Whether you prefer full coverage, light support, or a style with versatility, the three most important aspects of choosing the right bra are fit, function, and feel. Some moms may find they’re comfortable using the same style bra day and night, but other women may need one style of bra for sleeping or lounging and another for being more active.
To help you choose the perfect bra for all your breastfeeding needs, we’ve put together a quick and easy guide to finding the right nursing bra.
Find the Right Fit
The best way to start fitting a bra is to take two simple measurements: underbust and bust. These two numbers are used to calculate your band and cup sizes. You can use a cloth measuring tape or a piece of string and a ruler to get these measurements.
To find your underbust measurement, wrap the measuring tape or string around your body, directly under your breasts. The measuring tape should be straight around your torso and be snug but not tight. Round this measurement up to the nearest even number, for example, anywhere from 32.5 inches to 34 inches will be considered a band size of 34.
To find your bust measurement, wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your breasts; nursing moms should measure before a feeding
Your cup size is determined by subtracting your band size from your bust measurement. This difference corresponds to a letter. If your bust measurement is 37 inches and your band size is 34, the difference of 3 inches equals a C cup.
Keep in mind, these measurements are just a starting point, different styles, brands, materials, and even colors can have slight enough variation to mean a different size will feel better for you.
Find the Right Function
Like most other clothing, maternity and nursing bras come in a variety of styles to suit your needs.
Sleep Bras or Comfort Bras with a simple crossover design can be ideal for the initial postpartum period since they allow easy breastfeeding access as you and your newborn begin to get comfortable with nursing. These bras often feature smooth, stretchy material to more easily accommodate the fluctuations in breast size most women experience while nursing.
Clip-Down Cup Bras usually provide more support than sleep bras, making them ideal for nursing moms who are working, running errands, or getting active.
Contoured Cup Bras have a smooth design that lays nicely under your clothes, but they still have cups designed to fold-down to allow for easy nursing access. These bras are usually much more structured than other nursing bras, so they’re best for moms who are three to four months postpartum.
Find the Right Feel
Once you’ve selected your fit and function, you have to find the right feel.
When you put on a new bra, it should feel incredible. The band should be low and even under your breasts and around your back, and you shouldn’t feel any pinching or pulling.
After you’ve put on your bra, try sitting down, standing up, lying down, and even bending over to see how much support you have. If you’ve found the right bra, it should almost feel like you’re wearing nothing at all.
- Your breasts slip out the bottom of the cups.
- The band rides up in back.
- The cups have wrinkles.
- The straps slip off your shoulders even when tightened.
Signs your bra is too small:
- Your breasts spill out the top or side of the cups.
- The straps dig into your shoulders.
- The underwire pokes you anywhere.
- The center doesn’t lay flat between your breasts.
Nothing should be poking you; nothing should be slipping around. You shouldn’t have to pull and tug at it all day just to feel comfortable. If your bra isn’t just right, be sure to keep looking until you find the perfect fit, function, and feel. It can be so easy to put up with the wrong bra, especially as a nursing mom, but your body will thank you for taking the time to pick the right bra.