One of the most amazing and yet terrifying days of my life, was when I found out I was expecting Alyssa. It was ill-timed, as the previous day her father and I had broken up (a tale for another time), and one of the first thoughts to cross my mind was – how am I going to afford to be a single mum? Luckily for me, my support system of friends and family is very good, and Alyssa’s dad and I are civil and he contributed to the baby preparation costs… and my goodness what
costs. I am fortunate in that I have spent a lot of time around babies, so felt confident in the knowledge of what I needed to purchase for my baby, but being the anally organised person that I am, thought I would print a newborn baby check list out from mothercare/nhs/netmums website to make sure I wasn’t missing anything…. 9 pages later (!!!!!!!! **insert rude word here F***ING HELL) I was mortified and despairing that my poor baby would never have everything she needed. It can be completely overwhelming, but I got there in the end. However, I thought that the section for Maternity was rather large considering the baby hasn’t even been born at this stage. I also thought about the fact that people would be shopping on many different budgets throughout baby prep. So, I thought I’d take a closer look…
Let’s face it – unhappy mummy equals unhappy pregnancy. It can be quite easy to focus full attention on the baby and when it’s arriving. However, we need to make sure that mum is as comfortable as possible which can be anywhere from clothes to pregnancy pillows. Now the “recommended” list of requirements is as follows:
2-3 x maternity support bras
2 x sleeping bras (use before and after the birth)
3 x nursing bras (use after birth)
Nice to Have:
pregnancy support (belt)
stretch mark cream
keep sake journal
baby development book
Let’s explore both the cheaper and more expensive options for each item; that’s not to say you have to stick to one plan as you can jump between the two, but face it, in this economic climate, most of us could do with saving a quid or two. However, if you want to splurge and treat yourself or your partner then why not?!
Thrifty or Splurge?
Okay in the suggested list, there appears to be a whole “bra section” which will result in 8 new bras if you buy the recommended amount. Now we all know how much a single bra costs, let alone 8, so how can we reduce the costs? Well, what I did was, I wore my own normal bras for as
long as I could before they got uncomfortable. Having huge (let’s face it GIANT) boobs meant mine didn’t seem to grow too much until towards the end of pregnancy. Personally, I think you should get Maternity Support Bras OR Sleeping Bras, I didn’t feel I needed both. Or you could completely save money and get 4 nursing bras and use them throughout as I found these to be the most comfortable to wear. I think I shall be reluctant to give them up once I stop breast feeding! Then again, you could go all out and indeed by yourself the full set of recommended bras. The big question though, where to buy them?
Cheap as Chips:
1. Ebay – you do not have to buy second hand just because it’s ebay! I bought 2 brand new with tag nursing bras from Ebay for £12. These are the best 2 I have and actually had an RRP of £50!
2. New Look – shockingly they have a nice range and do 2 packs for as little as £14.99 and they go up to a 38E. I would suggest buying online though as most shops hold little maternity in stock.
3. Asda – They do individual bras from £6 each and go up to a 40E which is a bonus. Again order online as they don’t ted to carry much maternity in store.
** NB** Not happy? Don’t stick it in a cupboard and think oh well… return and exchange or if this isn’t possible then sell it on as it will be the right size for someone.
Urge to Splurge:
1. Mothercare – kind of a middle of the row shop as some things are expensive and others not. You can get a 2 pack for £24 and they actually go up to a 40K (!!) which is good for us mummys who got the generous boob gene!
2. FigLeaves – a range of bras here from £!5 – £50 per bra in sizes all the way up tp 48E. They quite often have a 20% sale on as well, meaning you could get a bra for £11!
3. House of Fraser – not outrageously expensive, but very nice. They go up to a 40H and cost up to £45 a bra but have some slightly cheaper ones which get even better when they have a sale on.
**NB** Make sure if you are buying a few, that you get black, white and nude or other colours that you wear frequently so that you can still wear all the different coloured tops you’d like to.
Thrifty or Splurge?
Clothes next, and let’s group them all together or we will feel like we’ve been going forever! So the suggested list of clothing states maternity trousers/jeans, nightwear, maternity nightwear (not really a difference!!) maternity tops and a maternity dress. Now, they don’t actually specify numbers so I guess they are leaving it up to you to decide how many clothes will be needed during pregnancy. From my own experience, I did not purchase all that much and was able to use a lot of my own clothes during pregnancy. I think I purchased a total of 3 tops during the whole of pregnancy as a lot of mine were stretch anyway, and I simply bought them in a bigger size rather than specific maternity tops. Same with nightwear, I bought 1 huge nightie and 1 pair of giant pj bottoms and then used my own stuff. However, if like me you are silly enough to be
pregnant in the height of summer, you may find you will not be wearing an awful lot as i thought i was about to die from heat!! My best buy was over the bump jeans (1 blue 1 black) and a pair of over the bump denim shorts – believe it or not all bought from Primark and absolutely fantastic. I was treated to a couple of maternity dresses, as I went to Greece when I was 28 weeks (crazy I know) which were lovely but not what I would call a necessity. My recommendations?
