I made a list that I’ve been emailing to my girlfriends about the things I loved during my pregnancy. It seems like it would be so much easier to write a blog post on my poor, neglected blog and then just send a link whenever someone else gets knocked up!
Most of these were recommended by a friend or something I came across during my hours and hours (and hours) of research. I love to research. The ONLY thing I didn’t research was the birth process itself – having seen a vaginal birth in action, I just didn’t feel the need to know too much. Good thing, too; I ended up having an emergency c-section!
Here’s my list:
Meg Collins, the woman behind the website Lucie’s List, seems like the kind of gal with whom I’d love to have a glass of wine or three. I initially found this one when my sister was pregnant and I was trying to figure out what the difference was between an infant car and a convertible car seat. Here are some of the things I love about this website:
– Simple, step-by-step guidance on what baby gear is out there, what to register for (and what to leave off the registry)
– Advice based on different lifestyles
– Updated pretty frequently
– Her weekly (or so) emails are a riot too, if you choose to sign up for them.
Expecting Better, by Emily Oster
The subtitle on this one is “Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know”, and I read it before I ever got pregnant. I wondered why some pregnant women avoided ALL alcohol, sushi, caffeine, soft cheeses, deli meats, and basically anything remotely fun, while others had some of these things in moderation without qualm. Ms. Oster is an economist, not a doctor, but when she found herself pregnant, she decided to go directly to the medical studies to find out what the risks were for all these behaviors and choices. It is fascinating to see what pregnancy taboos carry very little risk, while other activities with a more substantial risk (like gardening) don’t seem to garner much attention at all.
I found the best maternity clothes at Gap and Old Navy. By signing up for the email list, I only bought when they had 40% off or more. They had sales pretty much every other week, so it was never a long wait. I would order about 10 to 15 items (different styles, different sizes) and then just return what didn’t fit. I made sure to read the return policy for everything before every order, just to make sure I was allowed to return to the store!
AVOID Pea in the Pod and Motherhood Maternity. They were overpriced and the fabric was so gross and cheap. The black pants I got from Pea in the Pod (allegedly the ‘higher end’ line) began pilling after the very first use. By the time I’d had the baby, the fabric was basically all bumpy and pilled between my thighs. UGH.
I didn’t take advantage of it, but StitchFix now has maternity clothes! I wish they’d introduced it just a little bit earlier so I could have used it. This would be the perfect way to find some cute outfits for a baby shower, or even just something to spice up a boring maternity work wardrobe. The way it works is you fill out a pretty long questionnaire about your style, size, and preferred fit, and can even send a note to the stylist with any additional concerns. A stylist picks out 5 items that meet your needs and budget and ships them to you. If you hate everything, you can return it for free in the included return envelope, and you are only charged a $20 styling fee. If you like some of the items, you can return what you don’t like and you are only charged for what you keep (and the styling fee is credited back to you.) If you keep it all, you receive a 25% credit for the entire ‘fix’. As a fashion-inept, infrequent shopper, I loved StitchFix before pregnancy. It was even better for finding “pump-friendly” clothes for returning to work!
Baby Bargains, by Denise and Alan Fields
Despite the name and the flashy cover (“Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, strollers, maternity wear, and much, much more!”) I loved this book for its comprehensive coverage of all the different baby brands and companies out there. Each chapter covered a different type of product for which you are shopping, e.g. furniture, mattresses, swing, etc. In each chapter, they listed the different manufacturers of the products, which companies owned which brands, and assigned letter grades based on product quality, customer service, value, where the product is made, and ‘eco-friendliness’. I referred to these letter grades again and again while trying to choose the best quality products for our baby. Despite the name, the highest rated products were not necessarily the cheapest; the authors have a philosophy that quality products that last are better than cheap ones that don’t.
However, one of the best things about this book is that the authors teach you how to look for good deals on your own. For example, many baby stores sell high end cribs for lots of money. The cribs are good quality and will last forever, however, many times the matching dresser or changing table is total crap. They give checklists on what to buy, advice about what gear is needed when, and basically it’s just a great book to read before you go out and buy anything for the baby. I bought it on iBooks so I could carry it around on my iPad for reference while we were registering.