5 Maternity Must Haves and What Not to Waste Your Money On

The maternity industry, like many others, is a cash cow (no pun intended). Slap a maternity label on something and you can be sure you’ll get an ad for it during your 9 months of pregnancy. Everything from maternity tees to maternity underwear to maternity shoes – if you use it pre-pregnancy, someone somewhere has made a maternity version. But what items do you actually need and what items can you skip and save money on. I wanted to make this list because as a first time mom, I was completely overwhelmed at all of the options at first. It felt like I had so much to buy to prepare for pregnancy and beyond and it made me anxious seeing all the money I would have to spend to be comfortable. But luckily, this is not the case. There are really only a handful of items, in my experience, that you should absolutely buy for pregnancy. Please note that this is from my own personal experience, and it may be different for everyone depending on your pregnancy. Please also note that I am not compensated for any of my opinions shared here. These are all my own opinions based on my own purchases and experiences.

  1. Belly Bands
Maternity Bellaband Support Belt - Isabel Maternity By Ingrid & Isabel™ :  Target

One of the first items I suggest buying within the first couple months of pregnancy are a couple belly bands. I bought a black one and a white one which worked perfectly for my wardrobe, but you can also find them in nude and other colors. What is a belly band? It’s basically a stretchy tube of fabric that makes it so that you can wear your pre-pregnancy bottoms during pregnancy. This is awesome because maternity clothes are not cheap, especially when you consider the short amount of time you’ll get to wear them. These belly bands have made it so that I can wear my favorite jeans, shorts and skirts over my bump and have saved me so much money. You simply wear your pre-pregnancy bottoms unbuttoned and slide the band over the top. The band hides the opening of your bottoms while also smoothing the creasing of the opening. The brand that I found to work best and be most cost effective is the Isabel and Ingrid Bellaband. They have a sticky plastic border on one end that helps hold the band in place, and they can be worn up over your belly or folded down. Sometimes I even wear these under dresses for a little extra support. They are super comfortable, and at only $17 a piece at your local Target these are a must have for pregnancy. You can find other colors on the Isabel and Ingrid website here.

2. Bra Extenders

Women Elastic Back Bra Extenders 3 Hook and 2 Hooks Bras Extension Strap  6pcs at Amazon Women's Clothing store

If you’re like me, you’ve experienced a little (or ALOT) of growth in the girls during pregnancy. Sometimes this growth can make it feel like your pre-pregnancy bras are trying to squeeze the life out of you – or at least that’s what happened to me. My bras still mostly fit cup-wise, but the band around was starting to feel like it was strangling me. Again, I didn’t want to go out and buy all new bras for just this occasion so I found these bra extenders on Amazon. These have made it so that I can save my money for nursing bras (because, yep, that’s a thing too) and keep on wearing my favorite pre-pregnancy bras throughout my pregnancy. The pack that I bought came with black, white and nude which is perfect for most bra collections and was only $5 for a pack of six – can’t beat that!

3. Body Pillow

Sleeping in your new body shape can become a bit of a challenge towards the middle and end of pregnancy. But this doesn’t mean you need to go spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy “pregnancy pillow”. I found that a simple body pillow worked just fine for me. It was long enough to hold my belly and also to wedge between my legs to give my hips support. It also is the perfect size to have in bed, where as the pregnancy pillows are so huge I’m surprised anyone can sleep with them and still keep their partner in bed with them at the same time. Want something a little fancier but still don’t want to take over the entire bed? You can find body pillows that are made of memory foam or higher support materials for less money than a crazy pregnancy pillow. Most major retailers that sell home goods will sell a nice body pillow. Another tip is to make sure whatever cover you buy is appropriate for the weather and that elevated body temperature you might experience while pregnant.

4. Maternity Leggings

black

Staying active during pregnancy is a must. Whether it’s full exercises or walking it’s important to have clothing that works for this type of activity. This is where maternity leggings come in. In a pinch I’ve found that I can wear my pre-pregnancy leggings folded under my bump, but there’s something so comfortable about having a nice supportive pair of over the belly leggings that just makes exercising easier on your pregnant body – bonus points if they have a little compression to help with blood flow. Keep in mind though, not all maternity leggings are created equal, and this is the one area where you might want to splurge a little bit to make sure you’re getting the bang for your buck. I made the mistake of buying cheap maternity leggings and actually ended up buying new leggings and changing in the car while running errands – I hated them that much. They kept falling off and provided no support whatsoever to my growing bump – I digress. My favorites during pregnancy have been the Blanqi Everyday Maternity Belly Support leggings, which are super ultra supportive and stay in place all day. These are a bit more compressing feeling so if you don’t like tight then they might not be for you. They have sales regularly and will often sell out so make sure you follow them on social media or check their website regularly for deals. I just ordered another maternity legging from them in another style and got two pairs for under $50 which is a major steal. They make these in a wide range of colors which is also fun and makes it so that you feel like you can still be fashionable. My other favorite leggings are from Ingrid and Isabel and come from Target – the Maternity Crossover Panel Active leggings. These are actually the ones I bought and changed into in the parking lot! I love the lower cut back on these for our hot California weather and the material is super soft and breathable making them super comfortable to wear all day long. Both brands make bike shorts as well that I highly recommend if you are pregnant during warmer weather. Having comfortable active wear is great for staying on track with exercising, but it’s also nice to have clothing that is similar to what I wore pre-pregnancy (2020 basically changed my entire wardrobe into active wear). Leggings and bike shorts are also great for later in pregnancy when everything feels too tight but you also want to look cute. You can pair them with almost anything and not feel like you’re wearing pajamas. (Here’s a $20 credit for Blanqi for anyone who might be interested: http://fbuy.me/q6Mp_)

