Early into your pregnancy you would have been told to go out and get yourself a maternity or nursing bra… But if you’re still wondering why you need it and which one to choose, we’re here to help!
Embracing the nursing bra
Traditional bras don’t have room for the diaphragm to grow during pregnancy. They also use underwire, which is not recommended when you’re pregnant or nursing for the simple reason that underwires put pressure on the milk ducts, potentially blocking milk flow. Stay in your traditional bra for too long and not only can you block your milk ducts, you can put yourself at risk of infection.
If you’re large in the bust and worrying about life without underwire, you needn’t be. Most nursing bras are technically designed to give you all the support you need. Choose a bra that fits you properly and you’ll be rewarded with a lovely shape and ultimate comfort.
If you’re worried about saying goodbye to your sexy, `feel good` bras, you need not be. Most lingerie designers aim to keep pregnant women feeling sexy by offering many beautiful choices.
The reality is that you’re on a journey that will see your breasts, tummy and hips all grow larger. You wouldn't stay in your skinny jeans the whole time, so why squeeze your breasts into something that doesn't fit?
Top tips for choosing a nursing bra
Comfort is critical when choosing a nursing bra. You’ve got enough pregnancy and feeding discomforts already without adding an uncomfortable bra into the mix!
Look for a bra that offers top cup stretch, wide straps, and increased hooks and eyes. This way you can purchase bras that fit you now, yet still allow room for growth. You might have been told to buy a nursing bra that’s a bit bigger than your normal cup size to allow for growth, but doing this will only make you uncomfortable now. A bit of stretch and some extra hooks and eyes is all you need.
Choose a nursing bra that’s cotton-lined to allow your breasts to breathe. If choosing one for sleeping, look for rayon or bamboo, which offers various micro-gaps and micro-holes for ultimate breathability.
Choose fabric that's seamless, as seams and stitching or unlined bras can cause irritation on already sensitive and tender breasts. For this same reason, fabric should be super soft and natural to reduce sweat irritation. Fabric should also be stretchy to adjust with your breasts as your milk comes in and out. Look for the three S`s - super soft, stretchy and seamless.
Pay attention to cup pattern structure also, to make feeding simple.
Easy access is the key to good nursing bras. You should be able to open and close your cup fasteners with one hand. Washability is important too, as babies tend to spit up, milk tends to leak and stains are common. Having to worry about handwashing and careful drying can get frustrating, so look for material that’s machine washable. Also look for double layered cups so you can wear it with or without nursing pads.
Comfort and practicality might be queen when it comes to nursing bras, but that doesn’t mean your bras shouldn’t look good. You’re pregnant, and deserve to feel feminine, sexy and empowered! Pregnancy and new motherhood can be challenging, and wearing plain and boring underwear simply won’t cut it when it comes to lifting the spirits. So look for something stylish and beautiful, such as our Millie Nursing Bra in Grey Polkadot, to bring a touch of glamour to your nursing days.
A structured A-frame design secures the bra while feeding, while a wide underband elastic, like that offered in our Raquita Organic Cotton Nursing Bra, will offer support. Some nursing bras offer a flexiwire with a contour cup, but these are not recommended unless breastfeeding is well-established.
All women are different, so find a bra that best supports you. Look for even weight distribution in the breast and a secure fit. Choose quality over price too, as quality matters when it comes to the right support.
It’s a good idea to ensure you always have a clean bra available, so we recommend you purchase at least three nursing bras - one to wear, one for the wash, and one for the drawer. This should be the same when transitioning from a seamless, stretchy bra to a flexible wired bra.
The nursing bra that best suits you will depend on the type of activity you plan to be doing. If you’re needing a bra for everyday wear, our Queen Bee Millie Nursing Bra is a great option. If you want a bra for sleeping in, our Queen Bee Sonata Nursing Sleep Bra is perfect. If it’s exercise you plan on doing, you’ll love the La Leche League Sports Bra.
When to make the switch
It's never too early to slip into a nursing bra. The breasts prepare for lactation quite early in pregnancy and you might find you grow out of your normal bras just a few months in. Generally speaking, most breast changes happen from around four months pregnant, so this is a good time to make the switch.