Monday, January 21, 2013

My Maternity Essentials: Clothing, Medicine, Sustenance, Resources & Comfort

I've found there were a lot of things I needed (some I didn't know about!), and lot of things I thought I needed that I honestly didn't. Before Beckett arrives, I wanted to take some time to post this in case it helps someone else - here goes - my 5 Maternity Essentials:

1. Clothing: My Approach . . . 
  • I chose a palette focused on gray and black to keep it simple. 
  • My favorite brands were Pea in the Pod, Gap Maternity, and Motherhood Maternity. Pea in the Pod fit the best, but was pricey. Gap fit pretty well, too, and was middle-of-the-road price-wise but some of their sales made them the BEST, and Motherhood was good for basics and was the least expensive. (I got Motherhood stuff at Macy's and at Destination Maternity).
  • Definitely think texture: super soft materials; fit: comfortable/on the looser side/longer tops to go over leggings/definitely don't do 'tent tops' - make sure they fit along the belly so it's clear you're pregnant!, and quality: think high-quality/thicker (no see through or your belly panels or belly button will show!). 
  • I personally wore my non-maternity clothes as long as I could, especially babydoll dresses and tops and pants from when my weight was 'up.' 
  • Everyone is different, but I vowed to be cozy and was pretty much in all maternity clothes by 16 weeks. So, 24 weeks in maternity clothes pregnant, and from what I hear, you need maternity clothes after baby, too, while your body gets back to normal.
  • I designated a 'maternity section' in my closet to avoid crying every day because nothing fit. As things get too small, I moved them to another area of the closet and bought as needed. Here is a snapshot of my maternity section as of today:
What's Fitting Today: dresses on left; leggings/tights/pants in middle; then tops; then all of the Zara vests/outwear! I also recommend a 'maternity drawer' for your underwear, bras and PJs for the same reason -  so it's separated from the 95% of your things that no longer fit!
Looking back, this was what I needed/would recommend:

- 2-3 pairs of black pants (bootcut trouser pant; skinny leg twill pant; get twill pants in 2 sizes); Gap & Motherhood
- 1 pair of gray trouser pants (to alternate); Motherhood
- 1 pair of stretchy skinny jeans you love that you can grow into; Pea in the Pod
- 1 pair black tights; 1 pair gray tights; 2 pair black leggings; 1 pair gray leggings; Gap tights and Pea in the Pod leggings
Pea in the Pod Leggings - they ran a buy one get one free so I got black and gray!
Black Gap pants; skinny twill

- 2 solid 3/4 length shirts: 1 black and 1 gray; Pea in the Pod
- 3 printed 3/4 length shirts: stripes in blacks, grays and color pop; Pea in the Pod
- 2 sweaters; Gap/Motherhood
- 2 tops for work (dressier; blousey)
Got 5 of  these shirts from Pea in the Pod  - they fit GREAT and were easy to dress up or down
Nicer work top to weare wtih black trouser pants; Motherhood
- 7 - 8 dresses (think solid black, solid gray, a couple of other solids in favorite colors and a few printed dresses to mix it up); Gap, Pea in the Pod & Motherhood
- 3-4 tunics (to go over leggings - think solid black, solid gray and a couple of prints); I also wore the leggings a lot on the weekends!
This Gap dress was originally $60; I loved it and bought 1 on sale for $45. Then it went to $16... I then bought  4 more to give me 2 Gray ones (size S and M); 2 Black ones (size S and M) and 1 Red one; wore to work and to holiday parties/showers
Gap; got this in 2 colors for work and weekends
Underwear; Loungewear

- maternity underwear (normal underwear truly didn't feel right, especially by the third trimester); Motherhood and Pea in the Pod
- Bigger bras (thankfully I borrowed from my sis; I went up a cup size)
- 2-3 maternity night gowns to grow into; Motherhood
- 2-3 pair maternity lounge pants in black and/or gray; Gap
- 4-5 maternity long sleep shirts; Motherhood
- A neutral-colored robe (non-maternity - you'll want this for lounging and, from what I hear, later at the hospital!)

