By Kathryn Peck
I recently got a text from an old friend. She had some news: she and her husband are having a baby! It will be their first child, and she specifically asked if I remembered what maternity/nursing bras I carried in my first brick and mortar shop a few years ago (which also carried a small selection of maternity clothes). Her cousin, who worked at my shop, told her they were the most comfortable bras, ever. In fact, they were the most comfortable and best-selling.
For women’s bodies that are changing during pregnancy, look no further than Belabumbum’s Luxe Sleep Bras ($39). A racerback style bra that’s perfect for expecting moms thanks to its super soft pima cotton and stretch, and perfect for nursing moms, particularly at night, thanks to the pull-aside nursing access.
Other top sellers at my baby and maternity shop?
One that I relied on heavily during each of my own four pregnancies and was extremely popular with my customers was the Bellaband ($28) from Ingrid & Isabel (shown below). Available in a variety of colors, this stretchy belly band offers a bit more time in your current jeans/pants before making the official switch to maternity jeans/pants. In the earlier stages of pregnancy, when your baby bump is just beginning to show, leave your pants unbuttoned or unzipped for a little more room and use the Bellaband to hold them in place. As your belly grows, continue to use this to hold up loose-fitting jeans/pants, and in the final stages of your pregnancy, use the Bellaband under shorter tops for added coverage. And, you can even continue to wear this band post-pregnancy as you transition out of maternity clothes.
Personally, I never quite bought into stretch-mark prevention products, but a rich, sweet-smelling belly butter is great for growing bellies because the skin can itch as it expands and becomes moisture deprived. Find a fragrance-free or mild-scented brand you like, e.g. Lilah James Skincare Mama Belly Butter ($20) or The Honest Co. Organic Belly Balm ($18) and lather up before bed.
Everyone looks for clothes that will fit during every stage of pregnancy, it just makes sense financially. Check out Isabella Oliver’s maternity tops and tees ($45). This line sold well at my shop, and I personally loved the fit. The jersey fabric is soft, stretchy, and comfortable, and side-seam ruching ensures a flattering fit no matter how far along you are.
And don’t shy away from splurging on a pair of really good maternity jeans – you won’t regret it. Brands like AG Jeans, Citizens of Humanity, and Paige all offer maternity jeans. You also won’t regret over-the-belly styles, although they may seem odd at first. If you’re pregnant in the summer heat, consider side panel-style maternity jeans - they’re just cooler. (I always recommended sizing up one size from your pre-pregnancy size.) Visit A Pea in the Pod for styles.
Looking for active leggings to wear during your pregnancy? Ingrid & Isabel’s Leggings with Crossover Panel ($78-$88, below) were also a favorite among my mom-to-be customers. What makes these leggings different from others is the Crossover Panel: it offers gentle support for your lower back, it’s cooler on your body, and the front panel actually stays up.
A pregnancy pillow shouldn’t be overlooked. A some point in your pregnancy, you just can stuff enough pillows under and around you to keep comfortable, and that’s when a top-notch pregnancy pillow is invaluable (and frankly, hard to sleep without thereafter). Go big with the PharMeDoc U-Shaped Full-Body Pregnancy Pillow ($48) or minimal with the two-sided (soft and firm) Hiccapop Pregnancy Pillow Wedge ($23, below) that sits just under your belly when you’re on your side.
And when you’re pregnant, hydration is essential. S’well stainless steal water bottles ($25-$45) keep water cold for up to 48 hours. Plus the patterns and colors are super cute.
It’s hard to find products that work when you’re pregnant, particularly clothes. Your body changes quickly and finding maternity clothes to try on is nearly impossible.
While these personal picks and best sellers might not work for everyone, they’re a great place to start. Hopefully you can spend less time worrying about which leggings to buy and more time enjoying the thrill of each little flutter, kick, hiccup, and fetal movement before your baby arrives.
About the author: Kathryn is the owner of Bicycle Pie and mom of 4 little ones. Also a writer, editor, and former owner of one of Boston's premiere baby boutiques, she continues to write about motherhood, children's products, family life, and all other things that test our skills and patience as parents.
Photo credit: iStock.com/monkeybusiness