Do I have to wear nursing bras?

Do I have to wear nursing bras? This question is often asked by ladies in their first pregnancy because it is all new to them and they don’t know what they need in terms of new bras.

However, the answer isn’t necessarily a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and there are different reasons why you do or don’t have to wear nursing bras!

Firstly, let me explain what a nursing bra actually is, because if this is your first pregnancy, you might not actually understand the difference between a maternity bra and a nursing bra.

HOTmilk Eclipse Nursing Bra

Quite simply, a nursing bra is a bra which has nursing clips. These clips allow you to pull down the cup of the bra for easy feeding access. Usually these bras don’t have underwires in them, although there are several underwired nursing bras on the market*.  You can wear a nursing bra during pregnancy but is not necessary as you won’t need the nursing clips until you start breastfeeding.

*I don’t recommend wearing underwired nursing bras until after at least 12 weeks post birth. Read about underwired nursing bras here.

A maternity bra is just a term for a bra that you wear during pregnancy. Many ladies continue to wear their normal bras during pregnancy but then get to a stage where they are uncomfortable and need new bras. At this point, they usually move into wearing a maternity bra, which is essentially a soft cup bra that does not have nursing clips.

So, do you have to wear a nursing bra?

HOTmilk Eclipse Nursing Bra

During pregnancy, no it isn’t necessary, although many ladies will wear a nursing bra when they are moving from their normal bras to a soft cup bra. This is because many of the styles of nursing bra that I stock are designed to be worn during pregnancy as well as for breastfeeding. HOTmilk and Cake Lingerie bras for example, typically have 6 sets of hooks at the back. This means that you can start to wear the bra during early pregnancy on the tightest fitting and it will then grow with you as your bump expands.

If you are planning on breastfeeding though, then a nursing bra becomes more essential. By wearing a nursing bra, you will be well supported, particularly if your breasts become heavy when your milk comes in and you will be able to easily pull down the cup for access to your breast. The last thing you want when baby is hungry is not being able to easily attach baby to your breast!

So, does this all make sense? Have I answered your question: do I have to wear nursing bras? Is there anything else you want to know? Ask me here in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #brafittingFAQ and I will answer anything you need to know!

Emma x

Our Top Tips for Brafitting

So this morning, we hosted #BabyHour over on Twitter and it quickly became clear that lots of ladies were wearing the wrong sized bras, but didn’t really know how a bra should be fitting for them to be comfy.download

We quickly put together this list of top tips and the response was amazing! We certainly educated lots of ladies about brafitting this morning!

 

images

 

1. Don’t expect to be the same size in every style of bra you try on!

2. You should be comfy & supported in whatever bra you are wearing. If it’s not comfy, it’s not right!

3. The support comes from getting the band size right. Many ladies wear a band far too big!

4. Your cup should be fully supported and no ‘double boob’ or ‘overspill’!

5. Some styles just won’t suit you! Find styles that work for you and stick to them!

6. You might need a different sized bra for different times during your monthly cycle.

7. A bra should only last for around 6 months. After that it will lose it’s support.

8. You should rotate your bras so that you don’t wear the same bra 2 days in a row.

So whichever style of bra you are wearing, make sure you follow these top tips and be comfy and supported!  We are always happy to give support and advice, either before you purchase or even after if you are not sure about the fit once it arrives!

538673516

Become a bras4mums agent

We know that very often and in many parts of the country, women find it very difficult to find a maternity or nursing bra. One that fits, one that is comfy, one that is pretty… the list goes on for what women are looking for in their maternity or nursing bras.download-150x150

We also know that despite all the support and advice we can provide, buying bras off the internet can also be a daunting task and many would prefer to try the bras on before buying.

With that in mind, we have a fantastic opportunity for you!

Are you a new mum meeting other local mums?  Are you a midwife, doula, breastfeeding supporter or other healthcare professional looking for another way to support your clients?

With a minimal start up cost, negotiable to your local requirements, and some basic training, would you like to supplement your income?

We are looking for ladies across the country to support pregnant ladies and breastfeeding mums in their area and spread the bras4mums love!

Could this be you?

If you would like more information on this great opportunity, please email us at info@bras4mums.co.uk

Bras for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding – what you need to know!

Bras! Where do you start? Some women when they get pregnant ignore the changes in their breasts and just carry on as usual and then finally when it all gets too uncomfortable buy new bras. But at that stage they then realise that they could have been comfy all along!

So, we suggest that you get new bras when you start to feel that the ones you’ve got don’t fit any more. Makes sense really doesn’t it? That’s what we do with our other clothing (unless we’re in denial about dress sizes!), so why not our bras?

