It may seem at first that nursing bras are completely separate animals. This is simply not true. The top two priorities are comfort and support, just as they are for your everyday bras. Quick access to the breast is, of course, also a good idea as is adjustability to accommodate fluctuations in breast size. With these factors in mind, it is easy to demystify finding the right nursing bra.
Best Materials For A Nursing Bra
Before you begin looking at nursing bras, use a bra size calculator to ensure a good fit. This should be done late in your third trimester when your breasts are closer to their postpartum size. Keep in mind that as your milk production changes, so will your bra size. It is not uncommon to need nursing bras in a few different sizes before you are finished with breastfeeding.
After you’ve determined your size, consider the fabric. Bras are made of a variety of materials such as lace and nylon. While those fabrics are very pretty, the best choice for a nursing bra is good old-fashioned cotton. It’s breathable, absorbent, and washes easily. All of these are important features to help keep your breasts healthy and comfortable.
If you need a little more stretch than pure cotton provides, go with a cotton fabric blended with lycra or spandex. Just make sure that cotton is the primary fiber content.
Comfortable Bra Styles For Postpartum
You should wear whatever style of bra is most comfortable for you. Many postpartum women wear bras at night for the extra support they provide. In that case, you may need different styles for daywear and nightwear. It is generally recommended that nursing mothers wear wire free bras for greater comfort and better breast health. However, if you really need that wire for support, go for it.
Popular bra styles for breastfeeding and postpartum wear include:
- Crossover front
- Seamless construction
Once you’ve chosen a style, be sure to check accessibility. Is it a pull-down, clip-down, or a pumping slit? Whichever it is, you should be able to handle it with one hand as you will be holding your baby with the other.
Get the Support You Need
First-time mothers are often shocked at how heavy their breasts are when the milk comes in. You can expect them to grow two to three times in size and weight. Support is crucial for your comfort at this stage. For some women, this may mean an underwire bra. However, it is possible to get all the support you need from a softer style.
Look for hefty bands that fit snugly under the best. They should have plenty of four-way stretch to accommodate your changes in size. Consider choosing a comfortable strapless bra, such as a bandeau, with its strong, elasticated, and supportive band. Wide, padded shoulder straps can also help with support. They help to distribute the weight of your breasts throughout your upper body.
As you begin your breastfeeding bra search, talk to professionals at your local store. Get a good fitting, then continue your search online for the right bra for you.