Nursing Bras 101: How to Choose a Nursing Bra

Breastfeeding is truly a miraculous bodily feat. Did you know that breast milk changes in content and volume depending on what your baby needs? Amazing! If you choose to breastfeed, you’ll soon learn quickly on the job. And, it IS a job. With newborns needing to eat every 2-3 hours, clocking about 30 minutes per feed, you’re looking at a lot of time trapped in a chair. By the time one feed is done, you’re gearing up for the next in those first few months. This new job requires a new uniform. Think buttons, openings, and easy access. Nursing bras are a must have when it comes to breastfeeding. Whether you are pumping, nursing, or a combo of both, choosing the right nursing bras will be crucial to your comfort. 

What is a nursing bra?

A nursing bra is designed to support your breasts during pregnancy or while nursing. Nursing bras are often wireless, because it promotes blood flow and comfortability. The last thing you want is a restrictive bra, which could decrease supply and become uncomfortable. The main difference between a nursing bra and a regular bra is the ease of access for breastfeeding. Hello, little clips! Nursing bras contain clasps on either side of the bra strap that allows one hand unclasping to provide easy nursing access. Additionally, nursing bras that include leak-proof pads to allow for all-day protection against milk leaks. When you’re breastfeeding, especially in those first six weeks when your supply is still regulating, leaks happen––a lot. You’ll definitely want to choose a nursing bra that offers leak protection, or else you’ll be changing your tops way too many times a day. 

Do I need a nursing bra?

While you may be able to wear a regular bra while nursing, it makes breastfeeding unnecessarily complicated. You may be wondering, if I am not breastfeeding, do I still need a nursing bra? The answer is Yes! There are many benefits to wearing a nursing bra while pregnant and postpartum. The wire-free support prevents your breasts from being constricted and offers increased blood flow. In addition, many women find the moisture-wicking fabric breathable and comfortable enough for sleeping. In pregnancy, your breasts usually increase in size considerably, so many women like to just get into a nursing bra to extend the life of the garment. Might as well go there!

Tips to choosing the right nursing bra

When you’re choosing a nursing bra, consider these key features:

Leakproof and sweat control

If you choose to breastfeed, it is essential to have a leak proof nursing bra. Often, nursing bras do not come with built-in nursing pads, so you may need disposable nursing pads. However, a leak proof nursing bra allows you to ditch those nursing pad inserts while offering protection all day. Let’s face it; none likes worrying about milk leaking into your bra or shirt. Disposable nursing pads tend to bunch up and not stick well to a nursing bra. Additionally, many women find it challenging to keep the pad in place while unclasping a bra to breastfeed. This is not only frustrating when your nursing pad falls on your lap, but it may not feel very pleasant. A nursing bra with built-in pads, such as the Proof Leakproof nursing bra, eliminates the mess, disposable pads, and leaks. 

Fabric

Like a good pair of workout leggings, the right material of a nursing bra is essential. Nursing bras made with Moisture-wicking fabric offer the best protection while still being breathable. Nursing bras should not feel restricting  and cause boob sweat. If boob sweat is excessive, it may cause yeast infections (Yes, on your boobs and potentially in the baby's mouth!). Also, sweat may change the taste of your breast milk, which could cause a nursing strike in your little one. 

Sleep Support

Not all nursing bras are suggested to sleep in. However, a leak proof nursing bra is the most versatile around. With comfort in mind, this bra provides you comfort and protection from the gym to sleep. Many women wear a nursing bra to sleep since they may still leak breast milk  at night, especially once their baby starts sleeping longer stretches and not feeding as often.

Cup size

During pregnancy and nursing, your breast size will fluctuate a cup or two. Choose a bra that is fully adjustable in the back clasps as well as shoulder straps. Having a bra that fits right to your cup size is important to give you proper support and lift as needed. Many stores offer a bra fitting guide to determine the best nursing bra size for you. 

Clasps for breastfeeding

It may be uncomfortable to wear a regular bra and pull it out of the way discreetly to breastfeed. The convenience of a nursing bra offers two shoulder clasps between the strap and tip of the cup. The clasps are easy to remove even with one hand. Leaving you with a discrete ability to hold your baby and unlatch your bra to breastfeed. 

Wire Free

Many benefits go unnoticed when choosing a wire- free bra. Wireless bras offer the same support as a wired bra but without the metal underwire. Wired bras do not last as long due to the wire bending or poking through over time. In addition, wireless bras provide more comfort throughout the day and night. Unlike wired bras, wireless bras are safe to work out or even sleep. They provide support by cradling your breasts and preventing shifting through the day or night. Wire free bras are especially beneficial while nursing because of the stretchy fabric and adjustable back clasps. 

Proper fit 

Whichever bra you decide, the fit is the most important thing to a perfect nursing bra. If your bra does not fit properly, you will most likely experience pain in your shoulders and under your breasts. Choose a bra that accommodates your level of activity and overall goals. The Proof leaks proof nursing bra is versatile and supports your lifestyle. The nursing bra is fully adjustable to ensure you have the best fit every time.

How do I know what size nursing bra to buy?

When finding the correct size, a good rule of thumb is to add at least one cup size and one band size to your pre-pregnancy cup size. In addition, your breasts should be fully enclosed in the bra cups. Many online stores, such as proof.com provide an easy-to-use sizing guide to ensure you find the right size. 

How tight should a nursing bra be?

A nursing bra should be firm on the band but not too tight. The bra should sit under your breasts and feel comfortable. It may be too tight if you notice a rash or imprint under the band when taking the bra off. It is important to wear a nursing bra that is the right fit. Wearing a nursing bra that is too tight may cause a decrease in milk flow. Also, If there is not proper circulation, it may increase your risk of developing infections such as mastitis. Ouch!

In conclusion

The journey into motherhood is transformative and beautiful. However, deciding which products are best for you during pregnancy, birth and nursing may seem overwhelming. Shopproof.com vows to be with you every step of the way, from pregnancy to postpartum. We’ve got your back when it comes to choosing a nursing bra that is leak proof and breathable.

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