Babies, Belly’s & Budgets!
If you’re new here you may not know that I hate spending spending money on clothes. That is partly because my body has changed so much over the last couple of years from being in pretty good shape, to being pregnant & now I’m dealing with the infamous ‘Mom Bod.’ When I was pregnant with Aj I refused to spend a ton of money on Pregnancy clothes 1.) because they were so expensive 2.) because I knew I wouldn’t be wearing them for more than a year & 3.) we’re still trying to get out of debt [you can read about that journey here] so buying maternity clothes seemed like an unnecessary category for me to spend money on.
Luckily for you I was pregnant from March – December so I practically experienced all seasons along the way. While I was pregnant I really tried to incorporate my existing wardrobe into items that I could still wear if I styled them a little bit different or if I added some layering pieces. Good basics should be able to get you through your whole pregnancy & give you a little bit of extra room during your season of Postpartum body transition.
When hunting for a pregnancy wardrobe try to stick with the ‘RULE OF THREE.’ Buy three of each item. 3 t-shirts, 3 tank tops, 3 bottoms, 3 dresses, 3 cardigans. . .
Since I was sick during most of my pregnancy I ordered a lot of my clothing from Amazon since it was easy to do returns if something didn’t fit. One of my favorite stores while I was pregnant was Motherhood Maternity. What I specifically loved about Motherhood Maternity was the fact that their clothing is based on your pre-pregnancy size. For example, if you are typically I size medium in a shirt, you would order a medium from their website and they adjust their sizing to accommodate your growing belly. Most pregnancy clothing runs like this just for reference but I found that Motherhood Maternity was pretty darn close to ‘True To Size.’
Primary colors & traditional patterns that you can wear throughout multiple seasons are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. You probably wouldn’t want to wear bright spring neon colors in the fall or at Christmas time. Black, white, navy blue, grey, red are all colors that can be worn year round. Traditional stripe patterns, polka dots, animal prints, paisley or plaid can also be a fun option to add to your wardrobe.
All throughout my pregnancy I wore dresses a majority of the time. Dresses were an easy way to accommodate my growing belly- some days Aj would position herself higher or lower in my uterus or even off to the side. I really liked the fact that I didn’t have to deal with a waist band that put pressure on my bladder making me need to pee even more.
When you’re looking for Maternity dresses you should keep a couple of different things in mind. Look for dresses that are:
- Loose around the waist / belly
- Longer than you would typically wear
- Primary Colors
- Traditional Patters
- You can wear a good supportive bra with
Picking dresses loose around the mid section will accommodate the growth of your baby throughout your pregnancy. In addition to having loose fitting dresses you should also be looking for dresses that are a longer length than you would typically wear. A knee length dress will quickly turn into a thigh length dress when your belly starts to pop out. You could mix a black maternity dress with cardigans, button up shirts, vests, or kimonos that you already have in your closet. *Bonus* Dresses can always be layered over leggings to transition into the colder months.
Before I was pregnant I really struggled with finding bottoms that fit me properly, so adding a bump into the mix didn’t exactly make my life any easier. I practically lived in leggings during my pregnancy but quickly realized that kept reaching for bottoms that had a waist band which came up over my belly. Any ‘low rise’ bottoms actually put more pressure on my belly and bladder and all of those items became tight around my waist / love handles and were extremely uncomfortable.
When shopping for bottoms try to find items with stretchy fabric that covers your entire belly. Bonus points is the fabric is soft and ‘seamless’ so it fits smoothly under your shirts. As you get further along into your pregnancy you will probably experience some swelling – keep this in mind when purchasing shorts (you may way to buy shorts that are on the longer side) you can always roll the shorts up/down but if you purchase a shorter length you won’t have that ability to convert them if need be.
Shirts & Tanks
Tanks & tees were life savers for me! I suffered a lot from hot flashes and my general temperature ran higher than average. I purchased quite a few different tanks because I saw the value in their longevity. Spaghetti strap tank tops were great for layering under shirts that I already owned to give them some extra length to cover my belly. Side ruched tanks & t-shirts were also more flattering on the belly & mid section.
If you choose (or are going to attempt) nursing once your baby arrives consider purchasing nursing tanks. You can wear them before baby arrives, but also can transition the clothing to accommodate your postpartum belly & nursing needs as well. Nursing tanks can be a little bit more expensive because they are ‘convertible’ but worth the extra couple of dollars for the convenience later.
Cardigans & Kimonos
One of my favorite ways to change up my wardrobe was by layering my outfits with cardigans or kimonos. You can change the entire vibe of your outfit by just adding a piece of clothing. Plus these items are great for postpartum wear while your body transitions back to your new ‘normal.’
To properly reference your belly- cardigans and kimonos should be looser fitting and more flowy. You may want to stay away from traditional structured clothing pieces (or at least size up) otherwise your clothing may look ‘small’ and un-proportional to your body. I personally also avoided things with buttons, the added detail seemed to bring more attention to my belly which I didn’t ‘need.’
This picture was the night I was induced (can we just talk about how HUGE my nose is). When I packed for the hospital I made sure to back a few cardigans because I knew I was going to be cold at the hospital and they were easier to take on & off than a sweatshirt.
Remember that you don’t have to go out and purchase a whole new wardrobe! Buy a few pieces that you know you will need or use and assess how your body is changing. Some women gain more weight in the lower half of their body wile others may gain more weight in the top or mid section. Buy a few items (remember the rule of 3) to see what items you reach for the most!
Budget Tip: If you can’t spend a ton of money on maternity clothes consider going a size or two up in regular clothes! You can hunt on clearance racks as well!
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