It’s no secret that raising kids is hard work. And so much of this work starts long before the nursing and diaper-changing even begins. As you navigate pregnancy and your changing body, there’s often SO much pressure to stay on top of your style game (despite how you may be feeling). But when you’re toting around a little human for 10 months (look it up), all kinds of physical changes happen, and it can be challenging to look and feel comfortable. Don’t fret though, mama; we’ve got you covered with stellar tips on how to make it through your pregnancy and postpartum life without sacrificing your sense of style. Scroll on to see what the experts say.

1. Don’t forget your personal style. When you go shopping for maternity staples the first time, consider buying comfortable and stylish clothes that you’ll be able to wear even after your little bundle of joy has arrived. With new maternity lines popping up and the oversized look still very much in style, there are plenty of transitional options to choose from. “Pieces with drape offer beautiful design lines as well as room to grow so that you’re not limited by size,” says Ariane Goldman, founder of HATCH, a trend-driven, maternity fashion line, and recently launched HATCH Mama, a pregnancy-inspired beauty collection.

2. Make the maternity switch STAT. When your belly begins to grow, you’ll probably be tempted to start sizing up in styles you already own. Don’t. “The most common mistake is buying regular clothes in a larger size,” says Elizabeth Samet, creative director at Destination Maternity. “This leads to extra bulk in the places you want it the least; the shoulders don’t fit and you look like you are swimming in your clothes.” Instead, start shopping for maternity clothes early — even if you don’t feel that prego yet. “Well-designed maternity clothes are specifically made to grow with you for the full nine months, flattering your bump at every stage.”

3. Avoid constrictive cuts and hardware. Say goodbye to hard waist seams and anything that may pinch or poke you — from the outside. Steer clear of buttons and zippers and instead opt for elastic when possible. Maxi dresses are a fab option for those first 10 months because they’re flowy, comfy, and stylish. “Loose clothing can still look great when styled properly and with specifically tailored garments.” says Kim Phan, founder of floral-favorite Yumi Kim, which now features a “Bump Section” on their online store.

 4. Color me pretty. Wear black all you want, we get it! Pregnant or not, this magical non-color is still everything. However, adding some color to your pregnancy wardrobe is not just acceptable but encouraged. “Colors, wearable prints, and plaids are go-to’s for women who aren’t afraid to be chic and style-forward in their pregnancy wardrobe,” says Goldman. Try pairing polka dots with a bold pop of color, or play with multiple styles of plaid — be pregnant and fearless!

5. Invest in a maternity bra. Like, today. That’s right; it not just your belly that’s growing. The good news is that some maternity bras are *also* nursing bras and can be worn right through each phase. Look for bras that feature a clip-down or pull-down functionality and you’ll be ahead of the breastfeeding curve!

6. Don’t stress. Your body will adjust in all kinds of different ways, and some you’ll love more than others. Be patient and kind to yourself, and don’t stress. “On any given day we feel pressure as women to look a certain way,” says Kim. “Add in the hormones and growing size when pregnant, and it’s understandable that women may not always feel their best or most beautiful.” It’s important to stay realistic when it comes to your physical changes during your pregnant and postpartum life. “Women have an idea — maybe from certain celebs — that they give birth and the next day are back in their skinny jeans,” says Samet. Instead, all you BBs with BBs (or expecting BBs) “need to cut [yourselves] some slack because that’s just not reality for most of us.”

How are you navigating a stylish pregnancy and beyond? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know!

(Featured photo via Kevin Mazur/Getty)