The difficulty shopping for maternity/nursing outfits

Me vs The Model

So, firstly, I don’t mind that some of the maternity/nursing outfits are modelled by someone who isn’t pregnant as the outfit should be for during pregnancy and afterwards. In fact, I think it would be useful if these outfits were shown on a pregnant woman and a nursing woman to show how it looks at both stages.

My gripe is that I don’t believe any of these models are pregnant (the ones with bumps) or nursing (the ones without bumps). Everyone I know who is about to have a baby or just had one, have massive milk jugs ready for their hungry newborn. Even women who usually describe themselves as flat chested!

These models have lovely perky pre-pregnancy boobs like women who have never had a baby. It has led to disappointment when I have tried outfits on as they just don’t fit. Rather than sulk that my hunt for the right dress goes on, I decided to share the pics of me trying on the dresses.

Peach flap dress


RRP: £39.99

Brand: Mamalicious

This peach dress looks classy and sophisticated on the model. It has a lift flap to access for breastfeeding. I like the colour and the satin ribbon that gives it something extra. I’m not keen on having sleeves in the summer. I wasn’t keen that under the flap the material was gaping and caused an unattractive crease. My husband thought I looked like a nun. I sent this back.

Blue wrap dress


RRP: £39.99

Brand: Mamalicious

This is the prettiest nursing summer dress I have seen. On the model, I think it barely looks like a nursing dress. It’s a style I’d love for summer every year and I love pastel blue.

I’m not a ‘frills’ girl and certainly not after this – they were everywhere. The clasp at the bust was gaping. I think it needed a modesty panel underneath to take into account that it may gape. The blue had a grey tinge to it and wasn’t as pretty as the advertised picture.

The gaping made it feel tarty and not pretty. I sent this dress back.

Blue button dress


RRP: £24.99

Brand: MAMA collection

It looks so pretty on the model and a beautiful light summer staple that you could easily dress up or down for multiple occasions. It could even be worn smart to the office in the summer.

This dress is terribly creased and I think it’s the sort of material that creases easily. I doubt I’ll have time to iron and do a school run with a newborn in September. The buttons are just decoration so it is not suitable for breastfeeding post pregnancy. In addition, the bust was too small and you can see the fabric straining in the photo – very uncomfortable.

This got sent back.

Lilac flap dress


RRP: £19.99

Brand: MAMA collection

The model looks like a young version of me. I think everyone loves when they see a model similar to their own colouring as you can instantly tell if an outfit would suit you or not. However, she doesn’t look pregnant or like she’s just had a baby…

Lilac is a colour that isn’t around much in the shops but is ever so pretty. I bought this dress as something casual to wear but it fit and looked the best out of all the designs and was the cheapest.

I pulled the drawstring tight above my bump but when the baby is here and I am feeding, I will wear it loose like the model. I’m hoping the loose style will be flattering on my post-pregnancy body. I kept this dress.

The hunt goes on…

Although I kept the H&M lilac dress, it wasn’t quite what I wanted. I’ve booked a photo shoot for when the baby is here and I wanted a dress for a nice family picture but one I can feed and wear every day afterwards.

The lilac dress is perfect for summer feeding and I think teamed with leggings and a cardigan I can wear it through the cooler months too, but it is too casual looking for the shoot.

Please let me know if you see a dress you think I should try? I’m trying to avoid all the patterns and flowery styles and I don’t want to spend too much.

NB: I am 34 weeks pregnant in these pictures. Although, on Instagram, I put ’36 weeks’ as I was thinking ‘just 6 weeks to go’. Silly baby brain.

Shopping for maternity/nursing clothes

The second-half of this article is to help you out shopping. It will cover what you need to buy and when and the best places to buy. Many high street stores don’t cater to pregnant or nursing women.

You can try looking for regular clothing and adapting it for your changing body like stretchy fabrics or straps that come down easily. Button tops or wrap tops that you could still nurse in. If you are ordering regular fitting clothes you will likely need to buy larger than your pre-pregnancy size.

