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Let's Talk About Nursing Bras, Clothes, Etc.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

It seems like there is an awful lot of breast-feeding friendly clothing out there. Neither my mom nor my sister used any of it (actually, neither of them used nursing bras either). Some of the books I am reading recommend nursing nightgowns/pajamas and nursing friendly tops.  I don't really want to go out and blow a bunch of money on stuff I am not going to use, but I also don't want to dismiss stuff that is actually helpful. I was planning on buying a couple of nursing bras and maybe a couple of nursing tanks for sure and have stocked up on nice reusable breast pads, but not sure what else might be useful. For context, I have always been fairly small chested and hate underwire bras and padded bras, so I am not used to a lot of "equipment" in that department. What has been your experience, mamas who have been there done that? First-time mamas, I would love to hear what you are buying, too!

Edited by kateadelle - 10/24/12 at 2:08pm
post #2 of 22

Not a first time momma (longtime momma LOL), but as long as you have a separate shirt/pant option it's not a big deal, you can just lift up the shirt a bit on one side to get access.  The only thing i had to avoid were regular dresses which didn't really give access.


Stay away from the underwires can cause mastitis actually, well fitting but not tight is good.  Personally I find nursing bras useful here as my breasts are pretty large, however I do like the ones that are colorful and do not look like nursing bras.  I too use reusable nursing pads (darn it, will have to look for those hope I didnt' donate them yikes) as I tend to leak a lot in the beginning.  I also had the purified lanolin (lansinoh) which was useful a few times.

post #3 of 22

I think it depends some on what you will be doing while nursing - I have nursed all my kids while at work in the public eye and I have found it pleasant, but not necessary, to have some nursing tops.  I don't think I have any left, though, and you can certainly do without them.  Also depends some on season - in the winter it can be cold to simply lift your top and expose half your midrif, even temporarily before snuggling a warm baby up to your tummy.  In the summer or warm climates - not so much of a problem!  I do like nursing bras and second what phatchristy said about them. 

post #4 of 22

I actually do use regular underwires once the initial breastfeeding phase has passed {think 6 months old--babe can hold head themselves} because that is what I am comfy with, but different things work for different people.

For the first few months--I LOVE bravada nursing tanks. They are worth the money, IME. No underwires and an easy clip. You can use these as a layering tank or wear on its own without looking or feeling like a slob--just looks like a tank. I never found a nursing bra that was worth anything to me. I am large breasted and need underwire for support otherwise it is just silly to wear a bra really. For smaller busted women or perky breasted women and for those who are comfy braless--that is always an option once bfing is established and you aren't engorged and tender and needing some additional support. It can really be helpful {for me it was a necessity and I am used to NO bra} to have that support and protection during the initial months of bfing as your breasts get used to their new function. 

As far as breast pads go, don't be super disappointed, but cloth pads are one thing that can tend to be a big hit or miss. Of course cloth pads are way better in theory, but if you are a super duper leaker then you will likely leak right through them in moments and then just have soggy cotton in your bra thaat seeps through to your shirt/tank. So, I found that they just did not work at all and had to use lansinoh brand when I actually cared about not leaking through. At home and at night I just stuffed a prefold diaper into my tank/sleep bra and changed it when it was moist {every few feedings}--doesn't look good, but great for sleeping, plus free!

I also recommend two sleeping bras--which could just be larger sports bras--something easy to pull down to nurse out of yet you can stuff with a prefold {per above} and is comfy to sleep in. I just use a size bigger sports champion sports bra from target=perfect for me!

Realize that you will have to buy a few different sizes most likely--you will usually get very big for a few weeks/months and then once you are established you will taper down a size or two. Nursing bras are REALLY annoying, IME--so expensive and none really work like a normal bra = no support and doesn't look good.

Many mamas start out nursing from underneath--meaning you pull your shirt up to expose the underside of your breast to nurse--in this scenario it is nice to have the tank layer so that you aren't just nursing with your whole abdomen hanging out all the time. However, many long time breastfeeders {at least in my circle} do eventually find themselves comfortable with over the top nursing--meaning instead of getting practically undressed you just pop your breast out the top of your shirt and nurse from there--if you place your hand over your exposed breast no one can see anything and it is a natural placement for your hand since it is right next your babes sweet face ; ) This way you can wear a dress or a blouse that wouldn't be easy to lift up to nurse from the bottom in and can often return to non nursing bras this way too.

I will say that this was the most annoying part of breastfeeding, but you figure it out and move on...eventually! haha
I always felt sloppy in the first 6 months {I leaked for the first year--I have had breast surgery and this is common in that scenario}, but then I started nursing from the top and found the disposable pads and a normal bra and it all clicked for me and now its been 3+ years and counting. 

post #5 of 22

mamaharrison has great advice.


