Pantry founder Elly & Business Development Manager Eve are our resident ma’s and they’ve pulled together a list of must-haves from our edit & elsewhere to make the birth environment as comfortable as it can be for expecting and very new ma’s.
It may feel like just a moment in time to prepare for, in which Amazon will surely be your best pal, but in fact it’s a hugely important ‘moment’ and how you are feeling in yourself can have a major impact on how it plays out.
The NHS do provide a great list of things you’ll need for labour & birth and we would recommend referring to this for the medical, baby and self-care essentials. However, there are a couple of key items on that list that we can help with directly …
NHS advice: 2 or 3 comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you're planning to breastfeed – remember, your breasts will be much larger than usual.
Depending on your size, you will require different levels of support for both nursing and increased size due to the hormones after the birth. Below we have included options that are more supportive and less so ( ideal for sitting around at home in the early days and sleeping in ), with recommended sizing suitability highlighted next to the name.
- Our best nursing bras for hospital & immediately after birth
This nursing bra combines reinforced stitching where traditional wires would sit for a rounded shape under clothes, alongside a 6-hook fastening and wide mesh back strap to offer support and comfort all day with no cutting in. The nursing clips provide the option for quick feeds, whilst the pretty lace detailing adds an elegant touch. This one is also great for storming around with the buggy, when you get there …
A classic crop shape with specific nursing-friendly details. The Lace Insert Crop offers support through a high apex / rise to the cup and double-lined fabrication for lift. There’s also a soft yet firm waistband underneath to anchor the cups. A great breastfeeding bra, sleep bra and everyday wire-free option with crossover front for ease of feeding and lace inserts to ensure containment.
Super soft & supple microfibre fabric feels like a second skin with quick drying properties and a flexible fit for frequent changes in size, The Lace Trim Nursing Bra is guaranteed to make you feel good due to comfort level, whilst also looking great with the soft French lace trim to the top of the cups. The firm waistband offers support underneath. As worn by Made In Chelsea’s Millie Macintosh.
- Our best maternity / post pregnancy bras
Designed especially to be supportive for a D+ cup, without compromising on shape or style. Support comes from the hidden built in bra, which is made from structured cotton seams that follow a traditional bra's wires. Super soft Modal fabric means all day comfort, while providing a lifted rounded shape. There is also a racer back clip option to change the weight dispersion on the shoulders. A great pregnancy option or post for those who choose not to or are unable to nurse.
A true wire-free wonder, this style is perfect for those who want support and shape without the wire. Half pads provide a soft silhouette under clothes, whilst the cup-sized fabrication means you are supported in style, meaning no gaping cups or loose bands here! The sweet lilac shade suits all skin tones and will disappear under lighter-coloured clothing.
A classic crop shape that’s everyday with added oomph. The Cotton Rib Bra offers support through a high apex / high rise to the cups and soft yet firm band to anchor the cups, while the cotton ribbed fabric is chic yet comfy. A great breastfeeding bra, sleep bra and everyday wire-free option. This style is perfect for those that want softer support and a more natural feel.
Of course beyond the birthing room, many ma’s choose to have one or two wired options both designed for nursing or without clips, suitable for an increase in size or for nursing by pulling down at the shoulder. See Elly’s T*t Bits article on de-busting the myths around nursing bras for more recommendations.
NHS advice: 5 or 6 pairs of knickers – you may want to bring some disposable ones.
Modern maternity pads are super absorbent and aside from what you might be wearing when your waters break, they will protect your pants. That’s not to say you should take fancy frillies, but you can take what you are most comfortable in, we recommend microfibre and cotton with a brief back, rather than a thong. Although all linked below do not have a knicker line, so you can actually wear them again …
Made from soft, breathable fabric, these briefs offer a smooth and seamless look under clothing. With a mid-rise waistband to just under the belly button they provide all-day comfort and support, particularly comfortable coverage towards the end of pregnancy and post-birth. They would rise well above a C-section scar for example. The laser cut finish means no VPL whilst the rich forest green colour suits all skin tones.
These fun briefs are a mix of 90s and now. Comprised from super soft modal fabric for all-day comfort and breathability, these undies are great for those who want more support and coverage. The waistband prevents rolling or slipping but means these are ideal for post-birth. They are a secure fit for securing maternity pads.
Both conscious and comfy, these undies made from recycled fibres are perfect for those who want to feel good and do good. Big pant fans look no further! This microfibre provides soft support and a smooth silhouette whilst giving coverage at a crucial time. Again, a great pair for securing maternity pads.
NHS advice: front-opening or loose-fitting nighties or tops if you're going to breastfeed
We have such a great sleep & lounge edit with fun and frankly fab prints which you would be proud to walk around the ward in. If you intend on breast feeding, easy access is key, so a full button or half button front and pure cotton is also recommended. You will spend a lot of time in your pyjamas at home beyond the birth also, so these really are a worthwhile investment for your soul – there’ll be many visitors, and why should you have to change!
Featuring a fun and fiesty design printed onto 100% organic cotton from an original artwork hand created by the designer, this set features a beautifully cut long sleeved shirt with patch pocket, piping detail and super comfy wide leg trousers with pockets, piping and a semi-drawstring waist for flexibility in fit, perfect for those days when getting out of your jammies is just impossible! The button top is perfect for feeds and the design will hide any accidental spillages.
This nightshirt is a contemporary take on the classic style, featuring a large oversized fit and thigh-high slits for comfort and practicality, mother of pearl buttons add a sophisticated touch, whilst the cuffed sleeves can be rolled up and buttoned for a shorter length. Made from 100% organic cotton, this nightshirt is both breathable yet cosy. This style is great for those who may struggle with trousers following birth.
Pinky Peach Perfection! With soft pastel hues adorning these comfy pyjamas, this pattern will take you straight back to spring, contrasting pockets and a fun bell sleeve add a vintage feel to this set. The straight yet loose trousers feature an elasticated waistband, which can be worn high on the waist or low on the hips, as well as deep pockets. The set is finished with soft pink cuff details and buttons.
Step into the stars with this cosmic cotton slip. Featuring all 12 signs of the Zodiac printed onto 100% organic cotton from an original artwork hand created by the designer, this nightdress is perfect for those who prefer a longer nightdress whilst sleeping. The cami style adjustable straps and elasticated band at the back ensures no gaping whilst the cotton is thick enough to ensure this style can be to be worn as everyday.