By Dana Sullivan
Properly fitted, well-made nursing bras are worth the expense: anything
you can do to make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable will help
make it a positive experience. Some helpful guidelines:
- To guarantee that you purchase bras that suit you best, make an
appointment at a maternity or specialty lingerie store during your
eighth month of pregnancy (when your breasts are about the size they'll
be during breastfeeding) and have a professional fitting.
- If you can't be professionally fitted, be sure to choose bras
that allow for increase or decrease in size by choosing a size that
leaves room for some adjustment. In other words, the bra shouldn't fit
"just right" with the cups on either the largest or smallest
adjustment, and the hooks at the loosest or tightest fitting.
- Be sure to purchase at least one soft cup bra to wear during
the first few weeks after your baby's birth and when you sleep, since
some lactation consultants believe that wires can pinch and contribute
to blocked milk ducts.
- Choose at least two different styles and wear them both
several times to find the one that works best for you. Eventually, plan
to have at least three bras: one to wear, one to have in the wash, and
one to have in your drawer (you'll probably need to wash your bras
after each wearing).
Here are a few recommendations on mom-tested nursing bras available online:
- Japanese Weekend's silky soft Hug bra, $38, or their cotton-knit wrap-style OK bra,
$27, which doesn't have hooks or closures to pinch. These bras are
comfortable enough to sleep in, which is what you may want to do during
the first few days after your milk comes in, to help support your
tender and full breasts. Available at The japanese weekend Website.
- Garnet Hill's cotton/Lycra nursing bra, $32-$36, comes in both soft-cup and underwire versions and in black or white. Available at The Garnet Hill Website.
- Motherhood Maternity's seamless nursing bra, $18, is
made of cotton/Lycra, and has underwire cups that unsnap from the
center. When you're ready to wear close-fitting t-shirts or sweaters
again, this is ideal. Available at The Motherhood Website.
- For exercise, try the Mothers in Motion Promise sports bra,
$48-$52, which is lined with sweat-wicking Cool Max. It's by far the
most comfortable and supportive sports/nursing bra on the market.
Available at The Birth and Baby Website.