Friday, 1 March 2013

When Should I Buy My Maternity or Nursing Bra?

Your baby bump is expanding to enormous proportions, your nesting instincts are kicking in all guns blazing and you are in no doubt preparing for the imminent arrival for your little one. Busy stocking up on cute little baby outfits, testing out buggies, researching which nappies are the best, but don’t forget about you! Along with the ever changing bump don’t forget your breasts will also be changing in size and shape while they are getting prepared for feeding. This change starts early on in the first few weeks of pregnancy, and will continue to do so well after the baby has arrived. There are some schools of thought that you don’t even need any support and you can go bra-less, however personally without the risk of sounding crass, there is more risk of saggy boobs later on, as well as the exceedingly attractive odd milky wet patches adorning your lovely outfit.

One of the most common questions I get from expecting mums is when should I start shopping for my breastfeeding bras and what do I need to get?

The first question of when to get your nursing bra is relatively straight forward. The second (while there are a few essentials) is generally down to preference. So I’ll start with the first...When should buy my first nursing bra?

Whilst you want to get organised and make sure you have a nursing bra ready before your baby arrives, (and lets face it they can sometimes put in a surprised early appearance), the general advice is not to get your nursing bra before the 36th week of pregnancy. 

What bras do you need to get?


Maternity Bras:

Emma-Jane Maternity Bra 311
It is important to look after your breasts right from the start of your pregnancy. Well before signs of a baby bump, you might even have experienced sore breasts during the early days of pregnancy, all signs that your breasts are changing and getting ready for feeding. There is no muscle in breast tissue, only ligaments, and as your breasts increase in size and weight the ligaments can get stretched – and once stretched there is no going back. Your breasts can grow up to 5cm bigger and weigh an additional 750 grams, so it is vital you look after your breasts from the onset to avoid this happening. A good fitting maternity bra will also make life more comfortable for you too.

As a rough guide line maternity bras should be bought around the 4th month of pregnancy, however again depending on each individual you may need yours earlier/ later on. Maternity bras can be worn as soon as a regular bra starts to feel uncomfortable. Stay clear of regular under-wired bras – they are not only super uncomfortable during maternity, but as your milk comes in, can block your milk ducts and lead to problems such as mastitis.

Emma-Jane Maternity Bra 342


There are four key elements that you should look for when buying your maternity bra:
  1. Maternity bras differ from standard bras in that their straps are wider and have less stretch in them to provide that much needed extra support.
  2. There will be more material in the cups to provide more coverage, making it more comfortable when your breasts are sensitive.
  3. There should be a minimum of 4 rows of clasps at the back to allow the bra to be adjusted as you grow.
  4. Your skin tends to perspire more during pregnancy so your maternity bra should be made of a microfibre breathable fabric or have a high cotton content.

Nursing Bras:
Emma-Jane Maternity Bra 429
You should aim to get your nursing bras around 36th week of pregnancy (not before) and if you can hold on, the later the better - although you don't want to be caught short should your little one make and early appearance. During the last month of pregnancy your milk will be coming in so your breasts may be going through the biggest change now.

How many nursing bras do I need to get?

I would say you definitely need two to three nursing bras as a minimum. It is very likely that your breasts may leak so it’s always good to have spare clean bras while the others are being washed.  Talking about breasts leaking, don’t forget to stock up on the ever important breast pads too!!!


When looking for a nursing bra you want one which provides comfort and support whilst at the same time allows you to discreetly feed your little one. When you drop one side the other breast needs to be fully supported. In addition your breast should not be constricted in any way as this could block your milk ducts and lead to problems down the line such as mastitis.



Emma- Jane Nursing Bra 431
Whilst providing support there should also be additional space to allow for your breasts changing sizes as well as the ever important essential breast pads.

Avoid regular hard underwired bras as again they may cause problems with your milk ducts. There are some women who prefer the additional support underwired bras may provide, and there are some bras on the market which have replaced the standard hard underwires with Supa-Lite underwires (as supplied by Emma-Jane Maternity). These respond and adjust to changes in your breasts and therefore do not restrict your milk ducts.

It is imperative to get the right fit for your nursing bra. There are many excellent retailers who can offer a fitting service, however you may need to check your measurements regularly as your breasts will more than likely change from the first week to when baby gets older and starts dropping feeds.

This size chart will provide some guidelines on how to check your measurements.


Emma-Jane Maternity/ Nursing Bra 361
Key pointers when measuring for a nursing bra are:
  1. After the birth of your baby, your rib cage may reduce in size, so when you take your measurement when still pregnant, use the loosest setting, so after the birth you can use the tighter settings if needed.
  2. Move one chest size up and reduce your cup size by one if you are unable to fit your bra on the loosest setting.
  3. The straps must be supportive without too much stretch; whilst at the same time must not be tight and dig in.
  4. Your bra must not sit too high up on your back, and the centre seam should sit flat in line with your breast bone.
  5. The cups of the bra should not be tight (not spilling out at the top), however the cups should smoothly cover most of the breasts
  6. Move up a cup size if there are any bits of flesh sticking out around the cup.
Sleep Bras

Emma-Jane Sleep/ Nursing Bra 371
We all know how important sleep is when having a little one, and sleep bras are great providing soft comfortable support whilst you are asleep. Their cups have more stretch than the standard nursing bra, so are not as supportive, however perfectly adequate for bed time. They pull on over your head and don’t have any clasps at the back making them far more comfortable than regular nursing bras. In addition they are perfect for holding breast pads in place while you sleep, so you don’t wake up with damp milky sheets in the morning! You can start wearing sleep bras well before baby arrives, to give that extra support as your breasts are adjusting and increasing in size.

For further information on the bras listed in this blog as well as well as further styles provided by Emma-Jane Maternity, visit TumsToTots.com for a selection of award winning nursing bras.

1 comment:

  1. Informative article on nursing bras .Keep on making such important blog post. Your work is really being appreciated by someone. thanks for the post ..
    Maternity And Nursing Bras

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