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Maternity bras/nursing bras/general underwear issues .... HELP!(37 Posts)
This is my first pregnancy and after much trawling on the internet and in person for maternity bras I am struggling! What is the difference between a maternity bra and a nursing bra? Can you wear either throughout your pregnancy? (Apologies if I sound like a compete idiot here!) What is the best shape/material to go for?
And where would anyone suggest buying from? Also do you have to buy different pants as you get bigger? And are there options for anything kinda nice?
I am in an underwear frenzy right now!! I need new bras but am seriously losing this battle! They don't make it easy on us - as if my boobs aren't causing me enough stress, now I can't package them easily!!!!
Thankyou for any advice in advance!
nursing bras have clips so you can open and drop the cups for easy access.
Maternity bras are simply soft cup, non-wired bras and there's really no need for them - it's totally fine to simply wear normal bras, just buy your current size. Bravissimo is the best for fitting.
I am on my second set of maternity bras.. I'm 31 weeks and hope these will see me through until my boobs finally start to shrink again, if you don't want to wear a wired bra (there is various advice whether you should or not) a maternity bra is unwired. A nursing bra is just the same but wih a clip at the top to get your boob out easily. I would go to a shop to get a nursing bra fitted when you are 7/8 months pregnant.
As for matching pants.,. I did in my first pregnancy, not bothered this time. My hips are so much bigger and keep growing, and wth maternity leggings/tights/ Etx I want a nice big pair of pants that don't get lost under my bump!
I second that bravissimo will see you right!
Maternity bras are just crap bras, as katherina says they have no underwire and they're usually just made of soft fabric. I have 2 that came in a pack from Morhercare and they are a) not comfy so what's the point and b) make everything I wear look incredibly frumpy.
So I'm just wearing a normal bra in a bigger size. Some people will tell you not to wear an underwire while pregnant as it can affect your milk ducts but tbh my bra fits me properly and the wire doesn't dig into my boob so I'm not worried.
Nursing bras are also not great for shape but they allow easy access for breastfeeding. You will need some if you intend to breastfeed. Mine are just ones that I got from H&M although I only breastfed for 2 months each time so if I breastfeed for longer this time I might invest in some decent ones. Wait until the end of your pregnancy to get the nursing bras as your boobs will be more like the size that they'll be when you're bfing.
Pants- I'm usually a size 10 but I'm currently (27 weeks) sporting size 12 cotton knickers which came in a 4 pack from Tesco. I bought a few packs a few weeks ago when my usual pants started being uncomfortable. If these start getting tight I'll buy a couple of size 14 packs and they should do me for after the birth too. Then I'll throw them all out once I start to go back to normal (if that ever happens )
This article has some useful info about bras. It also says there is no evidence to support the suggestion that underwired bras will block your milk ducts.
I wore normal bras until birth although I did go down a back size and up a cup size. I'm now three weeks post birth and my boobs are at least one cup size larger than birth. They're also quite tender so I'm using nursing bras ( the drop down panel ones) with no wire or those cami style vests with a drop down panel. Once things have settled and calmed down I'll go back to underwire as nursing non wired don't give great support.
Knicker wise, wear what's comfy! I just wore normal pants throughout. Post c section I wear biiiiiig pants so there's no rubbing on the scar.
Oh and I'm not wearing nursing bras - the sweaty droopy look just wasn't what I was after. With most bras, you can just slide the strap off your shoulder and pull boob out, no problem.
Ive tried a lot of nursing and maternity bras and in my opinion, the best soft cup/non-wired ones are by Bravado - their "Silk" style is incresibly confortable. It come ain S, M, L and XL, so it sort of stretches with you as you grow/go back down after birth/bf. It's also got nursing clips. I have one in nude and one in black and find them surprisngly aupportive, given lack of underwire - they do give a good shape (and I'm currently a 34E!).
I also have a nursing bra from Anita that has soft underwiring (I think it's the 5036 model?) - again, very comfy and supportive. Very thin, smooth fabric though so not as good for hiding breastpads under.
About 15 months into bf last time round, I got heartily sick of the non-wired M&S nursing bras I had and invested in a lightly padded, soft-wired nursing bra from Amoralia - it's pretty, but sizing came up a but small and I foolishly wore it before registering it was a bit small. It's lovely fabric though and probably would be lovely in the right size. Expensive though.
