Ultimate guide to buying maternity and nursing clothes

Ultimate guide to buying maternity and nursing clothes

This post is brought to you by Milk Tops London — Feel like a boss with our nursing tops, shirts, and dresses.

Getting Your Wardrobe Ready for Pregnancy and Nursing

Being pregnant and going through the different trimesters of pregnancy was one of the best and most memorable experiences in my life. At the beginning I felt pure joy and excitement, but I was also feeling a bit apprehensive about what to expect during my pregnancy.

One of the things I had to consider was the physical changes my body would go through and what maternity and nursing clothing I needed to buy. I was looking for pieces I could wear after my first pregnancy and possibly my second one if I had another child.

Thankfully, there are great online shops i.e. Milk Tops London that cater specifically for the needs of new Mums like me.

While I was putting my first maternity and nursing wardrobe together, I started doing a bit of planning to find the clothing that I needed. Ideally I was looking for pieces that I felt comfortable in and able to wear on all occasions. I learnt a lot along the way!

Here’s a list of tips that will help you choose the right maternity and nursing clothing:

Maternity Clothing — Guide For New Mums

When to start wearing maternity clothes

One of the questions I asked myself was — when will I need to start buying maternity clothes?

Most women start “showing” round about the 16th week of pregnancy. Some women start wearing maternity and nursing clothes as early as 11 weeks. It will vary from one woman to another. Weight gain, body type, your height, whether you’re expecting more than one baby or if it is your first pregnancy or not are all determining factors.

By week 20 most women would have started wearing maternity wear or loose garments when the uterus is at navel level.

When to buy maternity clothes

Most women start buying pieces by the third or fourth month of pregnancy.

From your second pregnancy and onwards you will start showing earlier than the case was with your first pregnancy. Water retention might make you feel uncomfortable around the waist area and you might have to wear maternity clothing in your first trimester.

If you have gained a lot of weight during the early stages of pregnancy or if you experience bloating brought on by constipation, then your timeline will also be affected, and this will determine at which stage you must buy maternity wear.

When to buy maternity clothes for a first pregnancy

When you’re a first time Mum, it is only natural to get excited about buying maternity clothing and showing off your pregnant belly, but it is not recommended to buy maternity clothes during the first 12 weeks since you have no way of knowing what changes your body will go through.

I lost a lot of weight during my first trimester due to extreme nausea and had limited meal options in my diet. Only from my second trimester onwards did I start gaining pregnancy weight and eating more balanced meals. During this trimester you can think about buying maternity and nursing clothes when your bump has started taking shape.




What maternity clothes to buy

Check your closet and make a mental note of any existing wardrobe items that could be worn during pregnancy, especially during the early stages.

Prepare a shopping list of basic and essential items that you'll need to buy.

The best maternity wardrobe to consider will include:

  • Maternity trousers or skirts for work or attending special occasions and events.
  • Maternity tops
  • T-shirts and tank tops
  • Stretchy leggings
  • One or two pairs of maternity jeans
  • A jacket or cardigan that covers your bump
  • A few maxi dresses
  • A bella band
  • Comfortable wide legs such as yoga pants
  • One or two stylish dresses for attending a wedding or formal event
  • Comfortable undergarments, specifically bras that will accommodate your bigger breast size during pregnancy.


How to buy maternity clothes

There are a few key tips to remember when you’re buying maternity clothing.

  1. Opt for stretchy fabrics that will last you throughout your pregnancy.
  2. Try out different styles of clothing to see which ones fit you best and are most comfortable.
  3. Buy clothing that highlights your best features. For instance, a great top that compliments your slender shoulders or neckline or a skirt that shows off your beautiful legs. You don’t have to wear oversized jumpers and unflattering clothing. Show off your bump in comfy yet stylish tops or dresses.
  4. Buy a few pieces of jewellery and accessories such as scarves or shawls that compliment your maternity clothing and can be worn long-term.

What size maternity clothing should I buy?

Maternity wear is the same size as your regular size. For example: if you’re wearing a size small or a size 10 then you’ll buy the same sizes in maternity wear.

Some women make the mistake of buying a size or two bigger than their normal size and end up with clothes that are oversized and unflattering.