I'd just second most of what's been said -

- quite a few cotton nursing pads (a couple different brands because you'll end up liking some and not others) - although when you're spraying all over the place;) you can also just have a receiving blanket or small towel tucked into the other side of your bra/over your other boob.  But pads are semi essential for us leakers when we're out in public! 

- a couple comfy cotton sleep bras (good for keeping you a bit more dry and comfy at night - at least at first)  They're also good for around the house if you don't need a ton of support.

-a few comfy nursing bras with more support (I like the polka dot one I got at Target...)

- and I never had any, but nursing tanks would be great for under other tops for warmth and feeling more comfortable nursing in public - again, at least at first


I don't think I've ever had any special nursing clothes other than bras and pads.  I've also never had any negative experiences nursing in public.  The more comfortable you feel the easier it is - so practice makes perfect. 

post #6 of 22

Here's the bras that I have used every time, and I'm in right now since they are so comfy, supportive, and cheap! 




& I get by with layering. In the summer, it's usually two tanks, in the winter it's one tank, plus whatever I want to wear on top. I've used a few nursing shirts and they were a bit too bulky for me.  As much as I dislike disposable anything, I will probably finish the box of disposable nursing pads I have left over from DD2 since I do leak for a few weeks in the beginning. Oh and don't be afraid to try regular bras, too! You might like the supportive feeling of them more than a nursing bra.

Edited by purposefuldoula - 10/24/12 at 8:02pm
post #7 of 22

I'm a first time mama - so FWIW - I bought 2 bravada nursing bras. I'm fairly large already so I got two different sizes. I've been wearing the smaller one exclusively since I grew out of my other bras a month ago. I know, TMI, I wear the same bra all the time :). I have some uncomfortable spares to use when I wash. I also purchased a bravada nursing tank. I've heard great things about those. As others have mentioned, you can layer and lift up from the bottom of your shirt without exposing your belly. I think that whether you like them or not depends on your level of modesty.


I have some reusable and disposable nursing pads. I prefer to go with reusable just because they're cheaper and more sustainable, but someone gave me some disposables so we'll see how it goes. I also have some Lily Padz that someone gave me. I've seen some mamas like them and others don't. http://www.lilypadz.com/


I've heard that wool nursing pads work well. I haven't really researched it. I thought I might make up a few - but I realize I don't know how they would work best. Felted? Lanolized? Lanolized seems like it might stain your clothes. Anyone have experience with those, I would appreciate it!

post #8 of 22
Last time I had a couple of nursing tanks I lived in for the first few weeks. They were lovely thicker material that could handle a little leaking. I wish I would have kept those!!! This time I'll get one nursing bra that unlatches for the shirts that slip boobage out. I have a couple of those that I hope I can fit into from the last go-round. The stuff I have to lift I might as well wear a sports bra with! I do like the nursing PJs so I don't feel like my shirt can smother the baby. I think I got rid of those too, though I do have a gown. ... again, if it fits!
post #9 of 22
Am I the only one that *stuck* to nursing pads? Yowch!!!
post #10 of 22
Originally Posted by Anyitara View Post

Am I the only one that *stuck* to nursing pads? Yowch!!!

it won't happen if you dab some oil on your areolas before tucking them away ; ) I like coconut oil, but you can use olive oil, too and it is safe for babe to nurse.

post #11 of 22

I won't bore you with what worked for me with which babies and at what ages but I did just want to share my new find!



This product will make any nursing bra into a nursing tank! I loved this idea 1) because during those first couple months when I have a jelly belly I hate having it exposed (seriously, I would rather have some boob exposed than have everyone have to see my white jiggly rolls during those first 6-8 weeks)!! and 2) it gets cold to have your skin exposed! 

So, I ordered one of these from undercovermama.com. It came yesterday and looks like it is going to be a great product...especially in the beginning! FYI....if anyone does decide to order one you get free shipping with the promo code: FACEBOOK. orngbiggrin.gif

post #12 of 22

I lived in nursing tanks for most of our nursing relationship (28ish months). I am the proud owner of a striped smushy belly that I didn't feel the need to show to everyone, so I liked the coverage of the tank, and I learned that I hated full coverage underwire bras (all I could find in large size nursing bras) so tank was just easiest for me. I had/have a bravado nursing tank, and it is thicker so nice for single layer or winter wear, but prefer target or walmart nursing tanks. they are cheaper, and thinner so they work better under clothes, but don't have the cute colors. I also am a fan of side sling instead of full sling in a bra or tank, which is definitely something to think about.

post #13 of 22
It will be summer over here when bub arrives so may be a little different, but I am planning to wear nursing bras, with stretchy tops over the top so I can acces that way. Or tops that button up.
When it gets cooler the plan is to wear a layer that can go up on top, and a tank that can be pulled down, so that when bubs is nursing I don't freeze... That tends to be how lots of my friends do it.

