Thursday, February 23, 2012

maternity stuff

I know some of the people who follow my blog are pregnant, so I thought I'd do a post (and hopefully more in the future) to help them navigate through the sometimes (often) puzzling world of maternity stuff. It's hard to know what's worth the money and what's not (esp. when things are overpriced and you feel like you're only using them for 9 months anyway). I'm not an expert by any means but I remember often thinking to myself while I was pregnant, "man I wish someone told me [blank]." So here are some products I used and my thoughts on them.

1. Dream Genii pregnancy pillow

At $70, this isn't a cheap pillow. But if you think about the fact that you'll use it every night for (hopefully) at least 7 hours a night, then it starts making more sense to invest in a good pregnancy pillow. The pillow's shape is strange but it fits a pregnant woman's body perfectly. Once you get big, you'll need to sleep on your side, and the belly starts sagging and pulling on your body which is really uncomfortable. This pillow gives you belly support as well as a between-the-leg support so that your body is correctly aligned while you sleep. The top part is supposed to go under your back and give you a cushion on the other side of your body to stop you from inadvertently rolling onto your back while you sleep but I found that it wasn't that comfortable. Instead, I kept that top part in front of me and hugged it while I slept, which was great - it gives you somewhere to rest your top arm while you sleep on your side. This pillow is also useful after pregnancy - I used it to support Lana's body while I breastfed.

2. Bella Band

The Bella Band has become a bit of an "it" thing for pregnant women. It's basically just a stretchy band that you put around your belly to help keep your pants up. It's supposed to allow you to wear your non-pregnant pants longer - just keep them unzipped/unbuttoned, then wear the Bella Band over them to keep them up. Or, it helps to keep up too-big maternity pants. It says the Bella Band smooths out the pants so that it doesn't seem like you're wearing pants that are undone or pants that are too big. I didn't really find this to be true. I tried wearing my normal jeans unbuttoned but they'd still stick out in front instead of laying flat against my body. However, the Bella Band is more useful for keeping up still-too-big maternity pants. My favorite use for the Bella Band was to keep work pants up that are side zip (my JCrew minnie pants). Since they're side zip, they lay flatter against the body and the Bella Band was perfect for keeping them up when I could no longer zip them. Of course, there was a point when even with the Bella Band, I got so big that I couldn't get the pants on at all. I think I stopped using the Bella Band at the beginning of the third trimester.

3. Gap Maternity

Gap might be hit or miss when it comes to regular women's fashion, but their maternity section is really clutch. Maternity clothes still have a long way to go - either they're super fuddy duddy and you wouldn't be caught dead wearing the clothes if you weren't pregnant, or they're pretty but ridiculously expensive (why does an extra stretchy panel all of a sudden make jeans 2x the price?). I think Gap strikes the best balance between fashion and price. My favorite items:

a. stretch cotton bikini

Once you get big, your regular underwear won't fit anymore. These undies sit comfortably below the belly but also provide enough coverage in the back. They go on sale often - I think right now it's buy 5 or more, get them for $5 each (reg price is $10.95, which is kind of ridonkulous).

b. demi panel skinny jeans

These skinny jeans are great. No one would ever know they were maternity pants unless you showed them the demi panel. The only thing is the demi panel is a little tight, so I couldn't wear these past 7 months. BUT - I wore these jeans for 3 months after I had the baby and before I returned to pre-pregnancy size, so you get a good amount of use out of them. I probably wore these jeans almost every non-work day before I hit 7 months.

4. Isabella Oliver easy leggings

Isabella Oliver is a British womenswear brand that also has maternity clothing. It's pretty expensive, but these leggings are decently priced at $59 (and you can catch them on sale - sign up for emails so you can get coupons). They are SO comfortable. Even without the full panel (which I really hated anyway), I was able to wear them straight till the day I had Lana because the waist can be worn under the belly. I still wear them now because they still fit even without the belly. Leggings + baggy/long tops is a very easy and comfortable way to dress when you're pregnant. That's how I got away with not buying a lot of maternity clothes. Which brings me to point 5...

5. Forever 21 - I barely bought any maternity tops because of Forever 21. I bought a bunch of baggy tops and dresses and wore them with leggings for most of my pregnancy. This worked well because 1. it's cheap, and 2. you can wear them after you have the baby and not feel like you're still wearing maternity clothes.

6. Jolly Ranchers - You might be one of the lucky ones to not have morning sickness, but I definitely wasn't. I had major morning sickness in the form of extreme nausea, fatigue and complete lack of appetite (I basically ate ice cream and cereal for 2 months). Jolly Ranchers were a lifesaver for me during this time - sour candies help to battle the nausea. I also ate a lot of clementines and Sour Patch Kids. I took a bag of sour candies everywhere I went (as well as a big bottle of water - you go from ok to parched in about 3 seconds and if you don't have water on you, it's torture).

7. Slippers with cushioning - Once you start carrying a noticeable amount of weight in your belly, everything hurts, but your feet probably take the biggest hit. If you live in a carpeted home this might not be as big an issue, but hardwood floors are very unforgiving. I had to wear slippers with cushioning or else the bottoms of my feet would hurt so much. Mine are Dearfoams (see link), but obviously you could probably get any slippers that have cushioning in the bottom. I'll also note that when I hit the third trimester, even these weren't enough cushioning (and it was summer so my feet were unbearably sweaty). So once I entered the third trimester, I wore Crocs everywhere (inside the house and outside). They were a LIFESAVER. It's one of those instances where comfort really takes precedence over fashion.

Hope this helps! My next post, I'll write about some baby products that I really like since the fun is just beginning once the pregnancy's over! :D