Guest post from The Stylish Bump

SB1

Congratulations – you’re pregnant! You’re going to have a baby and be a parent! So. Exciting! You’ve probably made your way through the first trimester wearing your existing wardrobe – save for a maternity bra – and now it’s time to go shopping for some maternity clothes. Yay, shopping! But where do you start, how much do you buy, which items do you REALLY need and how much should you spend? Depending on where you live you will probably need some maternity jeans, but what else? After 3 pregnancies in 4 years I’m definitely experienced enough in maternity shopping to help, so have listed my top 7 things to buy:

Maternity Bras
A pregnancy essential! My number one piece of advice – get fitted and don’t buy cheap. A good maternity bra should take you from about 12 weeks right through to the breastfeeding stage, so invest wisely. You will be LIVING in your maternity bras for months, or potentially a year or more, so buy the best ones you can afford. And yes I said oneS, plural – buy more than one. I bought four maternity bras for my first baby and, amongst others, I still am wearing those bras now.
Obstetrians will advice you not to wear underwire bras when pregnant because they can lead to blocked milk ducts in your breasts. Besides, they’re not very comfortable with your growing boobs, so quality maternity bras – at least 2 – are a must.
Nearly all maternity bras are nursing bras too, (meaning they clip open at the front for easy access for breastfeeding) and you can buy some sleeping bras as well if you’re boobs are so sore you need to sleep in something supportive. It happens – especially after bub arrives.

maternity bra 1

Nursing Tops
After buying maternity bras, the next thing I bought were some long tops – maternity tops that also were feeding tops. If you plan on breastfeeding, feeding tops are a great investment when you’re pregnant because they’re long, made from stretchy fabric, and have front access for your boobs that you can wear once the baby is born for feeding. There are many nursing tops on the market but make sure they’re comfortable, quality fabric (you’ll be wearing them, and washing them, a lot) and stylish. You want to feel nice as well as comfy!

Nursing top 1

Strapless bra
Dresses are so comfortable when you’re pregnant – and so versatile too as you can wear them to work, on the weekend, to social events, weddings, and so on, and then well after the baby is born. It means you don’t have anything rubbing on your bump, clinging to your bum, falling down, riding up… you get the picture! Unfortunately though, most maternity bras have large, wide straps, lots of clips at the back and are hard to disguise under a dress. So, buy a strapless maternity bra. Yes, there IS such a thing! The Essential Seamless Nursing Bandeau strapless bra by La Leche League is a really comfortable and surprisingly supportive bra – I’m a 14E when pregnant and this bra was super supportive and comfy. You can breastfeed in it too, see the below picture, but I never have.

Maternity Dress
This goes without saying, but: maternity dresses are a must. Why a maternity dress, as opposed to a normal dress? Maternity dresses are usually a bit longer, made from stretchy fabric, are cotton or other lightweight, breathable material, and have no clips or buttons or zips or hook & eyes… anything that is tricky, uncomfortable or annoying to put on and wear when you’re pregnant. You will be surprised at how much your bump will make your normal dresses super short! Get away with your normal dresses if you can, or even buy a size or two larger than your normal size to wear, but you’ll likely need a couple of maternity dresses as well that you can mix and match with your existing wardrobe. And if you buy a dress you like, you’ll wear it after your baby is born too!

Nursing Dress
Again, if you’re planning to breastfeed it’s a great idea to get a nursing dress that you can wear when pregnant and then after baby is born. You never know how many occasions you’ll be invited to with a baby where you’ll need to wear a nursing dress – christenings, weddings, Christmas parties, family gatherings. A nice, flattering, made-for-feeding dress will make you feel stylish, comfortable and allow for discrete and comfortable feeding. No-one wants dodgy Uncle Tony staring at you while you’re trying to feed your baby over Christmas lunch!

Stylish Sleepwear
This can be a nightie, a long top, a sleep-bra and pants or a singlet and pyjama pants. Trust me you’ll need lots of comfortable clothing options for those last few months or weeks of pregnancy, in hospital post-birth and then the first few weeks, even months, at home. Babies need about 10-12 feeds a day in their early weeks, so comfortable and versatile sleepwear that you can wear most of the time is essential. You won’t be doing much sleeping I’m afraid, but the last thing you’ll want to do is put on outfits – comfort is key! Choose sleepwear that you feel nice in, as well as comfortable. And don’t skimp on these items, cost per wear you’ll be glad you invested. I bought some nighties and tops for my first baby and, along with a few other pieces I’ve bought along the way, am still wearing them 4+ years on with my third.

Leggings
Every girl, pregnant or not, has at least one pair of leggings; they’re a wardrobe staple. But your leggings when pregnant need to be different. Especially as you get bigger and bigger. They need to be a comfortable fabric for starters. They need to be firm around the waist, if not they’ll just fall down as your bump grows. And they need to be long. Decide if you want over bump or under bump leggings and then purchase 2-3 pairs because they go with EVERYTHING. I hated anything on my bump with every pregnancy, so always bought under bump leggings. The saying ‘leggings aren’t pants’ does not apply when you’re pregnant – they ARE! They are so versatile, you’ll end up wearing them as pants. With long tops, cardigans, jackets, under dresses, with jumpers, with a top and a scarf… the options are endless and throughout Autumn, Winter and most of Spring they’re a staple.

And finally: have fun shopping! If this is your first baby this will be the last time you will truly enjoy shopping for yourself. After your little one arrives, most of the time shopping is all about them!