During pregnancy, many women ask, “Do I really need to buy a nursing bra or can I just wear my regular bra?”
For many pregnant women or new moms, buying a breastfeeding or nursing bra is a nice-to-have, rather than a necessity, but if you can afford to invest in a few, you’ll reap the comfort and convenience benefits.
Why should you buy a nursing or feeding bra?
- They are designed to accommodate growing or rapidly-changing breasts. Your breasts may undergo quite a dramatic change in size during pregnancy, and are likely to get bigger and smaller depending on the size and timing of feeds or pumping sessions once you’ve had your baby.
- Most nursing bras come with multiple hooks so you can easily adjust the main band to suit your body during, and after, pregnancy.
- They usually don’t have underwire or seams over the nipples (which might cause irritation) and are made from soft, stretchy fabric. Regular bras – particularly those with underwire – may be uncomfortable and could constrict the breast, affecting the amount of milk you produce, possibly leading to blocked ducts or even mastitis.
- You can place nursing pads in the cups to prevent breast milk leaks, or cooling packs to soothe engorged breasts.
- They provide support for heavier-than-usual breasts – and wearing a nursing bra may help to prevent sagging.
- Convenience is probably the biggest reason to buy a nursing or breastfeeding bra. Special fold-down panels in the cups mean you can give your baby easy access to your breasts in a discreet way (no bunching up your regular bra to free your boob!). It’s especially useful if you can unfasten the clips with one hand.
How to choose the right breastfeeding or nursing bra
Wondering what to look for when choosing a breastfeeding or nursing bra? These are the things to consider:
- Choose a nursing bra that’s adjustable: it should have a sturdy band for around the chest with multiple hooks to fit your changing body. Wider shoulder straps will provide additional comfort and support for heavier breasts. Ensure the nursing bra also has adjustable shoulder straps.
- To save yourself the hassle of handwashing, choose a breastfeeding bra that’s machine washable (with no underwire). You’ll need multiple nursing bras because they get soiled a lot faster than regular bras. Ideally, try to buy three so you can wear one, wash one and have a spare for in case of a breast milk spill.
- Opt for natural fabrics that are breathable and won’t retain moisture.
How do you know your nursing or feeding bra fits properly?
- If the cups wrinkle at the front then it’s too big.
- The band around the chest should fit firmly, lie flat and not ride up at the back.
- If your breasts ‘fall out’ the bottom of the cups, the bra is too big.
- If your breasts ‘spill’ over the top or sides of the cups, the nursing bra is too small.