This is my first baby. I tried so hard for this baby and all I knew how to do was try to get pregnant. I ate, slept and researched infertility and when the time came that we were actually blessed with our miracle, I had no clue what was next. I hadn’t thought that far. A part of me thought it may never happen, so the last thing I wanted to do was set myself up for disappointment. Well, lucky for us, it did happen and all the struggle was worth it and here we are, pregnant at last.
Finding the right clothes to dress your bump is like finding the right bottle to feed your baby, who would have thought it would be so hard? So many choices, sizes and parts you are left grabbing either the closest thing or the cutest thing. I am guilty of both, and sometimes that can be the most expensive thing or the what-did-I-think-I-needed-this-for-again-thing.
There are a few things I wish I would have known before I jumped in with both feet in only ankle deep water. I had no clue what to buy, yet I wanted to be prepared, but more isn’t always more.
3 of my biggest regrets
Buying before I knew my size:
We all grow differently and we are all proportioned differently. That’s part of the fun, but it is also part of the battle. Some women’s bumps grow faster, slower, wider, narrower, higher, lower, bigger and smaller. It has a lot to do with genes and it has everything to do with you being you. That means for some, you might fit into your normal clothes for 20 weeks before needing to go up even one size. That is half the pregnancy, like 5 months! And that is what, luckily, happened to me. I had a noticeable bump, yes, but I also didn’t wear tight shirts that fit right up to my waist line prior to pregnancy, so my clothes had some wiggle room.
I am a fan of clothes that float away from the body and that flatter a thicker middle. You see, my family is blessed with what my Grandma called a flat tire around the middle. A little pooch in the front complete with matching love handles in the back. So, for me, it was easy even up until the third trimester, to wear most of my same pre-pregnancy clothes. With the exception of jeans. You thought those were hard to fit before baby, wait until you start to try those bad boys on. High waist, low waist, skinny, flare, elastic, un-buttoned, belly band?.. But that is for another day altogether. I still have yet to find a great pair of pregnancy jeans and I was due 5 days ago.
I recommend waiting until you see how you are growing before buying anything. Anything. Ok, ok unless you see something you can’t go the next 10 months without (it happens, I know), but keep the tags on in case it just doesn’t work for you like you think it will. If you wait, you will be able to make smarter choices and fewer returns.
Buying because it was cheap:
This was my biggest regret. I knew that I didn’t want to spend a small fortune on maternity clothes that I would wear for such a short time, so I thought I would jump on a local Facebook garage sale site and ask around for my size (all I really needed right?) Haha, no. So I end up getting a smoking deal on like 5 bags of maternity clothes for $100. I checked out her profile, she was cute and had good style so I thought this would be exactly what I needed. That is until I went home and went through her stuff and picked out maybe five things I really liked. There were about 10 things that I kinda liked, 10 things that I talked myself into liking, and about 40 things that barely passed as clothing. Crap. I wish so much that I would have spent that $100 on a few shirts I would feel really good in and that were my style, or even a couple pairs of pants that would fit me and my growing body comfortably.
If you find something second hand that you really like, go for it. I applaud it. Just maybe look at it first and don’t let anybody guilt you into it because they drove out of their way to meet you and now you feel obligated to buy it. Don’t forget to wait until you you start showing before you start looking second hand. Sometimes it feels like a great deal you can’t pass up, but who knows what you might really be looking for by the time you actually wear it.
Buying out of excitement
For me I was so excited to finally become pregnant that I immediately started shopping for maternity clothes. I kept some things in mind (or so I thought) and thought I was being smart about my choices. I made sure all my clothes had some wiggle room and that they floated (really floated) away from my body. Well the problem with that was, now all my clothes that I bought in the first trimester are going to be too small in about 2 months and too big for well, the rest of my life. At that time, I thought I was accounting for a growing belly but you really don’t know how it will develop until it happens. For me, all my shirts are too short in the front, even thinking I was accounting for extra material, but just because there is room width-wise, doesn’t mean it will be long enough to cover that bump once it starts pushing outward and onward.
I highly recommend going to a maternity store specifically in the first two trimesters. Not only do some places like Motherhood Maternity have a strap-on bump you can try, they also have, get this, clothes specifically designed to fit a growing belly with extra fabric in the front and neat little rouching on the sides. How convenient. I would have way rather spent $30 on a shirt I could wear to work for the next 4-5 months than $20 on a shirt that might look good for the next 4-5 weeks.
Pay attention to seasons. I’m certain you are aware of the current season you are in, but this goes for yours and baby’s clothes. If you are buying for the future, think of what season it will be then. A cute romper (for mama or baby) will do you just as much good in October as a fur vest will mid-summer.
At some point in the ten long months you will more than likely experience some chilly weather. Invest in layering pieces that can take you from winter to spring or fall to winter. Even in the cooler months, long tanks will work great with open layering pieces like a blazer, kimono or a cardigan. Bonus – the outer pieces can be items you already own or pieces you can buy new and can incorporate into your future wardrobe.
Comfort is so important and is sometimes a deciding factor when it comes to choosing an outfit. Some pants have an elastic waistband that sits low and comfortably, other pants have a long stretchy fabric that extends up and over the bump. Only problem with the latter is that your bump shape is forever changing and can be hard to know how long the fabric needs to be (the lengths vary brand to brand). Yet another reason to a. wait to buy b. don’t buy sight unseen.
Now yoga pants on the other hand are a given. Comfortable, stretchy and can be worn throughout. I went to Victorias Secret and instead of the cute bras and panties, I was in comfort heaven in the Pink section where I gladly spent a small fortune on lounge wear. I’ll wear these yoga pants and boyfriend sweats for-like-ever.
There is something to be said about a maxi dress (this one Old Navy) and flip flops in the middle of a harsh cold Minnesota winter. How I wish I could throw on a dress and be done with it. Instead, I have so many more layers, a tank, shirt, skinny jeans, socks and hard to pull on boots. No matter what when your ankles start swelling, all boots and shoes are hard to put on. Lucky for me at 40 weeks and 5 days the weather warmed up enough for me to at least change out the boots for the flops. Yeah, lucky me.
Again, these are a huge money saver because you most likely have cardigans, kimonos or blazers in your closet already. Free is awesome. And let’s say you want to invest in a great piece, say, this cardigan from asos.com, you will be able to wear it no matter what size you are.
Try working a bigger piece with a belt. A draped dress or a billowy tunic may look unflattering as-is, but add a belt and let it cinch the smallest part of your waist to define it.
For as long as you are lucky enough to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans, you can rubber band the button of your jeans like this to accommodate your expanding waistline. Just please, make sure your shirt is long enough.