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Nursing Bra Question

852 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  MEcatlady17
So, my mom wants to buy me some nursing bras for when baby gets here - my question is, how am I supposed to know what size I'll be when my milk comes in? Should I opt for stretchy/sleeping bra types until I know what my actual bra size will be?

Right now I'm a 34C/32D, which is up a whole cup size from pre-pregnancy.
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I wear the Bravado Body Silk bras, which come in S/M/L/XL, and span cup sizes pretty easily. You sound like a M would fit you well, with plenty of give for inflating/deflating nursing boobs. They're VERY comfortable, yet still flattering, and I've worn mine nursing, pregnant, and in between, in a size L, accomodating my 36 band, and DDD-G boobs. I can't imagine trying to get an exact cup size bra while nursing anyway....the boobs literally change a cup or more within minutes as you nurse each side.
it'll change, actually. your rib cage expands during pregnancy and returns after baby's born, so your rib cage *at birth* might necessitate a larger size than it would a couple months later. i would go for a 34D nursing bra to start - when the milk first comes in, you can be up a full cup size again from when you're pregnant - and then get properly measured for a nursing bra when your supply is a bit more regulated, about a month after baby is born.

it's REALLY hard, if not impossible, to guess what the real size is going to be. if a s/m/l/XL bra is ok with you, it might be a better option. many bigger-breasted ladies (DD and higher) need a specific size as the stretchier ones don't provide enough support.
You're only up one cup size from pre-pg? Wow- I grew a cup size a month the first three months of my first pg!

Anyway, I agree with the pp: go for stretchy sleep/leisure bras for the first few weeks. Then get fitted for "real" bras when the baby is about 3-4 weeks old and your cup size is a bit more stable. These stretchy bras are also comfy for late pg, when your band size is likely to expand temporarily.
Is this your first baby? I agree with the rib cage growing - I am normally, and prepregnancy a 36C. When I was pregnant with #1, my boobs got ginormous, and I was stuffing a 38D (or E?). Definately went up a whole band size. But within months, I was back in 36Ds then 36Cs which is where I am now. I wouldn't splurge on spendy bras until your size has settled down after birth.

I do OK in the nursing tanks, which I love love love. And I really like the sleep bras from Motherhood (I think Target sells them now too). My breasts were sore at the start and wearing a bra 24/7 worked for me, as long as the bra wasn't constricting.
I had to buy my nursing bras at 7 months when I was home visiting as the country I was living in would not have anything near my size. I simply went up one cup size & that worked out for me.
Another vote for Bravado bras that come in s/m/l. I'm about the size you are, and with my first, I was a 34 E the day my milk came in, then by a week later (after I'd gone and spent money on a fitted 34DD bra) they settled down to a full C. My Bravado bras gave me shape and support and coverage (even through the bulky homemade cloth bra pads I used instead of the disposable ones), AND they're still kicking and I'll be able to use them when this baby's born.

Target and Motherhood make decent, affordable nursing bras in sizes. You could let Mom buy the expensive Bravado ones now (I agree with what the others said, your chest/rib measurement will go back down once baby is on the outside) and when you're a few months pp and your body's settled into itself, you can go get others to meet more specific needs (black or white or different kinds of cups or straps). Just bring someone to hold baby while you try on bras, it's one of the few things that's really really hard to do with baby in the sling.
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Thank you ladies! Yes, this will be my first little one

I looked at the Bravado stretchy ones, they look perfect.
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I would definitely go for Bravado bras or something similar.

One thing to keep in mind is that the lactating breast had different needs than the non-lactating breast. I was up to a 36F while nursing DS, and while I normally could not imagine not wearing underwire with breasts that needed that amount of support, every time I tried to wear underwire, I would get a plugged duct - sometimes after only a couple of hours! Ask your mom to buy you 1-2 bravado bras and 1-2 nursing tanks. You may find you NEED to sleep in your bras, or that you leak so much you need to change/wash them often. And ask if you can defer part of your gift until 2-3 months post-partum when things have stabilized and you know how your breasts react to lactation and nursing.

Good luck with your LO!
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It's so hard to find the right bra, I've tried Bravado - their essential bra was horrible. It was so flimsy and thin, plus who wants to put a bra over their head? When you first have the baby it's recommended you don't wear that almost mimick your pre-pregnancy bra.

