When I was pregnant with my son, I started showing at 11 weeks, pretty early for a first pregnancy. It quickly became apparent that I would need some maternity wear ASAP. I was so excited to go shopping (because who doesn’t love an excuse to shop?) so I enlisted the help of a girlfriend to go maternity shopping and squee at all the bump cuteness with me.
We went to some of our go-to stores in the mall that we knew carried professional-woman-friendly maternity lines and quickly learned of a growing trend: all the big retailers had shifted to offering their maternity clothes online only. My friend and I joked that we were TRYING to be millennials who support brick and mortar stores (apparently millennials have ruined in-store shopping??) but were being forced to shop online! We got some lunch and ice cream called it a day.
The lack of in-store options didn’t change my need for bump-friendly clothing for work and play. Buying maternity wear without trying it on made me nervous because my pregnant body was entirely new and I wasn’t sure how clothing would grow with my bump. I didn’t want to have to keep sizing up throughout the pregnancy.
Rather than order online from the mainstream retailers I had tried to shop from in person, I decided to try out some smaller online stores that specialize in maternity and postpartum wear. After some in-depth research and shopping experiments, I learned that there are some excellent online-only retailers that sell great, versatile maternity wear. I soon learned that you only need a few simple basics to put together a great maternity wardrobe that will get you through all phases of the roller coaster that is pregnancy. If you need to dress your bump and go to work, the gym, out to lunch, or even travel, these brands have got you covered.
Before we get started, I’ll share that nothing in this post is gifted or sponsored. This is just an honest-to-goodness list of recommended products that I spent my own money on.
BLANQI MATERNITY LEGGINGS
BLANQI makes bump, nursing, and motherhood friendly stretchy clothing that you absolutely need in your life. Black leggings are always an important staple in my wardrobe, and when my regular black leggings began to stretch to breaking point, it was time for some maternity leggings. I have no fewer than seven pairs of the Everyday maternity belly support leggings and I really did wear them every day while pregnant. They’re completely opaque so I could wear them to work, and I would just leave them on if I went to the gym, a prenatal pilates class, out to dinner, whatever. The belly support was an absolute blessing and was particularly noticeable toward the end of my pregnancy when my 9+ pound son was weighing me down. I also nabbed a few pairs of the Maternity Belly Support Girlshort to wear under skirts. I got the shorts in nude and white so they wouldn’t show under my lighter colour skirts. I wore a lot of skirts in June and July (when I was eight and nine months pregnant. ugh.) and having the extra support underneath was essential – the girl short also prevents the dreaded chub rub. Win win.
Quick aside – speaking of skirts, I didn’t end up getting any maternity skirts. What I did get were a few midi skirts from Aritzia and I just pulled them right up for an over-the-bump look. This means I can wear these skirts after giving birth as well. Worth the investment.
Oh and one more thing. I also got myself a pair of BLANQI’s high waist postpartum leggings and they are a game-changer. And for us C-section gals, they won’t irritate your incision at all 😉
PINK BLUSH MATERNITY
This is the online shopping experience of your pregnancy dreams. I browsed this site hard before making a decision. Ultimately I got myself a dress, some cosy t-shirts, and a swimsuit. All essentials that I wore a lot, all reasonably priced. And they arrived two-ish days after I ordered them. The swimsuit specifically was awesome for my third-trimester aqua-fit classes 💪🏻.
Something that surprised me about pregnancy and postpartum recovery was that I literally needed to replace all of my bras and underwear. You’ll probably hear that many people find their bras suddenly uncomfortable in early pregnancy and that was absolutely the case for me. I tried a few different maternity and nursing bras but my fav is definitely the Ballet Nursing Bra by Bravado Designs. I wore it throughout pregnancy and it’s the only bra I use now that I’m breastfeeding. I couldn’t stand having to constantly unclip and clip a conventional nursing bra – with the ballet nursing bra you can just pull down one side to whip out your boob. Super easy. AND I’ll likely be able to use these for yoga or lounging after I’m done nursing. Full disclosure – I have 10 of these bad boys. I never wear them more than one day in a row because uh… well… leaks are a reality of nursing and I just find it gross to put a bra back on that has even a bit of breast milk on it.
In terms of underwear, I’m still loving my high-waisted granny-panties even though I’m nearly 12 weeks post C-section. My scar is still sensitive and it’s exactly where normal panties would hit. So when I wear regular underwear it can be a bit itchy. Some nice high waisted panties hold in my wobbly postpartum tummy and don’t irritate my scar. You can get high waisted undies from pretty much anywhere but I recommend investing in absorbent panties like knix. Not only are they insanely comfortable but they’re great for postnatal bleeding AND C-section recovery because they pull up way over the scar. Plus they can be worn for your period whenever that starts up again.
Well friends there you have it. Investing in maternity wear is a reality of pregnancy. I found it was worth it to spend the money on items I love, and get a bunch of them. It’s frustrating when clothes suddenly stop fitting so you want to have some basic pieces you can layer on. I continued to wear all of my cardigans and most of my tops throughout pregnancy. So piecing together outfits became pretty easy once I had my basics in place.
Hope this helps and happy shopping!