It’s a common scenario: moms have everything they need for their new arrival but completely forget to buy themselves a fabulous nursing bra. Don’t wait for discomfort to create demand. Take your time to consider how a perfect fitting nursing bra will fit with your lifestyle.
A good nursing bra is more than just “a bra without underwire.” The best postpartum bras are made from soft, stretchy, non-abrasive materials, with easy one-handed access for breastfeeding. To help you find the best bra, we’ve compiled three tips for choosing the right bra… based on three common mistakes moms often make.
Shopping too Soon
It’s impossible to predict how your breasts will respond to pregnancy and milk supply; every woman (and every pregnancy) is different. Some moms don’t have much of a change in cup size; others may notice an increase of four cup sizes.
Many experts agree that the most accurate time to size yourself for more structured nursing bras is three to four months after delivery, which gives you time to establish and regulate your milk supply. The best time to measure is midday, when the breasts are full, before a feeding.
If you want to purchase nursing bras before you deliver, try to wait until you’re around eight months pregnant. By then you will have gained most of your baby weight and undergone most major body shape changes. The size your breasts are at eight months should be fairly close to what size you’ll be eight weeks post-birth when your body has learned to regulate its milk supply.
Putting up with an Uncomfortable Bra
Look for a nursing bra that can stretch with you, accommodating the normal fluctuations experienced by nursing moms throughout the day and night. Since you’ll be wearing a bra virtually all day and night at first, it goes without saying that the fabric should feel amazing! Stay away from anything that might be itchy or irritating, such as lace or exposed elastic.
Each brand has its own nursing bra fitting guide or nursing bra size calculator. So even if you have referenced another website for your measurements, you should always check the manufacturer’s website to make sure you have the most accurate estimate.
Your measurements and a bra size guide will help you get an idea of what to order, but the true test comes once you’ve got the bra home and are trying it on. When you put your new bra on, it should feel AMAZING! The band should be low and even under the breasts. Try it on sitting down. Stand up and see how much support you receive. A well-fitting bra shouldn’t slide.
A lot of women make the mistake of buying a bra with too much room in the cup. Most nursing bras are made with stretchy material to accommodate fluctuations in size, so you won’t need to go up several cup sizes, as you would if you were wearing a regular bra.
Forgetting Other Styles
Just as there are different dresses for different occasions, you will find different styles of maternity and nursing bras to suit your needs. For some women, one really high-quality nursing bra could do the trick for sleeping, lounging, and going out. For most women, having several different bras and styles makes this period of life much more comfortable.
Some women wonder about the difference between maternity and nursing bra styles and whether or not they need both. The primary difference is that nursing bras come with special openings for quick, easy breastfeeding accessibility. Our French Terry Racerback Nursing & Sleep Bra allows you to slide your breast out, while our Simply Sublime Nursing Bra features a drop-down cup.
It’s also important to consider how your needs may change during the postpartum period. In the early months, you’ll likely be doing a lot of lounging around the house. You’ll want soft, smooth, stretchy material, with flexible sizing and quick access to the breast. Later, as you start venturing out more, you’ll want a more structured bra that looks good beneath your clothing with contoured cups, additional strap support, and sexier styling. You can best notice the difference between an early breastfeeding bra like the Organic Cotton Crossover Nursing & Sleep Bra and the Marvella Classic, the type of bra you’ll want about three to four months after having your baby.
We hope you found this guide helpful, and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. Your comfort is our top concern, so you can focus on relaxing with your new bundle.
Bonus: How to Measure for a Nursing Bra
A soft tape measure works best, but if you don’t have one, you can use a ribbon, scarf, sash, or belt and a ruler. Measure directly under your breasts - holding the measure snug but not tight - to determine your band size. When necessary, round up to the nearest even number. Take a second measurement around the fullest part of your breasts to determine cup size.
You know your bra is too big if:
- Your breasts slip out the bottom of the band.
- The band rides up in back.
- The cups wrinkle.
- The straps slip off the shoulders on the tightest setting.
Your bra is too small if:
- There are mounds of breast poking out the sides.
- The bra “pokes” you anywhere.
- The center rides up and doesn’t lie flat.
- Nursing Bras 101: A Complete Guide for the Breastfeeding Mom
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