Tips for Buying Maternity Clothes


Life is full of decisions. The other day I went to Chipotle' and asked if I could have a kids meal. After a pleasant, "Of course!" I was met with a bombardment of unexpected questions:

Quesadilla or tacos?
Soft or hard?
Corn or flour?
Pintos or black beans?
White or brown rice?
Chicken, beef, or pork?
Extra condiments?
Chips or fruit?
Apple juice or soda?
Here or to go?

Ahh! The biggest food decision I ever had to make as a child was whether to eat or go to bed hungry. Please, Chipotle', just make it a happy meal and let me be on my way! Pregnancy is similar. No, you're not offered tacos, but you do have a ton of decisions that suddenly need to be made:

Birthing Center or hospital?
Doctor or midwife?
Pain medicine?
Bassinet or co-sleeping?
Vaccines?
Extra genetic testing?
Tell people now or later?
Find out gender?
Name?

You get the point, there's just a lot to think about. And with mommy-brain kicking in, it can be hard to navigate it all. So, here's my small contribution to future first-time mommies.

Maternity Clothes

One harrowing decision you'll be faced with is where to buy maternity clothes. It may not seem like such a big deal, until you realize that most stores don't even carry maternity clothes anymore in their actual stores, and if they do, they cost as much as your house (small exaggeration), and offer approximately two shirts to consider. For a girl that is used to going to thrift stores and gets excited about a designer shirt found at a garage sale for a quarter, I was quickly made aware that maternity clothes shopping can be the pits, especially if you require tall sizes. As my sister-in-law once said, "For some reason they think only midgets get pregnant." And apparently those midgets are all millionaires that don't like choice. Anyway, here are a few tips I've found to be helpful in this demented treasure hunt for affordable maternity clothes that look good:

Craigslist: If you live near or in a city, you might consider utilizing Craigslist. Set up an alert to be notified whenever maternity clothes in your size are posted. I don't suggest picking them up alone, but you can sometimes find a cheap bundle of clothes that someone just wants to get rid of. Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck with finding clothes here. Most people keep their maternity clothes until the last kid, so much of what is posted will be fashionably out-dated. This is much the same with thrift stores' maternity sections, except worse. I'm pretty sure every item at our thrift store was from 1990 or before. Jumpers just aren't in style, and shouldn't be coming back yet.

Pregnancy coat: If you're one of the lucky ones that is pregnant during winter (hmph), you'll need a coat to cover, not only your growing bump, but also your widening hips. Don't spend a fortune on a pregnancy coat you can't try on in real store (ever heard of sleeves three inches too short??). Go to a thrift store or Plato's Closet and get a regular coat a couple sizes too big. Warmth is important, and I actually love my over-sized Columbia coat I found at a thrift store!

Bras: Don't over-complicate or over-spend here. Just go to Walmart and get a comfy bra, that doesn't have underwire, for $12. It doesn't have to be a "maternity" bra, because you don't actually know what size you'll be when you're nursing anyway. Just buy one in your normal size (up the cup size if you already are bigger), then go to the craft section and buy some bra extenders. That way, throughout your pregnancy you are only upping your cup size, not the band size. It makes life easier, and you can use the bras after pregnancy that way too. By the way, I may never go back to underwire!

Old Navy: If you require tall or short pants, Old Navy is the affordable place to go. They have been my main go-to for cute maternity clothes that won't break our budget. Wait for a sale, and spend at least $50 to get free shipping. I prefer the side panel pants so far, although I'm only just now into my second trimester. I just wear a belt with the side panel style, and they look and feel good. I've heard full panel stay up better towards the end of pregnancy. Either way, Old Navy gives lots of options, but only online. Don't go to the actual store looking, because you will be met with crickets.

Yoga pants and maxi skirts: You will mainly live in these. Extreme comfort, especially when the waist is one of those folding waists! And there's no need to buy in maternity sizes and get gypped out of more cash, because they are already stretchy in the regular sizes. You can wear yoga pants during the week, and maxi skirts to church or work. If you never bought maternity pants and only lived in these, I kind of think you wouldn't be disappointed. Comfort is the name of the game when it comes to pregnancy!

The only other piece of maternity clothes wisdom I have gathered this far is that you are supposed to buy maternity clothes in your pre-pregnancy size. They should fit right, even though you feel like a whale at the moment, and are sure you should buy ten sizes bigger. Oh, and the shirts with the side-ruching are a great buy, because you can wear them whether you are pregnant or not. 

Ok, happy maternity clothes hunting (sorry, cruel joke). Don't get overwhelmed by the department stores' money-hungry, only online, traps they set for vulnerable, mommy-brained women that just want some pants that don't cut into their belly. Go to the right sources, and if all else fails, yoga pants!

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