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Shapewear for the Mummy Tummy

By Isabel Kallman

These are a few of my favorite things: egg-in-a-hole, creamy risotto, butternut squash ravioli, paella, pigs in a blanket, vegetable dumplings, and cubano sandwiches.

You get the picture: I LOVE to eat. Seriously, I love food. And not just carbs — I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables too. Before I had my son, I had spent five years on a low-carb regimen and had stayed happily fit. But the minute that pee stick registered a positive result, I had a date with my ol’ friends spaghetti and bread almost every day, and we rekindled our mutual love.

When the postpartum period rolled around, it was tough to lose that last 10 pounds of baby weight, but I was too busy freaking out about new motherhood to really care all that much. Soon No Carb Left Behind was my mantra.

The point of this is that I have come to terms with the fact that I love food more than I care about about losing those extra 10 pounds. Depriving myself of foods and culinary experiences I enjoy so much is just not worth it to me. But I also want my clothes to fit well, and sometimes my mummy tummy can be an issue.

Fortunately, I’ve found a solution.

Shapewear to the Rescue

Before 2002, when I got pregnant, shapewear was not ubiquitously embraced as it is today. Back then, the only way to stay slim was to skip the bread (and all the other delicious carbs). These days, my solution to balancing my need to feel good in my clothing and eat with pleasure is wearing shapewear. And it works!

First, though, a disclaimer: Good shapewear is not inexpensive. These are investment pieces, but they are well worth it if it will make you feel a bit more confident about how you look and feel in your clothes.

With that in mind, here are my three favorite shapewear options.

Spanx Slim Cognito Shaping Bodysuit

Spanx Slim-Cognito ShapewearI love the Spanx Slim Cognito Shaping Mid-Thigh Bodysuit ($78) because it does several things for me.

1. Minimizes my mid-section.

2. Accentuates my waistline.

3. Lifts my derriere a bit.

This bodysuit comes with detachable straps that hook to your bra to keep the bodysuit in place. These are a pain in the neck when it’s time to go to the bathroom, so I use them only for tight-fitting tops where I need to ensure that the bodysuit stays put (which it does most of the time anyway).

Spanx has a similar (and slightly less expensive) model, the Shape My Day High Waisted Girl Short ($60), that does not have the bra strap. If you have this model, do us a favor and let us know what you think in the comments section. This is the one I’m buying next.

Miraclesuit High-Waist Brief

Miraclesuit High Waist Brief ShapewearThe Miraclesuit Extra Firm Control High-Waist Brief ($38) is a close second in my opinion. Here’s what it’s great at:

1. Shapes my rear nicely.

2. Holds in my mummy tummy.

3. Removes inches. Seriously, people. INCHES.

It also has something called “Wonderful Edge Leg,” which is a thin strip of silicone at the leg opening that prevents ride-up, so everything stays in place.

And! No panty lines.

ASSETS by Spanx Super Control Shaper

ASSETS by Spanx Super Control ShaperASSETS by Spanx is a less expensive shapewear line available at Target stores nationwide. The High-Waist Mid-Thigh Shaper is $23, which is significantly less expensive than the Spanx-branded options and slightly less than the Miraclesuit.

However, while this option is good, it’s not great. Spanx is great. Miraclesuit is great. But for the price point, Assets is a decent everyday option. I would recommend that you try it on at Target before purchasing, though, to be sure it will work for you.

Do you have a favorite shapewear option? Share your recommendations in the comments!


Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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  • ali

    January 23, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    just a note to any SHORT women out there…i bought the spanx body suit thing…the slim cognito one…because my friends said it was AMAZING.
    even in the smallest size is was way too big for me. it was just TOO tall, i.e., there was too much material. it went all the way ABOVE my boobs. in short. it totally didn’t work for me. i’m wondering if the hi-rise panty would be better?
    (anyone who wants one…please let me know. i paid so much money for it and NEVER wore it!!)

  • Neil

    January 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    First of all, I just saw photos of you from your inauguration party, and you looked great — spanx or not. My question comes mostly out of curiosity, because you don’t really bring up the issue — comfort. Isn’t it hot and uncomfortable wearing that? It brings up memories of my mother wearing a girdle, and returning from a Broadway show, saying she is “so glad to get out of this thing?”

