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!

 

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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!

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Why do people tell me not to wear wired bras during pregnancy?

It’s not because we don’t understand that you’ve always worn wired bras and know nothing different. It’s not because we want you to feel unsupported during pregnancy. And it’s certainly not because, “that’s what we did in our day”.

Your body changes as soon as you conceive your baby. Some of you will have noticed changes immediately, others it takes longer. Your body starts to prepare for your baby over the whole nine months. To start with, your breasts grow and you may notice your nipples alter colour and size. As you start to reach the end of your first trimester, your ribs start to grow to allow space for your baby to get bigger.

anita underwired maternity bra

Anita 5035 underwired bra

Underwired bras often use quite a firm wire to give the bra good support and shape. This will be quite rigid, and will be unable to adapt to your changing body shape and size. You will find that the wires start to dig into your breast tissue and may cause discomfort, or even blocked ducts – yes, even during pregnancy this is possible!

So, when a bra fitter tells you that they advise you to wear soft cup bras during pregnancy, it’s usually because this will save you money, (not buying new size underwired bras every few weeks). It’s also to keep you comfy and your breasts safe from harm.

Having said that, there are some great underwired bras for wearing during pregnancy, which uses specially designed softer wires, which stretch with your changing shape. They may not suit everyone, and with a great variety of supportive, pretty and sexy maternity bras out there, you may not need wires to keep you smiling during pregnancy!

If you have any questions or concerns about underwired bras for pregnancy, please ask our Bra Lady team.

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.