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Most normal bras do not allow changes in breast cup size during pregnancy. Normal bras have underwire which is NOT recommended for milk engorged breasts because they can cause uneven pressure on the breast and predispose you to blocked milk ducts or mastitis. If you do insist on wearing bras with underwire, it is important they fit well.
Nursing bras should have softer and larger cups with wider straps to support the breasts comfortably. They should have breathable fabric such as cotton to prevent excessive sweating which can cause fungal infection. The fabric should be soft with concealed seams to prevent chafing or causing irritation. It should also be stretchy to adjust with the change in breast size as you breast feed throughout the day. Some nursing bras have adjustable hooks to allow for changes in breast size.
Why do I need a nursing bra?
- They are designed to be stretchy to allow the bra to accommodate the changing size of a nursing breast
- They have flaps to allow you to be able to unfasten easily with one hand. Most of the time, you will be holding the baby with the other hand
- They are designed to have breast pads or be able to hold removable breast pads
- They are made with breathable fabric to reduce sweating
- They are either seamless or have concealed seams to prevent cutting into your breast
Image Source: Alleghany Trees
Can I sleep in a maternity bra?
Good sleep nursing bras should be seamless with double layered cups so you can wear it with nursing pads while you sleep to prevent leakages.
How to buy my nursing bra?
During the later part of your pregnancy, buy 1 numerical size and 1 cup size larger than what you wearing. This allows for the sudden breast enlargement when milk is produced after the birth of your baby. Once your breast size settles down around 1-2 weeks postpartum, you can buy more nursing bras.
Refer to this conversion chart based on your pre-pregnant bra size.
How to measure a nursing bra