If you wish to buy actual maternity/nursing clothes then you will probably have to shop online as the high street is limited or nonexistent. If buying from this range, order in your pre-pregnancy size.

What you need for the stages

First trimester (up to the end of week 12)

From early on, especially if this isn’t your first pregnancy, you will feel bigger.  I felt like I was constantly bloated and nothing fit comfortably.  Plus, I wasn’t ready to tell colleagues so I needed to hide the little bump.

I stocked up on clothes from Primark in a size or two bigger and wore loose-fitting tops.  I opted to wear anything with a stretch like leggings or joggers.

The only maternity clothes I bought were some staple pieces from George (Asda), such as:

  • Maternity Tapered Stretch Trousers:  RRP £8 (a bargain for work)
  • Maternity Over Bump Skinny Jeans:  RRP £14 in black (I returned later to buy again in blue)
  • Maternity V-Neck Camisole:  RRP £7 in navy, black and blue
  • Maternity Nursing Pyjamas Short Set:  RRP £15 (these will last me from bump and beyond)
  • Racer Back Maternity Tankini Top:  RRP £12.50 (I also bought the bottoms but can’t remember the price)
  • Strappy Lace Trim Comfort Bra/Comfort bra:  RRP £6 (black and white)
  • 20 Denier Maternity Cooling Tights:  RRP £3

I matched them up with the things I could still fit into from my wardrobe.  At this stage, your boobs are growing so you ought to wear bras without underwire.  I wore sports bras, the cotton cami style bras from George and Groupon.

NB: Later in pregnancy, I had to shorten the straps on the V-neck camisole top as maternity bras come up high. I wish they’d put adjusters on the straps.

Second trimester (week 13 to end of week 27)

This is when you start to sport a noticeable bump.  By the end of this trimester, people may even feel you show enough that they are able to comment on your beautiful bump. If you’ve told people, you’ll likely want to wear clothes that show it off.

I was lucky enough to go with a friend on a shopping trip around Lakeside.  I got measured in Debenhams but bought my bras from Marks & Spencers.  I got nursing bras so that I could use them after my pregnancy too.

The first shop I bought maternity clothes from was Top Shop but the store I went crazy in, for their brilliant range of maternity (and nursing clothes) was H&M.

However, H&M Lakeside had only one changing room, the store was boiling hot in March and there was nowhere for the pregnant women to sit who were waiting!

  • MAMA 2-pack nursing tops £17.99 ( I bought a few packs)
  • MAMA 2-pack t-shirts £12.99
  • MAMA Nursing dress £24.99 (suitable to wear to work too)
  • MAMA Floral pattern T-shirt £12.99

I really wanted to buy more but maternity bras are very expensive so my shopping trip had already exceeded my budget & usually I’m really good at not overspending.

Third trimester (week 28 to baby’s delivery)

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It’s a girl!

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In these final few weeks, I am feeling very big.  Most pre-pregnancy clothes no longer fit with the exception of the odd loose maxi dress or stretchy maxi skirt. Even non-maternity leggings press into my bump.

I resent buying something that I can’t wear past pregnancy as I don’t have long left. I don’t want a dress that will cling to my bump if I’ve had the baby.  I plan to breastfeed so I’d rather invest in nursing wear although choices are very limited.  I have found ASOS to have the best range for maternity/nursing clothes.

I’ve also found a very basic store online that sells nursing clothes at affordable prices called Happy Mama.  They also sell delivery gowns.  I plan to order some pieces from their site next month for my hospital bag.

I bought a dress from Mamalicious for my sister’s 10y wedding party but it didn’t arrive in time.  They said it would take 3 to 4 days standard delivery but it took 10 days! I complained and returned the dress and they refunded the cost plus P&P.

Where to buy

These are the stores I found best for clothing during my pregnancy:

  • ASDA – George
  • Top Shop
  • H&M
  • ASOS
  • Boohoo
  • Happy Mama
  • Mamalicious
  • Seraphine

Where are your top places to buy maternity/nursing wear?

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