The definitive answers to your nursing bra questions
The mental leap from pregnancy to breastfeeding can be a big one, simply because its pretty hard to imagine yourself breastfeeding when you’ve never done it.
Consciously and actively sustaining the life of your child outside of your body is something that you’ve probably at least thought about, however, if you’re pregnant. You’re probably looking forward to nursing! You may have questions about breastfeeding, or you might have worries, if people around you have told you tales of their nursing difficulties. Don’t worry- with a little help, the vast majority of people can successfully breastfeed! We suggest that you get in touch with La Leche League in advance of having your baby, or your nearest IBCLC as soon as you give birth, whether at home or in hospital.
One aspect of the big breastfeeding leap that we can safely put to bed is the question of nursing bras. In this post I’ll answer some of the most common nursing bra questions we get at Evymama, I’ll dispel some nursing bra myths, and I’ll share some wisdom that I’ve gathered from over ten years of fitting nursing bras in Toronto (and sometimes over the phone, for people living far away!)
I know. Five friends and your aunt have all told you NOT to buy a nursing bra before the baby is born. The trouble is, you will need to feed your child within the first hour of their birth. The first few days will be full of recovery, sleep, and intense newborn care. When your milk “comes in” sometime after day two (later in many cases) you’ll need a nursing bra to support your full, heavy nursing breasts, and to hold nursing pads in place.
I strongly suggest getting at minimum two nursing bras in advance of your baby’s birth, so you don’t end up shopping for nursing bras in a laughably small bra that you pretty well have to remove to breastfeed, wearing a dripping wet top, accompanied by a tiny and VERY hungry baby (like I unfortunately did with my first child!) More on timing your nursing bra purchases here.
Wire is not the enemy… and it will still be there for you later
Underwire in nursing bras is the most contentious question in the bra world (other than the “to bra or not to bra” question). Underwire that is flexible (not wire at all, but plastic boning, in most cases) and that is properly fitted to your body should not pose any risk to your breasts. The trouble is, in the early nursing days, your size is very much a moving target. For this reason, it’s best to steer away from wires until your milk production has fallen into a pattern that fits your baby’s demand, and therefore fluctuates a lot less. Until then, stick with wire-fee bras that have some give.
What do we mean by a bra that gives? There are two options here: a bra with an adjustable cup, or a bra with some stretch. Here are some great options for flexible nursing bras for the early postpartum days
Smaller breast options (up to E cup or so)
Bigger breast options (F cup and higher)
Don’t go big
Okay, you can get a bra with a teeny bit of extra room in advance of your baby’s birth, but I don’t ever suggest buying something for an unforeseeable future. It’s best to buy 2-3 bras at a time, in sizes that fit your present size, and that have some stretch room. At Evymama you can leave the tags on your bras if you want to have them handy, and as long as they are in new condition, you can exchange them for a better fit later. We understand the need to feel fully prepared for baby.
I am a huge proponent of hand washing your lingerie. Contrary to what many people think, it’s actually a very quick process, and minimizes wear and tear on your bra investment. However, when you baby is first born, you may be relying on other to take care of your laundry. It’s not a bad idea to get bras that will hold up in the washing machine (on delicate, preferably in a washing bag) so that someone else can take care of that on thing for you!
If you have questions that I haven’t addressed here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! We offer no-appointment necessary bra fittings in our Toronto shop. Artwork credit: Ale Favoretti