changes begin in the first trimester of pregnancy, and most mothers outgrow
their pre-pregnancy bras right along with their non-maternity jeans. If you’re
buying new bras during pregnancy, go ahead and buy nursing bras. These may not
fit immediately after birth, when your breasts are swollen, but they’ll fit at
some point in your breastfeeding career.
WHERE TO BUY
can buy nursing bras online as well in the maternity section of department
stores. You can pay discount store prices or pay a lot more for a higher
quality garment. There are also many catalogs for new mothers that sell nursing
bras along with other baby and breastfeeding products.
WHAT KIND OF BRA TO BUY
bras are designed with cups that open. You can open the flap on the cup so that
baby can nurse while the rest of the bra stays in place. Here’s what to look
for when you shop:
Flaps should be easily opened with one hand.
If you can refasten them with one hand, that’s even better. Remember, your
other arm will be holding a hungry baby. For discreet nursing in public,
choose a bra with fasteners that you can open without looking at them.
The bra should support the breast from beneath
even when the cup is open. This makes feeding more comfortable and
reclosing the bra less of a struggle.
Avoid bras that open completely at the front
for a feeding. You’ll have a hard time wrestling your breasts back into
place when you’re done nursing.
Nursing bras should fit comfortably. Bras that
are too tight can leave you vulnerable to plugged ducts and breast
infections in the parts of the breast where straps or underwires block the
flow of milk.
Avoid underwires, especially in the early
postpartum weeks. If you do choose an underwire bra, be very particular
about the fit. The breast’s milk-producing tissue extends all the way back
to your rib cage and up into your armpit. An underwire may obstruct the
milk ducts in this area–besides poking and annoying you. (Underwire bras
can be miserable to wear during pregnancy. The wires dig into your
upward-expanding abdomen whenever you sit down.)
Cups should be made of a breathable fabric.
This is usually 100 percent cotton, although some of the newer synthetics
also allow the skin to breathe. Other synthetics trap moisture next to the
nipples and encourage bacterial growth and soreness. Don’t buy a bra with
a plastic lining.
You’ll need at least three bras: one to wear,
one in the laundry, and one in the drawer. Owning a few more means you’ll
have to wash less often.
At first buy only one of a particular style,
to test it. When you find a bra you really like, purchase more of that
When your breast size settles down, usually
after the second week, purchase additional bras that fit well.
Most nursing bras have several rows of hooks
at the back to allow for changes in breast size and in rib cage expansion
during pregnancy. If you buy a bra that fits well when fastened on the
second row of hooks, you’ll have room to get a bit bigger and a bit
smaller. Because the flaps are open on the sides, there’s also some room
for expansion in the cups of most nursing bras.
If you purchase bras through a catalog, follow
the retailer’s instructions for measuring for the correct size. You may
not end up with the size bra you think you wear, but you’ll probably end
up with one that fits better.
Large breasted women need a bra with extra
YOU REALLY NEED A NURSING BRA?
Some mothers prefer to wear a nursing bra while they are
breastfeeding. They’re more comfortable with the added support of a nursing
bra. For others, especially those who are smaller-breasted, become more casual
about bras as time goes on. Some women even choose to go braless. Others may
choose stretchy non-nursing bras that can be lifted above the breast and then
pulled back into place after feeding.
Do you absolutely need the support of a good bra while
breastfeeding? Will it prevent sagging and stretching? Breast shape and
firmness is influenced mainly by heredity, and even women who don’t breastfeed
will find that their breasts change after pregnancy. Some mothers feel that
their breasts are smaller and droopier after weaning, but they become more firm
as the months go by.
Most mothers are more comfortable wearing a bra–but much
depends on what you are accustomed to. Go ahead and choose whatever works for