Last week I was lucky enough to meet with Jennie from fashion blog Feed In Style to talk all things pregnancy and style.
Jennie is a physiotherapist by trade, but also runs a blog specialising in finding breastfeeding-friendly clothes from the high street and independent British brands. She started the blog when she struggled to find inspiration for stylish breastfeeding appropriate outfits after she’d had her first baby.
Here’s Jennie’s pregnancy story…
Is this your first pregnancy?
It’s my second pregnancy, I have a 19 month old daughter Lennie.
How far along are you?
38 weeks +1
Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?
We’re having a boy, which my husband is very smug about, as I was convinced I was having a girl as my pregnancies have been so similar. Plus he was like “if it’s another girl we’ll need to try for a boy straight away.” To which I said get away from my uterus, it’s not a revolving door until you get your boy!
I’m excited to have a boy as it’s a different experience, so something different, though I would’ve been equally excited to have another girl.
How has this pregnancy been treating you?
It’s been really similar to my first, a lot of tiredness and hunger in the first trimester, but a really good second trimester. The main difference is having a toddler too. First pregnancy you can be very indulgent, and get to rest, and then you get to second pregnancy and you just don’t have time to think about things or be indulgent in that way.
In a way this pregnancy has been better because I haven’t had the time to focus on the negative bits. If I’m tired I can’t wallow in it, I have to get up and carry on.
It’s great that you can take that as a positive, and aren’t just thinking I wish I could have some time back.
Yeah definitely. Also going back to work was good in this pregnancy too as it’s given my husband the chance to step up, and he has looked after our daughter a lot more, so their relationship has really developed and it’s meant I’ve felt comfortable to go off and get some me time more recently. So in the last few months I haven’t just felt like I’ve been with baby, and pregnant the whole time. I’ve had that bit of downtime.
Have you been experiencing any anxiety in this pregnancy?
At the beginning i was freaking out so much, I’d have massive wobbles, like “how am I going to cope”. More about coping with two, especially on days when she is testing I’d be like how am I going to cope with 2 babies, and with Lennie being so young and not being able to really communicate I’m like how am I going to manage?! Real panic days, but then we have other really good days when I realise I’m certainly not the first person in the world to have a second baby, and not the first to have a small age gap, and other people cope.
So you’ve got past that real anxiety just with time to get more used to the idea?
Exactly. I’ve also got a few really good friends who are pregnant with an 18 month age gap, so we’ll sometimes have little WhatsApp meltdowns like Oh My God, and you know the other person is just having a bad day, and we talk it through with each other. So I have a really good support network in that way.
Being right at the end now, and the thought of having 2 being just round the corner how are you feeling?
If you’d asked me this morning when Lennie was being a pain in the bum, I would’ve said hand the me the adoption papers for both (joking)… I think it’s just snuck up on me so much so I haven’t had time to think about it. I still have the odd wobble, when I’m tired, or had a stressful or busy day, but they go pretty quickly, and I’m excited for him to be here now, and to get on with it. I’m over the anticipation, and ready to get on with life with two!
How would you describe your pregnancy style?
Ummm I don’t know really, whatever people are pedalling on Instagram, and I think you can wear with a bump, and you can breastfeed in. Thats the main thing for me, practicing what I preach and making sure the things that I buy you can breastfeed in afterwards. So not necessarily just sticking to maternity stuff. Some of the smaller brands are doing great pregnancy and breastfeeding clothes.
What sort of brands?
Little Yellow London and Just Polly have such good quality pieces you can wear with a bump or without, they’re cut so well they can work with both. They’ve been my favourites of the pregnancy. But also I’m not made of money, so for me it’s about sticking with the high street and buying shirts and sizing up, or buying a size up in a dress, and the right style so I can wear it with a bump and without, and it’s breastfeeding friendly.
So thinking about longevity too?
Yes exactly, that’s why I tend to steer away from the more higher end maternity brands because you’re investing in those pieces and they maybe aren’t suitable for all stages of pregnancy/ post birth so they’re going to get folded up and put in the maternity bag and not used again. So yeah more high street and adaptable is definitely my style.
Hide the bump or show off the bump?
Show off the bump. Not in a super skinny body con way, but I’m not afraid of a body con dress (just don’t look at my arse when I’m wearing one). I think you have to show off the bump… Otherwise people don’t give you a seat on the bus!
In terms of clothes, what are your maternity essentials?
A good pair of jeans! I’ve banged on a lot about my struggles with maternity jeans. I think it’s really important to get them right, as you wear them all the time. But it’s easy to say I don’t want to spend loads of money on them, and it ends up not being the right choice. Oh and comfy trainers, I wear them all the time. I’ve been really inspired by the Instagram community where you’ll always see mums wearing trainers with a nice dress, and I never would’ve done that before but now I’ll wear a dress and my converse and be really really comfortable. I haven’t really worn any shoes which aren’t trainers or flip flops all summer.
You mentioned about maternity jeans, where are the ones you swear by from?
I had a massive fall out with under bump skinny jeans, so it’s more the style of jean than the brand as I’ve got some great “mum” jeans from New Look and Asos which have been great. They’ve become my staples. I’ve just found skinny under-bump jeans a nightmare. In my first pregnancy I had some great over bump jeans, but this pregnancy with it being summer it’s just not been practical. So it also depends a bit on the season you’re pregnant in, which I never would have thought about before. I also think Mamalicious jeans look great. With a slightly higher price point, but I’ve learnt in this pregnancy it’s worth investing a little more. Also it’s worth bearing in mind that under the bump works well straight after your pregnancy whereas over the bump doesn’t, so you get a bit more longevity out of under-bump jeans.
