Choosing a nursing bra can be a daunting task, especially for a first-time mama. There are so many types and styles that it's easy to feel overwhelmed with the selection—not to mention the idea of nursing in the first place.
As daunting as choosing one might be, maternity and nursing bras are important for your comfort and health as you begin breastfeeding your little one. So, let’s dive into some of the options, why you might prefer one style over another, and the most common questions that new (and veteran) moms have about how to choose a nursing bra.
What features should I look for in a nursing bra?
When you’re choosing a nursing bra, we suggest looking for the following features:
- One-hand access. You definitely don’t want to be fumbling around with a traditional bra when your little one is hungry, so one-hand clip-down access can be a lifesaver.
- Moisture-wicking material. No matter how well you plan, you’re going to experience leakage when you’re nursing. Wearing a bra made with moisture-wicking material will help keep you dry throughout the day.
- Wire-free. You might have friends who love their wired bras, but we suggest looking for wire-free bras when nursing. A wireless design can help prevent clogged ducts and discomfort as your milk comes in, which in turn can help prevent the dreaded mastitis.
- Comfort and support. Your breasts are going to be sore and will fluctuate in size for several weeks, so they’ll need all the support you can give them!
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Bras
When is the best time to buy a nursing bra?
We suggest purchasing at least one nursing bra at the beginning of your third trimester. You’ll likely want to get a few more after your baby is born, and note that your breast size should level out by the second week after birth.
What kind of material should I look for?
The best maternity nursing bras use moisture-wicking material. As we mentioned before, you’re probably going to experience leaks, as well as the occasional spit-up situation with your baby. We love our new Leakproof Nursing Bra, which is designed with multi-layered leakproof cups to keep you dry no matter the situation. It also pulls moisture away from your body, which can help you feel clean and dry, day and night. (That's right—it's perfect for sleeping, too!)
How do I know what size nursing bra to get?
This is probably the most important question you can ask! Wearing the wrong size bra can make you uncomfortable throughout the day. Here’s the step-by-step on how to measure for nursing bras:
- First, use a flexible measuring tape to measure around your torso, just under your breasts. This is for the band width, so think about where the bottom of your bra would sit. Add three inches to the measurement to get the correct band width for you. (If you get an odd number, choose the next highest even number.)
- Next, use the measuring tape to measure around the fullest point of your breasts. This is how you'll calculate your cup size.
- Cup size is determined by subtracting the first measurement from the second measurement. Once you've done the math, use the chart below to determine the cup size.
|1" = A cup
|2" = B cup
|3" = C cup
|4" = D cup
|5" = DD cup
|6" = DDD cup
How do I know my nursing bra is giving me enough support?
The best supportive nursing bra will support you before, during, and after a nursing session. If you feel like the support changes throughout the day, then the bra either doesn’t fit properly or isn't well-designed. You want to look for sturdy, supportive elastic, with a wide bottom band. We love our B.D.A.™ Bra for Maternity Support and Nursing for this reason! Plus, the seamless design feels comfortable day and night.
Molded cup vs. soft cup: Which is best?
It really depends on what is most comfortable for you, as well as when you’ll be wearing the bra. At night or when you're just spending time at home, you might want to choose a soft cup, like the B.D.A.™ Bra for Maternity Support and Nursing or the Bandita Maternity Nursing Bra. If you’re going to be out and about, a molded cup bra (still soft and seamless!) will give you more support and help you feel confident. Our Leakproof Nursing Bra is a go-to for those situations.
What style nursing bra should I get?
You'll probably want a range of different styles to give you the support and confidence you need for various activities. You’ll want a version that's super comfortable and soft for sleeping; a more supportive option for daytime; and if you’re back in the groove with exercising, a nursing sports bra is a good idea. Try out the ActiveSupport™ Nursing Sports Bra—you might find you want to wear this one all the time!
What if my body changes more than expected?
Don’t be surprised if this happens to you! Depending on how much your little one nurses, or how much milk you produce, your body and breast size can fluctuate a lot after giving birth and when you begin nursing. This is why we suggest getting one bra in your third trimester, and then waiting until you're a week or two postpartum before purchasing more.
How many nursing bras do I need to buy?
Many women find that three nursing bras is the magic number. Then you'll always have at least one backup in case of leakage or laundry day.
The most important thing about choosing a nursing bra is finding one that is comfortable for you. This means the right amount of support, high-quality fabric, long-lasting elasticity, and easy access when you’re nursing. All of our Belly Bandit nursing and maternity bras are designed with these key aspects in mind, so you can be sure you're getting the most comfort and support as you navigate your breastfeeding journey.