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Five essentials - buying maternity clothing

Your bump is showing, your jeans are a bit tight, and your regular bras are starting to feel uncomfortable. All signs tell you that it's time to look into buying maternity clothing! Here are the essentials to get you started - versatile, useful items that you'll find yourself reaching for again and again.

Here are five must-have, essential maternity clothing items you definitely need

Essential: Maternity tops

You'll need: At least 3

Regular T-shirts and tops are not shaped to accommodate your bump, and will quickly become uncomfortable and unflattering as your pregnant belly grows, not to mention you may experience a wardrobe malfunction as your tummy expands and there isn't enough fabric to keep it covered. Maternity tops, however, are an essential maternity item styled to either grow with your bump, or float over it - with enough extra material that you will never have to worry about accidental tummy exposure.  Definitely consider buying maternity clothing and tops!

Essential: Maternity underwear

You'll need: 4-5 pairs, depending on how often you do the washing

While there are definitely mums-to-be out there who don't mind wearing barely there G-strings throughout pregnancy, here's a secret you might not know: Maternity underwear is actually much more comfortable for your body and your bump. It's stretchier, made for pregnant bellies (either enough material to cover your bump, or wide enough underneath your bump that you don't get itchy and painful marks from the elastic band). And maternity underwear comes in pretty styles and colours to match your bras, so you can feel accessorised even though no one can see them!

Essential: Maternity bra

You will need: 4-6

Although you probably already know you'll need a maternity bra at some point during your pregnancy, it's actually best to start out with one in the early months and upsize as your bump grows. Maternity bras are softer and more comfortable for your breasts, which might become sore and swollen during pregnancy (particularly in the first trimester), and will help to give you support without inhibiting milk production. Check out our fitting tips for more advice about how to choose the right size and style of this essential maternity clothing item.

Essential: Maternity pyjamas

You will need: 2-3 sets

Here's something you might not have thought about: You're still pregnant when you get undressed at the end of the day and you get ready for bed! It sounds silly, but many mums-to-be forget that the same comfort challenges they have with their regular clothing are only magnified when you're in bed trying to get some shuteye. Non-pregnancy pyjamas have the same difficulties as non-pregnancy clothes: They can be too tight, cut into your skin in uncomfortable places, and don't give your bump any room to grow. Maternity pyjamas are wonderful for helping to ensure you make the most of your pregnancy sleep, and offer better support for your bust too (some pregnant women have super-sensitive breasts and can't stand the feeling of a loose top, so prefer to wear a sleep bra or maternity bra under their pyjamas). Plus they're great for breastfeeding and will hold nursing pads in at night, and can double as loungewear.

Bonus essential: Clip-on cami

You will need: 2-4

This strapless singlet has loops that attach to the straps of your breastfeeding bra, so all you need to do is unclip your bra as usual for feeding - it's a super-easy way to convert your favourite nursing bra into a nursing tank, and avoid belly breezes from lifting your top. It's a great base layer for all seasons (comes in cotton spandex and merino), and lets you continue to wear your regular tops. How many will you need? Keep in mind that you might perspire when you're breastfeeding, and also that you may leak milk, so having a good number so you can always have one in the laundry and one clean is a good idea.

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