Bras are my biggest enemy in life, no matter how comfortable. But they can be an evil necessity, especially if you’re breastfeeding, since leaving your ladies loose can make you more susceptible to leaks. When you are exercising or doing other strenuous activity, you may choose to wear a sports bra that will keep your breasts in place, but if you are going for a jog or heading to the gym and need to keep your boobs from going rogue, you may want to know — can a sports bra dry up your milk?
When it comes to breastfeeding, moms often find themselves on a quest to keep a balanced milk supply, whether it’s eating herbs to increase milk supply, or putting cabbage in your bra to decrease it. Bra choice seems to play a big part in comfort and convenience for breastfeeding moms, but it can have an impact on milk supply, so it’s important to know the effects.
Romper spoke with Leigh Anne O'Connor, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), who says a sports bra itself does not dry up milk, but you should still be cautious. "If a breastfeeding mom wears tight clothes that clog up her breasts, this can have a negative impact on milk supply," she says.
If you are wearing a bra that is too tight, noted Our Everyday Life, it can block your milk flow and make your body think more milk isn't needed, which can decrease your supply. The article further noted that a tight-fitting bra can potentially lead to plugged milk ducts and infections like mastitis, because of the pressure it may put on your milk ducts which extend from your armpit to your rib cage.
Sports bras come in all varieties, so it’s important to choose one that accommodates lactating breasts. The website for Ask Dr. Sears suggested choosing bras that are not too tight, but are still supportive and have no underwires, because they can dig in to obstruct your milk flow. The website also recommended choosing bras with breathable fabric, because if they retain sweat and moisture, they can lead to bacterial growth and soreness.
Luckily, there are sports bras that are designed for breastfeeding moms. La Leche League International makes a sports bra that is breathable and elastic, and Lamaze makes a racerback version with foam lining for support. Both have the flap down feature for easy breastfeeding access, and are available at Target and Amazon. (You know — those places you've been shopping at every day for diapers and breast pads.)