5. Reusable Water Bottle

YETI Rambler 36 oz Reusable Bottle With Chug Cap

If you don’t already have a reusable water bottle (or two!), pregnancy is a great time to invest in one. Staying hydrated during pregnancy is one of the best ways to avoid aches and pains, curb morning sickness, keep your skin soft and overall improve your health. I have a few different options depending on whether I’m on the go or at home. My home bottle has a stainless steel straw which is super nice for lounging around the house. I also have an on-the-go hydroflask style bottle that seals completely so I can throw it in my bag and it keeps my water nice and cool especially if I add a few ice cubes. Reusable water bottles are also just a great item to have in general and will keep you happy and hydrated throughout pregnancy and beyond. There are so many different options these days available at most retailers. Bonus is that you can customize most of them with fun stickers if you want something a bit more personalized.

I hope this list is helpful for all you first-time mommas out there like me. The world of maternity shopping can feel so overwhelming and it’s tough to know if you need to go out and purchase all brand new items to make life easier. I’d definitely skip certain items like the special underwear, shoes, and heck even the crazy outrageously priced clothes. Stick with what you have for as long as it will work for you, and worst case if you end up needing to spend more money you can always order those items later. Good luck and happy baby growing!

2020 Resolution #4: Shop Small / Fair / Less

Shopping in 2019 was basically not a thing. I told myself I was not allowed to purchase anything new unless it was absolutely necessary, and for the most part I followed that for an entire year. I did buy a couple of things that were necessary and did buy myself nice things a couple times (literally only twice that I can think of!), but overall, everything I bought came from the thrift store. I even found a can opener at the thrift store, okay? That’s hardcore. This year, I want to continue this thought process but also sprinkle in some fun. Because let’s face it, not shopping for years at a time is no fun, and sometimes ya girl needs to buy something new for no reason.

2020 is about being more intentional with what I purchase. Do I want new towels? Hell yes I do. Am I going to buy them from the thrift store? Heck to the no. BUT what I want to do is set restrictions for myself and try to be more responsible with where I spend my money. I want to shop small businesses and support local companies and people, I want to support companies that maintain fair practices, such as fair trade, no child labor etc., and overall I really just want to shop less. Shopping less doesn’t necessarily mean spending less, let’s face it, unfortunately supporting local and fair-trade companies can be more expensive than the alternative. I thrift shop ALOT. Not as much I did at the beginning of 2019 – yes it was a thing I was working through, I’m over it now. I want to practice only buying things that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE, and this includes with thrifting trips.

I have gotten SO MUCH better don’t get me wrong. I think the last time I went to the thrift store I walked out with only three things which is basically unheard of. BUT the three things I bought are absolutely things I’m going to use over and over and over, so I’ll be getting my money’s worth. So far for 2020 I’ve been to the thrift store only once, in aforementioned trip, and I visited the mall to find some new jeans, because jeans are next to impossible for me to find thrifting for some reason. I decided on purchasing jeans from Madewell, which, hello, are pricey. The great thing about Madewell though that I didn’t know until I went into their store is that their denim (and many of their other products) are fair trade certified. This means that their products are made in factories that maintain fair practices, take care of their workers and are all around just better businesses. You can read more about their initiatives here. Not only that but they will take your old jeans and use them to create housing insulation for Habitat for Humanity. How freakin’ cool is that? So I gotta say, thank you to Madewell actually for inspiring this resolution. 2020 is all about intention people, even with shopping. Shopping smaller, with better intention, and overall buying less. Wish me luck!

Dried Orange Garland

A dried orange garland is the perfect bohemian accessory for your home around the holidays. It is cheap, easy to create and has an interesting history. To keep the story short, before Christianity the Romans would celebrate winter solstice. To decorate they would hang wreaths, garlands and other natural elements to honor their gods. This is where the idea for the Christmas tree came from. So in a sense, the dried orange garland is simply a blast from the past – a little piece of nature in honor of nature. Anyway, this garland is a charming and unique addition that I enjoyed making and hanging in my home. Here’s what you need:

2 navel oranges

A knife

Rope, string or twine of some kind for the actual garland

Scissors

Lint free cloth (basically something that isn’t going to leave fuzzies on your oranges)

Parchment or a silicone baking mat

Baking sheet

  1. Preheat oven to 250ºF.
  2. Slice the oranges into 1/4” slices and press with a lint free cloth to dry.
  3. Use your slices and your top to determine how long you want your garland by laying them out as far apart as you want them to be. I made my oranges very close together, almost overlapping one another, but you could also leave space between them as well if you like that look better. Once you have your length determined, cut the rope to size.
  4. Place orange slices on your parchment lined baking sheet (or silicone baking mat) and bake oranges for 1 1/2 hours. Once complete, flip over and bake for additional 1 1/2 hours. After 3 1/2 hours if oranges have started to brown, remove them from the oven and continue baking the rest until they have dried. This took me about 4 hours overall for every slice, but will depend based on varying oven temperatures.
  5. Once all the oranges are dry, thread them onto the rope. You can poke two holes in the oranges about 1/4” apart, or you can do what I did and thread through the center and then through any opening in the fruit. I thought this gave it a more natural look, but both ways work.
  6. Once all slices are on the rope, tie off the ends and hang to enjoy!
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