Anita Maternity BustierOur breasts start to get ready for breastfeeding baby (even if you don’t plan to breastfeed, your breasts don’t know that!), when you first conceive. So we usually expect women to need a new bra during the first trimester. We suggest a simple soft bra, usually a bustier type bra, is a good buy at this stage. Women often get tender and sore breasts in the first 12-16 weeks, so a soft bra that you can sleep in is a good investment.

If you get more structured bras (that do up at the back, with a bit more support in them), I’d suggest you get them towards the end of the first trimester. Maybe after your first scan so you don’t mind too much about spending money now you know it’s really true that you’re pregnant! A rule of thumb for buying a maternity bra at this stage, is to increase the band size, and keep the same cup size, or increase it. You’ll know what’s best for you, and our specialist bra fitters can always advise you on what’s likely to last to the end of pregnancy.

There are a few unlucky ladies whose breasts continue to grow during pregnancy, but this is rare. So, the bra that you get at the end of your first trimester should last you to the end of your pregnancy, AS LONG AS YOU’VE FITTED IT ON IT’S TIGHTEST SETTING WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT, to allow for the band to grow with your rib cage during pregnancy.

HOTmilk Show Off nursing bra

HOTmilk Show Off Nursing Bra

The best time to get fitted for nursing bras, is at about 35-36 weeks, when your ribs are at their biggest. This way we know that your ribs will get smaller, but your breasts will get bigger – yes, again! You fit this bra on it’s loosest setting as you would a normal bra. So, the starting point at this stage is your pre-pregnancy band size, and 2-3 cup sizes bigger than you were before you got pregnant.

Always make sure the bra covers your whole breast as anything pressing on the breast can cause blocked ducts, and potentially lead to mastitis, which you really do not want. Sometimes you need to change the style of the bra, rather than just change the size. Ask our specialist fitters for advice on different styles you can try.

Bra fitting is not easy at the best of times, with all styles and manufacturers fitting differently. It’s even more complicated with an ever changing body and breast shape. But, it’s so important to be comfortable. Yes, comfort above style during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some would disagree, but if you’re not comfy, it can affect your milk let down when feeding, and can also make you feel grumpy about being uncomfortable.

There is so much selection out there of maternity and nursing bras (and you can wear nursing bras during pregnancy if they’re the right style for you.) Some of you will have more limited choice with your size. But there may still be a choice if you use a specialist bra shop, like bras4mums.

The bras4mums range caters for the many changes your body will undergo during pregnancy and breast feeding, with your complete comfort in mind. With bras4mums, you can be a loving mother and an attractive woman, presenting a stunning cleavage and curvaceous silhouette to be proud of! In a perfectly fitting, functional yet feminine bra you will feel beautiful inside and out! Happy, confident Mums produce happy babies – you and your baby deserve the best!

 

When should I be fitted for a maternity bra?

One of the first questions we get asked by women once they find out that they are pregnant is ‘When should I get fitted for a maternity bra?’

Recently we have had a lot of ladies a few weeks into pregnancy who have come to us as they are just so uncomfortable in their ‘normal’ bras that they need something softer.  Changes in their body will mean that the bras that they are used to wearing are no longer the right size or shape to give them the support they need.

As soon as you discover you’re pregnant, you’ll probably notice a change in your breasts. For some ladies, this change is what first alerts them to the fact that they may be pregnant! Breasts can be tender, tingly, sore and they can feel bigger from the very early stages of pregnancy.

Anita maternity bra

Anita maternity bra

We recommend you get a comfy maternity bra for this very early stage, particularly if you have sore breasts. Something like the Anita maternity bra, or Emma Jane maternity bra are ideal at this time. For larger breasted ladies, the Royce Sadie Maternity bra is an ideal solution.

You may find that wearing a bra at night helps with the tenderness, but we’re all different. What works for your sister or friend may not work for you!

Your first bra fitting for a maternity bra should be towards the end of your first trimester. This can be from week 10 – 14.  Anything pressing on your breast tissue can cause discomfort and blocked ducts, even at this early stage!  Depending on your height, the bras you get at this stage should last you until the end of your pregnancy.

bra fitting on tightest hookWhen you try bras on at end of the first trimester, make sure they’re fitting firmly when fitted on their tightest setting i.e. you can’t see any other hooks on the back of the bra. This way, the bra will last you during your pregnancy when your ribs grow during the rest of your pregnancy.

The only time this doesn’t always work, is if you’re on the shorter side! Your ribs will grow more than a taller lady during your pregnancy. You may be able to get away with using bra extenders, but as you can see from this photo, a bra extender may make the bra too wide for your shoulders & a new size bra may be the best option for you.

HOTmilk Show Off nursing bra

HOTmilk Show Off

You can choose any bras that are comfy and support your whole breast. These can be with or without nursing clips as they don’t show through clothing and you have more choice from suppliers like Cake, Bravado and HOTmilk. You may notice that one breast is bigger than the other – this is totally normal, and is often a more noticeable difference during pregnancy.