Most cozy Gap pants ever; I will wear these after pregnancy!
- Non-maternity knits - 4-5 sweater vests and cardigans from Zara that fit over everything throughout my entire pregnancy
- 1 coat
- 1-2 pairs of black and/or gray slip-on flats (you won't be able to do heels in the third trimester! I found Born to be a super comfortable brand); make sure to have flipflops and slippers, too - think slip-on/easy
Not me - only pic of the Zara vest I could find online! I have this in black, tan and gray (on sale for $10 each); I also got a long-sleeved gray one as well as a tan/non-hooded one - wore them the entire pregnancy - belly just popped out!
These  Shoes - but in black of course. They're cozy, stretched but kept shape and will (hopefully) be worn post-baby, too!

- I had some great friends who loaned me their maternity clothes! I used their basics where I could, and mixed in their "fun stuff" with my basic wardrobe above. Definitely take the loan if it's offered - I can't thank them enough!
A borrowed top from Karly!
- GOOD sale stuff (e.g., I snagged a pair of Gap teal cords for $14 - wore them with the aforementioned black clothing) For stuff like this, I wouldn't pay the retail $60, BUT for crazy cheap it can be a fun addition to the maternity wardrobe, especially if you have parties or showers you want something different for. I wore these to work on Fridays, too!

2. Medicine Cabinet. No, you don't need a lot of medicine because you can't take a lot of medicine whilst preggo! However, these were things I used, especially towards the end:
  • TUMs + Zantac; my heartburn was BAD towards the end (think being awoken from sleep to throw up); Zantac before dinner and 2 Tums after made this MUCH better
  • Tylenol: I never took more than one a day, but headaches got back in the second trimester, and lower back pain got bad in the last weeks so it came in handy.
  • Prenatal vitamins: Duh, take one every day. Have your doctor call in a prescription (better medicine and way cheaper than the storebought ones; also ask for samples so you can see which you like best; and remember, you take them afterwards too, especially if you're breastfeeding). 
  • FiberOne: Do yourself a favor and stay regular - there is enough stomach pain going on without this problem, too!
  • Not to be TMI, but also make sure to stock up on liners (ya know) and Goldbond medicated baby powder (for real; especially if you don't wear maternity underwear at first, or if your maternity tights are too big at first, or... well...the list goes on... you'll thank me). 
3. Sustenance. For me, every day was different. Meal planning didn't work well as I wouldn't want the food I made - appetite was way too  unpredictable. BUT, there were some things I needed/wanted/had to have on hand at all times:
  • Fruit: specifically the pineappple/strawberry/kiwi pre-cut bucket 
  • OJ: had never been a fan but I craved it and my iron was a bit low so I always took iron with it. Also good if you haven't felt baby kick; take OJ, wait 30 minutes, lay on left side and there she goes!
  • Milk: again, had never been a fan, but during pregnancy I had 1 - 2 glasses a day, especially in the morning and at night (soothed my tummy)
  • Cheese & Crackers: thin crisp deli crackers and deli baby swiss - amazing snack and always good and filling
  • Clif bars: I ate a clif bar every day on the way into work with a big glass of milk; there was no way I could make it to breakfast, and yet didn't want 'breakfast food' at 6 a.m. - so this was perfect.
  • Water: TONS of water; invest in a CamelBak if you don't already have one, and consider having water bottles on hand. I would go shopping and bring 3 water bottles with me and drink. them. all.
  • Chocolates: After meals I would crave something sweet. Having little Dove chocolates on hand  helped a lot (probably saved me a ton of sugar - could have eaten a whole piece of cake had it been available!) It was also nice to have frozen yogurt or ice cream around - great nighttime, you-made-it-through-the-work-day treat!
  • Cravings: Everyone has them, mine were definitely: all things Italian/tomato-based (pizza, tomato soup, spaghetti); Mexican (chicken tortilla soup; enchiladas); Asian (fried rice; egg-drop soup); sandwiches (clubs, grilled cheeses; you name it!). Just avoid buying in bulk or making big batches of a food - you may not want it the next day!
4. Resources. I know books aren't for everyone, but I really enjoyed having some on hand, and can't thank my sis enough for the loan on several! Here were my favorite resources:

All about Pregnancy
- Your Pregnancy Week by Week - liked having the option to see each week vs. month - was fun to follow along and learn about my baby and body each week. (linked to the older version I had)
- What to Expect When You're Expecting - good 'baseline' book - learned a lot from it. Some say it freaks them out, but I liked the index and found the detailed knowledge comforting! (linked to the older version I had)
- The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy - definitely nothing 'new' than the above, but very funny, real and just keeps it light. Good to read early on IMO.
- Online: Join BabyCenter - nice to get the weekly emails and see the forums and what not.
If you only want to buy one: Get the Week by Week

