The Baby Bag Guide

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When it comes to the perfect bag to tote around the numerous items your little one needs there's no one size fits all, or more accurately, one style fits all occasions. As I’ve quickly learnt, this can be said for many things you’ll buy as a parent, but for the purpose of this post I’m focusing on baby bags, because let’s face it, a bag is part of your outfit and so for me these purchases took careful consideration.

We started by investing in two styles, a his and a hers, or a formal and casual option, to best fit our daily needs and work for both me and my husband. Seven months in and I’ve just purchased my third baby bag to accommodate the smaller storage tray of our travel stroller (another additional item), because why should you lose all sense of your personal style just because you’re traveling…I’m all for the functionality of a backpack but it’s just not my everyday style! Just like the two bags featured in this post it’s not specifically designed to be a baby bag and comes from one of my go to sustainable brands Baggu…I’ll keep you posted on how well it serves me.

Here are my thoughts on what to look for and consider in your search for the perfect baby bag for you and your family:

The Handbag

My priority with this option was to still feel like me, you don’t have to lose all sense of your previous style for functionality! The gorgeous Fashionable Alem Utility Bag has allowed me to retain my personal style while also providing all the function necessary of a baby bag. With enough internal pockets to keep everything organised and large enough to fit mine and baby's stuff this bag is my daily go to. The detachable long strap was a must for me so I’d have the option to wear it crossbody and go handsfree, and to easily hang over the handlebar of my stroller...both of which I have never actually done, I guess some features you can’t be sure you’ll need until you’re in it. The external pocket is great and allows easy access to my phone and keys plus the full zip closure ensures the contents in the main compartment remain secure...no matter how tightly they’re packed in! The classic design and better when worn in leather of this everyday tote means it will easily transform and adapt to accommodate whatever is needed of it in the future.

Fashionable creates jobs in communities both locally and globally. They employ women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances and by providing these opportunities have a vision of ending generational poverty. The Alem Utility Bag is handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia and Mexico with 100% distressed genuine leather.

The Backpack

A necessary functional piece, this second baby bag is technically the hubby's although we did want it to be unisex. The main purpose of the baby backpack is to make family outings to the park and travel easy, and the Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe Backpack does it all with style and simplicity. Multiple internal pockets keep everything organised and easy to find and with an entirely removable insert any spills are easily cleaned. It also has an easy access front pocket and necessary side slip pockets for the reusable water bottle and quick access to items like wipes. This bag is our go to for family adventures, the memory foam padded shoulder straps make all day carrying a breeze and a sleeve that attaches the bag to luggage handles makes it perfect for longer trips too. 

Lo & Sons creates thoughtfully designed and highly functional bags that are built to last for years. The exterior of the Hanover Backpack is a 600D high density, water resistant, recycled polyester made from recycled plastic bottles.

The Portable Change Mat

There are so many options out there when it comes to portable change mats but I think I've found the most stylish and functional option of them all! The Storq Kit Bag is cute enough to carry on it's own for quick trips out of the house and covers all of the necessary functions required of a change mat. It's large enough to fit diapers, wipes and a change of clothes, while a smooth zip closure and carry handle make it easy to transport. Plus the most genius design element of all is the exterior magnetic pocket that holds the actual change mat, making one handed use a breeze, which when you're holding a baby in one arm is kind of essential! This bag is durable, machine washable and will last through many a new family member! 

Storq creates thoughtfully designed maternity wear to mix seamlessly with your existing wardrobe. Eco-friendly and natural fibres are used where possible and all products are ethically made locally in the USA and in China.


Good luck with your search and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve found essential features for your baby bag (or bags if you’re like me and have multiple!).

5 Ethical Maternity Lingerie Brands For New Mums

Whether you’re planning on breastfeeding or not there comes a time during your pregnancy when maternity lingerie will be a necessity. This can be yet another daunting task on your road to motherhood as it, once again, involves areas of your body that have changed and grown! To take the stress out of your lingerie shopping, whether you’re investing in nursing bras or simply need maternity pyjamas for your impending hospital stay, check out these awesome sustainable options that will have you covered no matter what your needs:

Belabumbum

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This brand, hailing from Brazil and pronounced bela-boom-boom which means ‘beautiful bum’ in Portuguese, focuses exclusively on maternity and nursing wear and believes mums and mums-to-be need to take a moment to care for themselves. I’m sure we can all agree that’s something we can get on board with! In addition to this mission Belabumbum was founded as a social enterprise, with care, ethics and dignity in all of their work interactions built into the brands approach from the very beginning. Working with 9 factories across South America they nurture entrepreneurs and boost job security through microlending, lower profit margins and smart supply chain management.   

