What’s the best type of clothing for after heart surgery? I wondered the same thing before my son had his surgery. I wanted something comfortable for him that would also be easy to get on and off. It goes without saying that you are pretty sore after open-heart surgery. My son was not able to raise his arms and put on a regular shirt for a few days. Having some comfy clothes to put on instead of the over-sized (and breezy) hospital gowns would be what I would want for myself! So here are some of the top recommendations from savvy heart mommas for every age and stage.

Baby clothing for after heart surgery

Babies don’t necessarily need clothing after heart surgery, but I felt like it was good for my momma heart to get to dress up my baby. It brought a little normalcy to our hospital life. We often did just a diaper and swaddle blanket but it was nice to have several outfits on hand too. We mostly used snap up sleepers. The snaps allowed the cords and wires to easily pass through. Side snap sleepers were particularly nice because the snaps were off set from the surgery site.

Gray side snap sleeper perfect clothing for babies after heart surgery.
Sweet side-snap Burt’s Bees sleeper available on Amazon. Perfect for monogramming!
Purple Burt's Bees snap up sleeper.
I’m a sucker for purple and this Burt’s Bees sleeper is adorable!

Must-have baby accessories

Initially after open-heart surgery there are so many wires and tubes it might not be feasible for your baby to wear any clothes. During this time we used receiving blankets from home to make our son’s crib less “sterile” looking. These receiving blankets from Aden + Anais are literally the softest thing I’ve ever felt in my whole life. Seriously, I almost wanted to swaddle myself. The only downside is they are so silky that they come unswaddled easily. They were great for covering the bed or as a blanket during the day, but at night we usually used a velcro swaddle. The SwaddleMe brand ones are fantastic and come in a few different sizes. Also, fun hats, headbands, bows, and socks were also a good brief distraction from the stress of hospital life.

Soft receiving blankets can be used instead of clothing right after heart surgery.
Aden + Anais softest blankets of all time.
SwaddleMe velcro swaddles mummy your baby for better sleep!
Fun, girly newborn headband bows for when your baby can't wear clothes after heart surgery.
Fun, girly newborn headbands.
Everyone loves a good baby bear hat, right?

For Toddlers

Toddler clothing for after heart surgery can be a little tricky. Often they have outgrown the snap up baby styles but still need something that is easy access for diaper changes and such. Carter’s makes a 24mo/2T Kimono style t-shirt with side snaps. Simple, comfy, and easy to get on and off. They also have a 24mo/2T onesie style longsleeve bodysuit. Boy, girl, and gender neutral patterns are available in both.

Carter's brand side snap kimono tee perfect clothing for after heart surgery.
Carter’s side snap kimono tees in size premie to 2T. Available at Kohls.
Carter's side snap bodysuit.
Carter’s side snap bodysuits in size premie to 2T. Available on Amazon.

A rare find!

Snap up pajamas are a rare find in toddler sizes. Usually all of them are made with zippers after about 12-18 months. But, Carter’s recently released this snap up footless pajama in sizes 2T-5T! The Firetruck print is available at Carters.com for $15. They also have dinosaur, floral, and pink whales designs. Kickee Pants makes a super soft snap up pajama that is available in sizes premie all the way up to a youth size 14. Both of these pjs are snug fit to comply with fire safety standards so you may want to size up. It’s much easier to get dressed with looser fitting clothing after heart surgery!

Snap up toddler clothes easy to get on after heart surgery.
Carter’s snap up PJs in sizes 2T-5T.
Kickee Pants snap up PJs in sizes Premie – 14Y.

For Kids

For older toddlers and kids a robe and few sets of button up pajamas are the perfect clothing for after heart surgery. There are a ton of cute robes on Amazon with kid-friendly prints. We bought 3 sets of button up pajamas when my son had his heart surgery at age 4. He LOVED these Spiderman ones! He liked wearing something buttoned completely closed in recovery. I think it helped him feel more safe to have a layer of clothing over his fresh scar. He didn’t want anyone to touch or look at that scar without him knowing about it! I don’t blame him.

Toddler robe a great option for wearing after heart surgery when it's hard or uncomfortable to wear regular clothes.
Toddler Minnie Mouse robe sold on Amazon.
Button up Spiderman PJs were a huge hit with our 4 year old!

For Teens and Adults

Soft front closure Fruit of the Loom bra.

For the ladies, there are a ton of cute hospital gowns on Amazon. They snap up the back and some even have a few snaps in the front. Just try to ignore all the maternity shots in them. I think they function equally well as clothing for after heart surgery as they do for labor and delivery!

Another item you may want to have on hand are a few comfortable wireless bras that clasp in the front. While some women may feel perfectly comfortable going bra-less in recovery, others may want or need a little extra support to minimize discomfort and tugging on the incision line.

Don’t forget to also add slippers, a robe, and comfy button up shirts to your packing list! Have any other recommendations for essential clothing for after heart surgery? Let us know in the comments!

Also read: Preparing Your Toddler for Heart Surgery and What to Pack for the Hospital