11/25/2016 to 11/28/2016
11/28/2016 to 11/29/2016

Your Shopping Guide: Maternity Bras & Nursing Bras

By Bonnie Schiedel
Your Shopping Guide: Nursing & Maternity Bras

I am so not a bra girl. But when I was finally, finally pregnant after some long, frustrating years, I was actually excited about buying bras for this new part of my life. In my third trimester, I asked my mama friends for their recommendations, read the reviews and then, since I was living in a tiny little town at the time, ordered online. Success: two Bravado nursing bras and one Bravado nursing tank. This fab starter kit trio— one to wear, one to have and one to wash —saw me through 10 months of successful breastfeeding in style and real comfort.

Ready, mamas? Check out this tried-and-true shopping guide on maternity bras and nursing bras.

 

Maternity Bras

Why do I need a maternity bra?

Rather than buy a bra just for pregnancy, a lot of pregnant women wear stretchy, supportive nursing bras, particularly in the third trimester, and continue to wear them while they’re breastfeeding.

In your first trimester, you may notice fuller, tender breasts, thanks to those surging hormones. By the second trimester, breasts continue to grow because of increased blood flow and developing milk ducts. And in the third trimester, your rib cage has expanded to accommodate your growing baby, so you need a bigger band size. Similarly, your cup size will increase by one or two sizes from your pre-pregnancy size.

All those changes mean your old bras are just not going to fit. “A lot of moms are surprised that they will need two or three bra sizes throughout their pregnancy and breastfeeding journeys,” says Felicity Savage, Bravado Designs’ Fit Program Specialist (who, by the way, came in for a Test Wearer fitting when she was a new mom and ended up landing a job with Bravado when her maternity leave ended). “Remember that it’s a gradual change over nine months and beyond.”

 

What should I look for in a maternity bra?

“Comfort is a huge priority,” says Felicity. Her recommendations:

  • Stretch in the cups. This accommodates your changing breast size during your pregnancy.
  • Support in the band. It should be snug, but not uncomfortable. For a daytime bra, look for up to six hooks and eyes at the back of the band, so you can adjust it as your rib cage expands as your belly grows. Most of the support in your bra comes from the band. If you’re wearing a bra to sleep, go for a band that doesn’t have hooks and eyes.
  • Wider straps. If you’re used to a thin strap, opt for a slightly wider one to help comfortably distribute the weight of your breasts.

 

How do I get the right fit?

All you need are two measurements! This video quickly shows you how.

 

What are some popular styles?

Bravado nursing bras and tanks are designed to offer you comfort and support both during your pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Consider these styles while you’re pregnant:

 

Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra
No wonder it’s Bravado’s number one seller: seamless for a smooth fit, four-way stretch and super-soft double-layer fabric make this a totally comfortable bra. “Generally, you can wear the Body Silk Seamless in the third trimester and into breastfeeding,” says Felicity. “It offers a medium level of support and the removable foam inserts give you the option of added shape and nipple discretion.”

 

Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra
Almost a twin sister to the Body Silk Seamless, the Body Silk Seamless Yoga has adjustable straps that you can cross in the back. “This style adds just a bit more support, great for light exercise or wearing with a racerback top,” says Felicity. It’s also made with anti-microbial Silver Breeze™ fabric to prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria (hey, pregnancy can be sweaty).

 

Dream Nursing Tank
Long enough to cover a substantial baby bump, the Dream Nursing Tank has ruching at the bust and an empire waist, so it works with your growing breasts and belly, plus a neckline that is fashion-forward but high enough that you’re not exposing too much cleavage. The built-in bra with removable foam inserts is constructed with soft cotton and offers full support. “Moms love that it’s so versatile—you can wear it on its own as a tank in the summer or as a layer in colder weather,” adds Felicity. 

 

Original Nursing Bra
The Original is super soft and super comfy, made with breathable stretchy cotton with no hooks or eyes in the band. For some moms, the light to medium support is enough to wear everyday during pregnancy; for others, it’s just the right bra to give nighttime support to sore breasts.

 


Nursing Bras

Why do I need a nursing bra?

“A lot of women don’t know how a bra should really fit and feel,” notes Felicity. “Their regular bras are too loose and doesn’t have enough support, or they are super-tight and use the straps to get support, rather than the band. Lots of first-time moms also think only underwires can give support, which is not the case.” So, if your bra is too loose, your newly bigger breasts will be uncomfortable; too tight and you risk plugged milk ducts or mastitis, a painful breast infection.

 

What should I look for in a nursing bra?

“Stretchy, comfortable fabric is your priority,” says Felicity. Other boxes to tick:

  • Full access. A cup that drops down completely gives you that essential skin-to-skin contact with your babe.
  • Layers in the cup. A removable foam insert or extra layer of fabric makes a smooth silhouette.
  • A supportive, non-underwire band. “Remember that your ribs have taken nine months to expand and it will take a little while to return to your regular band size,” says Felicity.
  • Clips that you can unfasten and refasten one-handed and half-asleep is a must.

 

How do I get the right fit?

All you need are two measurements. Watch this video that quickly shows you how.

 

What are some popular styles? 

Original Nursing Bra
“This is your go-to bra for the first few weeks post-partum, when your breasts are likely to be engorged and at their biggest, and you may be having nipple pain or cracking,” says Felicity. “Moms love that it’s a very stretchy, soft cotton that’s comfortable and breathes well.” You can wear it 24/7.

 

Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra
“After your milk supply has been established, around the five or six week mark, a lot of women like the Body Silk Seamless,” says Felicity. It molds to your figure and is stretchy enough to fit your changing breast size throughout the day. Bonus: it comes with a conversion kit so you can turn it into a regular bra when your breastfeeding time has ended. 

  

Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra
Very similar to the Body Silk Seamless, the Body Silk Seamless Yoga gives you support plus special anti-microbial fabric to prevent odor from bacteria, so it’s perfect for mom-and-baby fitness classes or when you’re just out for a walk. 

 

 

 

Dream Nursing Tank
Cotton: check. Specific band and cup sizing for a more precise fit: check. Designed so it doesn’t cling against the tummy: check. Flat clips you can fasten and unfasten one-handed: check. Worn on its own or as layer, the Dream Nursing Tank is one stylish, multitasking piece of clothing.


Time to shop! Here’s the full Bravado Designs collection. And if you have any questions, just call 1-800-590-7802 or Live Chat with an expert fitter at BravadoDesigns.com from Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST.