well-fitting maternity and nursing bra

Buying well-made, well-fitting maternity and nursing is key to ensuring support and comfort for your breasts at a time when the tissue is delicate. Follow our top tips below to find the right bra for you.
  • You'll probably start looking for a maternity bra 3 or so months into your pregnancy as you notice your breasts becoming more tender, growing in size and your rib cage expanding; your bra size might go up from 2 sizes larger to as much as 4 sizes. The increase in weight and size of the breast will also cause the skin to stretch and the breast to drop, which is why it is important to be fitted for a new bra regularly. A good fitting, specifically designed maternity bra can prevent and minimise stretch marks and discomfort, keep you cool and absorb any leaking fluid.
  • Nursing bras are not underwired and the cups undo one-handed for easy feeding. You should also look for wider, more supportive shoulder straps, strong side panels, a very flexible, soft inner cotton ‘sling' and a stretchy fabric with a high cotton content which will be breathable and help keep you cool. Your breasts will change size when the milk comes in (approximately 48 hours after the birth) and will continue to change day and night until you've established a proper routine. It may be best to leave buying bras until a few weeks before your due date - or later - for a more accurate fit. Maybe buy one or two before and get re-measured once baby has arrived. The reason that breast-feeding specialists and midwives do not recommend under-wired bras is that they can cause pressure on your milk ducts which may lead to mastitis; infection of the breast tissue.
  • You'll probably need two maternity bras depending on how much your bust size changes. Once the baby arrives, life becomes fairly hectic and despite constantly washing you'll almost certainly need at least three nursing bras. There'll be one in the wash, one ready-to-wear, a spare one in case of any leakages and one for night time. Nursing bras need to be washed very frequently due to leaking milk (without fabric conditioners), and hung to dry because of their delicate nature.
  • Ideally you should be fitted by a trained bra fitter as they will be able to take your body shape, bust shape, brand quirks and budget into consideration, but if you're short of time, measuring yourself is easy:

    1) Find your band size. Place a tape measure around your rib cage, placing it just under your bust at the front and making sure the tape measure is flat and straight across your back. Pull the tape nice and snug and measure in inches. Take this number and add 4inches. If it's an odd number, round up or down to the nearest even number and add 4 inches. This is now your band size. (e.g. you measure 29.7in, round up to 30, add 4 and your band size is 34)
    2) Find your cup size. Wearing your normal bra, measure across the fullest part of your breasts. Make sure the tape measure is fairly loose and measure in inches.
    3) Find your band size in the column on the left in the table below, then follow the row across until you find your cup measurement. This will be your cup size. For example, if your band size is 32, and your cup measurement 35 inches you will be a 32D.

Top tips:

  • When buying a maternity bra, you should make sure that you give yourself room to grow so make sure that it fits snugly on the tightest hook.
  • When buying a nursing bra you should be able to fit your hand inside the cup so that you will have enough space for breast pads.
Source: Maternity



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