 

Underwires or no wires?

We suggest you avoid bras with wires in during your pregnancy, mainly for comfort, but mainly because they can be very structured and not flexible enough to move around your growing breasts and body. If you do want to wear wired bras, then we’d suggest the Anita underwired bras as they use more flexible wires and the fabric is more suitable for pregnancy.

If all goes well, your maternity bra will last until 35-36 weeks when it’ll be time to get your nursing bras fitted. This way, you get the best value out of all your bras during your pregancy and breastfeeding. We’ll cover nursing bra fitting another day.

We hope this helps give an overview of when to get fitted for a maternity bra during your pregnancy. We’re here to help answer your queries, and offer personal advice by phone, email, twitter or Facebook – whichever suits you!

Win Tickets to the Sandown Park Baby & Toddler Show 17-19 April

We are very excited about the new Baby & Toddler Show in April which is being held at Sandown Park.

We will be there on stand B38 to give advice and free fittings for pregnant ladies and new mums and we have 5 pairs of tickets worth £20 each to giveaway :)

Along with our usual popular styles from HOTmilk, Bravado, Cake Lingerie, Emma-Jane & Carriwell, we will be launching a new style from Cake Lingerie…. more details will be here soon.

We will also have a range of breastfeeding clothing and accessories, so we look forward to seeing and supporting you on your pregnancy and breastfeeding journey.

Simply enter the prize draw below, which closes on 12th April 2015.

All tickets have to be booked through the Baby and Toddler Show website by 16th April to be valid.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win tickets for the East of England Baby Show

Win 1 of 5 pairs of tickets to the East of England Baby & Toddler Show

We love meeting pregnant and breastfeeding women at baby shows and helping them to find comfy, supportive & pretty bras! Now we’re looking forward to supporting even more women at the East of England Baby Show on Sunday 2nd November at the East of England Showground in Peterborough.

brasformums at Manchester

bras4mums at Manchester

We’ve got 5 pairs of tickets to give away, so you can come for a bra fitting on the stand and try one of our many ranges, covering sizes 28 – 48 band & A – L cups.
The giveaway closes on 30th October to give us time to get the tickets out to you in the post.

Come and see us on the bras4mums stand. We’re bringing most of our range, and will have a fitting room available for you to try on, and have advice from our experienced bra fitter Emma. If there’s anything particular you want us to bring for you to see or try, please let us know by 31st October, so we can put it in the van!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When will my breasts get back to normal?

This is a question we hear frequently. It’s often when a woman has been breastfeeding, and wants to ‘get back to normal bras’. Is this something you’ve considered, or chatted about with girlfriends?

Well, firstly, what’s normal for you will be different to your friends or sisters. It depends on lots of factors, but it’s mainly our own DNA and hormones that affect what happens to our body. Whilst a bra may affect longevity of well shaped and toned breasts, it can’t affect what will naturally happen over time – gravity.

Depending how long you breastfeed for, and how often you’re feeding, is probably the most important factor in answering this question. If you’re feeding morning and night, and have been for the last month or so, and continue to do so for the next few months, then this ‘normal’ for you will allow your breasts to settle into a new pattern. When you stop breastfeeding altogether, it will still take a few months for your breasts to get used to not making milk. However, as they’ve only been used twice a day, this should be a relatively small change for you.

If, on the other hand, you’ve been breastfeeding fully and are now returning to work and expect to finish breastfeeding totally, your change in breast shape and size will be more dramatic. There will still be some months before things settle totally, but you’ve been making milk for your baby for the past 6 months, and now you’re not. Your body needs time to readjust.

The other question to think about is if you’re planning to lose weight. Weight gain and loss can make a big difference to your breast shape and size at any time in your life, not just after baby has been born.

Some women will keep their fuller breasts, others will lose the fullness they had before pregnancy, particularly at the top of the breast. Just be aware of what’s happened to you so you can adjust your bra styles accordingly.

HOTmilk Lingerie black nursing bra

HOTmilk Eclipse nursing bra

What can I do about it? Well, all you can do is wait really. However, you do need to make sure your breasts are properly supported throughout breastfeeding and the changes. Remembering bras last, in their fully supportive state, for about 6 months, treating yourself to good bras that will last through your changes are a good investment. Don’t leave it thinking “I’ll get bras once my breasts have settled”, and be without good support for the next 4 months! Get yourself a good, nursing bra that you’re comfortable wearing for work, and or pleasure, that will last through these final changes. There’s lots of lovely nursing bras out there, so you’ll feel ‘normal’ at any stage. Our sister site bras4all stocks ‘normal bras’, so our bra fitters are able to help you through this time of transition.

Any questions? If you have a question about bra fitting, please email it to info@bras4mums.co.uk, or tweet us @bras4mums and we’ll be happy to find the answer. With over 10 years of bra fitting pregnant and breastfeeding women, we’ve seen most things at least once!

