In Your Search For The Most Comfortable Nursing Bras
We’ve all been there: You’re adjusting to the new normal after having a baby, and it’s hard to remember what it was like before your body was stretched open and full of milk.
And while you might not realize it, one of the most important things you can do to support your nursing journey is to wear a nursing bra.
What is a Nursing Bra?
A nursing bra is an undergarment with extra room in the cups so that when you breastfeed, you don’t have to pull up or down a shirt. It also supports your breasts, which helps prevent soreness and allows them to return to their pre-pregnancy size more quickly. By wearing a nursing bra, you’ll be able to feed without worrying about exposing yourself top or bottomless or adjusting your clothes every time.
But just like with any other purchase, different nursing bras offer different levels of support and comfort—some are better than others! So, let’s take a look at some of the best options available today:
- The wire-free bra is the most basic and least expensive type of nursing bra. It has no underwire, making it ideal if you’re looking for something easy to put on and take off. However, this type of nursing bra doesn’t offer much support or lift, so if you plan on wearing it all day during pregnancy, you might also want to consider investing in some other types!
- The sports bra: This type of nursing bra is great if you’re looking for something that offers a lot of support and comfort—it’s perfect for exercising or wearing throughout the day. However, this type of nursing bra doesn’t offer much coverage, so it’s not ideal if you wear your new nursing bra under tight tops or dresses (unless you plan to wear another layer underneath).
- The nursing tank: This nursing bra is perfect for wearing under tight tops and dresses because it offers much coverage without sacrificing support or comfort. However, it’s not ideal if you’re looking for something that can be worn during exercise—this type doesn’t offer much support or comfort!
- The racerback nursing bra offers support and comfort, making it great for wearing during exercise or throughout the day. However, it’s not ideal if you’re looking for something that can be worn under tight tops or dresses because it doesn’t offer much coverage—this is best for wearing with looser-fitting items such as tanks or t-shirts.
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Wearing nursing bras – advantages
Some people claim that wearing a nursing bra will help support your breasts so they won’t stretch and sag. Although this may sound reasonable, there is no evidence to show that a nursing bra will prevent droopy breasts. So, if you buy a nursing bra, do so with the knowledge that it will not necessarily help you retain your pre-pregnancy shape. More importantly, a nursing bra will allow you to breastfeed your baby in a discrete and manageable manner.
Do you need a nursing bra? You don’t, but I suggest you get one anyway, and here’s why.
- Your breast will increase in size as you progress in pregnancy, especially when your milk comes in. You’ll need to buy a new bra anyway, so you might as well buy one you can use during breastfeeding.
- There are a variety of nursing bras, and the ones you see will depend on where you shop. Large department stores will have some nursing bras but tend to look somewhat utilitarian and old-fashioned. Large department stores cannot keep up with the current trends and will likely carry an essential collection.
- Shopping online is nice because you can see a variety of styles. Good websites will list the features of each bra so that you can be informed before you buy. Browsing online is far easier than tracking down a sales clerk who may not know much about nursing bras. If you choose to buy a nursing bra online, follow the guidelines on how to measure your size. Also, read the return policy to see how you may return the bra if it doesn’t fit.
This is your best shopping option if you have a maternity specialty shop near you. The staff there is knowledgeable and can tell you the pros and cons of each bra. You can try the bra before buying, and it’s fast: you don’t have to wait for shipping.
We suggest buying two nursing bras (3 would be better) so you always have a clean one ready to use. If your bra gets wet with leaked milk, it is advisable to change & wash it instead of waiting for it to air dry. Breast milk is nutritious and will cause bacteria to grow, which may cause a breast infection (mastitis).
There are two essential nursing bras: ones with snaps and ones without.
Bras with No Snaps
These bras are best for women with small to medium-sized breasts. The bra is made of a soft, flexible fabric such that you can push the bra to the side and expose the breast for breastfeeding.
This type of bra is most affordable (less than $20) and can be pretty comfortable. Some women choose to sleep wearing this type of bra. However, this type of bra does not provide a tremendous amount of support. Thus, women with large breasts should try nursing bras that have snaps. See more nursing bras here.
Bras with Snaps and Flaps
The bra is made like a support structure (or framework), with flaps where the cups would be. When the flaps are unsnapped, the breast is exposed for breastfeeding, but the bra’s framework is still there to support you. When the flaps are snapped closed, the bra looks like a regular bra.
The snaps can be located near the shoulder or in the middle of the chest between the two cups. Some nursing bras will have Velcro snaps. Some women find Velcro much easier to manage than snaps, but Velcro wears out after a few cycles in the washing machine. If possible, try the different types of snaps and see which one is easy to open & close. See more nursing bras here.
Bras with snaps and flaps have better support but are also more expensive (over $40). Some have an underwire to give even more support. If you choose a nursing bra with an underwire, ensure the wire does not pinch your breast and disrupt milk flow. Pinching and restriction of the breast will cause blocked milk ducts, which, in turn, may cause breast infections.
A basic nursing bra is okay for small and medium-sized breast women. But for women with large breasts, there are other features to consider.
- Comprehensive and Padded Straps. Breasts filled with milk can get very heavy, so some manufacturers have designed bras with wide shoulder straps or padded straps. These help distribute the weight so you won’t get welts across your shoulders due to the weight of your breasts.
- Hooks. Some nursing bras will have three or more hooks on the back strap. If you choose a bra that fits using the middle set of hooks, then you can loosen or tighten the bra strap as your breast size changes.
Bra getting too tight? Don’t worry; you can always buy bra extenders. These are strips of fabric with hooks and eyes sewn into them. So you don’t need to buy a new bra; buy the extenders for about $5 or less.
Colors and Patterns: Although colors and patterns do not affect the functionality of a nursing bra, many women choose colorful bras. Some come in floral or animal prints, and some in lace, satin, or bows. If you will buy a nursing bra, why not buy one with a splash of spice?
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Can you sleep braless while breastfeeding?
When you’re breastfeeding, it can feel like your life is one long night of nursing. And if you’re not wearing a bra while doing it, the whole thing can get pretty uncomfortable. But is it safe to go braless while breastfeeding?
Here’s what you need to know:
You can sleep braless while breastfeeding—but only for short periods. Sleeping in the same position for too long can cause pressure on your breasts (and possibly even mastitis). So, if you’re going to sleep without a bra on, move around and switch positions every few hours so that your breasts don’t get too full and uncomfortable.
If your breasts feel too full or heavy after nursing, try massaging them with warm olive oil before bed. This will help loosen up any clogged ducts or milk blisters that might be causing discomfort and swelling in your breasts.