So my key advice would be that it really is worth getting good quality maternity/nursing bras if you feel uncomfortable in your current ones - I just bought bigger wired normal bras for the first fee months the last time round but the relief I felt when I finally got one of the Bravado onea was immense! I think if your boobs are sensitive/tender/itchy at all, then they'll definitely thank you for it ;)
The reason that the general advice is to not wear wires when pg or bf is because so many women wear the wrong size, don't get properly fitted (as we all know, M&S don't count!) or ignore changes to their bust. When you're pg and bf your breast tissue changes rapidly and dramatically. Poorly fitted underwires can rub this tissue which in turn can lead to long term problems including blocked ducts. If you don't wear wires then you can afford to leave longer between new bras.
If your non wired bra is leaving you "saggy" then it is simply not fitted properly. I'm a G cup. I wear both wired and non and if anything my non wired bras lift me better than my wired bras. But that's because I prefer a slightly shaped cup which in turn affects the support.
I'm a bravissimo girl.
There are bra intervention threads all over the place here but simply, if the under and is not firm and snug to your body and totally even (no going up at the back) and the cups are smooth to your breast with no boob bulges you're close to being ok.
If you wear tshirt bras and shaped cups during pregnancy because you prefer the shape they give you then if they are not fitted correctly to you (and remember this fit will chance nigh on weekly) then the shape is just the bra, not your bust (if that makes sense)
The previous poster who said to get fitted for a nursing bra at 7-8 months? As your breasts continue to develop until long after you have given birth that's potentially very early. When your milk comes in, your breasts will increase in size. The industry "standard" is to say "a fist" per cup. Which also allows room for nursing pads too. I would always advise to leave it as late as you can to be fitted for a nursing bra.
The reason you shouldn't bother buying nursing bras for pregnancy is they're more expensive and you'll likely grow out of them without using them for their purpose.
There are lots of unsexy but bloody good maternity bras. I recommend bravissimo and also John Lewis.
I still don't understand how I should go about buying nursing bras ahead of time! I'm basically due any day now, and I have a couple of stretchy 'sleep' nursing bras... But given that my boobs are going to go fairly haywire for a while, how on earth do I know what size to buy?? I'm probably going to leave it and try to buy online once the baby's here and my milk's come in and I can just measure myself then. Madness?
These maternity bras from jojo maman Bebe are great for the first few weeks - very stretchy and a huge range of hooks on the back to accommodate changing sizes. I also liked that you can get both boobs out at once if need be! (Newborns like that). Then once things (boobs and baby!) have settled down you can get fitted properly for a proper maternity bra. www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/sp+seamless-maternity-nursing-bras-in-maternity-products-and-underwear+b4826 (I still wear these on days I don't care if I have a bit of a mono boob and my baby is 15 months old! I'm a gg too so they are very supportive, if a little monobooby.)
You won't know ahead of time how big you will be. When my milk came in I grew lots!
So I bought a couple of inexpensive soft bras that will tide me over until I'm able to assess my actual size. It's probably better to get a bra that will be forgiving fitting wise at this stage (the bravado ones are good, I have some from index too) then once you're over the rapid growth post milk stage you can, if you want, get a bra that's wired etc.
There's no point spending a lot of money before you can assess your boobs when your milk supply is in. Go for comfort in the early week or so ( mine are very tender and I'd hate to have anything pressing on them)
The beauty of the Bravado Silk bras is that they don't come in actual cup sizes, so they have plenty of room for size fluctuations. Having said that, obviously this is fine if you're not between their sizes (I was fine in the L size throughout pregnancy and nursing, but of course everyone's boobs are different!) but no so useful if your size differs wildly, and of course you won't really know until bf is established.
I've tried a lot of nursing bras (bravado, Royce, panache, Freya etc etc) and yes I do know my proper size (HH when feeding) and no, non-wired bras simply will not give the same support - it's not like the wires are there for decoration, that's what they do.
So I converted some bras myself first, but once kids had stopped cluster-feeding, am simply wearing normal bras. And even though you need a different size, you can hunt for bargains on ebay, brastop etc - nursing bras are not just horrible but also eyewateringly expensive.
Oh and I agree, getting fitted before your milk comes in is not a good idea, women are different and they can only roughly estimate how big you might get.
Another vote here for Bravado bras - very comfy and sufficiently supportive to keep things under control when I'm exercising.