I'm sure everyone has their perference but here are a few tips to consider before brand recommendations:

Opt for a bra that is 100% cotton, stretchy (cotton is the recommended fabric for nursing bras from lactation consultants as they are breathable and absorbent -milk will dry quicker)

A bra that has no underwire - at least for the first few weeks, Lactation Consultants do say you CAN wear one but you need to be extremely careful as the wire may pinch/clog your milk ducts

As the first few weeks are the most difficult time to breastfeed (some like to call it engorgement stages) instead of opting for a cross over style bra -fabric will be brushing up against your skin a lot more than a cotton full exposure bra (heat molded cups gives you some shape without having to interfere with the sensitive area (nipples) and still allows you to give full access with a easy one handed clip.

You should definitely get fitted, most maternity stores will fit you. Purchase at least 3-5 as your going to be washing them frequently.

Hope some of these pointers can help you find the right bra vs. the brand recommendations - try on a variety of brands to find the right one for you.
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Yet another vote for those Bravado ones! yeah, they're not super supportive, but you won't be on your feet & super active the first few weeks PP anyway. So they do the job.

Mine also had space for the Medela 'soft shells' I wore to protect my cracked nipples (hard plastic semi-spheres that stopped anything from touching my nipples. Awesome!)

I also read that underwire could cause plugged ducts, but I LOVE underwire. I did buy an underwire bra at maybe 3 weeks PP & never had a problem. & I'm glad because I wouldn't want to have gone without it for the 23 mos I BFed DS until he self-weaned!

Getting fitted is a great idea in theory but may not work out so well in reality. Unfortunately the selection in my area is pretty bad & the clerks in retail stores didn't really inspire any confidence that they had a clue what they're doing. (Had the same issue with regular bras.) has tons of great tips, a massive selection, and an easy return policy. I highly recommend!
Yes, please be careful with underwire bras! They can definitely cause clogged ducts, especially if worn for long periods of time frequently. I don't use those until about 3 months into nursing, when engorgement isn't such an issue. I usually use nursing tanks (I am small chested though). I prefer them for NIP and they're more comfortable for me than nursing bras. They also make really comfy stretchy crossover ones that you can wear at night if you need to.
Sorry to hijack the thread but would this be a decent bra? I really don't like spending too much but it doesn't do the exact cup sizes while also un-hooking like a normal nursing bra.

Originally Posted by WifeofAnt View Post
Sorry to hijack the thread but would this be a decent bra? I really don't like spending too much but it doesn't do the exact cup sizes while also un-hooking like a normal nursing bra.
I've never used Bravados, but I've heard good things about them, and I love crossover styles. They're really comfy to me.
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Originally Posted by WifeofAnt View Post
Sorry to hijack the thread but would this be a decent bra? I really don't like spending too much but it doesn't do the exact cup sizes while also un-hooking like a normal nursing bra.
How big are you? I tried a cross-over style after DS was born (was ~36DD at the time), and found the cups quickly stretched out (from "opening" them) to be completely unsupportive. It was an OK bra for sleeping (need something to keep the breast pads in place!) but not even good enough for going to the grocery store.

This one might be better if you are above a B or small C cup, IMO.
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Moved to Breastfeeding
I am another vote for the bravado seamless, body silk nursing bra. I would NOT buy a sized bra at this point. You have no way to predict how your body will change postpartum. For example, pre pregnancy I was a 34D. During pregnancy I was sized for a 36E. Postpartum that bra was WAY too small in the cup. I was measured by one store as a 36F/G and another as a 38D. I have always been a difficult fit for a bra and while nursing it has been a huge challenge finding bras that fit well and without under-wire (I am prone to plugged ducts). I finally just bought the body silk after trying it on several times and thinking I didn't like it and would find something better. Well, 7 months later I didn't find anything better. I bought it thinking I'd take the removable pads out, but they actually show much less than it seemed in the store. Probably due to buying a medium instead of a large so it was more fitted. I also LOVE the bravado tanks as they provide real support and are an almost identical cut and style to the seamless bra. These and cheaper sleep bras and nursing tanks (like target, motherhood) are perfect for early on. By the time you are looking to go back to work or are just ready to have some more lined/sexier bras or whatever, you will have a better idea of your new shape and size. When you get to that point I love the bravado bliss as it is similar to what I wore pre-baby. Bravado is pricey but the quality can't be compared to those I've tried or bought from motherhood and target. Especially if you have a larger bust and need more support and coverage. I've been machine washing my nursing bras (though they say to hand wash) and my bravado ones are holding up very well.

Just my two cents. Sorry for the book
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