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How to Hide a Post-Partum Pooch

After nine long months, your bundle of joy has arrived. As you breathe in the fresh, sweet scent of new baby, you think that nothing (nothing!) can burst your bubble of happiness.

Until some well-meaning stranger asks, "When are you due?"

It has happened to everyone, mamas. Post-partum pooch hiding is tricky business even when one can rely on winter's voluminous sweaters and scarves. But in summer's heat? It's practically an art form. Here are 10 styling tips to help camouflage a post-partum tum even as temperatures rise.

Invest in shapewear. While no one wants to sweat in an all-over bodysuit come summer, shaping briefs can be a post-partum mama's best friend. Spanx's Slim Cognito Shaping Bodysuit is actually nothing more than a brief with specialized straps that attach to any bra (even a nursing bra). It slims from the hips and bum to just under your bust.

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C-section mamas will also appreciate the slight pressure—and relief—of shaping briefs on their tender scar area, supporting and protecting the area from waistbands.

Shaping camis are another great option for post-partum moms. Yummie Tummie makes a shapewear cami specifically for nursing mamas, and many of the shapewear camis look like a regular tank when layered under a flowing top. Try styles from Spanx or Flexees, to name a couple.

Think trapeze ... not empire-waist. Very few styles bring on the "When are you due?" question like the empire-waist. And for a post-partum tummy, the empire-waist can actually draw attention to the problem area, rather than mask it. Instead, mamas should look for tops or dresses with swing that start at the top of the bust, just under the armpits. Sometimes called trapeze tops (or dresses), these style have a '60s mod sensibility and camouflage a post-partum tum like no other. Wear layered over shapewear for maximum pooch-hiding, but most of these tops and dresses are billowy enough to stand on their own—a boon for the hottest of summer days.

Pair a trapeze top with shorts, or slim, cropped pants to offset the volume. Flares, if fitted to the knee, will also look flattering with a trapeze top.

Go bold in a structured blazer. A structured blazer, in a vivid hue, is both a nod to the trends of the season and a first-rate pooch hider. The extreme deep "V" of the blazer will actually help hide the pooch, and the bright color will draw attention up, to the happy-new-mama glow on your face.

Pair this blazer with heels and tailored shorts for date night, or throw it on over boyfriend jeans and a tank for day. Its workwear possibilities are endless.

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Substitute a linen sweater for wool. Many of the fabulous pooch-hiding sweaters of winter have been reissued for summer, in linen. Linen is cool, has gorgeous movement and washes beautifully. Look for a linen sweater with a large, draping neckline, dolman-sleeve arms, shorter sleeves and a breezy fit. Since many of these sweaters are sheer, layer them over a moisture-wicking, shaper cami for maximum comfort and tummy taming.

Try tucking (yes, into pants). We've become so accustomed to wearing long, bum-covering tops over our skinny jeans, that the thought of tucking seems ... wrong, somehow. So much bum exposure!

But tucking a voluminous blouse into your pants (grab a belt, mamas) can actually help define a waist (even if there isn't one), as well as camouflage a post-partum pooch.

If the thought of so much bum exposure gives you heart palpitations, try the tuck trick with a pair of boyfriend jeans, khakis, denim cut-offs or slim bermudas.

This styling trick works best with a billowy top.

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Go peplum posh. One of the biggest trends this spring is the peplum top. Peplum tops are fitted through your bust and ribs, then flare out for a flirty, fun effect. The trick is to find a peplum top that flares right at the point where the pooch starts. Unlike an empire-waist top, the peplum has serious volume, and therefore, serious pooch-hiding abilities.

Peplum tops look fabulously retro when paired with slim, cropped pants, but work equally well with maxi skirts, shorts and any other slim bottom.

Look for interesting T-shirts. The humble T-shirt has gotten a makeover. Post-partum moms will be happy to hear that there is a plethora of T-shirt options that assist in visual tummy taming. Look for details such as ruching, pin-tucking and Grecian-style draping. And if these design elements culminate in a balloon or bubble hem? All the better, mamas. Watch that pooch disappear!

Make a swim cover-up do double duty. Many of the caftan-style swim coverups make excellent pooch-hiding tops. Wear them to the pool over a gorgeous one-piece, then accessorize after with metallic sandals and an armful of bangles. (Layer over a shaping cami and shorts if the caftan is too sheer.)

Don’t underestimate the vest. A soft, summer vest with a fluttery, waterfall hem can be layered over any tank (or shaper cami) to help distract from the pooch. Play this romantic piece off of boyish shorts, or try layering it over a maxi dress.

Show some skin. One of the best ways to hide a post-partum tummy is simply to distract from it. Don't be afraid to don sexy cut-offs, or a top with cut-out shoulders just because you’re a new mom. Liquid courage—in the form of self-tanner, mamas—goes a long way toward boosting a new mama's confidence. And when such skin-baring strategies are coupled with pooch-hiding tops, cute shoes and an unbelievably adorable baby? You'll look positively aglow.

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