In previous pregnancies I've spent a fortune going up through the sizes and back down again, so this time I have simply gone for a couple of L size nursing bras which will see me through to the end of my pregnancy as well as while I'm breastfeeding.
I think it is very much a personal choice and depends on your size and shape. Following advice here, I didn't buy a maternity bra to start off with. My normal bras got quite uncomfortable quite early on, so at about 8 weeks I got 3 properly fitting underwired bras which were a bit bigger than my normal size, but after a few weeks I found them very uncomfortable. My bump is quite high, so that may be an issue. So I switched to a maternity bra at about 14 weeks - got it fitted at mothercare, and it is so much more comfy but also supportive. Also not expensive - I only bought a couple and I just wash one and wear the other. I'll get a nursing bra nearer the time.
So ultimately it's up to you and what shape you are and what you find comfortable. We all seem to have different experiences!
As for pants mine sit well below my bump so I haven't changed them at all.
I've just bought cheap primark bras - one black and one white for each cup size I've gone up (3 so far but I started as a b!), normal wired ones and they've been totally fine. I'm not in them more than 6 weeks at a time so I didn't feel the need to buy good quality or fancy ones.
As for pants I've just bought larger sizes, again primark ones! I'm going to buy some black 'full briefs' a couple of sizes too big for when I go in to hospital from like Tesco or somewhere. Oh the glamour!
I've also bought a sports bra type one from primark which is uber comfy and stretchy and I use when doing DIY etc.
I'll get fitted for a nursing bra once I decide I'm keeping up with the breastfeeding!
Spent the first two weeks after birth at home, wearing a strappy vest or pjs and just opening buttons/ pulling vest down to feed. The expensive nursing bras I assumed I needed and rushed to buy before the birth were too small after milk came in. But they did fit when boobs calmed down a bit and shrank again a couple of months later, so useful then.
Maybe just wait a while to go shopping, you might not need nursing bras at the start (even if your boobs are humungous).
On the other hand, I do like proper bump-covering pregnancy pants, even if they are massively overpriced.
Thanks Huffle for the link to the Jojo bra- that looks really comfy. I think I can live with a bit of mono-boob for a while.
During pregnancy I've been wearing Belvia bras to sleep in and whilst lounging about at the weekend- cheap and very comfy, supportive enough for my DD boobs.
For work I've been wearing my usual M&S balcony tee-shirt bras but in a bigger back size and bigger cup size.
I've bought a couple of Emma Jane feeding bras but having tried them on they are bit scratchy and shapeless- I think I'll try Huffle's suggestion after I actually have the baby so I can get a feel for sizes.
Pants wise, I'm now in size 12 or 14 M&S high waisted black pants with a lace trim at the top- they're not the most glamorous but have a nice shape and sit really comfortably under the bump.
I'll prob buy something similar for after I've had the baby in a size bigger to accommodate maternity pads.
For sleeping, I love Bravissimo PJ tops. The ones with straps, as opposed to racer backs, are easier to feed in. Very supportive and comfy.
I prefer the crossover style stretchy nursing bras that don't have clips... you just pull one side down. More comfortable and less fiddly, also better to sleep in. I got some nice Medela and Marielle ones from Amazon. In pregnancy I just wore ordinary stretchy sports bras as I changed size a lot. Went up a size in knickers, as pps said get some big full briefs style knickers for after the birth. I was back in normal size a week after birtg when switched from giant pads to slim pads.
I had bra fitting at 18 weeks at m&s. They advised new bra every few months and get nursing bra fitted a couple weeks before due date and they fit you got slightly larger size to allow for milk to come in and more growth. They advised I get the two-pack non wired bra as it's only £14 for two. No point spending loads, the bras I bought, I have only worn for 10 weeks before I replaced. Hope that helps! (I might treat myself to fancy nursing bra later on) hope that helps x
Those JoJoMaman bras look just like the m&s maternity bras I got at about week 20. So frumpy but they are quite comfy. Have managed with just one black and one white and just alternated. They do function as nursing bras too so I might just stick with them until I know what's going on with my boobs. Am 37 weeks now so by the time my boobs calm down a bit the post Christmas sales should be on.
Can I ask -
a) can you self-measure for nursing bras? (I took a photo of the chart in mothercare)
b) does your ribcage go down again after birth? My ribs have definitely widened so do I measure myself or get measured for nursing bra now or wait til afterwards and do it myself, ordering online (rather than struggle to shops with newborn during pre-Christmas rush)?
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