This ethically sourced range includes nursing bras, maternity sleepwear and also a selection of activewear styles, plus you can even get coordinating sleepwear for Mum and baby, too cute!

www.belabumbum.com

Sorella Organics

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Independent Australian label, Sorella Organics, builds their range of sleepwear and loungewear for men, women and expecting mums exclusively using certified organic and fair trade cotton fabrications. But their commitment to ethics and sustainability doesn’t stop there; collections are made both locally and in Fiji, where founder Anna McGregor spent 3 years upskilling workers in cutting, sewing and finishing to help build capacity and create opportunities for workers to partner with other Australian brands, contributing to sustainable employment. Because of her efforts Anna has become an honorary member of Ethical Fashion Forums Fellowship 500, an industry body for sustainable fashion.

With beautifully soft, all organic sleep and lounge collections you’ll find everything you need for relaxing at home in those last months of pregnancy and first few months with baby when your comfort will be key!

www.sorellaorganics.com.au

Boob Design 

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Boob’s patented nursing collection began when founder, Mia Seipel, realised that mothers, just like super heroes, deserve the right gear. Almost 20 years later and the brand now makes clothes for all stages of motherhood with a focus on double function pieces suitable for pregnancy and nursing. All of this combined with their dedication to use 100% sustainable materials, responsible production through building long lasting relationships with factories that share their human rights and environmental values, and having all products certified according to Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex to ensure no harmful chemicals are present, makes Boob Design a leader in sustainable maternity wear. 

For all of your maternity and nursing wardrobe needs from bras to dresses, swimwear to leggings, look no further. These pieces will live in your wardrobe for a long time and Boob Design will even take back what you’re done with to ensure they keep their clothes in the loop.  

www.boobdesign.com

Top Secret

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With a range catering to all of your nursing needs, Top Secret Maternity was founded with a desire to help expecting mums nurse discreetly in public. Creating collections that are fashionable, functional and versatile enough to take you from pregnancy to nursing and beyond remains the brands main focus. Top Secret Maternity achieves all of this while also producing all of their garments locally in Australia from all Australian made fabrics; and with their fabric supplier, garment maker and warehouse all based in Melbourne they’re also reducing their carbon footprint. If all this wasn’t enough the brand is also accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia. 

This carefully curated collection of thoughtful designs, which includes a selection of plus size garments, will help simplify your nursing journey.

www.topsecretmaternity.com

Majamas

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Committed to making beautiful clothes that don’t destroy the planet, Majamas produces all of it’s garments locally in the USA with fabrics that are also locally made. The brands women’s, maternity, baby and soon to be mens ranges all focus on the use of organic cotton or other more environmentally conscious fabrics like Tencel, Modal or recycled polyester. Local production is what helps Majamas ensure no chemicals are present in their garments, waste water isn’t dumped into the oceans and their garment workers are fairly paid, meeting founder Germaine Capiro’s mission to build a brand centred around responsibility to the environment regardless of the cost.

Discover responsibly made maternity and nursing friendly bras, sleepwear and more plus check out their cute pieces for baby while you’re at it.  

www.majamas.com

This article was created for and originally published on The Green Hub

The 3 Silhouettes You Need To Master Maternity Style

While the thought of dressing an entirely new body shape might seem daunting it really can be quite simple when you realise there are only three silhouettes you need to rely on to see you through your entire pregnancy. And the best part is, you'll likely find a number of pieces in these silhouettes already in your wardrobe. So when it comes to accommodating your pregnant belly, stick to these key shapes to master easy and flattering pregnancy and post pregnancy style:

 

Fitted

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Perfect to stretch with your growing belly, fitted styles will ensure it's obvious that you're pregnant in the early days and avoid making you look bigger than you actually are towards the end!  

