The first question that most new moms ask is what kind of bra to wear while breastfeeding.
I have to admit that before I had my firstborn, I had no idea that there were bras designed specifically for nursing moms. So I did not include them in my baby registry.
After delivery, I realized that breastfeeding with my normal bras was not only uncomfortable but also affected the flow of milk since they were too tight.
I hated how the underwire in the bras squeezed on my chest under my breasts and the hard time I had when pulling them up or down in order to latch the baby.
The type of bra that is won while breastfeeding is called a nursing bra.
Nursing bras differ from the normal bras in that most of them do not have an underwire. Another unique feature is that they have drop-down cups to ease nursing. So, you do not have to pull down the bra or lift it up when breastfeeding.
What qualities should you look for in a good nursing bra?
1. A nursing bra should not have an underwire
Your normal bras have an underwire for extra support.
However, it is recommended that a nursing bra should not have an underwire since it interferes with the flow of milk.
The underwire has been found to block milk ducts thereby making it hard for milk to flow out. If milk cannot flow out, breasts become engorged, which is very painful. This, in turn, may cause an infection and even result in mastitis.
2. It should be stretchy
The first few weeks after delivery your breasts tend to be really full and bigger than usual. After the first 2 or 3 months, the fullness reduces as your milk production stabilizes.
So it is good that you get a nursing bra that will fit your full breasts at the beginning and shrink back later. A stretchy bra also makes it easy to insert breast pads to prevent breastmilk from leaking onto your clothing.
Bras made from a blend of cotton and another synthetic stretchy fabric or made purely from cotton will fit your breasts quite well even as they increase and reduce in size.
It is advisable that you do not buy a nursing bra until your milk comes in because you do not know how big your breasts will grow. However, when the baby comes you hardly have time to go shopping. So, you can get a stretchy bra before the milk comes in because it can fit several cup sizes.
See also: Best breast pads for heavy leakage
4. The bra should have drop-down cups
It is important that a nursing bra has drop-down cups to ease breastfeeding. This is what differentiates it from the normal bras.
The drop-down cups are usually attached to the bra using clips that you can unclip or unsnap easily with one hand for quick access. You do not have to pull down or lift up your bra. So the bra makes it easy to breastfeed discretely especially when in a public place.
5. A good nursing bra should not be too tight
The essence of choosing a nursing bra over the normal bra is for comfort.
The only way you are going to feel comfortable is if your nursing bra fits perfectly and is not too tight or loose.
A very tight nursing bra may block the milk ducts and affect milk production as we discussed earlier. It may also cause chest, back, and shoulder pain.
6. It should provide maximum support especially for large busts
Good nursing bras should offer your breasts maximum support. This will help to lift them up and hold them in place so that they don’t keep bouncing.
Your posture also improves when you wear a supportive bra. The increase in the size of your breasts due to milk can change your posture and even cause back pain. So a supportive bra can help to hold your breasts firmly and prevent muscle tension on the neck, shoulders, and back; thereby, improving your posture.
7. Should be easy to undo with one hand
When you have a fussy baby on one hard who desperately wants to feed, you want to have easy access. The drop-down cups of the bra should, therefore, be easy to undo with one hand.
8. Should be well padded
Just like the normal bras, nursing bras should also be padded. The pads should also be removable in case you want to add breast pads and you do not want to have your bust looking extra big. Nursing pads should be changed as soon as they get damp, so when the pads are removable, you can easily do this.
So what kind of bra to wear while breastfeeding?
You should wear a nursing bra when breastfeeding.
A good nursing bra gives you the much-needed comfort, supports your breasts, gives you easy access when nursing, and still allows you to look normal even in your normal clothes. It should also offer discretion even when wearing breast pads.