One of the issues I agonized about when I was about seven months pregnant with my first son was the issue of nursing bras. Where would I buy one? What size would fit me? What was I supposed to be looking for while buying? What colors were best -or did color really matter? How many bras would I need? Did I need those with lace, padded ones, (or push-ups even?), or did I need those with an underwire and if I did, would they block my milk ducts…. I had no clue. So I instead preferred to procrastinate on the issue.
Thankfully, my mom –seeing that I clearly wasn’t keen on the urgency of the matter surprised me one day by gifting me three new nursing bras. She actually did so two days before I got my son! This was in my ninth month of pregnancy. Don’t ask me what I was planning to wear if she hadn’t done so because truth be told, I was TOO tired and TOO lazy and TOO heavy that I didn’t even have the energy to do anything. Don’t we just thank God for moms?
Anyway, if you are an expectant mom and are in a similar situation, there are some tips that you should look out for when buying a nursing bra. I spoke to Josie M. Karoki, a Breastfeeding counselor and Lactation consultant at Huny Suckle who shares the following tips about what to look out for when shopping for a nursing bra:
1) Use a sizing guide to measure your size as this will help you buy a bra that is your correct size. After measuring your size, you may not end up with the bra size you think you wear, but you’ll most likely end up with one that fits better.
2) Your breasts will enlarge as your milk “comes in” after birth, so purchase one or two less expensive bras late in pregnancy. Buy those that are one numerical size and one cup size bigger than your normal size. For instance, buy a 38D if you’re currently a 36C.
3) There are certain designs of nursing bras that can be worn during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. These tend to have the cross-over design at the front and also make good sleeping bras because not only are they comfortable, but they still offer some good amount of support.
4) When your breast size settles down -usually after the second week, purchase additional bras that fit well.
5) Most nursing bras have several rows of hooks at the back to allow for changes in breast size and ribcage 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 or a bit smaller.
6) Different bras provide different levels of support and even women who are small breasted will feel heavy and full when the milk “comes in”. However, it is very important for large breasted women to wear a bra with extra support to prevent back pain and discomfort around the breasts.
7) The bras that offer the best support have wide shoulder straps and fabric that surrounds the entire breast even when the cup is open for feeding.
8) 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.
9) There are many styles of nursing bras available for breastfeeding moms to choose from. It is advisable to initially buy only one of a particular style, to test it. When you find a bra you really like and on that suits you, then purchase more of that style.
10) Some nursing bras have underwire that provides extra support. If you choose a nursing bra of this style, make sure it is a good bra with underwire that is soft and flexible to prevent discomfort and to ensure the wire does not press on the breast thus causing blocked ducts.
Josie M. Karoki can be reached on Josephine@hunysuckle.com
other photos: huny suckle