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Every pregnancy is different, but most pregnant ladies need the same stuff: clothing to cover their growing bodies, a bra that makes it easier to nurse a new baby, a safe and comfy way to carry babies around.
But as People of Size have no doubt already discovered, sometimes it feels like product manufacturers assume that every mom is average-sized. Hey, we offer it in small, medium and large, what else could you ask for? Well, stuff that fits us if we happen to range out of a size 14 or 16, specifically.
By the way? You should know that I don't consider the following woman (wearing a BabyHawk carrier) plus size.
Very few of the women pictured in this post are. I do apologize – I am not a photographer and PR photos of bigger bodies in the gear that will fit them are still rare. Yes, I find it fabulously irritating too that even those who make gear to fit our bodies (I am a size 26) do not show them on plus size bodies, but tend to use skinny women or photograph their wares floating in mid-air. It drives me crazy too. Forgive me! I did my best, and these products are still phenomenally useful and will fit many if not most of you larger moms. Can we suspend our annoyance for a sec and move on?
With that in mind, here are 7 types of gear you might find comes in handy when you're pregnant/nursing/raising your child. See below for specifics on brands and sizing, and know that you're not the only plus-sized mom out there, and there are plenty of products made to suit your specific needs.
1. Baby carriers
2. Breastfeeding comfort
3. Maternity clothing
4. Nursing/maternity bras
5. Helpful reaching products
6. Belly band/belly support
7. Easy-fold stroller
Though just a few years ago bigger moms were out of luck if they wanted a non-wrap carrier, these days manufacturers like Ergobaby, Moby, Beco, Lillebaby, Onya, and BabyHawk make structured carriers that handle larger sizes.
Speaking of wrap carriers, many plus size moms like the Moby, a stretchy wrap that can comfortably fit up to a 2X with an infant. If you're interested in woven wraps, check out companies that make wraps that are sized 7, 8, and beyond. Here are links to the sizing guides for Didymos, Pavo, Risaroo, Kokoskaa, and Natibaby. WrapBaby also has a great guide to wrap sizing, if you want to dive deep into the wrap world.
1. Beco Gemini fits waists of up to 59 inches, carries babies from 7 to 35 pounds with no infant insert needed, comes in luscious, stylish fabrics and holds your baby in 4 different positions. Note that the Gemini is one of Beco's older models and it fits larger waists than the Beco Carrier fits 24-54 inch waists or the Beco 8, which also fits waists from 24-54 inches. If your waist is larger than that, there's one more Beco carrier you may want to check out, see #2. (Beco Gemini)
2. Beco Toddler: Keeping pace with the trend of carrying babies longer, the Beco Toddler can carry kids who are 18 months or older, from 20 all the way to 60 pounds. The waist band adjusts from 28 to 60 inches. If the Beco Toddler doesn't work for your needs, the older Beco Soleil is still for sale in some locations, carries babies from 7 to 45 pounds and fits waists from 28 to 60 inches – but if your baby is an infant, you'll need an infant insert. (Beco Toddler)
3. BabyHawk: Things have changed at this carrier company since they were bought by Moby. Customers used to be able to custom-order extra-long straps for BabyHawk carriers, but now BabyHawk's Buckle Carrier (which is the same as the old Oh Snap), fits up to a waist size of 68 inches, depending on how it's tied, and the standard straps on the Meh Dai (which is the same as the old Mei Tai) will fit up to a 67-inch waist, no customization required. (BabyHawk Meh Dai)
4. Onya: Onya currently offers four different carriers, each generously sized for larger bodies, with waist straps that can be adjusted from 26-56 inches (and shoulder straps can adjust from 17 inches to 36 inches, a great range if you have a larger chest). Onya offers four styles, each with the same measurements: the Cruiser (made of brushed cotton), the Outback (made of water-resistant rip-stop nylon with a breathable mesh lining), the NexStep (made of recycled brushed twill with a breathable mesh lining), and the Pure (picture), which is Onya's newest carrier and has a big panel on the front that can be zipped up and tucked away to reveal a mesh panel that keeps things cool. (Cruiser, Outback, NexStep, Pure)
5. Ergobaby: All of Ergobaby's waist belts were increased up to 55 inches a few years ago, but the Four-Position 360 tops out at 52 inches – note that the Four-Position 360 is not the same as the OMNI 360 pictured above, which is also frequently called the "All Carry 360" online, oy, so confusing. Suffice it to say that the Four-Position 360 has a Velcro, not a buckle, waist, so if you see that Velcro waist, know that it's going to be 3 inches smaller. By the way, the X-tra carrier that Ergobaby used to sell that went up to 58 inches, it's no longer sold new. (Ergobaby OMNI 360, pictured; Four-Position 360)
6. Lillebaby: The brand's three most popular structured carrier types – the Complete, CarryOn Toddler, and Essentials – all handle waists of up to 52 inches, in all their iterations (All Seasons, Original, Organic, Airflow, Embossed, Woven). If the waist you want to fit is bigger than that, Lillebaby sells a waist extension strap for the Complete carrier, which safely adds up to 9.5 extra inches. The Lillebaby Complete All Seasons is pictured above. (Lillebaby Complete All Seasons, Lillebaby Complete Waist Extension Strap, Lillebaby Essentials, Lillebaby CarryOn)
Many of the things average-sized moms use during breastfeeding will work just fine for you: Nipple shields, nipple cream, ice packs and the like. A few supportive helpers that plus-sized moms may appreciate are breast support pillows (to hold up your heavy jugs while baby is attached) and a hands-free pumping bra.
