Hello from Bra Diva Kim! Pregnancy changes your whole life – including your breasts! Most women grow between 1-3 cup sizes during pregnancy, and let’s just say the changes don’t stop there. Finding the right bras to wear during your pregnancy or while nursing is very important! This video walks you through buying bras for pregnancy, nursing, and beyond.
One of the first signs of pregnancy is a growing bust. Every woman’s body is different, but most women grow 1-3 cup sizes during the course of their pregnancy.
Some women also need to go up a band size because of their expanding belly and rib cage. However, don’t go too loose. The bra band is responsible for 90% of the bra’s support, so a snug band that stays in place is very important.
The quickest change comes right after you give birth when milk starts to flow. This is called engorgement (and for good reason!). Engorgement is the point when your breasts are their largest and heaviest.
If you plan on nursing, your breast size can change from day to day in the beginning. Once you and baby are on a regular feeding schedule, you can go back to wearing a constant bra size. Many women go back to their pre-baby back size, but need to wear a cup size that is 1-3 sizes larger than before.
PHEW! That’s a lot of changes, right? That’s why it’s so important to stop into a Linda’s bra fitting salon or remeasure yourself at home frequently while you’re pregnant or nursing. It’s also extremely important to wear quality maternity and nursing bras. The right size and a well made bra will make a huge difference in your comfort and the way you look. This is not the time to rely on stretched out, non adjustable, non supportive bras. Breasts need support to begin with… but pregnant or nursing breasts need even more support!
What is a Maternity Bra? A Maternity bra is a bra that you can wear during your pregnancy while your body is changing. It is NOT a nursing bra. Many women think they should buy and wear nursing bras as soon as they are pregnant, but you can save that purchase until later (see below). I sometimes call maternity bras “transition bras” because it’s their job to keep you supported until the next phase or your next bra size. Some bras are designed specifically to be maternity bras, but many “regular” bras can do the job, as long as they have these features:
- Maternity bras should fit firmly on the tightest or middle hook when you buy them. That way you can adjust out as your rib cage expands, or in as the bra stretches. I suggest investing in two bras at a time to rotate. You’ll need to replace them as they stretch out or as your body rotates.
- Maternity bras with stretchy cups are great because they move with your body, and can accommodate your breasts as they grow. Molded bras may be your go-to style, but pregnancy is a wonderful time to rely on the flexibility of a non molded, or flexible molding bra cup.
- Women who are carrying high may feel more comfortable in a non-underwire bra (also known as “soft cup”). No digging wires into your belly, please! Non underwire bras are also great for every woman during the third trimester when breasts are very sensitive and full. Tip: Non underwire bras are also great for sleeping! Many women love the extra support and comfort at night.
- Most importantly, maternity bras should be supportive and comfortable to avoid back pain and stretch marks. Your breasts are heavier than usual, so wearing the right size and getting adequate support is even more important!
Why should I wear a maternity bra?
- A good maternity bra will help you feel far more comfortable as your breasts grow.
- Wearing a maternity bra helps support the breasts to prevent back pain and even reduces stretch marks. Because your breasts are the heaviest when you are pregnant and nursing, it is especially important to wear a bra that fits.
- Many maternity bras are also designed to be free of allergens and toxins for sensitive skin.
When should I buy a nursing bra? At Linda’s, we recommend buying your first nursing bras at 30-32 weeks of pregnancy. Don’t wait until baby arrives! You’ll be far too busy to come in for a fitting, and chances are you you’ll need a nursing bra right away. You can shop for nursing bras online or at a Linda’s Shop. After engorgement is over, most women are around the same bra size they were at 30 weeks, so this is the perfect time to buy your nursing bras.
Your first breastfeeding bras should be soft cup nursing bras. These non-underwire nursing bras allow room for your breasts to grow during engorgement and have flexible sizing that will help you stay comfortable during the first few weeks of nursing. You should have at least two soft cup nursing bras to alternate wearing during this time. After your cup size goes down, these bras will make great sleep nursing bras. Great for those middle of the night feedings!
Tip: Even if you don’t plan on nursing, you should be prepared with a few non-underwire bras with stretchy cups to accommodate your full breasts during the engorgement period.
Once your baby is breastfeeding on a regular schedule, you can really expand your nursing wardrobe! Modern nursing bras are available in a wide variety of colors and styles, so you’re not just stuck with unflattering white bras.
Most women can comfortably wear an underwire nursing bra at this time. Underwire nursing bras provide great support for heavy breasts. It is very important that you are wearing the right bra size. In the correct cup size, the underwire will lie comfortably under the breast and not interfere with milk production.
Tip: Once you stop nursing, your breasts will change again. Your size or shape may be different. Even if your breasts are a similar size to your pre-pregnancy breasts, chances are that their consistency and firmness will be quite different. Now is the perfect time to count on Linda’s to help you and your breasts look their best.
Listen, we get it. There’s a lot going on during pregnancy, and here at Linda’s we can help you feel comfortable and fabulous through it all.
PS: A special thank you to our lovely model, Reedu, who is also Linda’s Online’s copy writer! The Linda’s staff recently celebrated Reedu and her baby on the way with a Baby “Sprinkle” in the Linda’s office. For photos of this fabulous party, check out this blog post.