Hey Mama! Congratulations on your pregnancy. By now your belly is probably growing, your ankles are likely swelling and, if you're anything like me, you haven't taken a decent shit in weeks. Oh the joys of being knocked up. One thing I really looked forward to when I was pregnant was getting big enough to actually fit into maternity clothes.
Weeks before I even started showing, my mom and I would send each other links to cute outfits pregnant women modeled. We legit had a whole Pinterest board dedicated to my maternity style. Thinking back on it now I'm literally cracking up. First of all, all of the shit we pinned was way too expensive, especially when you factor in the fact that for most first time mamas, you don't even start showing until way late in your pregnancy (my belly didn't pop until I was about 26 weeks along). Secondly, we were in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic...where the fuck was I going where anyone would see how cute I was anyway? Hint, hint...no where.
I wanted so badly to look like those adorable pregnant influencers on Instagram, but I just couldn't rationalize spending $$$ on things I'd literally only wear for another 10-15 weeks. Thankfully I rediscovered some brands I hadn't worn in years (think H&M, Old Navy and Aerie). Not only do I still have most of the clothes that I purchased from them, but I fully plan on busting them out again for baby #2 (who is definitely not on the way y'all).
Most of my picks from the brands I'm including have clothes that work during and post baby which makes them worth the price (which is minimal anyway). There are a few brands that I think are worth the investment (looking at you Blanqi) but I hope you find everything else not only affordable, but useful.
I literally wore a lingerie set by Natori on my wedding night. I never thought that I'd be reaching for their cotton panties months later when I was pregnant. Carrying a child means everything below the belt gets a little more...interesting. Comfort is absolutely paramount. In my experience that meant bye bye (temporarily) to all my cute lace thongs and hello cotton granny panties. These absorbent (iykyk), stretchy and breathable ones from Natori held me down.
Ahhh, Amazon. The one website where you can literally order dog food and underwear at the same damn time. When I came across these maternity panties from Kindred, the high reviews and relatively low price made me try them out. These undies will literally take you from pregnancy to recovery. I love them. I swear by them. Get them.
Aerie is one of those brands that I fell in love with again during my pregnancy. I have a ton of stuff I love from this brand and their cotton underwear are one of them. They have a whole selection of different cuts, prints and patterns. They also have underwear boxes where you basically buy 5 for the price of like $30. They're fun, functional and the don't break the bank.
Best Maternity Bras
Maternity bras are where you're going to want to spend a little of money. Not only can you wear them during your pregnancy, but they'll be your best (breast?) friends post-partum.
Okay, so Blanqi maternity bras are a tad bit expensive but they feel like butter molded on your tits which, if you're nursing or planning on nursing, is everything. A lot of nursing bras come with badded inserts in them to protect you against leaking through your shirt. That means that when you wash them, the pads can shift or bunch up. These don't as much which I loved.
Who freaking knew that H&M had such bomb ass bras? I mean I haven't worn a bra from this place since I was a teenager but I'm so glad I rediscovered them during my pregnancy. These bras and these ones held me down. Especially at night. I loved sleeping in them. They were soft, easy for me to access my boobs when Nola needed to eat and supportive. For the price, you can't really do better.
When my boobs first started getting bigger in the early months of my pregnancy, I went to Nordstrom with my mom to get a few new bras. I fell in love with these cute and functional maternity bras from Lively. Nursing bras aren't meant to be cute, or sexy, they're meant to hold your milk-swollen tits up and allow for them to be whipped out at a moments notice to feed a screaming kid. But, somehow, Lively created a bra that still does all of that, but don't make you feel like you're literally wearing the equivalent of a chastity belt. These bras are so cute I'd wear them even if I wasn't nursing or pregnant. They're breathable and light-weight. Definitely worth an addition to your arsenal.
Maybe it's because I was pregnant during the pandemic, or maybe I'm just a woman who literally wants to live the rest of her life in leggings. Either way, my growing belly, ass and ankles meant that I needed something that would grow with me. Enter these bump supporting leggings by Blanqi. Not only are they seriously wonderful to wear but they also come with built in support for your belly. They're on the pricey side and truly can only be worn while you're pregnant but they're worth it in my humble opinion.
If spending almost $70 on a single pair of leggings sounds insane to you then head over to H&M for a pair or two of their MAMA Leggings. A single pair will set you back $15 which is money well spent when you consider how much you'll reach for them over the course of your pregnancy.
I want to write love notes to whoever is the head creator of Aerie's OFFLINE Real Me High Waisted Crossover Legging. These things feel like butta. While technically not maternity leggings, they have no problem at all growing and stretching with you along the way. If you aren't a fan of maternity specific clothing, investing in a few of these is a great idea since you can wear them before, during and after your baby. You don't even need to size up but you totally can (though I'd only recommend getting one size larger).
When two of my girlfriends suggested that I go to Lululemon to get a few pairs of their leggings for my massive belly I thought they'd lost their minds. First of all Lulu is expensive AF. Secondly, why would I drop that much money on one pair of leggings? Surely they aren't that amazing. Then one day I was bored out of my mind when I came across a Lululemon store. I went inside to kill some time and came out with 4 sets of Align™ High-Rise Pant 25." I regret nothing. I have a pair of them on now as I write this. You can literally LITERALLY, buy the size you are now and no matter how much your belly grows, these babies will be with you through it all. Expensive and worth it. I'm a new disciple.
I didn't want to love these. Truly. I tried on every other maternity jeans out there that weren't like $300+ dollars and none of them fit right. Finally, after coming across and Instagram ad, I ordered two pairs of maternity jeans by Good American and dammit, I was sold. I got this pair and this one and wore them literally up until I gave birth. I'm someone who loves a good pair of jeans (it's a standard issue uniform as a Californian) so spending some money on a pair I would wear regularly was a no-brainer for me. My jeans are currently packed up, under the house, and I'll for sure be busting them out when I get pregnant with baby #2.
Best Belly Bands
Belly bands are amazing because they take you from that weird period where you can't quite fit into your regular pants but also can quite fit maternity ones either. My first set where these ones from Target. I wore them for a few weeks until I eventually caved and had to buy different clothes but for the price, it's certainly worth adding to your wardrobe.
There comes a point in pregnancy where your belly actually starts to feel heavy and you need something, other than your hands, to help hold it up. Enter this Maternity Belly Band support from Blanqi. Not only will it help extent the use of your current pre-baby pants, but it will also help you carry that extra weight baby is putting on my body.
Best Nursing Tanks
In my opinion, when it comes to nursing tanks, the cheaper the better. They're basically meant to be a tank top and a nursing bra all in one and it doesn't need to be fancy, it just needs to be functional. No one does this better than H&M. I bought about 6 pairs of their MAMA Nursing Tanks when I was pregnant and I still wear them today. They're great on those days you have no idea what to wear and even better once baby comes to sleep in or lounge around the house it. These things have been amazing. I cannot stop raving about them.
Old Navy is another brand I turned to when it came to nursing tanks. Their Maternity First-Layer Nursing Cami are a great basic to have as well and a good alternative to the ones at H&M.
Best Lounge Wear
There is only one brand I will mention here and it's Aerie. You owe it to yourself to snap up every cozy piece of loungewear they offer. The sweatpants? Top tier. The cozy sweaters and sweatshirts? You'll reach for them daily. I didn't know I needed that level of comfort but I'm happy that Aerie was there to provide it. Most of the stuff on the site is under $40 and there is almost always some sort of sale. Trust me on this one.