Cheap as Chips:
1. Primark – I often find that you are better to go instore for Primark as they don’t update their website a lot. Most primarks either have a maternity section or will stock maternity jeans etc. in with their others. Same price as regular jeans going from £8 – £12. All their clothes go from 6 – 22 in size so you can find tops, nighties, jeans and dresses to use throughout.
2. Ebay – New with/without tags or second hand, there are some great bargains to be had on here. The best part is, that they cover all shapes and sizes. You can also get some cute novelty pregnancy t-shirts too.
3. H&M – This was a surprise for me but their maternity range is lovel. Lowest price £6.99 and highest price £59.99 but this is for a gorgeous evening coat. Their sizes go up to 22-24 (XL) and they have both day and evening wear. Loving their stuff!!
**NB** Don’t go too crazy early on in pregnancy. You never know what you will need and you don’t want to spend for no reason.
Urge to Splurge:
1. Mothercare – Again, a safe middle of the road bet with mothercare. They have dresses as low as £8 but also have the more expensive up at £65. Their sizes range from 6 – 20 which isn’t too bad and if you sign up for their newsletter you quite often get extra discount codes through email.
2. Isabella Oliver – This brand won Maternity fashion brand of the year, and it has to be said that the clothing is gorgeous and helps you stay on trend if you are fashion conscious and have the wallet to go with it. Prices start (yes start) at about £30 for a strap top and go up to approximately £189 for a dress. But as I said, absolutely gorgeous and if you have the money or a special occasion then treat yourself. Sizes go from 6 – 18/20.
3. Seraphine – Fashionable, on trend, endorsed by Sophie Ellis-Bextor and with pieces worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, this clothing is absolutely stunning. A huge range of clothing including workwear and evening wear. Prices begin at around £35 and go up to about £275. Lovely designs to make you glow during pregnancy.
**NB** If buying quality items, don’t forget that named brands sell better, so try your luck on ebay after as any return on what you’ve spent is a bonus.
Thrifty or Splurge?
Some people would consider a pregnancy pillow a luxury and I suppose it kind of is – but it was a luxurious necessity for me! You could use a couple of normal pillows, but once I had my maternity pillow, I never went back and in the later stages could not sleep without it. It really helped me to get comfortable, even when I was baking hot. It helped support, my back bump and legs and was a complete godsend! I am not going to do seperate cheap and expensive ones of these, as they are a luxury item – but you can get them in a range of sizes and prices.
1. Amazon – They have a huge range available from £5 – £40. As with anything on this huge site, I would advise you read the reviews and also check where the product is coming from. Don’t forget there are quite often shipping charges as well.
2. Mothercare – This is where I got mine from – the long body pillow. The small semi-circular ones, are feeding pillows and appear to have been grouped in with the pregnancy ones so watch out for this. Price vary from £30 – £50.
3. Argos – Surprisingly they do have a small range of pillows from straight to curved and from £14 – £60. Not a bad selection and again they quite often send out discount codes or have sales on.
4. John Lewis – A really good brand with a really good price. Not a huge range available but quite affordable with a price range of £15 – £50. Another bonus is that they also do the pillow covers which a few places don’t. I got purple stars on mine!!
5. The Pregnancy Pillow Shop – does what it says on the tin. Sells a wide range of different sized and shaped preganancy pillows. Starting around £40 and going to £60 though they do have sales. Great reviews on them too and they have some of the newest designs going.
So that is all our “recommended” done but what about the nice to have? Well I agree it is nice to have them all, but you have to weigh up what you will and will not use.
>Swimming Costume – The maternity swimwear is available from all the clothing stores we previously discussed for maternity wear. I ended up getting mine in an online sale with Mothercare and it is great to use whilst taking Alyssa swimming at the moment as it is a tankini and covers up a lot!!
>Pregnancy Book & Baby – I have to admit that I did indulge in what most first time mums do and buy The Baby Bible, everything you need to know. I looked at it quite a bit, read sections that interested me, but quite often ended up googling and using the NHS wedbsite a lot. If you do wish to buy any, then again, Amazon is great as you can get them at a decent price and fairly quickly. I did also buy 2 baby name books from here too!
>Keepsake Journal – I bought one of these from Mothercare, whilst shopping instore. I also bought a box and a scrap book to keep memories in. I will be doing a feature on How To: Keepsakes, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.
>Stretch Mark Cream – This is totally worth the investment. When window shopping in John Lewis with my mum, I stumbled across the brand Mama Bee. I never looked back or regretted my purchase. I use the nourishing oil, cream and the leg cream. All amazing and definitely worth the money, and I don’t have any stretch mark scarring. A purchase of each lasted me the whole pregnancy as you do not need to use a lot at one time. Fantastic!
This is all the information I think you need about being prepared for pregnancy, in a materialistic sense only as nothing can prepare you for the joy of watching your baby grow and the anticipation that grows.
That’s all from Alyssa and I for another week. Don’t forget to head over to The Baby & Toddler show and see what amazing exhibitors you can expect to appear this year!
Any exhibitors attending The Baby & Toddler Show this year who would like their products featured in a weekly blog post, pop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone looking for tickets for this years Baby & Toddler show head over to the website here for all the details