Maternity & Postpartum Clothes :
Because mama loves all things Free People and flowy clothes, luckily, I had a lot of clothes that I could make work all the way until the end that were not maternity. But mostly, there was a lot that just didn't work after the first trimester. Clothes either just A) don't fit or B) don't fit your body right once you start carrying a melon around your midsection.
My advice to other pregnant women is exactly what people told me, don't wait forever to get maternity clothes. You do feel like it's a big expense when you are getting ready for a baby, but you feel more silly if you wait too long and then you only get a few months out of them! So if you're showing and your pants won't button, treat yo self.
It can be hard to find cute maternity clothes that aren't a fortune. It's torture to see these amazing maternity clothes but they're over priced for the amount of time you get to wear them. It is especially difficult if you don't live in big cities where they actually carry maternity clothes in store and you have to order online. But luckily you don't have to spend a fortune to get cute maternity style if you look in the right places! The best lines for me were ASOS maternity, Target, A Pea In The Pod, H&M, and surprisingly, Motherhood outlet. My advice is to order more than you think if you have to shop online (Asos was so hit or miss!) and then return what doesn't work. Things fit so differently when you're pregnant, so try it all on.
I was in need of maternity clothes during fall / winter in the Northwest and then the last month we were in Southern CA during "winter." Needless to say I wore lots of jeans, sweaters, and dresses with tights. I also bought a TON of black and white! And obviously, a ton of Free People, just size up. Depending on when you are pregnant / where you live, you really need at least 2 - 3 pairs of good jeans or shorts, 2-3 leggings, a dozen or so maternity tops, and a bunch of dresses. Try to buy basic colors that all mix and match easily so you don't feel like you are wearing the same things over and over, or if you are, no one can tell! Even though honestly, at the end you are wearing the same thing over and over because that's all that fits.
I am not a tight top person usually, but I loved wearing more fitted tops because they show that you are clearly pregnant! Which for the first couple months you just want to wear a sign around your neck that say, "I am pregnant and not normally shaped like this!" The best plain tops were from H&M and A Pea In The Pod, linked bellow. Also, try to buy non maternity tops that button / zip ; wear them unbuttoned with a tank or tee pregnant and then they're great for nursing postpartum. Cute sweaters, flannels, or button ups are great for nursing and forgiving on your postpartum belly after!
I loved my belly best in skinny jeans and a tight plain top. My favorite jeans were AG ones from A Pea In The Pod. My mama took me shopping and bought me some clothes and a nice pair of jeans, and I am so glad because they lasted the longest and were so cute! I did find some jeans at H&M, hit or miss I swear, but I found these faded black ones that were amazing! Full disclosure though that they ripped like at 8 months or so, quality!
Don't forget about maternity tights, if it's winter, you need them. They really does help your belly feel nice and supported, plus regular tights cut off your belly in the middle and it can actually hurt. And leggings are a must! Soft comfy ones for under things / at home and tight athletic ones for walks and working out. I bought high waisted Lululemon tights one size up and I was able to wear them until the end and postpartum. Worth it! Now 6 months postpartum, I am obsessed with my new smaller Lululemon tights that I will link bellow also.
I am obsessed with these mom life sweats from Ezra + Eli. I follow them on Instagram & their stuff is so cute.
Maxi skirts with a stretchy band, maxi dresses, and nightgowns are your friend. Super comfortable, easy to throw on, and you just feel pretty in them. I would size up and was always happy with non maternity dresses! High waisted skirts with stretch are adorable on your belly too! I love them paired with a tied top or a tank top tucked in. Perfect to show off the bump! Plus, postpartum, you will want lots of maxis to lounge at the house in, they are a lot nicer on your swollen belly after. Jeans (non maternity) are the enemy until like 8-10 weeks postpartum. I shoved myself in there at like 5 or 6 weeks and yeah they fit with serious muffin top, but my insides would literally hurt. Your body is still healing! So heed my warning and stick to maternity jeans or dresses postpartum.
Oh, and lets not forget your main girls, go get yourself some new bras! I went up the most in cup size / band the first 10 weeks! Literally went up a full band size and almost 2 full cup sizes!!! Those puppies were large and in charge. I decided not to do nursing bra's like some mama's suggested to save on buying multiple bra's, but in retrospect, I totally could have, saving the $80 on bras I'm not wearing again until after I'm done breastfeeding. The main thing is that I had to switch to no underwire because the wire was actually bruising my ribs because of how high I was carrying Cove. So, get yourself some solid sports bras to help with those tender boobies and a nice underwire free bra.
Also, shoes. My feet totally grow a half size, maybe a full size while pregnant. They went back, THANK GOD, but I had a hard time while pregnant. I stand for a living, so I've got to have supportive, comfy shoes. I rocked tennis shoes a lot. I am a bootie girl and it was hard to have very few boots that are comfy. So I bought some cute tennies and called it good, luckily that's in! And Birkenstocks = life.