Where to buy maternity clothes

I recommend these independent UK brands for maternity wear:

1. Little Yellow London
2. Clary and Peg
3. Mini and Me Maternity

How to dress during pregnancy without maternity clothes

If you're considering not wearing maternity wear during your pregnancy, especially if you’re not planning to fall pregnant again, then these tips will come in very handy when you’re wearing your regular wardrobe:

  • Wear a bella band — it will allow you to keep wearing your jeans and trousers for a longer period and after giving birth (when you haven’t lost the pregnancy weight yet).
  • Opt for clothing with an elastic waistband.
  • Wear maxi dresses that will easily accommodate your growing bump.
  • Wear longer dresses that are made from stretchy material.
  • Leggings can be worn over or under your bump, making them the perfect choice.
  • Long baggy or flowy tops can be worn throughout your pregnancy.


What clothing to pack for Hospital?

When the big day arrives, you'll want to make sure you've packed all the essentials:

  1. Nursing tops or night button down nightgown or night clothes.
  2. Dressing gown.
  3. Maternity knickers.
  4. Backless slip-on slippers that can be easily removed or put on.
  5. Old nightdress or T-shirt when you’re having a non-surgical delivery.
  6. Socks, in case your feet get cold during labour.




Nursing Clothing — Guide For New Mums

When to start wearing nursing clothing

Nursing tops are worn by breastfeeding Mums after their baby is born. But you can start wearing them in advance and get used to them before your hospital stay and when the baby arrives.


When to buy nursing wear

Ideally nursing tops should be bought during the third trimester.

Are nursing tops necessary?

There are a few benefits when investing in good quality nursing tops:

Less exposure (if desired)—for those that would rather keep a bit of coverage, many nursing tops give you extra privacy, only exposing a smaller section of your body.

Functionality—these tops are functional allowing you to breastfeed and can be worn at home, the office or attending special occasions. You’ll be able to wear them long after your breastfeeding days are gone if designed well.

Flattering look—well-designed nursing tops will resemble your normal clothes and hide the bits of your post-partum pregnancy body that you're still getting used to.

Spoil yourself—you’ve carried a baby in your womb for nine months and went through all the unpleasant pregnancy symptoms of swollen feet, bloating and nausea. You deserve to spoil yourself with good quality garments that make you feel good about yourself.

Aside: Tips for a better nursing experience...

  • Invest in a comfortable nursing bra to make your breastfeeding journey a relaxed and enjoyable bonding affair.
  • Apply an effective nipple cream when breastfeeding to avoid painful broken or cracked nipples.

What nursing clothing to buy

Being pregnant is a unique, exciting and gratifying experience. It will take some time to get your pre-pregnancy body back but remember you’ve given birth to a precious little person that is going to change your life and you will never think about things the way you’ve done before.

Celebrate your body by wearing nursing tops that are functional, reflect your individual style and gives you a sense of self.

Here are a few great examples of nursing clothes to consider from Milk Tops London:




  • Nursing dress — Perfect for breastfeeding at the office or a friends wedding!


How to buy nursing tops

Use the helpful sizing chart on retailer's websites to make sure you’re buying the right sizes for you.

Also, it's worth paying attention to the amount of privacy/coverage you want when you’re shopping for nursing tops. Some tops offer more chest and tummy coverage than others depending on how happy you are with being covered up or not.

You'll find a helpful coverage scale on the product pages of the Milk Tops London nursing tops collection.



Thanks for reading my guide to maternity and nursing wear, I hope you feel better prepared for buying the clothing you'll need.

Remember, whether you’re still expecting your baby or already nursing, the secret to choosing the right clothing, is picking wardrobe items that are functional, versatile, and stylish!


Written by Elize Swanepoel
Elize is a busy working Mummy, she loves raising her little rascal and interacting with other Mums. She also has a passion for writing.

This post is brought to you by Milk Tops London — We design nursing tops for breastfeeding mums that challenge the stereotype. Mothers will be pigeonholed no more!

Older Post Newer Post

1 comment
  • Great article for all pregnant moms and love the list of maternity clothes to get, great tips


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published