What I wish I’d known that will help you find a comfortable and stylish nursing bra.
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I nursed my baby for sixteen months, but I must confess that I did not particularly enjoy wearing nursing bras. Today I’m hoping to help you learn more about nursing bras so you can hopefully start off your breastfeeding journey wearing nursing bras you’re excited about!
Before I started breastfeeding, there was a lot I simply didn’t know about nursing bras. I knew that nursing bras were generally designed with special latches or hooks on the straps to facilitate breastfeeding. (If you’ve ever tried to nurse in a regular bra, you know why these hooks are so important!) I didn’t know about other ways that make nursing bras different from normal bras. I’d love to tell you more about what I didn’t know that you are better prepared when you go shopping for nursing bras. Then I’ll share my favorite nursing bras and some nursing bras I’d love to try the second time around.
Nursing Bras Often Do Not Have Underwire
There are exceptions to this rule, but the majority of nursing bras don’t feature underwire. Why is this? There are a couple of reasons. Making bras without underwire allows for a more flexible cup, which is easier to fold down for quick access. Also, some people worry that underwire bras make women more susceptible to mastitis, which none of us want. (This article from Dr. Sears addresses that concern.) If you hate your underwire bras, then bras with soft cups are cause for celebration. I love and need the support of underwire bras, so I was surprised to learn that underwire would be out of the picture for a while. I tried on several nursing bras before I found an option that gave me comfortable support while also providing a smooth foundation under my outfits without underwire. (I’ve provided a few promising underwire options in the slideshow below!)
Nursing Bras Often Have Unlined, Unpadded Cups
Soft, unlined cups really do make it easier to push your bra out of the way to nurse! Therefore, many nursing bras do not have the padding or support you’d find in a traditional bra. Additionally, many nursing bras are designed to be worn with nursing pads. If you’re wearing a nursing bra without nursing pads, you may feel exposed when wearing tops made of lighter fabrics. Some bras have removable pads you can slip in and out to address this problem. When I tried bras with that feature, they did add bulk. The Simple Wishes Supermom All-in-One bra includes these inserts so that utilitarian bra can convert quickly from a pumping bra to a t-shirt bra. My favorite nursing bras provided coverage even when worn without nursing pads.
Many Nursing Bras Offer Full-Coverage
Have you ever worn a full-coverage bra? The cup of a full-coverage bra tends to be higher and wider than the cup of a traditional bra. Before nursing bras, I had never worn a full-coverage bra. I prefer classic t-shirt bras or demi-cups. The first time I put on a nursing bra, it honestly felt like putting on armor.
As you can see, I was genuinely surprised about how nursing bras differ from traditional bras! So what would I do differently to make my experience with nursing bras better?
Keep Shopping Until You Find a Bra That Works For You
Six months into breastfeeding (and several nursing bras later) I found two nursing bras I really liked. I liked the Bravado buttercup bra because it gave me a nice smooth foundation. It’s not an underwire bra, but it offered more support than any other nursing bra I tried. It was also easy to find online, which is a plus. You can order it here from Amazon.
My favorite nursing bra was this contour plunge bra by Cake Maternity. It looked and felt the most like one of my regular bras. The shape of it was similar to a traditional bra and it was a light bra that still offered comfortable support. I also have this nursing tank from Cake, which I find super comfortable for wearing to bed
Buy the Correct Size
I own nursing bras in three different sizes! During the sixteen months that I nursed, I lost all of my pregnancy weight (about forty pounds). The size of bra I needed changed depending on my supply and my weight loss. Each time I bought nursing bras, I was sized by a professional lactation consultant. (The one time I tried to “guess” my size, I ended up with tiny shelf-bras that were completely useless to me and I had wasted my money.) If you’re wearing a bra in the correct size, I believe you’ll look and feel better.
Be Willing to Invest in Comfort and Style
Bras can definitely be expensive. It’s tempting to buy just one style of bra and tell yourself to make it work. I bought several bralettes that simply didn’t fit. I also bought nursing bras that allowed me to nurse easily, but didn’t work well as foundational garments underneath my everyday clothing. Try on lots of different styles of bras and look for something that will make you feel and look great! Finding your favorite nursing bras may take some effort, but that effort will pay off in comfort and style!
My Favorite Nursing Bras
Because I want you to look and feel great while you’re wearing nursing bras, I’ve rounded up a handful of stylish options you may want to consider. You’ll find my two favorite nursing bras, and lots of other styles I’m interested in trying!
Nursing bras are different from regular bras in many ways, but they can still be supportive and stylish. Know that your breast size will fluctuate quite a bit beginning in pregnancy and through breastfeeding and the weaning process. Shop carefully for your nursing bras, and stock up when you find a style that you love!
Did you wear a nursing bra that you really loved? Tell me about the brand and style in the comments below!
I love to help other moms succeed at breastfeeding. Check out my post about cleaning your breast pump and the Ultimate Breastfeeding Checklist for New Moms.
My name is Kate and I live in a California beach town with my husband & baby girl. At High Low Baby, I review baby products at high and low price points.
I wish I had read this earlier! Finding the right nursing bra is so hard and investing in a good one is so important!