Apr 092016
 
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British holiday with warm jumper over nursing vest and hungry baby.

If you have landed directly on this page, please read my simple guide to maternity clothing first.

Clothes for hospital and feeding

• Make sure you have hospital clothing that allows for skin to skin contact with your new baby.  A stretchy vest is good and can be worn with pyjama bottoms so you can walk around with your baby.  If this feels insecure you may want to use a redundant maternity bump band over the top – you’ll need to experiment depending on your and baby’s size.

• Have a practice and decide whether you are most comfortable feeding under, over or through (e.g. unbuttoning) your clothing.

• You’ll be spending a lot of time in nightwear, check it feels nice and has access for baby.

• Think comfort.  You are not likely to be going out to work or partying any time soon.  Make sure your clothes feel nice for baby and you, and are that you will  want to wear them at home or out locally.

• Natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo and silk are good.  Keep it machine washable.

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Shirt dresses are amazing

• Patterned fabrics conceal the baby fall-out better.  Anything to cut down on laundry.

• Unless you find the perfect dress, 2 piece outfits are easiest – skirt or trousers with top.• Reduce the number of layers you wear.  Trying to gain access through 4 garments at milk o’clock is not fun.

• Shawls and cowl necks are great as you feel like you’re wearing “normal” clothes, but can cover up.

The best nursing clothes I’ve found are by Izzy’s Mum.   Although again, check out Etsy as this sort of thing is often best made by innovative Mum’s who know what works!

Babywearing

This clever coat adapts from bump to babywearing. £99.06 + shipping.

This clever coat adapts from bump to babywearing. £99.06 + shipping.

I had my Baby Bjorn all lined up for my winter baby, but completely neglected to think about how I might wear a coat with it.  A trip to Portobello market saw me kitted out with a welsh wool shawl which was basically fine…. until it rained!

There are some good options sold via Etsy.  You can find coats with contraptions to accommodate baby in their carrier or extenders by the brilliantly named Extendher which fit over anything with a zip.

You will probably want to avoid anything too bulky under your carrier as I found clothes got twisted or rode up and were difficult to get back in place when out and about.

If you like the idea of a baby carrier but this is all a bit much contact your local sling library and take it from there.  There is no right or wrong in any of this, just what is right for you and your baby.

If your post-natal wardrobe still needs a bit of help, please contact Jo who would be delighted to do whatever it takes.

Apr 082016
 
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Hot on holiday in non-maternity wear with camoflaged bump.

My online absence over the last couple of years is entirely due to a small boy who arrived in the winter of 2014.  Although The Dress Doctor has barely stopped sewing in her West London studio, blogging and social media have been low priority.

Never in my life have so many people give me so much advice.  Continuing the tradition I want to share what I’ve learnt about maternity clothing here to balance the “don’t buy anything” and the “you can’t get through without all this stuff” approaches.  I have assumed the reader is at least open to if not planning to breast feed.

Plan of action

Go through your wardrobe and put aside everything you may be able to wear, at least for a while or whilst feeding.

You will want to consider:

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Layers of pre-loved maternity wear in the studio.

• What size you will be in each season

• How much hotter you’ll feel than usual

• Your boobs and thighs are likely to expand as well

• Can the garment be worn open or differently to accommodate more you?

• Large scarves and shawls are handy to dignify bulging buttons and not-quite-together outfits

• Try things on and manoeuvre your breasts to see if you would be comfortable feeding in them

• You’ll be spending a lot of time in nightwear, make sure it’s comfy and you can feed in it

• Don’t rule out your partners clothes… all those oversize shirts and jumpers come in jolly handy for the last few weeks

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A vintage silk  hippy dress got me from days out to weddings in comfort

Keep these items together and sideline anything that was always a bit too tight.  As you outgrow items, put them to one side for re-emergence in a few months.

Now you have some clothes you can wear it’s time to consider what you want to wear!

• Your skin may be more sensitive than usual so stick to light and natural fabrics where possible.

• Ruched fabric is flattering and expands. Make sure the excess is in the torso as this will add length to garments as your baby grows.

• Elastic and drawstring are the waistbands of choice.

• You get most wear out of garments that are long and stretchy

Extended bra

Extended bra

 

Here are a few minor alterations that can help you extend the life of some garments with minor adaptations:

• Jeans extension buttons or belly belt kits will give you a few more weeks

Bra extenders – I fitted these to all my old bras before embracing maternity bras

• Maternity jeans are notorious for falling down.  A piece of comfy boxer short elastic stitched on the line between the denim and the stretchy bit stops this.

Buying maternity clothes

There will come a time when you need to buy the odd thing.  This is a total minefield, and at a time when you’re about to leave work or take a pay-cut, the last thing you want to do is spend money on the High Street offering of badly made clothes in poor fabrics.

On the whole I went for the for the ethical alternative…  eBay is good, (and you’re helping a fellow Mum provide for her baby’s next stage) and all sorts of goodies emerged from charity shops.

Zahra dress from Izzy's Mum

Zahra dress from Izzy’s Mum. It looks modern and normal, works right through pregnancy then has subtle access for feeding afterwards. Made of bamboo it feels lovely.  Perfect for summer and good value at £56.

Here are my top maternity shopping tips

• Do not buy anything that you do not like, is not your style or you would not have touched 6 months ago.  You’re having a baby which is not the same as an identity crisis.

• Make sure everything you buy can be worn for feeding.  Your body will be in a state of flux for some weeks and you will not want to skip out of hospital and straight to the shops for yet more stop-gap clothing.  Izzy’s Mum has some good options

• Stop looking at sizes and start comparing garments to your body.

• Think about access to your body during medical appointments.  You really don’t want to strip down every time someone needs to check you.

• Consider how obvious you want your pregnancy to be.  Wearing a tight fitting dress will get you that seat on the bus quicker, but will also attract a whole bunch of baby related comments you may not want to deal with.  Normal but oversized clothes, patterns and layers will act as camouflage.

This is what I  would recommend buying.  It means you can wear existing tops, jumpers, shirts and dresses but with dignity.  Most of these have come in handy post-natally too.

Bump to babywearing waterproof. Genius.

Bump to babywearing waterproof. Genius.

Maternity vests – these have extra support inside which is especially helpful at night.

• Maternity bras – I liked the Bravado silk seamless bra.  It was comfy, expanded as needed and there was plenty of room for pads.

Maternity bump bands – cheap and bridge that gap in the middle during the early weeks.

• Maternity leggings – brilliant with everything.  Make sure they contain a bit of Lycra/ Elastane.

• Swimwear – even if your bikini goes around your bump, it’s unlikely your breasts will be contained.

• Waterproof coat – wearing your coat open in the rain isn’t great.  Etsy had the best I came across, especially the 3-way versions for bump, baby wearing and back.

If your maternity wardrobe still needs a bit of help, please contact Jo who would be delighted to assist.

…continued in my guide to clothing for breastfeeding and babywearing.