1. If you find your breasts are heavy and need support while breastfeeding, try a rolled-up washcloth under each boob, or a super-soft, perfectly shaped pillow in sizes small to XL (up to a J cup). (UpSpring Baby Wellmom Breast Pillow)
2. The Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Pumping Bra is deeply beloved by pumping moms and can handle sizes from a 30AA to a 48J. If the pictured style (the Signature) doesn't suit you, the brand's D*Lite Hands Free Pumping Bra goes up to the same proportions. (Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Pumping Bra, D*Lite Hands Free Pumping Bra)
A decade ago, big mamas were lucky to find a pair of basic jeans to fit them. Now manufacturers have responded to the swelling (get it?) numbers of curvy moms. Major retailers like Motherhood Maternity, JC Penney and Old Navy have plus-sized sections on their sites (though the offerings still trend towards cheap fabrics and ugly prints), and manufacturers like Pink Blush, Asos Curve, and Angel Maternity, and Yours Clothing are beginning to make their own, more stylish dresses, pants and tops.
You larger ladies of today are so lucky! A decade ago, I had to special-order a 2X nursing bra the exact color of a Band-Aid. Hey-aaaa, try wearing a milk-stained one of those things all day long and then pouncing on your husband at night.
These days, your nursing udders can be contained in absolutely magical plus-sized numbers Cake Lingerie, Bravado, and Hotmilk Lingerie, all of which have plus-sized sections of their site (we wish you could shop by size though – get on that!). If you're willing to order from the UK, Bravissimo, which makes lingerie, swimwear and sleepwear for women with cup sizes D-L, has stunning nursing bras with cup sizes up to a J (but band sizes only up to 40, bummer).
Sadly, the beautiful Dita Von Teese line of lingerie, Von Follies, is no longer sold.
This is the Bravissimo Panache Sophie in candy pink; see below for more details
By the way, some of the cute numbers below only go up to a 40 band size like the above bra, which is not enough for many supersized moms. Lots of lingerie companies make bra extenders that you hook on to give you a bigger band. I like Braza brand, which offers a wide style for the thunderous jugs of the multi-hooked, and gets you up to 3 and 3/4 extra inches (most bra extenders only go 2 inches).
1. Hotmilk Show Off: Depending on what fabric you get – it's also available in a floral, pink, white, black, and the pictured navy and sold in various online stores – the Show Off is available in sizes up to 42J, and it's darned pretty, too. If you'd like the matching under-the-bump panties, they're available in sizes up to 2XL. (Hotmilk Show Off bra in Navy)
2. Cake Lingerie Sorbet: It comes in a lovely muted lavender and a peachy pink, and in sizes from 32D to a 42M. (Cake Lingerie Sorbet bra and Sorbet Brief Panty)
3. Hotmilk Eclipse: Available in pink and black, and in sizes up to 42GG, the Eclipse wins our hearts with one little detail: the little rhinestone dangler at the center of this beautiful bra. The matching panties come in sizes up to 2XL. (Hotmilk Eclipse)
5. Bravissimo Panache Sophie: This lovely lace bra has cups lined in soft knit jersey fabric, and is available in sizes 28D to 40J. (Bravissimo Panache Sophie)
6. Goddess Keira: Women's plus-size lingerie brand Goddess offers its gorgeous Keira model in colors from deep scarlet to charcoal for non-nursing goddesses; the nursing bra variant of the Keira is only available in nude (pictured). But with its soft four-section cups, and brilliant shine, the Keira has vintage appeal for ladies who like looking like olden day movie stars, and comes in sizes from 36DD to 46I. (Goddess Keira Nursing Bra)
7. Braza Bra Extender comes in 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-hook varieties. The pictured 4-hook will get you 3 inches of extra bra-band; go up to a 5-hook for 3 and 3/4 inches. (Braza Bra Extender)
Helpful reaching products
Never has access to your extremities been so restricted. Use reach-y things to make difficult tasks like putting on your shoes or shaving your legs simpler.
1. Healthsmart Telescopic Shoe Horn: A real helper for moms finding it difficult to put on their shoes. (Healthsmart Telescopic)
2. Giraffe Razor Extender: This gadget holds disposable/reusable razors and gives you an extra 20 inches of reach room. (Giraffe Razor Extension Handle)
Bigger bellies may be heavier and more uncomfortable to carry around. Give your body some loving support with a belly band or another supportive undergarment.
1. Prenatal Cradle: Offering pain-easing support for the hips, abdomen and back, this support system comes in sizes suitable for women from 90 to 300 pounds. (Prenatal Cradle)
2. Ultimate Maternity Belt: Helps hold up that belly and is available in sizes up to 3X. (Ultimate Maternity Belt)
3. Bellaband: If keeping covered (rather than firm support) is your priority, this Bellaband number will give gentle support, and keep your belly from hanging out underneath your shirts. Size 4 will fit a women's size 24, and maybe someone even cushier (3 fits a size 18-20, approximately). (Ingrid & Isabel's Maternity Everyday Bellaband)
Even at the best of times (i.e. when not pregnant or recovering from birth or a C-section), some larger moms have trouble doing a lot of bending and folding. Choose a stroller that folds via one pull on a seat strap and your problem is solved. A few years ago, this feature was only available from Baby Jogger and Graco; now many models have it. Here are a few.
1. Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Click Connect Baby Travel System, pictured
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This post was originally published on January 7, 2015. It was updated and republished January 16, 2018.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.