by Sarah Das
Your breasts change in size and firmness during your life and it is particularly noticeable around pregnancy and after birth. Nursing bras like any other piece of lingerie (yes it is lingerie) are very personal to you and must suit your individual style and needs. A well-fitted bra will make you feel and look better and give you some extra support at this time. Here are a few tips to help you make the best choice.
- Try and go for a professional fitting BEFORE baby is born. At about 36 weeks of pregnancy is an ideal time as your breasts will remain approximately this size whilst you are breastfeeding (once your milk supply is regulated).
- During the first 6-8 weeks after birth your breasts will go through large fluctuations in size as your milk regulates to suit your baby’s needs – your breasts will feel as if they have a life of their own at times! A seamless bra is easiest at this time as it will ‘give’ with your evolving size. A specific cup size bra may feel uncomfortable and compress and restrict the breast as it learns to regulate its milk supply.
- Avoid wire if you can, as the pressure it exerts can sometimes give rise to compression of the breasts causing blockages and infection (mastitis). Occasional use of a pretty underwired bra is permissible sometimes.
- Don’t buy the cup size larger than you need, as once your milk settles down (a few weeks into breastfeeding) your breasts will be about the size you are at 36 weeks of pregnancy.
- Bras with hook and eye fastenings that can be made tighter or looser are the most versatile and cost effective, as your rib cage will reduce a little in size in the weeks following birth. The back band provides 80% of the support of your bra, so this is very important.
- Wide, non-slip shoulder straps for extra support are a good idea, otherwise you may not be impressed with your overall look – well supported breasts always look best at this time as breasts that are too free to move tend to leak more milk.
- Cups that unfasten with one hand are important for ease of feeding, with the non-feeding breast being well supported on the other side, so that a breast pad can be inserted firmly in place to allow for leaking.
- Broad side and back for extra support looks and feels better
- Your own sense of style and how YOU like to dress is important, so try and match the colour and style – fashionable or basic to your personal dress style.
- You will need three bras to start with, to allow for leaky breast moments that can sometimes saturate even the best breast pads.
- You may find you also need a slighter softer and stretchy bra to sleep in at night. Breasts do leak at night, so in order to avoid a change of sheets invest in a comfortable bra with a section to keep breast pads securely in place!
- Whilst being presented with second-hand feeding bras from a well-meaning friend can be practical it can also be a bit off-putting, as breastfeeding bras commonly get washed frequently and look dingy after a year of constant use, so splash out and buy some new ones, just for you.
Photo credit: almostmichelle55 via Visual hunt