As a birth photographer, it is no surprise that I am anti-hospital gown. Esthetically and functionally, they are definitely not what you want around/on your body as you labor and birth. As a HUGE fan of self-expression and individuality in my every day life, molding that with comfort in birth spaces is a tip I pass on to every single one of my clients regardless of where they deliver.
I’ve spoken publicly about the one-size-fits-all multi-use gowns on my Instagram, too :
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Did you know that you’re allowed to say “No” to the hospital gown provided to you during labor? You CAN! And SHOULD! You can wear whatever you want in your birth space. This isn’t something you need permission from a doctor or nurse for. Politely decline if a hospital gown is offered to you , and then inform nurses/doctors of your desire to wear what you’ve brought, and that includes your right to wear absolutely nothing at all. Just a small way to feel like yourself in a space that isn’t home- wear what you feel best, sexiest, badassest in.
I specifically referred to these Motherhood Maternity gowns in Regular and Plus sizes in that video for parents interested in the coverage of a hospital gown with the freedom of choice and consent- but this blog is about all your options. From a mom and birth photographer who values your comfort and also values what feeling like a million bucks brings to the table, here are 10 size inclusive alternatives to throw on in place of the L&D gown.
1.) TOMBOYX MICROMODAL BRALETTE - $ 39 , sizes XS -5X
TOMBOYX 6” BOXER BRIEF - $34 , sizes XS - 5X
Taking spot number 1 is my favorite set of the bunch.
TomboyX apparel is eco-friendly and ethically produced, for any body sitting on or off the binary and incredibly size inclusive. Serving sizes XS-5X in all of their products. The bralette comes in a wide range of colors and the 6” boxer briefs are just flat out CUTE. Obviously, the boxers come off when the baby comes out, but until then, if you’re more of a “keep it covered” type of person, this pair is one to keep in mind.
What I LOVE: This set is SEXY. I love the width of the straps and the keyhole that doubles as a ventilation system in the bralette. The important part of wearing anything on top is the ability to pull it down under the breasts during skin to skin and/or for breastfeeding- if you’re going that route. I love the coverage and comfortability of the boxer briefs and whether or not your ass can squeeze into an airplane seat without thought, this set fits you.
I’m a newbie to Kala Intimates and regretting that I didn’t know about them for my pregnancies HARD.
Kala is an inclusive brand focusing on eco-friendly sustainable products for everyone. Their priorities are Mother Earth and diversity both in sizing and in the color range their nudes are available.
What I LOVE: The design of the nursing bra makes it easy for one-handed boob removal and is made with organic cotton. ALSO? ANTI-BACTERIAL. It dries rapidly and is said to remain odor-free. The undies are a little bump to big bump transitional piece which is ROCKIN. That means you can absolutely get your use out of them all pregnancy long. The wide hi-low band sweeps underneath a growing baby and stays put. Plus, a discount: Sign up for the mailing list at the bottom of their homepage and get 10% off your first purchase.
What I’m bummed on: White isn’t an ideal color to wear into a birth space, heads up. Luckily, this set comes in a dark grey, too.
I love Universal Standard. Let me say that again... I LOVE Universal Standard. The most size inclusive brand in the world, they are dedicated to luxurious fabrics and inclusivity. Every item in their shop is tried on a model of every single size they offer. You’re not wondering what it might look like on your body, you’re seeing it with your own eyes. As someone who owns stuff from US, I vouch for the quality of the camisole. It’s incredible.
Because Universal Standard doesn’t offer intimates yet, we’re back to TomboyX for briefs that go with and Free People for the scrunched socks. Both will give you the vibes that Universal Standard is sending out with this incredible ad.
What I LOVE: Size range, size range, size range. The fabric is soft and quality and washes incredibly well. I think this option is fun and playful but also gives you pieces you can continue to wear even after baby.
What I’m bummed on: Finding socks that are made specifically for fat bodies is proving to be pretty difficult. I’m not a huge fan of Free People as a whole, so take a peek at the socks listed and try your local thrift shop and/or maybe do some hunting on your own if you’re also in the “Free People isn’t great at all not in the slightest” camp. Also, just like above, white isn’t ideal for a birth space if you want to keep it white- There are lots of color options for both the briefs and the Camisole, so pick whatever you’re feeling!
This set is so trendy it’s almost disgusting, but in a good way. It def sits as the least size-inclusive of the bunch, so anyone with large breasts and/or curves should head straight to option 5, but smaller chests and thin humans, this is for you!
In color “Tobacco” the femme boxers and bralette are so PRETTY. The color and cut are peak Autumn. For bellies, either size up to wear around the abdomen or be aware that it will sit lower on the hips if buying in your size. I’m not familiar with how the sizing works for this brand, so make sure you take a peek at their sizing guide prior to purchasing.
What I love: I am especially a fan of the buttons on the femme boxers and the accessibility of the bralette for breastfeeding parents, sliding the straps off the shoulders will be a cake walk for easy out-and-back-in of the goods.
What I’m bummed on: The sizing is a bust. It’s one of those things that has me remembering that plus-size options still aren’t the norm. I also can’t find any information on sourcing and/or company ethical policies- so if supporting brands that are good for the planet is your forte, you may want to keep digging and see what you can find and/or, choose another option.
5.) PACT SLEEP TEE - $35 , XS-XL
PACT is bringing it with their fair trade, certified organic cotton goods. They don’t do toxic dyes, pesticides, and are ALL for conscious consuming. Another “straight size” option, in reading reviews, the XL is roomy, not snug, and this piece definitely fits true to size, with many people stating it’s actually roomier than they anticipated, in all sizes- which is great news as you’ll have a pregnant belly under there.
