Pregnancy Information Desk: Maternity and Nursing Bras
One of our students asked if she should buy a nursing bra while she was still pregnant. Here are some thoughts on why it’s something to consider investing in now:
Having said those things, here are some suggestions on how to chose a good nursing bra. Since they offer ample support, they also work well as a maternity bra. It is likely that your breasts will start to increase in size and density before baby arrives.
First of all, think about your activity level. Do you do regular exercise? Are you active during the day? Do you plan to go back to work? What kind of bra do you like to wear now?
Next, consider your budget. What makes the most sense for you to purchase right now?
If you are on a limited budget, in the short term consider investing in a day bra and a sleep bra. You would rotate the wash cycle - one goes on, the other goes in the wash so it's ready to wear in 12 hours.
Even if you can only afford one bra – it’s important to keep it clean to prevent it from smelling like sour milk. Going without a bra while it is in the wash will let you nipples enjoy the fresh air and reduce the chance of infection from being moist if you are wearing breast pads. Debbie Gillespie, IBCLC, says, “Most new moms use disposable nursing pads so I suggest to moms that they change their nursing pads every time they open up their bras, to minimize bacteria.”
If you need to, wear another type of supportive, comfortable bra while you run your nursing bra through the wash. For longer wear, you can hang dry it – as it heats up, you can save your bra and some energy by hanging it outside in indirect sunlight – the heat will have it dry in no time!
If you have a more flexible budget, you can consider buying one of each and feeling them out to see which ones you truly need more of – besides everyday bras, there are sports bras and sleep bras. Maybe you will even splurge on a dressier bra that can be worn with a date-night blouse and has a little peek-a-boo camisole lace going on. Who says that momma can’t be sexy anymore?
Here are some of the benefits of each one:
Everyday bra – made of a soft fabric, should offer could support and easy access for the times that you need to nurse in public. Make sure that the fasteners will withstand several washes and that it offers good support if you need it.
Sleep bra – most often made from cotton, light on support, easy access for nighttime feedings. Ultimately, you want to be able to open it in your sleep. It usually doesn’t have fasteners, so look for a good product with fabric that resumes its shape after being stretched out around the breast for feeding.
Sports bra – made of a durable nylon-cotton blend for function and for breathability, with a little extra padding in the front to absorb leaks.
Look for fasteners with easy access and durability in the wash with this bra, too. Most moms aren’t released to resume their pre-pregnancy activity level until after the six-week check up, so you could wait for six weeks to purchase a sports bra.
Date night bra – Date nights after baby usually mean bringing baby along if you are nursing on demand – there is nothing wrong with having an attractive bra that is also functional! Details like peek-a-boo lace or pretty ribbons make them pretty under a v-neck top, and yet they are functional in that you can nurse baby as needed on your night out with Dad. Look for good support and easy access when nursing in public.
Talisha Heiden, owner of Modern Mommy Boutique, offers this suggestion, "When buying a nursing bra before your baby arrives, it is a good idea to buy it one size larger than you measure right now." Your breasts will grow a little more as they start milk production, and a well-fitting adjustable bra is an asset when everything around your breast area is feeling a little swollen.
Due to the engorgement factor that may last a couple of days to several weeks, I would also suggest that you avoid any bras with underwire when buying your first nursing bras. The wire may not feel great digging into your swollen breast. If you can go without the wire, there are several products out there that offer support and a comfortable wear in the early weeks.
Once your breasts figure out the supply-and-demand cycle your baby needs, you can adjust straps and closures to the correct sizes.
It’s easier and more economical to adjust the bra than to go out and buy a bigger or smaller bra size for different cycles in your breastfeeding relationship with your child.
Thanks to Talisha Heiden, owner of Modern Mommy Boutique, for letting me photograph her merchandise for today's blog post. She offers a complimentary fitting if you need help buying a nursing bra. And, if you are in the Phoenix area, please join us tomorrow at the Modern Mommy Boutique Grand Opening from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.