My plan is to do this in several segments, the first being Maternity (Clothes and Products)
Disclaimer: Let me say at the beginning that I strongly believe that what worked for me may not work at all for another mom. That's perfectly fine-- I do NOT claim to be an expert, how could I be, after all I have only one child! :) I merely want to share "what works for me." Enjoy.
I once heard a joke that goes like this: "With your first child, you run right out and start buying maternity clothes as soon as the test is positive. With your second child, you wear your regular clothes as long as possible. With your third child, your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes." HA! That first part was definitely true with me-- although, I hope the latter will not be for sure! Keep in mind that with your first PG you may not show nearly as early as you think you will, then again, you might. I felt like I hardly showed at all until I was all of a sudden, as big as a house. That being said, I was pregnant from September to May so where I hardly needed winter MT clothes, I certainly needed Spring and Summer things. It all depends really. Many of my regular clothes looked so much better than Maternity clothes until I really had a bonafide bump.
When it came to actually purchasing said PG clothes, I was pretty okay with making a few small investments hoping that I would have the chance to wear them with Baby #2. I got a great pair of jeans (on sale at a department store I think.) And I HAD to buy a couple of pairs of serviceable work pants for obvious reasons... but the majority of my maternity wardrobe was on sale at Old Navy or the Gap (definitely clearance!)
Several things to keep in mind:
1. Be patient with yourself as you shop. Don't try to hit the mall after a long and tiring day at work and find things you absolutely love on the first try. Shop in little spurts if possible.
2. Be prepared to get frustrated a time or two when you visit a store and find that in that whole huge store, the maternity section is this teeny tiny closet of three racks containing 2 pairs of pants and 5 shirts, 3 of which look like something your 3rd grade teacher wore. (See point 4 for a solution) If you are like me, and have shopped in the tiny corner of the store that is the petite section-- be warned, this is like that only worse. But it's SO worth it to have your little dear 9 months later!
3. Try to find yourself a couple of really comfortable maternity camis to wear underneath things and you will have really stretched your current wardrobe. I found them in black and in white on sale at the Gap. I must confess, I still wear them on occasion because they are comfortable!
4. Be prepared to shop online with a store that has a great return policy. For example, OLD NAVY has a tiny little maternity section in the store, but they have a lot of stuff online. Cute stuff too. AND, if you visit their coupon site on Thursday after midnight, you can usually score a great coupon. I found several great things at Old Navy that did not have the smallest amount of frumpyness to them. Check out this little cutie---
pair that with these pants and voila! you are sporting that bump with all the style of your pre-preg self,
not to mention the brand new glow!
(Brief Old Navy cheerleading session over.)
Unfortunately, I could not always find what I was looking for, so I did visit the little shop of Motherhood a time or two to find pants and the like. Let me go on record as saying that though I found several of my things there at somewhat reasonable prices, I was not thrilled with them in the least. I believe that they know they have somewhat of a monopoly on the impregnated world and they take it. You can only return non-clearance items within 10 days for an exchange with a receipt. WHO DOES THAT ANYMORE??????? Some of their items are not made very well. They just aren't. Several shirts I found there did not look nice after less than 3 washings. (yes, I used cold water, yes, I dried on low or hung dry.) I guess I often felt cheated because if I knew I needed something, I could find it there in a pinch-- but I did not often appreciate the quality as on par with the price. But, what can you do? It is what it is. I will be fair and say I found my favorite white capri's there!
All in all, keep in mind that you can get by with a few basic items at first and find things as you go along. You will not wake up one morning and be huge. Although, it may feel that way sometimes. :) There were many months in the beginning when I wore my fav. jeans longer than I should have by sticking a hair elastic through the button loop and wrapping it around the button. Instant extra inch!
I hope those of you that are or will become pregnant have found this at least a little helpful. Hopefully you will find what works for you right away too! And now for a little blast from the past (last year.) SINCE we are on the Maternity topic....
Here we are.. just weeks before the big day!