This post was sponsored by Cake Maternity.
Do you remember how important your first bra was? Your body changed and grew during puberty. Your breasts were developing and your training bra was ready to be snipped on the straps by your friends as an initiation of sorts. It was a big deal.
When you become pregnant, and also when you are breastfeeding, your breasts go through even more dramatic changes, but they happen in a very short time. For optimal breast health, you should be supported and cared for in this particular phase of your life with a bra that has been specially designed and manufactured for these changes.
What is a maternity or nursing bra?
While the exact definition of a maternity and nursing bra depends on where you are in the world and who you ask, a maternity bra generally refers to any bra that you can safely wear while pregnant while breastfeeding -Bra is any bra that has added functionality to breastfeeding, be it nursing clips or pull-away cups. However, there may be some overlap and sometimes the terms are used interchangeably!
A good maternity and nursing bra is super soft and non-restrictive, so it hugs your tender and swollen (not to mention sometimes sore, itchy and hot) breasts comfortably. Your rib cage also changes dramatically during pregnancy and after childbirth, so you’ll find that maternity bras often have lots of hooks and eyes on the back so you can let them out as you grow and put them back in when you contract.
Do I need a new bra if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
While you don’t need a new bra, they can make your pregnancy and breastfeeding a lot more comfortable. Not only do they adapt to your changing size and provide access to breastfeeding, but they also help maintain your breast health as they are breathable, durable and supportive.
Why are pregnancy and nursing bras important?
During early pregnancy and the first 6 weeks after giving birth, your breasts will grow significantly in a relatively short period of time. During these transitional periods, it is imperative that you wear something soft and non-restrictive to minimize discomfort. We recommend mothers wear seamless nursing bras as these are thermoformed to prevent monoboob (which can lead to compression and restriction, both big no’s). Another plus of seamless bras is that each size can accommodate multiple cup and band combinations, so they will grow with you as your breast size fluctuates.
In the 2nd and 3rd trimester and after the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding, care comes first. At this stage, your bust is more stable, so you can start wearing flexi wire nursing bras. These bad guys are super flexible and have a wider curve than a regular hanger so they don’t dig into your precious milk ducts.
How do I find the right fit?
We recommend fitting the band first, then the cups and then the straps to find the perfect fit.
1. When buying a maternity or nursing bra in the first trimester, always place it on the tightest hook to allow your chest to expand later in your pregnancy. A good maternity bra has up to 6 rows of hooks and eyes, which allows your chest to expand before birth and to contract your chest after birth.
Your underband should be tight, but not too tight, and run parallel to the floor. If it comes up your back, it’s too big. If it digs in, it’s too small.
To get the most out of your bra, try this rule of thumb:
- 3 months pregnant: 1st hook
- 4 months pregnant: 2nd hook
- 5 months pregnant: 3rd hook
- 6 months pregnant: 4th hook
- 7th month pregnant: 5th hook
- 8-9 months pregnant: 6th hook
2. When it comes to cup fit, the top of the bra should be snug and you should be able to slide two fingers easily into the edge of the cups without digging in. If it digs in, go up a cup size. This ensures that it still fits and supports you during the daily fluctuations during breastfeeding.
If the bra has underwires, they should sit flat against your chest wall and not near your breast tissue. If the bra is underwire, the bust should be fully seated in the cups of the bra. If you’re having trouble in any of these areas, go up a size or two.
3. You can also apply the two-finger rule to your straps. They should feel nice and tight, but never too tight. As long as you can run under it with two fingers, you are spot on.
Getting a professional fit is always best, but if you’re short on time or prefer to shop online, these simple steps will be your best bet on a perfectly fitting bra.
What type of bra should a pregnant and nursing mother wear?
Gone are the days when a maternity bra was an eye-catching piece of cloth that was kept locked up and never shown to a partner.
Nowadays, you can find all kinds of maternity and nursing bras from lace bralettes, soft bamboo bralettes, sleep bras, flexi-wired balcony bras, t-shirt bras, non-wired bras, high impact sports bras, Pump bras, yoga bras, and the list goes on. Whatever your style, size, or preference, Cake Maternity has something for you. Your breasts will thank you.
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