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?
|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:
- 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.
- There will be more material in the cups to provide more coverage, making it more comfortable when your breasts are sensitive.
- There should be a minimum of 4 rows of clasps at the back to allow the bra to be adjusted as you grow.
- 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.
|Emma-Jane Maternity Bra 429|
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:
- 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.
- Move one chest size up and reduce your cup size by one if you are unable to fit your bra on the loosest setting.
- The straps must be supportive without too much stretch; whilst at the same time must not be tight and dig in.
- Your bra must not sit too high up on your back, and the centre seam should sit flat in line with your breast bone.
- 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
- Move up a cup size if there are any bits of flesh sticking out around the cup.
|Emma-Jane Sleep/ Nursing Bra 371|
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.