  • Isabel Kallman

    January 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Neil, Thanks for the compliment (I was wearing shapewear during that party!).
    Also, you bring up a great point which I did neglect.
    Yesterday I had an especially long day and was very tired from running around all week, etc. And yes, I couldn’t WAIT to get into comfortable clothing (out of my heels, shapewear, jeans and even jewelry).
    But, for the most part (for me), these shapewear items are thin enough (now) to feel reasonably comfortable for an 8 hour day or at least a night out. And, yes, there is added heat. Everyone has their own sensitivity level.
    So, in total, it’s like heels. I love heels and wear them almost every day.
    Shapewear is NOT the like a comfy pair of cotton undies.
    I’ve come to accept the trade-off though!
    My recommendation to readers, try one pair out at department store, then wear for awhile before investing in a week’s worth.

  • Dawn

    January 23, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    I have a couple of pieces from Wacoal. While I think they do a good job and are fairly comfortable, I have had two different people comment on them when they have hugged me. They could feel the shaper through my clothes and yes, they actually said something. Um, awkward…

  • Ashley

    January 23, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Umm…Ali, I’m so all about the shapewear…let me know when to write the check!

  • jodiur

    January 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Brava to you for posting this!
    I have to say, I have worn both the spanx and the assets tights, hosiery and power panties and have not noticed a difference at all, except for the price. But i have never tried the shapeware.

  • YetAnotherAmy

    January 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I bought the Assets shaper for trying on wedding dresses. It helped, but didn’t feel as tight as some of my control top pantyhose (even though the chart said I was solidly in that size). Maybe it was just so much more comfortable then them? For the second round I went back and got the next smaller size and it didn’t feel very different, control-wise. It did certainly help smooth down the muffin-top though. My biggest issue is getting the shaper past the hips – if the elastic is wide enough to fit around the hips I’m golden. That has been an issue with some other similar shapers I’ve tried.

  • Nic

    January 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I find the Assest’s Unbelievable Underwear to be perfect for combating thigh chub-rub when I wear fitted skirts.

  • Stephanie

    January 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I think this is awesome for all women! Everyone is self-conscious about their body and how they look in clothing. It think this is a great option for looking good and feeling good about yourself. I am definitely going to look into these.

  • JessicaAPISS

    January 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Isabel, you skinny minny, I love that you wrote this post. You’re taking one for the mama team m’dear.
    Although I too have invested in serious post-partum Spanx and Co. pieces, I *do* like the Assets Sensational Shaper for bridesmaid dresses. It is always an honor to stand up for a friend during her vows, but I’m often the only married mom in the bunch. Since the Assets work is subtle, it is good (for the cheap price) at skimming over problem areas under that tight strapless number you must wear in the name of bestfrienddom.

  • Sugared Harpy

    January 23, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Okay, I totally get why so many of you are attracted to this…but I just can’t get on board. This is SO not a slam against any woman here, I’m certainly susceptible to worrying about how I look. But, okay, here goes.
    I mean, I’m NOT 20, I HAVE had 2 kids, and eff all if I have to think I look terrible because I actually look like a 32 year old mom. I look fine! You all look beautiful, normally! Why aren’t you attractive the way you are? Why aren’t your male partners rolling themselves up in lycra sausages to look good for you? To me, for a special occasion…knock your socks off…it’s one day. But for every day wear???
    Like it’s been said, these are not a comfy pair of undies. I just think this is not the message I want my children to get, that the only way women look nice is by completely and utterly changing who they are. Would you put a slightly overweight daughter into these for school every day? You know what I mean?
    I appreciate your comment and can see how you feel as such.
    But you should know that wearing shapewear does not completely and utterly change who I am any more than wearing high heels (which I do nearly every day), wearing light make up or arranging my hair does.
    I think what makes me “look nice” is that I feel good about myself and confident when I walk in room. And, that I’m not hungry ;). (You should see my scowl when I’m hungry. It’s not pretty.)

  • Diane

    January 23, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I can’t believe people wear these things every day/most days! That just seems crazy to me. I’ll definitely put this aside for my special occasion knowledge, though.
    [I also wear heels almost everyday. So, I guess, I do crazy things, then! You wouldn’t be the first to tell me that. 🙂 – Isabel]

  • Jess

    January 24, 2009 at 8:32 am

    It’s two of my greatest dislikes – high-waisted pants and pantyhose – combined into one ghastly horror larger than the sum of its parts! Heels are nothing compared to this. I’ve been… Scared Thin!!
    heh. -Isabel

  • Sarah in LA

    January 25, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I agree with Ali – at 5’1″, the one with the straps for your bra and the high rise tights are way, way too long for me. (Both also would roll down in the back for some reason, I don’t know why.) It might be OK if the straps were more adjustable, but I think they’re just designed for a much taller person. I might try the regular tights because otherwise it seemed like a good product.