As far as spending money on the tops etc goes, I've found thrift stores to be awesome for this! I have already picked up about 4 items that I can wear to feed in as they are super stretchy etc smile.gif perhaps that's an idea if your a thrifty shopper? smile.gif
post #14 of 22

I had no problem nursing anywhere at all in public for years, but I never liked baring my belly/side in public, nor pulling my top down to bare the top of my breast.


So I did what you mentioned travelmama!  I always wore my regular pre-preg tops that I would pull up to nurse, with one of 3 kinds of tank tops under them that I would pull down to cover my belly/side.  Either:


- a nursing tank (but usually without a nursing bra in this case cause otherwise it would all get kinda bulky)


- a thin, lightweight low-cut tank top with very stretchy straps that can pull down under my breast super easily (you shouldn't have to hold it down under your breast, it should just tuck under your breast fairly loosely)


- an old t- or tank (or new cheap one) in which you cut two horizontal slits for your breasts.  (Not one big long horizontal slit cause it will sag down in the middle!)  It might feel silly before you put your regular shirt on but nobody ever sees your super scissors job once you put your regular shirt over it. orngbiggrin.gif



PS I was a big leaker and cotton pads worked great for me!  Try several different kinds cause they all have their pros and cons (thickness, shape, contouring, size...)

post #15 of 22


Edited by nhklh - 10/20/13 at 2:58am
post #16 of 22


Originally Posted by nhklh View Post

At this point in time I figure most people in this city have seen my boobs anyway, so I'm just going to be doing whatever is easiest :)


nhklh, I love it!


kate, I tend to think a lot of baby stuff is over-hyped and useless. There's my answer, lol. Seriously though, my BFing situation is peculiar so listen to the other mamas for their wisdom on what's typical. Still, for example, I'll pump for at least the first few weeks and last time I made a hands-free pumping bra by cutting slits in an old sprots bra, rather than spending $50 on a "real" one. In my situation, which again is probably not the same as what you'll experience, I'll be BFing one day at a time with the goal of making it to 12 weeks. I don't mean to come across as discouraging...BFing generally works out great, but sometimes it doesn't, and feeding gear (to include mama's clothing) changes accordingly. With that in mind, I'm thinking in terms of buying only what I need to get started, not what would carry us through toddlerhood. Plus we won't be housebound forever. If I need something later I'll go get it, or if I need something sooner I can ask someone else to go get it for me.

post #17 of 22

I second the tank tops - just regular ones that i wear as a layer underneath pretty much everything. I bring my babies to school with me, so I feel in that situation (and really it is the only one) a need to be pretty modest. Imagine being a parent looking for a school for your child, and walking in the front door to exposed boobs - you would either think 'oh yeah! A breastfeeding mama!' Or you would run for the hills... anyway with the tank layer, your tummy is covered, your other shirt covers the top of the breast, and most of the time people just think you are holding/slinging a sleeping baby.


I am a big nursing bra fan; another larger chested mama here (I think I was measures as 38G when engorged last time), and I need the support or my boobs HURT. I like the bravado M++ bras, they are almost like another tank layer & don't have a lot of fuss to them. I also like to have a couple that feel like 'real' bras, for wearing with my one nursing dress, or whatever. And a huge stash of cloth pads, with some disposables that I tend to keep in the diaper bag, for those times when I am out & need a change & forgot to bring along an extra set of cloth.

post #18 of 22

Just wanted to say thanks for starting this thread -- all of these are such great suggestions! I'm going to try making my own breast pads to tuck into my bras, but we'll see how well they turn out. :) I also love the tank option, especially since it will be pretty chilly when our babe arrives. 

post #19 of 22

chica- if you are going to make pads, I recommend using an old towel, & some soft micro fleece. Use one or two layers of towel (depending on how thick it is) between the layers of microfleece, and you can just serge or zigzag around the edges. Plenty absorbent, will wick moisture away from you, and the microfleece will allow them to breathe.

post #20 of 22

I wouldn't buy many nursing bras in advance. Wait and see what size you need after about a month pp. 


I wore a lot of zip-up hooded sweatshirts, button-front pj tops, or wrap-front shirts for awhile. They worked for me =)

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