I wore my regular clothes for as long as possible when I got pregnant. I’m not much of a shopper and I wasn’t looking forward to having to purchase an entire new wardrobe for a brief season of my life. Then there was all the baby gear I knew we’d have to buy! It all began to feel so overwhelming…Here are few tips to get the gear you (and your baby)
need without breaking the bank.
The Beauty of Gently Used
This is my number one biggest tip. We are so fortunate to have a multitude of resources beyond Good Will (although if you’re willing to spend some time searching you can find some steals there, too!) for gently used clothes and gear. Check out Poshmark, threadUp, and Facebook Marketplace for maternity clothes.
You may find items on ThreadUp are a bit more expensive than other thrifting sites, but they guarantee high quality products (some even come new with tags), and you have the option to return items for whatever reason. Poshmark and Facebook are direct seller to seller platforms, so there is a bit more of a gamble with the condition or quality of the products you’re purchasing, so proceed with caution.
I got a “lot” of tops and bottoms on FB Marketplace that was shipped to my door for $40 that included enough outfits to get me through the winter and spring of my pregnancy (and I needed actual clothes because I was teaching little kids – not working remotely). Then, you can set those clothes aside if you plan on having more children in the future, or resell them to another mama-to-be.
When you’re buying maternity clothes, also think about longevity and the possibility for some items to be multipurpose. Can you buy some nursing tops that will also serve you while you’re pregnant? What about some looser tops that will still look good even when you’re back to your pre-pregnancy size? For example, I needed some running tank tops that would cover my growing belly, but I was hoping to still be able to use them after I had my baby. So I just bought a few longer style shirts one size up from my normal size and they worked perfectly, and I still love wearing them now!
I also utilized this waistband extender when I couldn’t quite fit into my normal pants, but my bump wasn’t big enough to hold up maternity pants. I was able to wear some clothes, especially stretchy dresses and loose-fitting tops, throughout most of my pregnancy, so don’t discount your entire wardrobe. Depending on what season it is as you near the end of your pregnancy, you may be able to get away with continuing to wear some of what you already own.
The aforementioned websites also work for baby clothes, especially Facebook Marketplace, but many areas also have regular in-person consignment sales. For example, Mom2Mom Consignment offers annual consignment sales in various locations in Northern Virginia where you can buy a wide variety of items and you can bring your gently used clothing and gear and they’ll sell it for you and take a portion of the sale.
My mother-in-law swore by Once Upon a Child, kind of like Plato’s Closet for kids clothing and gear. I took a trip down to their Fredericksburg location (I’m sure offerings vary by location) to sell some duplicate items we had received from our baby shower, and I was disappointed at the amount of money they offered me for new in package items as well as everything they simply wouldn’t accept (i.e. blankets and bedding). However, their selection of items for sale was extensive, and their prices were very reasonable.
Hand-me-downs are also amazing! Babies don't wear their clothes for long,
so they're usually in great condition. We were very thankful to receive an abundance of gently used clothes from friends.
I was lucky enough to have a good mom friend who was similar in size to me who’d had a baby a few months earlier. I was so gratefully when she loaned me her maternity wardrobe.
For baby items you know you’ll only use for a short period of time, especially newborn items like swaddles and bassinets, borrowing from a friend or relative who has them but might not currently be using them is a great option.
That same mom friend gifted us a wide variety of swaddles and sleep sacks she’d tried on her kids. This saved us a ton of money because we were able to try them all out and see what worked for us, then purchase more of the ones our baby liked.
She did the same with pacifiers, which was a lifesaver! We had a huge Ziplock bag of sterilized pacifiers in all shapes, sizes, and brands ready to go so we could figure out what our son preferred.
Use Your Baby Registry Wisely
I originally had a few basic clothing items on my Amazon baby registry, but quickly deleted most of them once I saw how much family and friends LOVE to buy baby clothes. Having an Amazon baby registry made the whole process extremely simple and streamlined. Amazon keeps track of who sent you what gifts (as well as their address, which made writing thank-you notes a breeze), and they make it SO easy to exchange and return gifts.
As an expecting mom, I had some items on my list that I later realized I didn’t really need, and was lacking some items I truly did need! I did my best to keep every item from our registry in its original packaging until I was sure we’d actually use it. That way I could easily return and exchange things.
While we did receive a lot of baby clothes for the newborn to six-month age range, we did intentionally keep some of the nine to twelve-month range outfits on our registry so we’d still have some clothes for him to grow into that first year. I also tried to list items that could easily be mixed and matched so our son could get the most wear out of them.
You don’t have to spend unreasonable sums of money to outfit yourself during pregnancy or to clothe your baby in his first year or two of life. With a little creativity, you can both look fashionable and still have money leftover for fun excursions and treats!