8 tips to select the best nursing bra
A functional and comfortable nursing bra is one of the most essential items in a mom-to-be’s wardrobe. It’s a good idea to pick two nursing bras for daily wear -- so you’ll always have one on hand when the other is in the wash. At Belabumbum, we also think it helps if they’re pretty too:) We’ve put together a few tips to help you find the right nursing bras for this important time of your life:
1. Keep comfy
Comfort should be at the top of your nursing bra list during pregnancy and those first weeks with baby. Look for stretchy nursing bras that accommodate your breast changes. Since you’ll be doing a lot of nesting, snuggling and lounging at home, you may want to try a sleep or lounge bra. They tend to be less structured and many are made of super soft moisture wicking fabrics. Plus many women like to have a little support while sleeping, and they can help keep breast pads in place to keep leakage under control after your baby is born.
2. Easy to use
You’ll want to be able to undo your bra cup with one hand because you’ll be holding your baby with the other. Look for a bra with drop down cups and nursing clips that are easy to unsnap. Nursing bras designed with an inner A frame structure provide added support and breast coverage-- which you will appreciate when you’re nursing with company. Straps with adjustable sliders in the front (instead of the back) are also a nice feature.
3. Cups are key
The shape of your breasts can change when you are nursing so you’ll want a nursing bra that has stretchy fabric on the top of the cup, but you also want it to have a snug fit. Some women make the mistake of purchasing nursing bras with too much extra room in the cup, but a loose-fitting cup will not provide the support that you’ll need. Bra cups should be lined with cotton or another breathable moisture wicking fabric, and the lining should be seamless to avoid nipple irritation. Non-breathable materials can trap moisture and encourage bacterial growth and soreness. The comfort of cotton is a relief from mom’s increasing body temperature and will enable the skin to breathe.
4. Choose a bra with a wider bottom band for support with multiple hooks and eyes for easy adjustment
Growth in the torso tends to come from a widening of the area of the rib cage-- not the back. The back band provides the majority of the support of your bra, so this is a very important feature. At approximately eight months of pregnancy, when you are getting fitted for your nursing bra, you should be fitting the back band of the bra on the loosest hook and eye. This will then allow room for you to tighten the back band post birth as your rib cage contracts. If you are buying a bra in the beginning your pregnancy, use the inner hooks to start with so that the bra can grow with you.
5. Get a proper fitting
As your breasts will continue to change in size throughout your pregnancy and post-birth, we recommend that you get fitted for a nursing bra when you are around eight months pregnant. This is the size you will most probably return to at approximately 6 weeks post birth, once your body has learned to regulate its milk supply. Your local maternity or lingerie boutique, as well as Nordstrom or Soma are great places to go for a proper bra fitting. A good bra fitter help you get the added support you’ll need as your breasts get fuller and heavier, will make sure the band under the bust is snug, and that the straps don’t cut into your shoulders.
6. Wire free is usually best
The concern about wearing an underwire bra while nursing stems from the idea that the wire could inhibit blood flow and hamper milk production or lead to a clogged duct or even mastitis. To avoid these problems, wire-free bras are recommended. Most wire-free nursing bras are constructed with the same channelling or support under the bust, but without the wire. If you have a larger bust and feel more secure with the underwire, try to hold off on underwire until you are a bit further into your nursing journey, and make sure you have a wire-free option to switch into if you start to get uncomfortable.
7. Consider your lifestyle
Active mamas may want to have a nursing sports bra features breathable mesh cups and wicking material will keep you cool and provide support during pre and post natal classes and workouts. You’ll want a nursing sports bra with wide straps and adjustable features like J-hooks that convert into a racerback style.
8. Laundering Tips
When you’re nursing, your bras tend to get dirtier than they did before. You’ll also likely be wearing your bras around the clock, so they will get sweatier than normal. To make bras last longer, wash them on cold/gentle and hang them to dry.
Whether you’re looking for a beautiful basic, a feminine lace nursing bra or a soft sleep bra to make your life a little easier during late-night feeds, Belabumbum’s maternity & nursing foundations are designed with accommodating cups and sizing options to ensure that you get the comfort and support you need, when you need it.
UP NEXT: 6 self-care tips when breastfeeding