Naming Your Baby
- Baby Wizard - very organized; will come in handy for siblings as it recommends 'brother' and 'sister' names; is categorized well into categories like 'Antique Classics' and what not; found Beckett's name in this book!
- Cool Names - 
If you only want to buy one: Get Baby Wizard

Preparing for Your Baby
- What to Expect the First Year - VERY detailed; am enjoying the month to month snapshot
- Baby Owner's Manual - got this for Austin; cute, good overview/baseline
- On Becoming Baby Wise - all about scheduling/parent-directed feeding (not for everyone!; linked to my review!)
- Happiest Baby on the Block - almost done; all about techniques to soothe your baby
- New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding - name speaks for itself. (linked to my review!
If you only buy one: Too soon to say! I'll let ya know which is the most beneficial here in a few months. :)

Other than the books and sites above, I took an online breastfeeding course through my hospital, and me and Austin took an in-person Newborn Essentials course through my OBGYN. Both were beneficial! I also received great tips, potential schedules, etc. from my sister and friends which were invaluable. Lastly, we're having Moms on Call come out to our home after a week. From their site, the focus during the consult (and additional help afterwards is on: 

  • Sleeping from 9 pm to 6 am with one 30 minute feeding in the middle of the night 
  • Feeding instructions that help to naturally regulate the GI system (great for GI reflux!) 
  • Personalizing daytime routines and napping guidelines 
  • Establishing a better understanding of baby behavior especially as it pertains to fussiness and crying
  • Essential basic care from bathing to nail-clipping 
  • Illness guidelines 
  • Time saving tips to help families sleep, feed, laugh and love being together

I've heard amazing things about them from so many friends I trust, and can't wait to have them out. The consult comes with a book as well that I'm sure will come in handy (also comes with their swaddle blanket, and 6 months of unlimited email correspondence).

5. Comfort. No, you don't need these things, but OMG did I love them.
  • Pedicures: About once a month i'd go during my lunch break for a pedicure - great on the feet and lord knows towards the end I couldn't have painted my toes if i'd wanted to.
  • Chiropractor Adjustments: I would get SO misaligned, my appointments were twice as long as normal and I always felt better when I left.
  • Prenatal Massage: I tried for every 3 weeks beginning at 20 weeks. Between the extra weight and general discomfort, it felt great to do something for myself and Beckett LOVED them - she moved more during my massages than any other time!
  • Heat: I used this Brookstone heat/massage chair Austin had gotten me years ago - definitely needed heat on my lower back, especially in the last weeks. A heating pad would totally work.
  • I also did a few accupuncture treatments and got a few foot massages - both were well worth it, but the above was the trifecta of comfort for me!
What I did NOT need:
  • swimsuit (pregnant May - February; wore mine until then)
  • different socks or shoes (wore mine until the end; did get a pair of black Born flats and wore those almost every day, especially towards the end)
  • skirts (I preferred pants or dresses; skirts just seemed like too much trouble and tops looked weird with them)
  • activewear (just wore bigger t-shirts over the same shorts; if anything go up a size in shorts)
  • button-down shirts or twin sets (I was told to get these and am glad I didn't - no patience for buttons and twin sets, I feel, would have been too limited)
  • a maternity/body pillow (my sis loaned me her Snoogle pillow and honestly, I just couldn't get it to work for me; the dogs were scared of it and I had a hard time getting it under the covers!)
  • shapers (I had no desire to be 'shaped' or where anything that required a shaper underneath!)
  • stretchmark creams and oils (I was wary of these, didn't use them, and didn't get marks; I hear you either get them or you don't and it has nothing to do with cream so I just threw caution to the wind!)
  • morning sickness pops, bands, etc. (thankfully, this didn't ail me much therefore I didn't need it)
  • a fetal doppler (I relied on counting kicks vs. listening to a heartbeat; I worry if i'd had that I would have been hooked up 24/7 and freaking out if i'd done it wrong)
I hope this compilation helps! And yes, I'm sure some women do fine with much less (and some may need much more!), but this was, here at the end of my pregnancy, what I feel I needed/wanted/loved having! 

Q: What are a few of your maternity must-haves? Did I forget anything?

Q: Anything you got that you didn't need? Or something you wish you'd gotten sooner?

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