Bras for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pregnant and nursing women deserve supportive, comfortable nursing bras. If buying maternity and nursing bras for your changing breasts is getting frustrating, you're not alone! Our guide to maternity bra fitting should help you find your way.
How will my breasts change during pregnancy?
One of the first signs of pregnancy is fuller breasts and let's just say it doesn't stop there! While every woman's body is different, most women go up one to three cup sizes over the course of their pregnancy. Because of your expanding belly, you also need to wear a larger band size while pregnant.
A few days after birth, your milk will "come in". This is called engorgement. Engorgement is the point when your breasts are the largest.
When you are first nursing, your breast size can change from day to day. Once your baby is nursing on a regular schedule, you will be back to having a constant bra size. Most women return to their pre-pregnancy band size and are up to three cup sizes larger than they were before having a baby.
Because of all these changes, it is important to remeasure yourself often and wear quality maternity bras and nursing bras.
What is a maternity bra?
A maternity bra is a bra that is appropriate for pregnant women. Most maternity bras are specifically designed to be worn while pregnant. Some "regular" bras can also work as maternity bras if they have the correct features. Here are some features to look for in a maternity bra:
- Maternity bras should fit on the tightest hook when you first buy them so you will have room as your chest expands
- Women who are carrying high should wear a non-underwire bra
- Bras without an underwire are also great during the third trimester
- Maternity bras should always be supportive and comfortable to prevent back pain
If you're wary of spending a lot of money on maternity bras, one tip is to wear nursing bras after the seventh month. Nursing bras have many of the comfort features that you need in a maternity bra and will be useful after birth.
Why should I wear a maternity bra?
A good maternity bra will make you far more comfortable as your breasts grow. Wearing a maternity bra helps support the breasts to prevent back pain and even reduces stretch marks. Because your breasts are the heaviest when you are pregnant and nursing, it is especially important to wear a bra that fits. Many maternity bras are also designed to be free of allergens and toxins for sensitive skin.
When should I buy a nursing bra?
I recommend buying your first nursing bras at 30 to 32 weeks. After engorgement is over, most women are around the same bra size that they were at 30 weeks so this is a great time to measure for nursing bras. Your first breastfeeding bras should be soft cup nursing bras. These non-underwire bras allow room for your breasts to grow during engorgement and have flexible sizing that will help you stay comfortable during the first few weeks of nursing. You should have at least two soft cup nursing bras to alternate wearing during this time. After your cup size goes down, these bras will make great sleep nursing bras.
Once your baby is breastfeeding on a regular schedule, you can really expand your nursing wardrobe! Modern nursing bras are available in a wide variety of colors and styles, so you're not just stuck with unflattering white bras. Most women can comfortably wear an underwire nursing bra at this time. Underwire nursing bras provide great support for heavy breasts, but it is very important that you are wearing the right bra size. In the correct cup size, the underwire will lie comfortably under the breast and not interfere with milk production.
Nursing Bra Help
Have more nursing bra questions? Ask our team of bra fitters for help determining the best maternity and nursing bras for you.