I stumbled across an ad for The M Coat while I was doing important research online (erm...playing Text Twirl, I think). It purports to be three-purpose: maternity with a long A panel zipped in over your bulging tummy, babywearing with the panel zipped in the other way around to allow for a little head to stick out near yours, and regular fashionable coat by leaving the panel off entirely.
For some reason, this coat gave me the giggles. Maybe it's the two-headed monster look that results when you put two bodies in one coat, like you have some sort of parasite.
But I started investigating, and sure enough, there are at least a half dozen such coats out there (updated January 2011).
There's a similar
There's a Peekaru fleece vest that's a nice, streamlined option you could wear under a regular coat.
There's Suse's Babywearing Kinder-coat (and vest and poncho and...) -- this one was unique in allowing front and back carries...at the same time!
There's a lovely wool Mama Jacket that flows so organically that it makes you look less like you have a parasite and more like...I don't know, genetically conjoined?
And then there's always
Baby Ette has some beautiful babywearing ponchos that look fabulous whether or not you have a baby beneath.
Destination Maternity and Target have a variety of maternity coats and jackets — but be warned that if it says "wool blend," it's unlikely to keep you very warm, so look for 100% wool if you live in a cool-to-cold climate.1
Or, you could do what I did. You could wear your regular coat, only leave it open when you're pregnant and can no longer fasten it over your protruding belly. Wear a thick sweater underneath for long walks.
Once you have your baby, sort of pull it closed around his legs if he's in front of you. If not, well -- hope you bundled him up. Babylegs come in handy for those bare ankles.
Because, hey, I support any product that makes babywearing more accessible for the modern mama sans amauti, but sometimes you can just make do, you know?
Note: My tips might work only for those in Seattle or warmer regions. That said, it has been quite nippy during the winters I couldn't close my jacket, and I survived without frostbite or pneumonia. But today was a glorious 44 -- can you say walk on the beach? I can, and did.
What do you think? Did anyone spring for a specialty baby-and-mama coat, and did you love it? And how cold does it have to be to make it worth it?