as you juggle taking care of the baby and adjusting to your new lifestyle.
Invest in correct underwear: According to Marietta Enoch, a nurse and bra-fitting expert, breastfeeding mothers should avoid underwired bras.
Enoch says: “The right bra boosts one’s confidence.” There is shape wear that is designed for lactating mothers as it gently brings the body back into shape.
Use breast pads to avoid leakages and stained clothes: There are disposable and re-usable ones, but be sure to buy those with a high absorbency, especially for work.
Take care of yourself. A stressed mother will have a cranky baby because anxiety can be transferred. Even 20 minutes of ‘me-time’ are invaluable. Switch off your phone and relax.
Pay attention to grooming: Yes, we do appreciate that you have recently had a baby, but why go out looking like something the cat dragged in? Unkempt braids, weaves and cornrows make you look like a mad woman not a mother.
Create time to look good; dress well, accessorise properly and get rid of chipped nail polish.
Make-up: A little eyeliner, some lip gloss and some powder is all you need, according to Margaret Tandekwire, a professional beautician.
Eat well: Food is fuel for our bodies, but it also has healing properties. A good diet is reflected on your skin, nails and hair. If you are afraid to put on weight, then make more healthy food choices.