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My Favorite Things: A List of Expectant Mother Must-Haves from Caitlin McNeily

12 things every expectant mother needs

Getting ready for your baby is a wonderful time in a woman’s life. Your heart is bursting with excitement as you share the news with friends and family, plan your registry, and try to picture what your life will be like once he or she finally arrives. All the focus is on your baby (and rightfully so!), but there are a few things you’re going to need too. We asked The Lactation Network’s Caitlin McNeily to share her favorite expecting mother must-haves. Cue: shopping spree.

1. All of the pillows

Body pillow, pregnancy pillow, bed pillow – you’re going to need pillows during your pregnancy, especially as comfortable sleeping positions decrease and the size of your belly increases. The Snoogle is great when you need support in all the right places.

2. A large water bottle

Hydration is important. It’s even more important when you’re pregnant as you are drinking for two. I carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go, and it really helps me keep track of how much water I’ve had that day. I love Swell water bottles, but a Nalgene is great, too.

3. A good pair of maternity jeans

Stretchy, comfortable and high-waisted: three things every expectant mother looks for when shopping for maternity jeans. I love them because I feel much more put together than in sweatpants, and they give your disappearing curves some shape. You will live in these, so splurge a little when you buy them.

4. Baby Bargains Book

This is the expectant mother’s bible. The Baby Bargains Book is full of baby gear and products, and it provides rates on pricing, safety, and quality. I probably dog-eared half the book when I was pregnant and planning my registry.

5. The Baby Name Wizard

I think I read the Baby Name Wizard book twice during my first pregnancy. Even if you already have a name picked out, this book is a fascinating look into how baby names get popular based on things like pop culture and current trends.

6. Tums

If you’re like me, heartburn and pregnancy go hand in hand. At one point I think I had a bottle in every bathroom in my house, my purse, my car, and my office. Save yourself the extra trips and buy in bulk from Costco.

7. Yoga Class Pack

This was the best thing I ever did during pregnancy. There are so many benefits to doing yoga, and when you’re pregnant and your back is killing you, 60 minutes of heated stretching will make you feel like a new woman. Unless you have an established yoga practice, look for a studio that offers maternity classes so you know you’re in good hands.

8. Exercise Ball

There will come a point during your pregnancy when even the couch is uncomfortable. An exercise ball is an inexpensive fix for this, and an excellent substitute for living room furniture. And since we all know desk chairs and pregnancy don’t mix, try Gaiam’s ergonomic desk chair for the office.

9. Supportive shoes

No need to go out and buy custom orthotic shoes, but a good pair of supportive gym shoes will do wonders for your feet and back. If you have a work commute or wear heels during the day, putting on a pair of sneakers for your hustle to and from the train will feel like you’re walking on pillows.

10. Bras that fit your new boobs

Your boobs don’t get quite as big as your belly during pregnancy, but they get really close. Don’t just “make it work” – you’ll need to invest in a few maternity bras. You’ll feel much more comfortable when the girls are properly secured and supported in a bra that actually fits. Try hotmilk or bravado! Designs.

11. Pedicures

In my opinion, when you get to the point that you can’t even see your feet, pedicures become mandatory. I know it’s easy to talk yourself out of these things – don’t do it. You deserve to have your swollen feet exfoliated! For an extra treat, tell the salon you will tip them for a longer massage up front.

12. A VIP Membership at Bump Club and Beyond

Bump Club and Beyond is an awesome resource for moms, and their VIP membership program offers everything from discounts to their events to product giveaways and webinars. It’s a nationwide program, so you can cash in on the perks anywhere you go. I definitely recommend signing up for this one – You can go to one event and come home with $500 in baby gear prizes.

Not every item on this list is glamorous, but function trumps fashion when you’re expecting. From the everyday essentials to the occasional splurge on maternity clothes, you’ll be happy you made the investment. Have fun shopping!