Styles with ruched waists or side seam gathering fit nicely over a pregnant belly and will also be more flattering postpartum, so keep longevity in mind if you're investing in this style during your pregnancy.

Any fitted tops you currently have in your wardrobe will nicely stretch over your belly during pregnancy and if they become too short it's easy to layer a fitted tank underneath for extra length. And you can rely on fitted dresses which are perfect for showing off that growing bump and staying comfortable!

 

Empire Line

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Probably the most flattering shape to see you through your entire pregnancy, empire line styles show off your bump while also skimming over any areas that may have also grown but you'd prefer not to highlight.

Make the most of accentuating your bust and showing off your bump with empire line tops and dresses in soft and draping fabrications. This shape will also be complimentary postpartum to skim over your belly so keep in mind the wearability of pieces once baby arrives. 

You may not have an abundance of empire line styles already in your wardrobe and if you do they may not accommodate your mid section through your entire pregnancy! You can however use belts to create this silhouette with any loose fit and flowing pieces you already have or with a top worn over a dress and tied above your belly.  

 

Oversized

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Easy and comfortable, and the most likely to already exist in your wardrobe, oversized styles will last you through your entire pregnancy and beyond. 

Best in the early days when you might still be trying to hide that you're pregnant and then once again when you're struggling to find clothes that fit! You'll likely have a stage in the middle of your pregnancy when you avoid oversized pieces and instead enjoy showing your bump off!

Use necklaces, earrings and bold lip colours to draw attention up and away from your expanding belly which will create a more balanced look. And once again layering is key with oversized pieces, either to create interest or to help extend the wearability of a top with a long fitted singlet underneath. 

 

Dressing your bump should be an enjoyable experience and a fun reason to create new looks by styling your clothes differently. Remember to embrace your changing body, even though it may not always be easy, and use your clothes to help you feel like the strong, powerful Mama-to-be that you are!

How To Build Your Maternity Wardrobe Sustainably

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When you're dealing with a constantly expanding waistline there's no choice but to adjust your wardrobe to accommodate your new shape! This is such an exciting time but can also be overwhelming for so many reasons...so scratch one worry off your list because we've got you covered when it comes to your maternity wardrobe. Before you get carried away and unnecessarily shop up a storm for your new 40 week role, consider these alternatives and build your maternity wardrobe more sustainably:

Shop Your Wardrobe

Start with what you have...always the best place to start! There will for sure be certain pieces in your current wardrobe that have stretch, from jersey dresses to oversized sweaters, and elastic, like those faithful track pants or comfy leggings. These pieces will easily grow with your belly for at least part, if not all, of your pregnancy. And don't forget to pop on over to the other side of the wardrobe and check out what your partner might have that works for your new shape! I've discovered the most comfortable hoodie and some outerwear pieces that will fit me a little longer than my own. Make sure you separate out what still fits in your wardrobe as you grow and put the rest out of sight to avoid being disheartened about the clothes you can't wear, for now!!  

Borrow From Friends

If you have any friends that have recently been pregnant then hit them up for any pieces they might be looking to get rid of or are happy to loan you for the next few months. The Mum community is a very inclusive and all embracing one so make the most of being part of the club! Being able to borrow a few items from friends can significantly reduce the number of items you need to purchase or at the very least delay the need for a new purchase which buys you extra time to research. I found this super helpful at the beginning of my pregnancy when my jeans were just that little bit too tight but I hadn't got my head around maternity shopping yet! Just be sure to take good care of any borrowed items, I’m sure your friends will appreciate getting more wear out of their maternity clothes during any future pregnancies.

Buy Second Hand

While there may not be an abundance of second hand stores that specialise in maternity wear you will easily find a huge selection online at sites like Ebay. Anyone who's been pregnant, as we know, only had a need for maternity specific pieces for a short amount of time so you can imagine how many women are keen to make a bit of extra cash getting rid of clothes they're likely glad to be done with...and you get clothing that has only been used for a matter of months for a bargain price! I was trying on a pair of maternity jeans in store and checked Ebay before making a purchase only to find them for half the price and they'd never even been worn. Plus if you've borrowed from a friend you've got that extra time up your sleeve to create alerts and wait for your perfect maternity piece to present itself before you’re in desperate need of pants that fit!

