All About Belly Bands

photo © Baby Be Mine

photo © Baby Be Mine

Oh the cool gadgets and items you discover when you’re pregnant.

I’d heard of belly bands from several friends, and they seem to be quite the popular pregnancy contraption. I didn’t quite understand what they were for until I began looking them up a couple weeks ago, and it was then that I realized that “belly band” was not a brand name, and that there were a lot of people out there selling belly bands. But more on that a little later. First, I needed to know exactly what belly bands were. Did I need one?

Belly bands are like long, stretchy body shapers. They’re simply an elongated ring of fabric meant to go around your… you guessed it… belly. Some that I found online were longer than others, but the general idea is the same: belly bands are meant to be worn around your waist area to help conceal the fact that you are wearing your pants unbuttoned or unzipped (or both), and they can help keep your pants up under those circumstances, too. The band is long enough to cover up your zipper/button area and help smooth out the wonky way that the opened fabric stretches apart when your pants are not buttoned or zipped. You know, that weird gap between where the button and the button hole is? Under normal circumstances, that gaping “V” shaped opening of your unzipped pants could potentially pose a problem, and the belly band covers that in a way that makes the gap less noticeable under your clothes by smoothing it out, and the band is long enough that in the event your shirt does slip up a bit, no one sees that your pants are undone AND your pants don’t fall down. Excellent.

The more I read, the more genuis this simple fabric band seemed to be. See, there is a weird transitional period (that I’ve recently become very aware of) in pregnancy where your waistline becomes a bit too large for your favorite pair of jeans, and yet… you’re not really large enough or showing enough yet to jump right into maternity clothes. So instead of buying lots of new clothes in larger sizes to transition to maternity clothing, you wear your favorite jeans, but you leave them unbuttoned and/or unzipped and wear a comfy belly band to conceal that fact, which allows you a few extra precious inches in your old pants. This has given me another pants size (or two?) out of the same pair of pants. I’ve transitioned from just being unbuttoned to being both unbuttoned AND unzipped, as the extra inches were needed, which means I’ve gotten a lot of extra mileage out of my favorite pair of jeans long after they’ve stopped truly fitting comfortably. No one could tell my pants were unzipped, and I didn’t have to go buy more pants in the next size up. (Yet, at least.)

I figure hey, the longer I can hang on to wearing the pants I already have, the more time I can put off purchasing maternity clothing and the more money I’m saving. And by that time, I really will need maternity clothing, as I will be showing enough to fill them out without them falling down. I tried on maternity clothing just to see, and I was swimming in them. My belly is beginning to show which makes my old pants a bit uncomfortable, but I’m not truly able to fill out maternity clothing yet. Which is why the belly band idea is so genius.

Being pregnant in the winter, the belly band has actually been really comfortable and has had an added bonus of being an extra layer around my core without being a full layer of clothing, which has really helped me stay warm during the cold months. Despite the fact that it goes from just under my bra down to well below my hips if stretched out fully, it doesn’t bunch up, doesn’t feel awkward, and if it’s “too long” and I need to fold over the top edge to shorten it up a bit, you can’t tell that, either. It’s form fitting (it should be!) so it helps to smooth out all the wonkiness going on between a growing belly and the growing pains of my pants.

As I mentioned early on, when I went searching for THE belly band, I quickly realized that there are many companies out there that have their own take on the belly band. I did a lot of reviewing on Amazon to find the brand that came highly recommended by formerly pregnant women and their experiences. I appreciated user opinions were they compared various brands they’d tried so I could identify pros and cons. In the end, I chose Baby Be Mine Maternity brand, and for around $15/each I picked up a black and white belly band to go with just about anything in my business casual or personal casual wardrobe. (side note: they have lots of other colors and prints, too!) I couldn’t be happier about the decision. Note: the photo is an official product photo from the company, not my photo, nor is it me!

Baby Be Mine belly bands have given all of my pants extra mileage, which has saved me money since they’ve kept me from having to buy several pairs of transitional pants along the way. One thing I kept reading over and over when researching user reviews of the Baby Be Mine bands was that they were a little longer than most of the other bands the users had experience with. This seemed like a plus for them, and I can understand why now that I own my own. I’m not exactly what you’d call “tall” and while at first I had to fold the top edge over a bit to adjust the length shorter, as my belly has grown, I’ve appreciated the extra length allowance that the Baby Be Mine brand has provided and can’t imagine being quite as happy with the feel of anything shorter that didn’t fully cover my core.

And another positive thing to note about this amazing product in general is that use of the belly band doesn’t stop after giving birth. There will also be transitional time between maternity clothes heading back into my old clothes, and while I work on losing the baby weight, the belly band will help me get back into my old clothes sooner once the maternity clothing becomes too big again.

All in all, I think a belly band is a great idea, and is definitely on my “must have” list for all expecting mamas. I’ve really been happy with my Baby Be Mine brand and recommend their bands to others. I’m sure there are other great brands out there, too, but be sure to read reviews so you get the most bang for your buck.