What’s your favourite maternity brand?
ASOS because of the diversity, you can get basics, but get a funky dress/ prints and stuff.
Are there any high street or independent brands which aren’t maternity but you feel work really well for pregnancy?
I think H&M in terms of affordability, and transitioning your wardrobe are great. Their jersey tops and tees might not be the highest quality fabrics but they really work with your changing body.
Then the smaller brands, so Little Yellow, and Just Polly which are maternity but I love. I wish I’d found them earlier on in my pregnancy to be honest. If I’d had my Little Yellow Jumpsuit from the beginning it would’ve been that much more cost effective, and you can wear them and look great even if you’re not pregnant. So they’d be good right from the start, whereas people tend to shy away from maternity clothes at the start and then get to a stage where you have to buy some, and end up spending more. But some of those smaller brands are so good. Especially for occasion wear, if you have a wedding or something when you’re pregnant then I think they’re just great.
What beauty products do you swear by for pregnancy?
The bump oil I use which isn’t specifically bump oil is Dr Haushka Blackthorn Oil. A friend of mine bought it for me in my first pregnancy, and it’s so nice, and has kept the stretch marks at bay so far! It’s really nice, quite fragrant but it’s a really nice warming oil and I use it morning and night.
So you can use it in the morning and it doesn’t mark your clothes?
I’ve not found that happens at all no. It’s not cheap at about £20 quid a bottle, but it’s worth it.
I also like a cocoa butter, or coconut oil.
What can you not live without in pregnancy?
TOAST! and crumpets, or just generally bread products which has become the staple of my diet.
As it’s not your first pregnancy, are there any style/ fashion lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
Look for smaller brands and what they can offer. Honestly I think I was really badly dressed in my first pregnancy. I just wore skinny jeans and boots, and bought jumpers a size up. Really boring. I’ve enjoyed this time being a bit more inspired, and adventurous. Being on Instagram and posting about what I’m wearing in pregnancy is about me feeling good about myself, and because of that I’ve taken more time to focus on what I’m wearing. It’s given me a bit of purpose, and made me make a bit more effort which has made me feel generally better. I wish I’d done that in my first pregnancy more.
Is there anything you feel is still really missing from the maternity fashion market in the UK?
Mango needs to expand their maternity range to more than 5 things!
Possibly a bit of marketing. People just don’t know about these brands, I speak to friends and they don’t even know ASOS do maternity / breastfeeding fashion. It’s a shame women don’t know where to go for great clothes for pregnancy.
Have you done a lot of reading / research about pregnancy and childbirth?
I’ve read the Mother Of Daughters book How to Grow a Baby and Push it Out, and that’s worked really well with the yoga class I’ve been doing. The teacher often suggests blogs or midwife-written articles, and she’ll point us in that direction, whereas last time I did read a couple of books. They went in one ear and out the other because I didn’t know what to expect.
This time its been more about blogs, and people’s personal experiences. Plus positive birth stories which I think is super important. There’s a Facebook group called Tell me a Good Birth Story which my yoga teacher started because she was so sick of hearing just negative stories. So more things like that really. I’d really recommend the Clemmie Hooper book though, she promotes active birth, she’s very balanced about feeding, and drugs etc. More giving the options. She’s written it really well.
What have you done to prepare for birth?
Been proactive in getting midwife appointments. I’ve found in this pregnancy that I’ve really had to push, especially to see the birth options midwife. It was only at 36 weeks that we had plan in place. I felt the pregnancy really went under the radar until I was 30 something weeks and I had someone actually ask about my birth preferences. So other than yoga really being proactive in my own care, as sometimes second time around everything feels more hands off. So I’ve had to be more proactive to feel empowered and prepared to give birth.
Is there anything you miss being pregnant?
Sushi!! Rare steak, a bottle of champagne, bottle being the operative word!
What’s your favourite thing about being pregnant?
When they start moving, and you feel it all the time, and you think about there being a person in there, and you realise just how incredible it is.
What would you say is the worst thing about being pregnant?
The sleep, I get really bad insomnia, and knowing at this point baby could come any time, and then I’ll have no sleep, it’s even worse. I find it difficult psychologically to not have a good nights’ sleep.
What advice would you give to other pregnant women?
Find the right birth preparation class for you. It’s quite easy to automatically go for NCT cos your friends have done it, but there’s so many options like hypnobirthing, or active birth yoga like I’m doing. It’s not as cut and dry as “I’m pregnant I’m going to go and do an NCT class” which was definitely my thought process the first time round. It’s not a one size fits all. So do a bit of research for what type of preparation you want to do, and what you want to get out of it.
If you could go back and give your pregnant first time around self one bit of advice what would it be?
Enjoy the luxury of going to the loo by yourself, and showering by yourself. Just enjoy what you have in that moment, as I don’t think anything quite prepares you for how much your life is about to change.
What would your one bit of advice for new mums be?
Do what’s best for you. There’s so much of the judgy-ness, and the “my baby’s doing this and doing that”. Make your decisions based on what’s best for your family, rather than because such and such from whatever group has said something. Try not to listen to that.