  • Ginny

    January 25, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    I think these are good special occasion items, but the bigger you get, the less effective they are. What I’m saying is, they’d make someone with a excess of 10 lbs. look and feel fabulous in their clothes, but any more and you’re pushing it! The cami shapewear (YummyTummy and Bare Neccesities?) are much more wearable for everyday,(and can reign in the tummy, too) but yes, can heat you up as you’re moving about. These types of shapewear can also be found somewhat inexpensively at CostCo and, I’m assuming, Sam’s Club. I’ve got a few and like them, but am realizing that losing weight is the way I must go. But! That’s another long, rambling comment for another post!

  • Jess

    January 26, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I don’t suppose anyone can offer any advice on…ahem…crotchless shapewear? Not to get all TMI on everyone, but the oh-my-god-I-have-to-pee-NOW vs. suddenly immovable body-length spandex underwear death match has happened to me one time too many. In the quest to hide the muffin-top, I’ve tried all manner of waist cincher/ corset-style/ etc shapewear and most end up riding up or creating their little muffin-top knock offs. Not good. Help?

  • Amy

    January 26, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Ok, I have a few different shapewear things and I never wear them. The full body thing is too much to deal with when I have to go pee.
    I bought some of the ridiculously high waisted underwear thingies, thinking they would work better for every day use. But they roll down at the top, making it obvious I’m wearing something underneath. Is that normal? Did I buy the wrong size? Crappy product? Weird body shape? What gives?

  • Liz

    January 26, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I have the Spanx… and let me tell you – I WANT them to be wonderful, I WISH them to be the perfect solution.
    But … they just aren’t.
    They constantly roll down at the top, leaving me sliced in half with a muffin top pouring out over the top of them.
    I even have the kind with the bra hooky things – and maybe I’m a totally dimwit, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how they affix to my bra and to the spanx.

  • Eris

    January 27, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Sadly I’m with Ali, if you are short, Spanx don’t work. I’m 5’2″, 135lbs, and have a curvy backside (ahem junks in the trunk cough cough). Any style of spanx goes up so far that they cover my boobs with material left over. I tried rolling the top bit over but it made the front seam pucker and caused a super sexy back fat roll. If you’re under 5’4″ I just dont know how spanx could possibly work for you. I am super bummed and hopeing she comes out with a “petite” line, not for twee things that weigh 80 pounds soaking wet, but for the female population that has to get all their pants hemmed.

  • Christine

    January 29, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Aaah, shapewear. I’ve banished my memory with such items to the back of mind under “useless diet & exercise tips”.
    I agree with pp in that if you have more than 10 lbs to pinch, shapewear often gets the better of you. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought girdles (call ’em as I see ’em), high-waisted underwear, exercise short-type thingies (which YES are awesome for combating chub-rub) and been frustrated with the outcome due to back-fat lop-over, entire bakery top lop-over, etc., etc., etc. Bravo for those of you whom shapewear works. You’ve probably got close to slammin’ bodies to begin with and just need jiggle containment.
    One thing many of my fellow-pregnancy board friends raved about was the Belly Bandit. Sort of a stomach wrap that encased your entire lower torso. Of course I had to try it after my son was born last November. I found it to to too hot to wear all day, and promptly forgot to wear it at all. It’s now happily in the attic with his newborn and 0-3 month clothes. Maybe I’ll remember to wear it after with Baby #2. Or not.

  • Isabel

    January 30, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Thanks for this great post, Isabel.
    I have the Target brand. I think I paid about $15 for it last year. And man, oh man, I love it. While I don’t wear it everyday, it sure does help with certain outfits. I find it plenty comfortable (your analogy to heels is perfect). I haven’t found that it makes me hot, but I’m cold all the time, so I’m happy with any extra heat.
    I think it’s a good way to add confidence to myself. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Kat

    April 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    For my fellow shorties: I’m 5’3″ and about 132 lbs and I’ve had great luck with Wacoal tall briefs. I don’t feel like I’m at all overweight, I just have extra tummy skin after 2 kids and the shaper keeps that in for a smooth look. I would say I’m not thrilled with what it does to my backside since that’s pretty flat to begin with. Tradeoffs.