You’re expecting a sweet little bundle of joy – and all the expenses that go along with having a baby! However, there’s one area where you can cut back the budget, and that’s maternity clothes. With a bit of finagling in your own closet, practical purchases, and a good eye on accessories, you’ll have a pregnancy wardrobe to get you through all nine months (and beyond!). Here’s how.
1. Work with what you have.
In the first few months, you will probably be able to wear your normal clothes without much modification, though you might feel a bit bloated or tight around the middle. Time to pull out your stretch waist pants!
Or try the rubber band trick – fold a rubber band or hair elastic in half and insert it through the button hole in your pants. Then loop the ends of the band onto your button. Cover it up with a long tee and nobody will be the wiser!
Finally, stretch knit maxi dresses that are loose and flowing in the mid-section are perfect too.
2. Buy sparingly and accessorize.
Maternity clothing can be pricey. Considering you’ll only wear each piece for a few months, try to purchase only what is most versatile and economical. A few maternity tanks or tees that can be layered under sweaters or unbuttoned blouses are ideal.
Choose a few neutral colored bottoms. You can probably get by with a few pairs of leggings, a pair of jeans, and one pair of dressier pants. Stretchy knit skirts are great too. Wear them alone in warm weather or layer over leggings when the weather is cool.
For my last pregnancy, I bought a few maternity tanks in neutral colors. I lived in stretchy leggings with one of these tanks, and then added items I already had in my closet — such as a blouse worn unbuttoned or a cardigan with jewelry or a scarf.
If you have an event that requires a fancy look, keep your maternity wear simple. Invest in accessories or jewelry that you’ll be able to wear again in the future. My husband’s holiday work party took place when I was 30 weeks along. I spent $10 on an inexpensive maternity top then paired it with leggings, fancy earrings, and heels that I already owned. I looked dressed up and appropriate for an evening out (without overspending!)
3. Don’t buy things until you really need them.
Since every body is different, you’ll really have no idea when you’re first pregnant how your third-trimester belly will look. I recommend waiting as long as you can to purchase late-pregnancy clothing so you can get an appropriate fit.
4. Avoid stretching out your pre-pregnancy shirts.
Keep in mind that your growing tummy will expand pretty slowly up until the last trimester. Some clothes have better stretch than others and will easily accommodate your belly into later months.
Though you might still be able to wear your pre-pregnancy clothing, once you hit the third trimester, you might want to take a look at the stretch-ability of the fabric. Shirts may stretch too much and the fabric won’t go back into pre-pregnancy shape.
I had a beautiful blue stretch knit top that I wore up until my 8th month and realized after the baby was born that I’d stretched it beyond its limits. The fabric was way too loose after wearing it over my 9-month pregnant belly, and I had to donate it. If you have a shirt you love, hold off wearing it during your pregnancy so you don’t overstretch it.
5. Forget pricey “maternity” underwear.
At just about the third trimester, I think I was down to about five pairs of underpants that fit me! They were too tight along the thigh, rolling off my tummy, or bunching up at the bottom – so uncomfortable! And bras? Let’s just say things weren’t properly contained at that point either!
Still, there’s no need to purchase pricey “maternity” underwear. Simply buying a size or two up or switching to a different style may do the trick. However for bras (especially if you’re intending to breastfeed), you may need to buy a few nursing styles to accommodate your larger cup size.
I also recommend stretch fabric styles that will adjust to your breast size postpartum. A wireless sleep nursing bra can be worn at night so you’ll have support 24/7. Wearing a bra all the time is a good way to give your breasts proper support and reduce stretching and discomfort.
6. Buy stuff you can wear later.
If you have to purchase maternity clothing to wear while pregnant, consider postpartum recovery as well. It will take you a bit of time to get your pre-pregnancy body size back, so you’ll continue to wear some of your maternity clothing after delivery.
If you’re going to be breastfeeding Baby, purchase maternity shirts and blouses that will make nursing easier (like button-down blouses or nursing tanks with clip-down straps).
Certain clothing can be impractical when breastfeeding (like long tops or dresses) so keep that in mind before you buy!
7. Buy resale.
Local resale shops are a great place to find maternity clothing. You can also sell back your maternity outfits later for cash or credit.
8. Borrow or rent.
Put the word out that you’re in need of maternity clothes and your post-pregnancy friends will likely be happy to share their stash.
There are also online maternity clothing rental shops that can help you find just what you need. This is particularly helpful if you work in a corporate setting, require dressier clothing on a daily basis, or need formal attire for a special occasion. A quick search online for “rent maternity clothes” will show you several options.
9. Get an inexpensive pair of shoes for swollen feet.
You may find that your usual shoes start to pinch with swelling feet and puffy ankles in that last trimester! I recall with my first pregnancy, I could only wear flip-flop sandals for the final month (and it was December!).
You might consider purchasing an inexpensive pair in a half-size up or choose shoe styles that are less constricting. Note that your feet may or may not return to their original size after Baby. I actually have one foot that went up half a size and the other foot went up one full size – and they stayed that way!
What is your favorite maternity clothing hack? Share with me in the comments!