What I love: FLEXIBILITY. I love a roomy shirtdress. I love that to be “covered” you can actually wear nothing underneath, which means that as you get closer to baby time and fluids pour out of your nether regions, it’s no big deal. Even though this is sold as a sleep tee, it could absolutely be worn over leggings with a denim jacket post baby for colder months, OR with sneaks and bike shorts for casual summer wear.
What I’m bummed on: Ugh, sizing. Inclusive sizing gets lots and lots of extra points from me-anything that doesn’t include plus options gets this whiny sentence.
6.) ASOS MATERNITY ULTIMATE SWING DRESS - $24 , 2-16
STORQ specializes in classic, timeless, well-made pieces for pregnant bodies that don’t sacrifice style-and they do it extremely well. When I look at their collection it strikes me as capsule wardrobe-ish. Focusing on the basics made with quality materials, each item is really beautiful. They’ve done an impeccable job marrying functionality with style.
The sizing for STORQ is okay. We’ve got a decent range of XS - 3X, which is where I believe all brands should be at a bare minimum. The Delivery Robe is great for pregnancy, and is marketed as being great, too, for all the poking and sticking, or lack there-of, in a delivery room. Paired with the Full Cup Nursing Bra, you’ve got pieces that will take you well into your postpartum period and beyond. The nursing style is limited to just larger breasts, however their regular Everyday Bra coming in at $42, is also available and in sizes 30A - 44D. You lose that nursing capability, but it’s an equally amazing option.
What I love: I think these may top my list as 1.) most practical and 2.) hottest. I love the robe, I love the nursing bra in “Rust” and I REALLY love them together. The wide back bank of the nursing bra isn’t frumpy, it’s lovely and frames the body so well it doesn’t even look like a nursing bra. You get that one hand flap front and in fabrics specifically sourced with luxury in mind.
What I’m bummed on: These are sitting at the priciest. I’m a firm believer in investing in quality work, which both of these fall under, but the price tag, regardless of how warranted, is still high and may be a little out of budget for most families.
8.) DWELL + SLUMBER CAFTAN - $62 , XS-XXL
Dwell + Slumber has made a serious name for themselves making trendy, comfortable, jersey dresses with lots of room to move in the most pinterest-worthy color palettes. “Buttery Soft” and “100% Nursing and Bump-Friendly” this is another one of those pieces that follows you well into postpartum.
It also has… wait for it…. POCKETS!! Tucked discreetly into the side seam.
This piece comes in 3 sizes- XS-S, M-L, AND XL-XXL, and lots and lots of colors.
Dwell + Slumber’s following is massive and very, VERY loyal. They sell out quickly and don’t guarantee restocks on particular colors or patterns. If you find something you like and it’s still in stock in your size? GRAB IT QUICKLY.
What I LOVE: I’ve felt this brand before and when they claim “buttery soft” they aren’t exaggerating in the slightest. I love flexibility in the make- throw it ver your head and you’re done. The length is great and the wide variety of colors is something I appreciate a lot.
What I’m bummed on: You know it’s coming… the size range. Being that XXL is at the very edge of their size offerings, I’m not confident that a 2X body would fit in the largest size with room to move.
9.) MOMMYROBECLOTHING HAND-DYED MATERNITY GOWN - $38 , 0-24
Looking for an option outside predictable maternity brands, I stumbled across the “MOMMYROBECLOTHING” shop on Etsy.
Based in India, they specialize in cotton robes and kaftans in a wide array of sizes, shapes and patterns. The tie-dyed pieces are all hand dyed and their reviews are glowing. Also, HELLO! THEY HAVE SIZE RANGES UP TO 5X. There’s also an area of the item details that talks about requesting buttons down the back for easy epidural access.
I am so obsessed with this one I am legitimately considering buying it for myself. Happy Birthday to me.
This specific piece buttons up the front and also includes a waist tie. Which MEANS you can unbutton and wear this as a traditional open robe tied at the waist, or buttoned without the tie as a maxi, and ALSO as a laboring gown, and it, again, follows you out of pregnancy and into postpartum.
What I LOVE: Everything. Seriously everything. I can’t get enough of this one.
What I’m bummed on: Not bummed, just to note- shipping will take longer as this is coming straight from India. Keep that in mind while you order and do so sooner rather than later.
Knix just released their new Maternity line and they are off to a bangin’ start! Packed full of necessities for pregnancy through postpartum, including my favorites: the Leakproof Maternity Nursing Bra in a SUPER wide size range and underwear options that work for maternity and into postpartum that go up to XXXL. In beige and black, I am loving this collection and am excited to see future additions.
The Leakproof Maternity Nursing Bra includes removable breast pads and claims it is “buttery soft”. The details say that its stretch fabric is meant to form and adapt with your body, so it may be snug at first as it sets you your curves. The Boyshorts are made with spandex and are WILDLY stretchy- just like the maternity bra, these are meant to stretch and change as your body moves from through pregnancy and to postpartum.
When I had my babes, my go-to labor outfit was a long comfortable sweater I could throw over a good bra. I also wore underwear, and slid them off the closer it got to pushing time. The sweater was great for fluctuations in body temp during the laboring process. This sweater from H&M comes in straight sizes and is also available in their H&M + line up to 4X. Each is linked above.
What I LOVE: I love that this set is neutral and easy. Three stand alone pieces that can be used again and again and, from a vain perspective, would look incredible in birth photographs. Knix is a really reliable company and I’m excited to see where they are headed.
Regardless of where you’re having a baby, these are all solid options that mesh style and comfort. Fingers crossed you found something you loved and that will help you plan an outfit of your own for delivery day and bid that hospital gown a solid, firm, resounding “Goodbye!”
Owner/Photographer, Milk And Hannah