We want to talk about bras… Specifically, maternity bras & nursing bras. Bra buying can be a challenge at the best of times; add to that the drastic fluctuations in size and the extra features you’ll need for pregnancy and nursing, and you’ve got quite an underclothing conundrum on your hands. This week on the blog we are ironing out the issues and busting the myths wide open. Mamas: Welcome to Seraphine’s Ultimate Guide to Maternity & Nursing Bras!
Maternity & Nursing Bras: The Basics
First off let’s get one thing straight: your bra is not just there to look pretty. It has a very important job to do – keeping you and your bust fully secure and supported. During pregnancy this job becomes even more vital; as the added weight of your growing bust can put pressure on the delicate ligaments at the top of your chest, causing them to stretch. So we think it’s fair to say that your maternity and nursing bras are a pretty important underwear purchase!
When fitting your bra, the recommendation is that:
80% of the weight of your breasts should be supported entirely by the under-bust, and only 20% should be carried by the straps.
Seraphine maternity and nursing bras are made with super supportive elastic instead of underwire. This helps you to keep your shape and makes for a healthier, more comfortable option.
Buying Maternity Bras
When to Buy a Maternity Bra
Generally, your cup size will grow over the first 20 or so weeks of pregnancy. Your rib cage will start to expand after that from 20 weeks onwards.
We suggest switching to a maternity bra at some point in your second trimester. Your cup size should be fairly stable by then, and all of our maternity bras are made with extra hook and eye settings at the back to allow a flexible fit to accommodate your expanding rib cage.
Fitting Your Maternity Bra
As a general rule of thumb: Take your usual pre-pregnancy bra size, and then go 1 cup size up and 1 back size up. So if you usually wear a 34C, you’ll want to try a 36D.
When trying on your maternity bra, make sure that you feel comfortably secure on the tightest setting, giving yourself plenty of room to adjust the fit as you grow.
Buying Nursing Bras
When to buy a Nursing Bra
When your milk comes in for breastfeeding you may find that you’re busting out of your bras again, so it’s a good idea to buy new nursing bras a couple of weeks before your due date. That way you’ll be prepared when baby arrives, and will have a good idea of the size you’ll need.
If you continue with breastfeeding, you may find that once you’ve established a feeding routine and your body is basically back to normal, you’ll need a smaller size. All of our maternity bras feature nursing capabilities, so at this point, you can switch back to using the maternity bras you bought in your second trimester!
Watch John Lewis’ tips for choosing your nursing bra
Fitting your Nursing Bra
Take your pregnancy bra size, and then go 1 cup size up and 1 back size down. So if you are wearing a 36D near the end of your pregnancy, you should opt for a 34DD for nursing.
When you try on your nursing bra towards the end of your pregnancy, it should feel comfortably secure on the loosest setting so that you can tighten it up over time as your body settles back to normal.
Looking After Your Maternity Lingerie
Remember: not all bras are machine washable!
To avoid disaster, always read the instructions on the label and if in doubt:
- Hand wash with cold water
- If you choose to machine wash, hook the bra together and use a wash bag, setting it to a delicate cycle.
- Dry your bra in the shade to avoid sun damage and do not tumble dry
Nursing Clothes Shopping List
If you plan to breastfeed, it’s a good idea to have plenty of nursing clothes ready a couple of weeks before your due date. Nobody wants a situation where daddy gets sent out on an emergency clothes shopping trip – least of all him! So what will you actually need aside from nursing bras:
- A selection of nursing tops including basic vests as well as smarter tops & shirts
- A few stylish nursing dresses
- An essential nursing shawl for discreet feeding on-the-go
- Some comfortable nursing nightwear
We know there’s a lot to take in here, but we hope you’ve found it helpful. For more info, make sure to check out our Maternity & Nursing Bra Advice online.