Buy Beyond Pregnancy Pieces

If you do invest in a few maternity styles, because let's face it we all need to make new purchases sometimes and it's exciting as a Mum-to-be to shop for your bump, then think to the future and focus on beyond maternity pieces. So many maternity friendly styles are just as wearable post pregnancy, think side gathering details or loose and oversized fits. Plus consider your needs post babies arrival, like if you’ll be breastfeeding, if you’ll want to flaunt or disguise your post baby bod, and whether you have enough easy wash items for the spit up that’s headed your way, and make purchases that accommodate these needs as well. If you buy pieces you absolutely love then you'll be so happy to have them last you more than a few months and you’ll give yourself much more of a chance of reaching 30 wears!

Embrace your new curves and remember that although this is a temporary state you can plan your wardrobe to accommodate your short term and long term clothing requirements. Stay comfy and maternally chic my friends!  


You might also like to check out Maternity Wardrobe Essentials Worth Investing In to discover my 4 essential items to make your maternity wardrobe work for you.

This post was originally written for The Green Hub

 

Maternity Wardrobe Essentials Worth Investing In

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Navigating a constantly changing body shape and size can make getting dressed a little tricky to say the least! Of course there are certain pieces in your current wardrobe that will easily accommodate your pregnancy bod but there's no avoiding the need for some essentials to ensure you get through the next 40(ish) weeks fully clothed. That being said, it's best to be realistic about the fact that it is only 40 weeks of your life and buying a whole new wardrobe for such a short term is both uneconomical and unsustainable. 

Making sure your wardrobe keeps you comfortable and reflects your personal style as best it can while you're likely not feeling completely yourself and dealing with the many symptoms of being a human incubator is super important...as is spending your dollars wisely and avoiding unnecessary consumption. So listen up ladies, here are my top maternity essentials that are worth the investment:

Maternity Bras

Get these ASAP! There's nothing worse than being uncomfortable in an ill fitting bra and chances are you'll need some form of support for sleeping too. I started with nursing sleep bras which are more like crop tops so you don't feel like you're going full maternity so soon. These are comfortable enough for sleeping and during the day plus they'll be functional when baby arrives. My only word of warning is you will continue to grow so keep this in mind when choosing cup size or don't purchase too many early on! 

Stretchy Bottoms

Pants, jeans, skirts, shorts...all bottom of the body garments are the obvious contenders for being the first to be too small. Depending on the season and your lifestyle needs, investing in comfortable pants, jeans, skirts or shorts that will grow with you through your pregnancy is a must! I'm heading into winter and typically wear jeans everyday so I focussed on getting a couple of decent pairs early on for comfort and have since developed a new found love for leggings. If possible I would recommend trying on before you buy on this one, I found I'm a size smaller in all my maternity jeans than my regular jeans plus most maternity stores have a strap on bump so you can see how they'll fit you further down the track (this freaked me out at first but it is helpful!). 

Long Singlets

An essential to wear with all of those maternity bottoms! With elastic waistbands everywhere it's necessary to have a selection of long maternity singlets to both disguise said waistbands and to stretch with you as you grow. I wear fitted long singlets everyday layered under my sweaters which not only hide my elastic waistband but are also comfortable and provide extra warmth. These singlets would also be perfect on their own if you're in warmer temps but you may want to consider a variation of fitted and other styles so it doesn't feel like you're wearing the same thing everyday. The best part is this stretchy, multi-purpose item will work just as well in your post pregnancy wardrobe and for any season. 

Beyond Pregnancy Styles

It's easy to get sucked into all of these new shopping options, especially if this is your first pregnancy, as you discover the world of maternity style. Try to think beyond your due date and only invest in pieces that you love and will work in your wardrobe well after baby has arrived. If you plan to breast feed it might be useful to consider how tops might work for this now to prolong the longevity and usefulness of a purchase. There are so many great styles out there, maternity and regular, that will work for your changing body and although this is an exciting time remember to continue practicing conscious consumerism.


You might also like to check out How To Build Your Maternity Wardrobe Sustainably for my top tips on clothing that belly responsibly. 

This post has also been shared via The Green Hub