Maternity and Nursing Clothes

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Finding maternity clothes that are both fashionable and do a good job of covering your bump is one of the hardest tasks of pregnancy. Here are some of my favorite sources for maternity clothes:

ASOS – love, love, love! check out my full review here.

Milan Maternity – though on the pricey side, Milan Maternity clothes have just the right balance of comfort and cuteness; shop their Cyber Monday sale for the best deals; my whole wardrobe with Baby #1 was from Milan. But with my second pregnancy with the twins (2016), I felt like their tops though still cute especially for fall and winter, all wore out really fast. I halfheartedly recommend them.

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Target – I generally find regular Target clothes to be ill-fitting on my petite frame, but I really love the Liz Lange Maternity line; they also have some nursing-friendly tops and are generally affordable; check for online Target coupons in the apparel section.

Kohls – Kohls’ Oh Baby by Motherhood line has some great maternity pants with the “Secret Fit” stretch panel that I wore throughout my pregnancy and the few months after Baby was born. I suggest avoiding their nursing bras though; with mixed reviews they are not correctly sized and are ill-fitting. Instead go to the real Motherhood store for nursing bras and try them on; make sure their straps are fully adjustable.

Old Navy (online) – Also affordable, Old Navy has some great maternity skirts, though most stores do not carry the maternity line so you will have to do some online shopping; remember to use a discount code

Gap

H&M – Affordable and trendy, H&M has a small section of maternity clothes tucked away in the kids’ section that is worth checking out.

Motherhood, Pea in the Pod, and Destination Maternity are some of the most expensive yet widely available options; they do have some good options for the working, expectant mother.

I tried Undercover Mama tanks (via Amazon) and I really like them for nursing. They are a bit pricey for a tank, so I suggest buying neutrals like black and white, but I love that they fasten to your nursing bra. Check them out.

Secret Weapon: Discount Gift Cards

Recently, I have been trying a new way to save money on my purchases using discount gift cards. Here are some examples:

Example #1

I am obsessed with Pottery Barn (PB) and Pottery Barn Kids (PBK). We moved into our new house last summer and I have loved decorating the house with new bedding and decor and I wanted something better than Wal-Mart and IKEA products of past days.

Coupons or codes can’t be stacked at the Williams-Sonoma Inc websites, but you can use a single code and then use gift cards as your payment method.  So I bought discount gift cards off Gift Card Bin (GCB). I’ve used them a few times without issues so I can now recommend them. The discount cards are 13% off for Pottery Barn at GCB, and about 10%-15% for other retailers, which is definitely one of the best gift card deals out there without having to go to eBay for riskier purchases.

The Pottery Barn cards are hard to come by on the site, but when I am anticipating making a big purchase, I’ll set up notifications on my GCB account, letting me know when they get them in. You can choose immediate notifications or daily ones. Then I wait for a free shipping code (usually around holidays) if I’m buying online. Keep in mind some items ship for free without the use of a code (an extra perk). Or I can use a 10% off $100 coupon by signing up for e-newsletters; these codes are best used for purchases right at $100 mark. Or I can wait for a sale, like the white sale at the end of December through January, or my favorite sale, the Days of Christmas, in December, where each day has a special item on sale.

This gift card tactic does not work for every purchase as you do need to align your stars to have a gift card and code in hand at the time of purchase, but my experience so far has been really positive because of the flexibility of the PB stores allowing me to use the cards at any of their stores including Williams-Sonoma. Their stuff is pricey and there is so much I want to buy, so I know I will be using the entire amount of the gift card–I feel okay purchasing gift cards of values around $100.

Example #2

I have used this shopping method at H&M, one of my favorite clothing stores. Because their prices are so reasonable to begin with, I look for gift cards $50 and under. Pair this with an emailed coupon and you can score major savings.

Step 1 Paid $40 for a $50 gift card.

Step 2 Signed up for emailed coupon.

Step 3 H&M polka dot dress for 29.95. Used 20% off emailed coupon (bring your smartphone)

If I had not used any discounts, I would have paid $32.42.  But instead I used the code to pay $23.96 plus tax ($25.93).

Bought two t-shirts 2 for $10 ($10.82).  (No coupon…lame)

I still have $13.25 left over, but already have $39.95 ($43.24 after tax) worth of merchandise, when I only paid $40 upfront.
The idea is to not spend more than you normally would, the idea is to buy what you would have bought with your own cash, but using gift cards instead. Remember, money saving deals like coupons, discounts, free shipping are only great when they apply to things you would have bought without the discounts. Don’t get caught into spending more than you planned to.