Why does my bra hurt now I’m pregnant?

This is a very common question during pregnancy, so you’re not alone in asking it!

Bra band folds over

Bra band folds over

Do you recognise this picture? Could it have been your partner taking this photo of you?

This photo was taken by the partner of a lady 26 weeks pregnant, so if you’re around this stage in pregnancy, or later, then it’s a very common problem.

Reason why? Well, your growing bump is causing there to be very little space between breasts and bump for a bra band to sit firmly and well.

If, like this lady, the bra you’re wearing that’s folding over is a fairly firm support maternity bra (the one pictured is a Hotmilk maternity bra), the the firm band doesn’t really have any option but to fold over as there is no-where else for it to go!

Some of you during pregnancy cannot stand anything pressing on bump. For you, we suggest something softer around your ribs. It won’t be as supportive, but, it won’t be for long. This will only last for the rest of your pregnancy, so don’t worry about it. You’ll be able to get back to your firmer more supportive bras for breastfeeding and after the birth.

Remember as well that your body, and bump, changes shape and size during the day. So, what feels and looks fine in the morning might not later on as your body grows with heat and movement.

What can I do about it? If, like this lady, you’re uncomfortable, then this is likely to continue/get worse as bump grows even more over the next few weeks. Depending on your cup size, we’d suggest a softer, less structured bra for the rest of your pregnancy like Bravado Seamless bra, Cake Cotton Candy bra, or the Bravado Custom bra. There are other styles, (see seamless nursing bras), but these tend to work for most women we fit.

Even though the bands on these bras are often wider/deeper, as they are softer, even if they do roll up a bit they won’t be as uncomfortable. It’s also likely that these less structured seamless bras will be about the right size for your initial breastfeeding bra, and will last you for the initial few weeks of breastfeeding.

Any questions? If you have a question about bra fitting, please email it to info@bras4mums.co.uk, or tweet us @bras4mums and we’ll be happy to find the answer. With 10 years of bra fitting pregnant and breastfeeding women, we’ve seen most things at least once! We’ll be answering questions here once a week, and will be available online for individual queries. We’ll be using #brafittingFAQ to share some simple tips on twitter if you’d like to follow us there.

Review – HOTmilk Eclipse nursing bra

Our reviewer Liz is halfway through her second pregnancy. Here she reviews the Bras4Mums bra fitting service and the Hot Milk Eclipse. This was first published on Brighton Mums

HOTmilk Lingerie black nursing bra

HOTmilk Eclipse nursing bra

I was delighted to receive in the post my new HOTMilk Eclipse bra yesterday. I found the process of getting a well fitting bra very simple through Bras4mums. I had a phone consultation with TJ at a prearranged time and she talked me through my body shape, current size, pre-pregnancy size and my style preferences. It seems she made unerring judgement about what would fit as the first size she suggested is spot on, despite me having doubts about it.

This is my second pregnancy and I managed to get through the first, as well as 16 months of breastfeeding, with my (now) F cup boobs staying in pretty much the same place. This was through judicious purchasing of bigger and bigger supportive bras and being re-measured regularly! However, somehow in this second pregnancy I feel much more relaxed about everything and more reluctant to shell out loads of money – pregnancy feels more like a transition period this time rather than a major event in itself. Still, after a few weeks of struggling with wearing my pre-pregnancy, wired bras, and then a few more of wearing last pregnancy’s (now) ill-fitting non-wired ones, I have admitted to myself it really is important to be both comfortable and supported, with a new and properly fitting bra.

First of all to check I liked the style and to get a rough idea of fit, TJ sent out a bra that was one cup-size too big while she waited for the new stock to arrive. This was a great idea as it gave us both an inkling if whether we were on the right track. Finding it fitted round the back but was too big in the cup (as expected) I sent this back and the new one in the right size arrived as soon as it came in stock.

The HOTmilk eclipse is an excellent bra. It is very full in the cup and has 3 hook fastenings at the back. This makes for a very supportive bra and my boobs are still in the same place at the end of the day as they were at the beginning (anyone with big boobs knows this isn’t a given!). It doesn’t dig in anywhere, and despite having gone up a backsize in order to accommodate the fact my ribcage will expand, it doesn’t seem to be riding up at the back. It’s quite attractive too with plenty of lace in various places. Its sister bra, the ivory HOTmilk Luminous is also very attractive and I will shortly be ordering one of these in the same size. The additional bonus is that both of these bras have drop cups and will be suitable for breastfeeding (if I don’t grow too much before then!).

All in all I’m very pleased with this new bra and look forward to going back to Bras4mums for advice as I expand during the pregnancy!

This service and the bra were given to Liz free of charge in exchange for an honest review. If you need bra fitting advice, contact info@bras4mums.co.uk