A Guide to Shopping Sustainably During Pregnancy and Postpartum

Growing Bodies need Growing Clothes

When you work so hard to refine your closet and reduce your consumption as a sustainably minded person, suddenly needing what feels like an entirely wardrobe for such a short period of your life can send that morning sickness into overdrive. After all, you are pregnant for only 9 months at a time with the bump really popping only after about 20 weeks. Shopping sustainably during pregnancy and postpartum is complicated.

Surely my current closet will keep me covered for the most part, right?

Maybe.

I waited until I basically had nothing left to wear to give in and make a few purchases. Eventually, the proportions of that growing, miracle within you will outpace even the flowyest and stretchiest dress. Balancing a sustainable closet amidst pregnancy and postpartum is tricky, but totally doable. Here are a few tips that helped me feel good about the purchases I did have to make while pregnant.

And for Postpartum?

Surely someone has told you that your body is not going to magically snap back to that size 4, right? Most people will hover at their 23 weeks size postpartum. Of course, that is AVERAGE, which means people are actually all over the place. For me, my baby came 6 weeks early, which meant my belly never got super-huge and shrunk pretty quickly. However, my butt and thighs have taken a lot longer to remember where they used to be.

Everyone is different, but there is a really good chance that you will be rocking your pregnancy clothes for a while AFTER baby comes to. So, the items you purchase during this time might get a little more milage than you might think.

A Guide to Shopping Sustainably During Pregnancy and Postpartum

1. Keep What You Can

This is painfully obvious. Some of those flowy dresses can be tunics, or tanks can be undershirts. I wore my partners button downs constantly to cover my underwear lines and plumping arms.

Try on clothes regularly to see what still fits, then when it doesn’t, get it OUT OF YOUR CLOSET. There is no reason to spend 9 months staring at all of the cute things you wish you could wear. This will also be really helpful postpartum, it will make it easy to go back through those old clothes you forgot about and donate them. “Bouncing back” is not a thing, move forward, love your new bod and just buy the bigger jeans.

2. Shop Secondhand

Also, painfully obvious. But you can save some serious dough and clothing from landfills. Secondhand can be a Godsend for building a sustainable closet for pregnancy and postpartum on a budget.

My style is not very flowy. I like things to fit, have a bit of stretch, but not nearly enough for my ever growing belly and backside. So I grew out of the majority of my closet by 8 weeks. (Which was terrifying, but that story is for another post. 😉 ) I had to figure out a way to bridge the gap between almost-a-bump and wow-you-ARE-Pregnant. I didn’t want to buy true maternity wear that I was going to grow out of before my pregnancy was over and then have to buy it all again.

Looking for key items that were a few sizes too big allowed me to stretch my wardrobe through the first two trimesters. And I only had to spend $60 on about 10 new pieces, instead of $60 on ONE new piece from a maternity specific store.

Shopping Secondhand for Pregnancy:

  • Goodwill – I browsed for actual maternity clothes, but couldn’t find any. So I opted for boxy and flowy dresses that were a size or two too big, as well as a few pairs of shorts with stretchy waistbands in larger sizes. Also try to opt for items with stretch, it will help you to wear them just a little bit longer.
  • Facebook Moms Groups – People are always trying to sell their old maternity clothes on FB. I got a hand full of items from a girl right down the street through Facebook. It’s a great way to shop second hand at home without having to drag yourself or your toddler into Goodwill to pick through racks for an hour. It also gives you an opportunity to try things on, which you won’t get from other exclusively online retailers.
  • Poshmark/ThredUp – Sites like this are fantastic for browsing large amounts of second hand clothes from your phone. You won’t be able to try them on of course, but you should be able to use your measurements to make sure they fit.

3. Last Resort: Shop Sustainable Maternity Brands

This is the last resort for maintaining a sustainable closet during pregnancy and postpartum for two reasons:

  1. Holy Expensive – Like we previously discussed, this bump isn’t going to be around forever, so purchasing brand new clothes to cover it kind of sucks. Add in the “pregnancy tax” and how much more sustainable clothes cost in general and you are hit with a hefty price tag. Brace yourself.
  2. Options are LIMITED – Honestly none of them are perfect, most of them are basic items in basic colors. I did hours of research, spent way too much money, and didn’t end up with styles I loved. 🙁

Sustainable Maternity Brands Worth Checking Out:

  • BOOB – Based in Sweden, this brand has tons of pregnancy and breast feeding friendly styles! Watch out for the size chart though, I did my best to measure and order correctly, but all of my stuff came in WAY too big. Tough to make returns back to Sweden… 🙂
  • Storq – Great for basics, and based in the US so you can easily return anything that doesn’t fit (unlike Boob). Not as focused on breast feeding friendly styles for postpartum though.

What am I missing? I’d love to hear how you guys maintain sustainable practices during such a transitional time in life.

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