Probably one of the most confusing purchases a mom-to-be has to make is a nursing bra. Nursing bras are a must for all moms who are breast feeding. However, purchasing a nursing bra can often be a very challenging process. Below are a few tips to guide you in your purchase of the right nursing bra for you.
Fit is perhaps the most important part of purchasing a nursing bra. Nursing bras come in many shapes and sizes. They either come with underwire or without underwire. It is highly recommended that a new mom not wear a nursing bra with underwire until breast feeding has been established. This is because most women do not wear bras that fit them correctly and the underwire ends up pushing on the milk ducts and clogging them, which is a very painful process. There are many nursing bras that do not have underwire but still offer great support. Your nursing bra should support from the band of the bra (from the back) not from the shoulder straps (pulling down on your shoulders).
Nursing bras should fit well and be comfortable, but not so tight that the breast is being smashed too much. This again can interfere with nursing and cause problems.
It is very important to let the sales staff measure you to ensure you buy the right bra size when purchasing a nursing bra. Ideally, you would be measured around 38 weeks for your nursing bra and then purchase a bra with the same band size one cup size larger to accommodate your breasts enlarging when your milk comes in after the baby is born. You may also choose to just purchase one bra at 38 weeks to use in the hospital and then return to the store around 2 weeks after giving birth when your milk comes in to get re-measured. At that point, you should purchase one more nursing bra that should be a very accurate fit based on those current measurements.
Nursing bras are sized in different ways. Some come in band/cup sizing, others come in S,M,L sizing. The sales staff will know how to direct you to the bra size that is best for you.
Ease of Use
All nursing bras feature an access point to the breast for breast feeding without having to remove the bra or lift the bra up. Most bras unsnap at the cup. Be sure you feel comfortable opening and closing the bra you purchase. This should be an easy process. Also be sure the closures are not uncomfortable on your body in any way and that they are strong and durable as you will be using them repeatedly.
Be sure your bra is also adjustable. As your body regulates during the nursing process, you will need to adjust your bra to accommodate the changes in your breast.
Types of Nursing Bras
There are different types of nursing bras. Ideally, a women would purchase at least two regular nursing bras for every day wear ensuring a fresh nursing bra is always available.
Sleep nursing bras are designed to give you support overnight, yet be extremely comfortable to sleep in. When your milk first comes in, until your body regulates your milk supply, the breasts are often very engorged and heavy and require support at all times. Sleep bras almost resemble sports bras. They are soft, usually do not feature a closure in the back and usually do not feature a closure at the cup. They are designed to just slide off the breast for breast feeding at night, while still supporting the breasts throughout the night. Ideally a woman would purchase at least one sleep bra that will most likely be used at least in the first two weeks of breast feeding, if not longer.
Fashion nursing bras are also available. These are bras that feature different fabrics or prints such as lace, leopard print, bold colors, etc. These are designed for women who may have evenings out, functions to attend, etc. while breast feeding. Nursing bras are not dull and boring - they are fashion forward as well!
Finally - be sure to allow the sales staff to assist you. They are trained in nursing bras and can help you find the exact size and style for your body and preferences. Nursing bras are usually not cheap and you want to be sure you get the most for your money. Ask questions and utilize the training of the sales staff.