I researched a ton, like all new moms, about the best clothes, bras, toys, etc... I really loved reading Mint Arrow's registry list. Corrine gives a serious list guys! So detailed and it was super helpful in making decisions. It's great because there are things you just don't have any idea on, things I had never thought of, or forgotten! What's the hardest about a lot of the bloggers that I love is that they have huge budgets or are given a lot of gear, so they have one of everything. Most of us only want one, maybe two strollers and we have to buy them! And the connectors. And the carseat. And so on! But either way, following blogging mama's helps a ton to see what everyone likes! Obviously I spent a lot of time on Pinterest as well, super easy to just get on and search for what you are looking for, you'll find lots of reviews and suggestions. I also emailed or text my mom friends, asking them for their advice, must have's, regrets, all that. Use your friends advice! We all have different preferences but their opinion makes it easier to not feel so confused when you look at 30 different strollers!
Hospital Clothes :
Here is where I packed well with what I had, but I do kind of wish I would've treated myself to a nice pair of jammies, night gown, and robe. Because I knew I was having a c-section, I wore maxi's or nightgowns while at the hospital and the first couple weeks. Any maxi or nightgown that has a built in bra is great, but needs to be easy to pull down for the crazy amount of nursing going on. I brought a couple different light weight sweaters and my big Barefoot Dreams robe; you need different weights because one minute you're shivering and the next you're sweating head to toe. You will want to change everyday, or at least I did, so pack at least 3-4 outfits.
Go buy yourself some granny panties. I bought boyshorts from Target that I loved for the first 4-6 weeks. You don't wear your cute undies for a while, you need soft, stretchy, high rise undies. They gotta fit that lovely postpartum pad, HEY! Glamorous, I know. Comfort is the name of the game right here and boy shorts are cuter than bikini granny's though!
Bring slippers and flip flops. I was walking around my room barefoot even though I know that's gross, I just didn't care. But you do need them to walk around the hospital halls and when it's chilly. My body was so swollen not only at the end of pregnancy, but postpartum it was a JOKE. AN AWFUL AWFUL JOKE. I was so swollen from my surgery and I could feel myself swelling more each day of recovery! It was so horrible that one day I could feel the tops of my feet actually jiggle as I walked! Needless to say, I couldn't wear my flip flops home and I wore Josh's as documented in the photo above...humble pie people. But I was holding the cutest nugget ever, so priorities!
BellyBandit!! I can only speak from my point of view with this product, but I think it's totally worth it. The hospital actually gives you a very soft version of the band and it feels so much better to have it on than not. It made me feel so much more secure and less afraid I might laugh too hard and my intestines would slide out, sorry for the visual. But I wore the Original Belly Bandit for the first couple weeks and then it became too big. I then went down to a small but in the Bamboo BellyBandit. The Bamboo is much softer and more comfortable for when you are sitting at home, nursing all the live long day. The original was stiffer but I didn't care I just wanted it to work! But I swear that thing helped me go back down faster and flatter, not to mention again that it made my incision and ab muscles feel much more supported.
Whole-y Mama :
Bare with me, I know this might get a little crunchy. I know, slowly but surely, I am getting even more earth mama everyday. Maybe it was Bellingham just feeding on the hippie side of me. Let's blame on Bham!
I have been slowly becoming more aware of the importance not only of what we put in our bodies but what we put on our bodies, especially when you are carrying another life in you. We are all about foods to avoid while pregnant, but what about we put on our skin and absorb into our bodies and now theirs? As a beauty industry professional, this is huge to me!
This is a great time to become more aware of your beauty product's ingredients and house held items. All of a sudden you are thinking of what is being given to your baby from your body and / or what is touching their perfect, fresh skin. You can't help but want the best for this new, sweet little life!
For me, first and foremost I switched to an organic, paraben and sulfate free, no harsh chemical body wash and lotion. I loved lathering up my belly and knowing he was getting the best. We first used Honest Company because I had always heard great things about their products, I am a huge fan. I registered for both Honest, Babyganics, and Burt's Bees. I prefer Honest or Burt's Bees out of the 3.
Cove has recently had sensitive skin on his face that causes him to breakout with a rash similar to baby acne. The doctor said if it continues he would consider it eczema, insert sad face here. He suggested that we switch to an all natural lotion and body wash, which until that moment I thought I was! I went home and looking at our bath products, none of it was a 100% natural. So I purchased the Tubby Todd starter pack and 4 days in, I am obsessed. His skin is starting to clear, it smells wonderful, and I am going to order the body wash and lotion for myself! I wish I would've found out about this company sooner and purchased with them from the get go. Everything is a 100% natural, sulfate / paraben free, all packaging is BPA free, no animal testing...music to this mama's ears! Plus, I kid you not, it smells like what I imagine heaven must smell like.
