Although you probably think you've mastered the art of bra shopping by now, all of the knowledge goes out the window when you're looking for a nursing bra. Breastfeeding boobs and non-breastfeeding boobs are as different as night and day, so changing your bra-buying assumptions is a natural adjustment. There are several things to look for in a nursing bra that you may not have though of, especially if it's your first time as a nursing mom.
You're probably aware of the fact that your breasts will get bigger when your milk comes in. But exactly how much bigger (and how big they'll stay) will vary from woman to woman, according to Baby Center. After about two weeks postpartum, your breasts will return to the size they were during pregnancy, the same article stated. But that doesn't mean they'll stay the same size the entire time you lactate. Your breast size will change depending on the amount of milk your making, the time of day, and when you last fed your baby, so buying a bra to fit your changing breasts isn't as easy as it sounds. With these tips in mind, you'll be better equipped to find a nursing bra that will last.
1. Room To Grow. . . But Not Too Much
The hardest part of choosing a nursing bra is that your boobs will change sizes constantly. It seems like from one hour to the next your bra will fit you differently. The rule of thumb, according to Nursing Bra Express, is to buy a bra one size larger than your typical bra size, that way, you have room to grow into it, but it will never feel restricting or too tight. Additionally, an article from Pregnant Chicken suggested buying nursing bras with 4 to 6 clasps in the back, since the "back band provides 80 percent of the support," you don't want something too loose or too tight.
The MAMA memory foam bra ($25) from H&M would be a great choice that would still be comfortable with your breast's fluctuating size.
2. Comfortable Support
Even if you usually go underwire free, you may want to invest in a bra with a little more support than you usually do. With the extra weight of the milk (and to make up for the discomfort of engorgement), a supportive bra is a must. This Show Off nursing bra ($60) from Hot Milk Lingerie offers the perfect amount of support without an underwire, so you can still stay comfy.
3. Something You Can Sleep In
Most nursing moms will leak at night for at least the first few months of breastfeeding, so wearing a bra at night is usually the best option for staying as dry as possible. For nighttime wear, a soft, sports-bra-like nursing bra ($22), like this one from Target, is usually the best option.
4. Clip-Down Features
It's tempting to just buy "normal" bras and hope for the best. Although regular bras may work for later on, when you're just getting started, the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable or not have quick and easy access to your milk. The clips are there for a reason — they make it ten times easier.
5. Something That Fits Your Lifestyle
If you spend most of your time at home with the baby, a push-up nursing bra might not be the best (or most comfortable option), but if you're going back to work after a while, you may not want only sports bras for underneath your office attire. Thinking through your day-to-day life and choosing a few bras that will best fit your lifestyle will ensure that you'll be comfortable and supported no matter where you are.