This would also work at restaurants you frequent. The possibilities are endless.

Baby Spoons and Bibs

beabaspoons1Béaba First Stage Soft Spoons ($20, pack of 4):

Pros:

  • they are completely silicone–no metal or hard edges — this is especially useful when Baby is teething and needs something to chew on while on the high chair. He loves to grab these and chew on them.
  • they have a good soup-spoon shape — this is really important for babies first starting Stage 1 foods or when their cereal is still really runny. The key is to find the right portion amount, the amount the spoons can hold without spillage. With practice, you’ll find they can hold a lot.

One (sad) true story:

One day, one of my OXO Tot feeding spoons (see review below) fell out of the utensil holder in the dishwasher and its white handle melted at the bottom of the dishwasher. My Beaba spoons were in the dishwasher and completely absorbed the nasty plastic smell of the melted handle.

I couldn’t bear to use them anymore, so I had to buy a second pair (…another $20 bucks). I had to have them because I still love them; I could not stand to just use the OXO tot spoons; the Beaba handle is so much more comfortable.

Cons

  • they stain and trust me, this will drive the perfectionist mom in you to go nuts.  Even with my second set, I rinse them almost right after using them, but they are still yellow. (Just give up.)
  • they are silicone so they also absorb dishwasher smells – I recommend handwashing them. You can wash them in the dishwasher (I did with my first set), but I just prefer not to anymore.
  • they are expensive, but there are more expensive spoons out there. The Spuni First Stage Soft Spoons caught my attention the last time I was on Amazon, so I will try them out for Baby #2 and see if it’s worth the money.

Note: They have new colors out now. And I kind of hate them (the pastel pink is now a red-violet color). The colors shouldn’t matter to me so much, but they do. They’re perfect girl colors though. When I needed to replace the first set no major online retailer had the older version so I had to go to Buy Buy Baby (whose coupons, of course, exclude Beaba products) to find my original set because I’m OCD like that.

It’s hard to find a discounted set, but I’d recommend using Pottery Barn Kids (PBK) if you can locate a coupon or registry completion code. Their coupons do not exclude Beaba products (for now). I used a PBK $10 off coupon from the holidays on a set of spoons that I plan to gift to a new mom or relative.

oxototspoonOxo Tot On-the-Go Feeding Spoon ($4.99 for one):

We also have the Oxo Tot Feeding Spoons that come in a set of two, so these have become our diaper bag spoons. When one is dirty, it’s easy to switch them out.

Pros:

  • These are less expensive than the Beaba spoons
  • The inside of the spoon is made up of metal, making a firm spoon, which is great for cutting up foods like bananas or avocados (two of Baby’s favorite foods) but this also means these are not the best teething items.

Cons

  • they have hard plastic handles (which I learned can melt in the dishwasher if they accidentally fall to the heating coil in the washer; just be careful or handwash as I do now; I don’t want to repeat the (sad) true story ever again)
  • I wish they would just sell the cases!
  • The spoon is curved so that excess runny food can fall off the spoon easily if you are not careful. The Beaba spoon is rounder so it holds liquid better. But by the time your baby is on Stage 3 foods, this won’t matter so much. It just takes time and practice to get right.

feedingbibscartersCarter’s 3-pack Feeding Bibs (not the teething bibs, $20 MSRP for 3 (wait for a sale and use coupons!)

I wish I had these when Baby first started solids.

We had the smaller Carter’s teething bibs with velcro closure and only seven months after using them daily, the velcro does not work anymore, so they are going into the trash. I absolutely hate when money goes to waste like that. Carter’s is usually my go-to brand, but not for their teething bibs.

We were also gifted Tommee Tippee Explora bibs. These are roll-able, durable (silicone) bibs, which seem like a great idea especially for self-feeding babies, but they are too tight and stiff in the neck for my baby with a big head and neck and therefore I can’t recommend these unless your baby has a small head and is +7 months.

This Carter’s set is a bigger size than the teething bibs; they have snaps and have a lined 3-layer construction. They can stain (as they are cotton interlock material not vinyl) but with regular washes, they’ve held up better than I expected. We bought two packs for $22 after tax. (There was a sale and I showed the sales associate a coupon on my phone and she accepted it! Don’t shop the store without coupons!)

Tips for the right bib:

  • snap closure (it’s worth it, I promise)
  • durable — lined or waterproof
  • soft and comfortable

There are plenty of vinyl-like bibs (waterproof) but none I’ve seen with snaps. I guess velcro is more cost-effective to manufacture but does not last.

I feel the Carter’s teething bibs meet all requirements.