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Nursing Bras

Maternity Bras & Nursing Bras

During the nine months that you are pregnant, your rib cage expands, your mammary glands develop, and your hormones go haywire. All of these dramatic physical shifts are concentrated around your chest and usually lead to noticeable changes in your breasts. As their breasts naturally undergo these and other internal changes, many women experience related tenderness, swelling, and other seemingly random changes in the size and shape of their breasts throughout the course of their pregnancy.

Because of how common breast-related pregnancy side effects are, maternity bras are understandably one of the most popular types of maternity lingerie. While some women just opt to buy larger sizes of their normal bras when their breasts begin to swell during pregnancy, many other women find that the special design of maternity bras provides their breasts with a better fit and the specialized support and coverage they need as their pregnancy progresses.

Some women are hesitant to try maternity bras because they associate these bras with unattractive, frumpy styles akin to “granny bras”. Since most women’s feelings of attractiveness are already fragile during pregnancy, it’s understandable that many don’t want to wear maternity bras if they are worried these bras will make them feel even less confident about their bodies. However, the connotations of maternity bras as unattractive are completely false. Countless different lingerie companies offer complete lines of maternity bras for pregnant women with designs that are both sexy and supportive. From the outside, many of these maternity bras are indistinguishable from any other sexy lingerie bra. Maternity bras also come in many different styles, including wireless maternity bras, racerback nursing bras, maternity sleep bras, and many others to help you comfortably maintain your lifestyle during your pregnancy. They are just like the pre-pregnancy bras you wear, plus the extra support you need while you’re pregnant.

Because maternity bras are produced specifically to be worn during pregnancy, they include many special features that are customized to benefit pregnant women and their continuously changing breasts. Don’t just settle for larger sizes of your pre-pregnancy bras when there are countless sexy maternity bras out there waiting to enhance the look of your pregnant breasts and comfortably support them at the same time.

As for when you should buy your first maternity bra, there is no defined prime time to switch from your regular bras to pregnancy bras. Listen to your body. If your breasts feel too tender in your normal bras or are beginning to spill over the tops of the cups, start looking for a maternity bra that fits better. Many women experience noticeable changes in their breasts very early in their pregnancy and switch over to pregnancy bras during their first trimester. Others don’t feel the need to stop wearing their regular bras until the latter half of their pregnancy or even until after they give birth and start breastfeeding. Don’t let how far along you are in your pregnancy dictate when you buy your first maternity bra. Start shopping for a maternity bra as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable in your pre-pregnancy bras whether you’re in your first trimester or your third.

Maternity Versus Nursing Bras

Maternity and nursing bras are both types of bras that are commonly worn by pregnant women. Many women preparing to purchase new bras for their pregnancy get confused about the differences between these two styles and which one is the best choice for them.

Although the differences between maternity and nursing bras are subtle, they do exist. As their titles suggest, maternity bras are designed to be worn by women in the later months of their pregnancy and nursing bras are technically meant for after-pregnancy wear by breastfeeding mothers. Maternity bras are usually made from very stretchy material with adjustable straps and extra hook and eye closures on the band to easily accommodate the changing size of your breasts. They also include extra support features like wider straps and soft cups with cotton lining in order to keep tender, swelling breasts comfortable. The only significant difference between maternity and nursing bras is that nursing bras—which are also known as breastfeeding bras—feature cups that open and close with a clasp or hook to provide easier access to nipples for regular breastfeeding. Nursing bras generally feature the same special comfort and support components as maternity bras.

The truth is that nursing and maternity bras are very similar and which style you choose to wear during your pregnancy is little more than a matter of personal preference. Many women wear nursing bras throughout their entire pregnancy and breastfeeding stint, while others wear maternity bras during and after their pregnancy or switch from maternity bras to nursing bras after giving birth. Don’t restrict yourself to one type of bra. Choose your pregnancy bras based on which ones feel the most comfortable and supportive.

Maternity and Nursing Bra Fitting Guide

Finding a bra that fits comfortably is hard enough even when you’re not pregnant. Once you get pregnant, bra fitting becomes infinity more complicated and can be extremely frustrating for many women. Fortunately, choosing to wear a maternity or nursing bra makes the process of finding a well-fitting bra during your pregnancy easier since these bras are designed specifically to provide pregnant women with a comfortable and supportive fit.

The main reason that buying a bra that fits you while you’re pregnant is so difficult is that your breasts are constantly changing during your pregnancy. You might buy a bra that fits perfectly at sixteen weeks, but your breasts will likely be spilling out of it by the time you hit your third trimester. There is absolutely no way to know how your breasts will change as your pregnancy progresses or how much they will grow. Pregnancy changes every woman’s body differently and predicting how it will affect your breasts is impossible. Some women experience little to no visible changes in their breasts and are able to wear their normal bras throughout all three trimesters of their pregnancy. Other women’s breasts grow two to three full cup sizes as their pregnancy progresses. After giving birth, some women’s breasts shrink closer to their pre-pregnancy size while others experience additional swelling of one to two cup sizes.

The cup and band sizes of most maternity and nursing bras match the sizing of normal bra styles. Just measure your breasts normally to determine which size bra to buy during your pregnancy. Don’t just measure yourself for cup size; your rib cage expands while you’re pregnant and your band size will likely increase as well. When you buy a maternity bra or a nursing bra, plan on buying a bra that is one band size larger and one to three cup sizes larger than your pre-pregnancy bras. That being said, every woman’s body changes differently so don’t be alarmed if your band and cup sizes shift even more dramatically than that. When you try on maternity or nursing bras, choose them based off of how comfortable and supportive they feel and not by their size.

The most important part of finding well-fitting nursing and maternity bras is to measure yourself regularly during and after your pregnancy. Accept that there is a very high chance that you will have to buy multiple bras in different sizes or styles as your pregnancy progresses and after you give birth. With this in mind, avoid buying multiple bras in the same size at any point during your pregnancy and be conscious of the price of the nursing and maternity bras you buy. While it’s important to choose high-quality bras that are comfortable and supportive, it’s also a good idea to buy bras that are relatively inexpensive since you might only be able to wear them comfortably for a few months. Also, don’t buy a nursing bra when you’re twenty weeks pregnant solely to avoid buying a new bra after you give birth and start breastfeeding. If nursing bras feel more comfortable for you than maternity bras, there’s nothing wrong with wearing them throughout your pregnancy. Just beware that starting out with a nursing bra does not mean you won’t have to buy multiple bras before your pregnancy ends and you stop breastfeeding. Although you might be able to wear the same nursing bra during and after your pregnancy, there is a good chance that your breasts will change enough to warrant buying another bra later in your pregnancy or after you give birth.