What is Nursing Bra?
Nursing bra is designed with cups that open. It typically has flaps or panels that can be unclipped and folded down or to the side with one hand so that baby can nurse while the rest of the bra stays in place. It is designed to provide quick and easy access to the breast for the purpose of breastfeeding baby/ toddler. Nursing bras can be worn under a variety of outer garments.
There are many brands out there making gorgeous and stylish nursing bras with all the design of a fashion forward regular bra. As you can see, I found nursing bra a must have while breastfeeding because it ease my breastfeeding life. For my 2nd baby, I started to use nursing bras everyday since 2nd term of pregnancy as I feel more comfortable without the underwire and soft support.
Reasons To Use Nursing Bra
It makes breastfeeding easier. For my first child, I thought I can pull bra up or down, or pull breast out of a regular bra, but it’s not that easy. Nursing in public is also easier when I’m not fiddling with pulling breast or bra up or down.
Nursing bras can change with changing breast. Many nursing bras adjust as breast fills with milk or empties out. Regular bra is not meant to adjust this way.
Nursing bras can conceal leaks and hold breast pads. Most nursing bras are meant to hold pads or even come with their own pads or padding for leaks.
Nursing bras come in soft support, underwire support, sleep support and everything in between. There are so many options and you do not need to sacrifice style. Many nursing bras can be wear as regular bras after done nursing making them more cost effective.
Nursing bras are healthier for breast. Having support and bras that adjust with breast can help prevent issues. It is important to have a properly fitting bra meant for nursing to prevent clogged ducts and mastitis.
What to Look for in a Nursing Bra?
Shopping for a bra is tough, but shopping for a nursing bra can be downright excruciating. After all, the breasts you’re used to buying for are changing. They’re growing, leaking, sensitive and unpredictable. Here’s what to look for when you shop:
- Flaps should be easily opened and refasten with one hand. Remember, I am holding a hungry baby with the other arm. For discreet nursing in public, I choose a bra with fasteners that can be easily open without looking at them. Personally, I don’t like front open type because it’s hard to refasten after breastfeeding.
- The bra should support the breast from beneath even when the cup is open. This makes feeding more comfortable and reclosing the bra less of a struggle.
- Nursing bras should fit comfortably. Bras that are too tight can leave you vulnerable to plugged ducts and breast infections in the parts of the breast where straps or underwires block the flow of milk.
- Avoid underwire (especially in the early postpartum weeks) If you do choose an underwire bra, be very particular about the fit. The breast’s milk-producing tissue extends all the way back to your rib cage and up into your armpit. An underwire may obstruct the milk ducts in this area–besides poking and annoying you. (Underwire bras can be miserable to wear during pregnancy. The wires dig into your upward-expanding abdomen whenever you sit down.)
- Cups should be made of a breathable fabric. This is usually 100 percent cotton, although some of the newer synthetics also allow the skin to breathe. Other synthetics trap moisture next to the nipples and encourage bacterial growth and soreness.
What size to buy?
Our breasts change dramatically during pregnancy and postpartum. Our breasts will enlarge as milk “comes in” after birth, so perhaps purchase one or two less expensive bras that are one numerical size and one cup size bigger than what I’m wearing. These will get through first several weeks postpartum. When breast size settles down, usually after the second week, purchase additional bras that fit well. Also, most nursing bras comes with free extender with several rows of hooks to be used at the back to allow for changes in breast size and in rib cage expansion during pregnancy.
How Many Nursing Bra Do I Need?
For my first child, I worried about buying something I did not necessarily need or would not last me that long. At first, it is hard to know what and how many I will need. If I end up only nursing weeks it may not be worth it. If I’m committed and will be nursing a year or more that’s different. So, I bought three nursing bras: one to wear, one in the laundry, and one in the drawer. Owning a few more means I’ll have to wash less often. At first, buy only one of a particular style, to test it. When I find a bra I really like, then I’ll purchase more of that style.
For my 2nd child, I am still nursing at 2years old and my nursing bras are still going, but I am planning to buy a couple of new ones too just because I know how much I use them. Now, I also have a collection of sleep bras and nursing bras that I am comfortable wearing the rest of the time. Eventually when my daughter turned 1years old, I added an underwire bra as well. Underwire is not generally recommended for nursing because of the possibility of plugged ducts but I’ve never had an issue and my underwire bras are nursing bras made with nursing in mind.
Most mothers are more comfortable wearing a bra–but much depends on what you are accustomed to. Go ahead and choose whatever works for you.
Do you wear nursing bra when breastfeeding? Which type do you prefer?