Being a new or expecting momma isn’t always easy. Here are some pointers to help get you started on your nursing journey.
The terms “nursing bra” and “maternity bra” are often used interchangeably. Maternity clothes are often designed with stretch materials around the waist to accommodate your changing size. On the other hand, nursing apparel is focused on comfort and easy access for feeding your little one. Wearing nursing bras during pregnancy allows try different styles to find the perfect fit before you start breastfeeding.
During pregnancy and after the birth of your baby, your breasts will grow larger and heavier, especially once your milk comes in. Nursing bras are specifically designed to accommodate your ever changing size and shape and feature buckles, clips, and openings for easy nursing access. While nursing your baby, your breasts size may fluctuate as they fill with milk and shrink after feeding. Many of our bras are constructed with stretch fabrics or adjustable bands to make these size changes more comfortable.
There is no right answer here. Every pregnancy is unique. You may find that your size continues to change throughout your pregnancy or it may stay pretty consistent. Because of this, you may need to shop for new bras several times or just once. If your bra is too tight (for example when the band is digging in and/or you’re spilling out of the cups) that’s the right time to size up. If you are preparing well in advance, we usually find that most women start shopping around the 4-6 month range.
We do not suggest just buying your regular, pre-pregnancy, bras size. Since your body has been changing, so to will your size. Your old bras may be stretched and the fabric warn. Different brands have a different fit, as do variations from one style of bra to the next. We suggest that you measure yourself using the instructions on our fit guide. It may be helpful to have someone assist to make sure you get accurate measurements. Standing in front of a mirror and utilizing a soft tape measure works best. Our fit guide offers an easy fit calculator to plug in your measurements and we will give you our suggestion for proper sizing.
We recommend having at least 3 nursing bras: one to wear, one to wash, and one just in case. Leaking is common, especially in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, so the more nursing bras you have available the less you need to worry about doing the next load of laundry. Nursing bras are also available for different factivities – sports bras for the gym, strapless bras with a dress, t-shirt bras for everyday, sleep bras for hanging at home, etc.
It is best to hand wash your bras and allow them to hang dry. Machine washing and drying is the fastest way to ruin a bra’s construction. If you do throw it in the wash (again, not recommended), always use a lingerie bag. When you’re done washing your bra, make sure there are no wires poking out – this is usually the first place where bras wear out.
Experienced moms recommend sleeping in a nursing sleep bra, allowing for added support during the night and reducing breast tenderness. When you’re nursing, sleeping in a bra gives the added benefit of being able to hold your nursing pads in place to contain any leaking milk. It’s not recommended that nursing moms sleep in a wired bra, so we offer wire-free sleep bras with no hooks, clips, or seams to keep you awake.
Underwire nursing bras do offer more support than soft cup bras, which may be more comfortable for large-breasted moms-to-be. Soft-cup maternity and nursing bras are usually more comfortable when the breasts are at their fullest; soft-cup seamless bras are especially recommended during the first 4-6 weeks of nursing when your milk production is still adjusting to your baby's needs. We often find Le Leche League customers prefer a combination of both.
Our #1 rule for nursing bras is to be comfortable. We want you to love your bras and your breastfeeding journey. As long at the bras are clean, unwashed, and unworn, with the tags still attached, they can be returned within 30 days. If the bras are worn, stained, or the tags are removed, we cannot accept them back due to health code concerns. For more information, please visit our return and exchange policy.