How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You

How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You | Baby Chick

How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You

When it comes to maternity clothes shopping most women think of cute dresses to show off their new baby bump, or maternity pants and shorts that will fit them the rest of their pregnancy. However, they don’t think about another part of their body that is also going to grow. Their breasts. Nursing bras are definitely important to purchase during your pregnancy. But how do you know which nursing bra to get? There are so many on the market. I’m going to break it down so you know what to look for to choose the right nursing bra for you.

1. When Should I Buy Nursing Bras?

You want to buy a nursing bra (or two) not too early in your pregnancy, but not too late. If you purchase them too early your breasts will (more than likely) get larger due to your milk coming in, and your rib cage will expand to make room for your baby. Purchasing your nursing bras too early will lead you to purchase the wrong size. However, if you wait until too late, you will find yourself ordering several quickly online with a baby on you. The problem with this last minute purchasing is the tendency to buy the wrong size and style in haste.

So when is the right time? We recommend buying two nursing bras during your third trimester. By doing this your breasts will be closer to the size they’ll be when you’re breastfeeding and you will only have made a small investment. After you have your baby and your milk has come in, you will know which style you prefer from your two bras and will be able to get a bigger size if necessary.

2. What Material Should I Choose?

Our nipples are sensitive. We all know that. They become even more sensitive when you start breastfeeding. All of the sucking and tugging from breastfeeding can really take their toll on the girls, so finding materials that will be soft and comfortable to wear are key. I highly recommend getting a nursing bra that is made of cotton, especially when you are first starting your breastfeeding journey.

READ MORE
5 Reasons Your Baby Wants to Breastfeed AGAIN

There are some other newer synthetic materials on the market that also allow your skin to breathe. Bravado has quite a selection of fabrics that are delicate enough for your breasts. If you are purchasing elsewhere, just make sure that you don’t buy anything with a plastic lining.

3. What Style Should I Get?

Nursing bras have really evolved over the years. There are several styles available that you can choose from. There are:

  • Comfort nursing bras – Instead of a cup size and measurement, these range in sizes from small, medium, large, etc. They are a favored by many women since they provide good support, but less structure. I personally love comfort nursing bras and adore The Original Nursing Bra as well as the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra from Bravado. They are super comfortable to wear and you can wear them anytime, anywhere. If your girls are a bit bustier, try The Original Full Cup Nursing Bra.
  • Underwire nursing bras – When I am going out for a work appointment or a date night with my husband I love the Belle Underwire Nursing Bra. Underwire bras are fine to wear as long as they fit you properly and have enough stretch to grow as your breasts grow.
  • Sleeping bras – I love a good sleeping bra! Sleeping bras are made to be worn at home lounging with baby as well as for sleeping, of course. They are incredibly comfortable and allow you to pull the soft elastic fabric to the side to nurse your little one. I recommend you only wearing these at home since they provide very little support.

4. Should I Get an Underwire Nursing Bra?

Some women hear that they shouldn’t get a nursing bar with underwire because it can cause clogged milk ducts. While this can be true, there are actually things that you can do to avoid this. The first step is to be properly fitted, preferably by a professional. The second step is to wait six to eight weeks before you wear one. Why? The underwire in the bra can obstruct the breast’s milk-producing tissue around your rib cage and your armpit. Waiting until you have breastfeeding and your milk supply established helps avoid clogged ducts and getting an infection.

How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You | Baby Chick

How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You | Baby Chick

5. How Do I Measure Myself for a Nursing Bra?

Our breasts change dramatically after we have a baby. Here are some steps to help you get the right measurements for your nursing bra:

READ MORE
Frequent Night Waking with Your Breastfed Baby—What’s Normal?

Step 1: Determine your band size –  How do you do this? Grab a measuring tape and wrap it around your back, under your armpits and up above your breasts. Always round up to the nearest whole number when measuring. You will then determine if you are 34, 36, 38, etc.

How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You | Baby Chick

Step 2: Determine your cup size – To do this, measure yourself around your back and then over the center of your breasts. This should be the fullest part of your breasts. Subtract your band size circumference from the mid-breast circumference to determine your cup size. For example, if your band size is 38 and you have a 42 inch mid-breast circumference, you have 4 inches worth of cup size. Each inch stands for a bra cup size: A, B, C, D, etc. With 4 inches, you should be looking for a bra around 36D.

If the Difference Is:

  • 1/2″ – 1″
  • 2″
  • 3″
  • 4″
  • 5″
  • 6″
  • 7″
  • 8″
  • 9″
  • 10″
  • 11″
  • 12″

Your Cup Size Is:

  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • DD/E
  • DDD/F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L

6. What If My Body Changes More than I Expected?

On a standard bra you will have a few rows of hooks at the back so that you can adjust the fit to your body. Nursing bras usually have several more rows of hooks, which is great since your breast size will change throughout your pregnancy, after baby and even throughout the day as your breasts fill and your baby empties.

I love how Bravado also provides bra extenders for their bras as well in case you need more room for better comfort.

READ MORE
5 Tips Every Exclusively Pumping Mom Needs to Know

How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You | Baby Chick

Another cool thing they provide with some of their bras is a bra conversion kit. This bra conversion kit gives you the option to convert your Bravado nursing bra to a “regular bra” once you have completed your breastfeeding journey.

How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You | Baby Chick

How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You | Baby Chick

7. How Many Nursing Bras Should I Get?

Professionals normally recommend that you buy three: “one to wear, one in the laundry, and one in your drawer.” I have more than three which allows me to wash less often. 😉

How to Choose the Right Nursing Bra for You | Baby Chick

8. Still Having Problems?

Make an appointment with a pro! You can get fitted by an expert–a certified bra fitter–that knows exactly what size and style you need. Call your local maternity stores to find one near you. If you’re unable to find one, visit Bravado’s bra fitting guide page or contact them at 1-800-590-7802. They’ll answer your questions and help you with your nursing bra purchase!

Good luck on finding the perfect nursing bra for you!

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About the Author /

Nina is The Baby Chick® & CEO of Baby Chick®. She is a baby planner, birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator, newborn care specialist, and a mother. With over eight years of experience, she has supported hundreds of families during their pregnancies, births, and postpartum journeys.

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