When Should I Buy a Nursing or Maternity Bra?

Your body weight can fluctuate drastically throughout your pregnancy, from the first trimester to post-birth. You’ve noticed that the clothes you used to love are starting to feel a bit constricting. Is it time for a new bra?

Maternity bras are worn during pregnancy to support your body as it changes. After your baby is born, you can purchase a nursing bra, which features drop-down clips; this easy access will make breastfeeding more convenient when you’re on the go. 

But when is the right time to purchase a maternity or nursing bra? And do you need them at all? We’re going to shed a bit more light on when you should switch bras during your pregnancy: 

The Benefits of Maternity & Nursing Bras

Pregnancy can put your body through a lot of discomfort. But your bra shouldn’t! Your maternity or nursing bra should feel soft, supportive, and extremely comfortable.

The owner of The BraBar & Panterie writes, “Regular bras are far too tight during pregnancy. They can poke, restrict, and squeeze your body during a time when your breasts are already tender and sore. Many women don’t realize how much of a difference maternity and nursing bras make.”

Here’s why you should consider picking up a maternity bra and a nursing bra during your pregnancy:

  • Increased comfort. Most bras designed for pregnant women don’t have an underwire. This is because an underwire can restrict your chest and ribs as they’re expanding. Instead, maternity bras feature a flexible, stretchy fabric that’s designed to accommodate a growing body. 
  • Flexibility & support. As your body changes, your bra needs to change with it. A maternity bra features wider straps, additional hooks, and soft fabric. 
  • Nursing pads. Did you know that many women begin producing breast milk (or colostrum) before the baby is born? Your breasts usually begin producing milk in the two months leading up to birth. This may cause some embarrassment if it leaks through your clothing. A bra that allows you to insert nursing pads can prevent any unexpected leakage.

You shouldn’t have to wear a bra that you’re eager to take off at the end of the day. A maternity or nursing bra should offer the support and protection you need during your pregnancy. 

The Right Time for a Maternity or Nursing Bra

Pregnancy looks a little different for every woman. For some women, their bodies stay relatively the same for weeks or months; for others, the changes begin right away. You might go up by one cup size or by four!

Many women begin shopping for a maternity bra in their first trimester (the first three months of pregnancy). This is typically when your breasts begin to change shape, and a regular bra becomes too restrictive and uncomfortable. 

Once your baby is born, you can venture to the bra shop to purchase your first nursing bra. Your breasts may fluctuate rapidly in size during this time. Before feeding your baby, they might feel full and tender; afterward, they may reduce in size. The convenient drop-down clips in a nursing bra are ideal for when your baby is breastfeeding.

Since your breasts are in a constant state of flux, you’ll need a bra that’s accommodating. Choose one that’s one or two cup sizes up from your current bra so that you have room to grow. 

Finding a Bra That Fits Your Body

When you’re shopping for a new bra, try to find one with these qualities:

The key with any maternity or nursing bra is that it leaves room for you to grow. As you try on bras, start by adjusting the hook to the tightest setting. Does it still feel comfortable? The more hooks it has, the better; it means the bra will last longer.

Next, look for a bra with wide shoulder straps. These can provide security and support even without an underwire. The straps should be firm against your skin, but not too tight that they leave red marks behind. You want to trust they won’t slip around as you go about your day. 

Try to find bra cups that fit the current size of your breasts. They should be made of a flexible fabric that won’t be uncomfortable as your breasts change size. The bra should support your breasts without putting too much pressure on your chest or ribs. 

The right time to buy a maternity bra is different for every woman. In general, aim to purchase a maternity bra in the first trimester of your pregnancy, and buy a nursing bra shortly before or after giving birth.

 

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