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 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.