Once I decided to breastfeed my son, I quickly discovered that shopping for a nursing bra wasn’t like regular bra shopping. There are many different considerations, from accounting for your changing breast size to finding a bra that’s comfortable enough to wear overnight. I finally found a style that worked for me, but it took some serious time and energy. To make your nursing bra search easier, we asked the experts at maternity store Bump Brooklyn in Park Slope for their top tips. (We also rounded up some beautiful options, below; click through the slide show to check out our favorites!)
1. Don’t stock up on nursing bras too soon. Wait until the last 6 weeks or so of your pregnancy to purchase your nursing bras and then only get two (one to wear and one to wash). Your cup size will be closer to what it’s going to be once you’re nursing (if you buy the bras too early you might get a size that’s too small). You can stock up on more nursing bras once your baby is born and you’re breastfeeding; you’ll know then if you need a different size.
2. Plan to buy a size that’s bigger than what you normally wear. Your breast size will increase once your milk comes in after your baby is born. You may also want to ask a salesperson to measure you; your breasts begin to change size as soon as you get pregnant, and knowing your correct size now will help you predict the size your breasts will be once you’re nursing.
3. But, remember that your belly will make the band a little tighter. So, it’s okay if you are on the last or second to last clasp. You want to have room to tighten your band as your rib cage and diaphragm get back to “normal”. Your back strap should go straight across your back (no hiking up) and you should be able to comfortably put a finger under your bra strap.
4. Look for a bra with cups that cover and support your breasts. You don’t want to feel like you are falling out or overflowing. You also want to have room on the strap to make your bra tighter as it stretches a bit and your breasts get smaller (they will at some point). Most importantly, make sure it feels comfortable. Move your arms a bit, bend over and make sure you are being held in place. You are going to be moving around a lot with your baby and your bra needs to support you in that process!