I also used all natural oils and balms for my belly to avoid stretch marks. Which, full disclosure, I almost did until about 38 weeks, but tiger stripes it is! I had some to start just from life and growing, so I am not surprised I got some, but I figured it couldn't hurt to try and prevent it. I also still slather on the balm and oils to help heal the marks and prevent ones in the future. My marks are soft and faded already so I really think it helps as much as it can!
Prenatal's are really important during this time as well, obviously, and finding one that has high folic acid and DHA in it are amazing for your babe.
Careful when you are cleaning! It begins when you are pregnant, you can't stomach the smells of the chemicals to clean the house, then you can't physically bend over to clean. Or, you're like my friend who craved the smell of bleach all throughout her pregnancy! Pregnancy symptoms are so weird.
Yes, obviously, I still cleaned the toilet, shower, bathroom and kitchen floors until I gave birth. It was hard and it sucked, but hey, it's gotta happen. For me, I stopped using bleach, mainly for the smell that just filled our tiny house too much. Then I slowly started switching out some house hold cleaners for safer and more environmentally friendly options, again, mainly because I believe in that not for some proven study that it's unsafe for pregnant women. There's actually no studies showing it's unsafe for you to clean while pregnant, it's usually just a general rule of thumb to avoid the strong fumes and to make sure the area you are cleaning is well ventilated. I think those are suggestions because you get light headed easily when you are pregnant, I had to stop while cleaning and take short breaks because I would get light headed from bending over.
Switching to free & clear laundry detergent is a great idea too for little sensitive baby skin. They lay on pretty much everything from your clothes, to sheets, to blankets, so just switching the whole family over to the same detergent is a great idea. Except for work out gear, I will wash that crap with Tide :)
You're beautiful mama!
Feeling good about yourself pregnant and postpartum is so important! I am a big fan of whatever it takes to do that, go do it. Within reason of course. You know your budget, you know what you will realistically wear or do. But if a dress will perk you up, go buy yourself something pretty! Know that you are creating LIFE and give yourself a break.
Gaining weight was sooo much harder on me mentally than I thought it ever would be. I wanted to be pregnant so bad, I wanted the belly. What I did not want was the thighs, the butt, and the arm fat that came with it. No one does! I ate healthy and the amount that I normally do, but I let myself have some of my cravings. If my body was craving peanut butter and jelly with a glass of milk, we had it. If it was a donut, we had it. Probably why I gained just over 30 lbs though! I was nauseous and EXHAUSTED, making working out low on the list, which I hated and really beat myself up over. I tried to cut myself slack and tell myself everything I told friends about their pregnancy bodies. I never saw them the way I saw myself or would think one mean thing about them the way I thought about my body. I thought they were perfect (they were!) and I was just whaling out. The truth is, I truly think pregnancy is so incredibly beautiful, no matter what. I finally chose to believe that I was also part of that beauty.
Surprisingly, I did love my pregnancy body! It was very weird to look down and see this big ol belly, but it also felt like what I was always meant to do. It felt so natural and entirely scifi at the same time! Being a mama is worth the stretch marks, the weight gain, the acid reflux, the humble pie of your clothes not fitting right...it really is all worth it.
Both breastfeeding and walking daily with Cove really helped me loose all the weight and then some over the first couple months. Things slowly settled back into the new normal when I thought they never could. My scar is still raised and red, I tend to keloid scar so no big surprise. My linea nigra is still fading, my tummy is still softer than I wish it was, but I am actually delighted with how my body has bounced back post pregnancy. I do think I have a Mom Bod and that's ok, because I am a mom, my body did grow a human. And quite frankly, that makes me a badass. So, there's that!
I hope each of you ladies knows that you're gorgeous, whether you're a mom or not. Whether you are in perfect shape or you're taking fertility drugs that come with a nice hefty side effect of weight gain. Whether you have that weird postpartum body or you're 16 weeks pregnant looking like you had too much Chipotle. We are beautiful because we're all created in God's image, perfectly shaped and colored in, just as He designed us. All we have to do, is believe that.
I believe it.
Shop my favorites
[ maternity clothes ]
jeans : AG Jeans skinny leg jean
dresses : see Maternity Photos post for my favorite fancy dresses
sweats : Ezra + Eli Mom Life Sweats
tights : Assests by Sara Blakely
[ hospital / postpartum ]
undies : Gilligan & O'Malley Hipsters
[ whole-y mama ]
sunscreen : Sun Bum Sunscreen
prenatals : Honest Company Prenatal Vitamin / Nature Made Prenatal + DHA // Postpartum I first took Nature Made Postnatal vitamins because I ran out and saw them at Target, I am not sure how they would be any different but I figured it couldn't hurt. I am now taking these Garden of Life mykind Organics Prenatal and love that they're organic. Side note: take prenatal's to help your hair grow and skin glow regardless if you're pregnant or not! They are amazing for you.