Being pregnant in the dead of winter poses a host of new challenges to keeping warm and being able to be outside.
While in a moderate climate it’s fairly easy to just make do, when the temperature really drops a warm coat is absolutely essential.
Personally I prefer to make my own jackets work instead of purchasing a pregnancy/babywearing piece that I will only wear for a few months.
Back in 2013, I did a little asking around and was directed to Make My Belly Fit, based out of Canada. While I loved it then, over the past six years they have updated and improved their panel and adaptability substantially.
The Make My Belly Fit panel is a game-changer for being able to get outside and is now my #1 must-have item for pregnancy and new babies.
They not only work for the pregnancy itself, but later when you are wearing your baby and need to keep them warm too.
Just to test out the newest version, I threw my 2 year old in the carrier and under the Universal Jacket Extender hooked into my Stio jacket.
I was pleased to find she was completely comfortable and happy!
How it works:
Thanks to their new (and incredibly awesome) Universal adapter, their panel works with virtually any zipper.
Shown on the photo below, the zipper from your jacket is actually encased in their slides instead of trying to get zipper teeth to match up. Seriously genius.
Once the panel is zipped in, you can snap it shut into itself where you need to (at the top when you are pregnant and the bottom when you are wearing a baby.)
Tip: When you first get the panel, check out their site and watch their video about how it works. While the system itself is fairly simple, figuring it out the first time can be a little tricky.
What’s Included: Universal Jacket Extender
The Universal Jacket Extender comes with the following three items:
- The Panel itself
- The zippered adapters which split apart and attach to your jacket and then the panel
- An optional fleece panel that snaps onto the panel itself to keep baby snuggly warm
What I love:
It truly transforms my jackets into something I could continue to wear all winter (even when Mtn Papa’s jackets become too small…). I love that I can choose the jacket I want to wear with the Universal adapter instead of being stuck with one jacket for all kinds of weather.
This also allows me to choose larger jackets as I inevitably get bigger throughout pregnancy.
It’s simple to use after that initial set-up. Usually it makes sense to leave it attached to the jacket you use the most and then you simply zip and unzip as normal, just with the extra panel.
The panel is windproof and maintains the warmth of the jacket (especially with the added warmth layer.) It’s also very easy to layer under.
What I wasn’t so crazy about:
I wish that the jacket somehow had a zip in the middle so it wasn’t a big panel flapping around when it wasn’t zipped. However, that would mean extra zippers, extra cost and an extra way for warmth to sneak out, so I get why they don’t have it.
The Bottom Line:
This is absolutely worth the price to help make my jackets work for pregnancy AND baby wearing. We consider it a must-have for expectant moms!
Make My Belly Fit generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.
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