New and soon-to-be moms face many important decisions : Co-sleeping or crib? Cloth or reusable diapers. And of course, the critical mission of finding the perfect nursing bra for those that plan to breastfeed. Sara Witzaney, owner of designer boutique Posh Mommy, realizes that like regular bras, not all nursing bras are created equal. These days, new moms have more selection than ever to choose from and it’s important to find the one that will meet your needs right from the beginning.
The best time to start shopping for a nursing bra is five weeks before your due date. Bust size often changes significantly during pregnancy and buying one much sooner may not provide an accurate idea of what your size closer to the time of birth. At Posh Mommy, Sara helps fit moms-to-be with the ideal bra, taking into consideration several factors, including the fluctuation of breast size once milk comes in, as well as the inevitable change in size of the rib cage and belly postpartum once both areas begin to shrink. Many bras come with six sizing options to accommodate the changing sizes while remaining comfortable.
Posh Mommy features the largest selection of nursing bras in Western Canada and has options available in a wide range of sizes, from a 32A all the way up to a 40L, including a selection of some 30-sizes. The two common styles of nursing bras available at the boutique are the sling nursing bra, which features a top that pulls down and exposes the entire breast, and the A-frame bra, which is designed to expose just the nipple.
Sara stresses that everyone will fit a bra differently, and it’s important to ensure you have enough room for growth, as well as accessories such as nursing pads. While on the topic of nursing pads, Sarah recommends opting for reusable ones made from cotton or bamboo as opposed to the disposable pads. Reusable ones breathe better than the disposables and will likely be more comfortable.
Breastfeeding can me messy business. Leaks happen and you may still end up with some milk in the bra cups even if using nursing pads. It’s also common to be warmer in the chest area, especially if you frequently wear your baby on the front, a scenario that increases the likelihood of more sweating than usual. To accommodate these factors, Sara recommends women have three nursing bras on-hand and stresses the importance of hand-washing the undergarments every couple of days. Having three bras will ensure you aren’t left hanging (literally) when one bra needs to be cleaned.
When shopping for nursing bras, Sara has a few tips for ensuring you get the right bra for your needs:
• Find someone who knows what they’re doing. Being fitted for a nursing bra is obviously quite different than shopping for a normal one. Experts like those at Posh Mommy should be able to find the right fit taking into account factors such as the previously mentioned shrinking rib cage and fluctuating breast size based on milk supply. They should also be able to point out options that will give you the support you need and functionality that will best suit your lifestyle and how you plan to nurse.
• When choosing a bra, Sara recommends women try their shirt on over top so they can see the shape they’ll have once clothing is added. She points out that the appearance should be smooth, with no awkward lumps or misshapen spots.
• Avoid bras with underwire for the first six months. Underwire can cause pressure on breast tissue, resulting in mastitis or clogged ducts.
• Make sure the bra is comfortable before and after birth. You should be able to use a nursing bra for at least six months postpartum.
• Make sure you love your nursing bras. There is a huge variety of styles available to women today, from basic to fun and sexy . “Just because you’re nursing, doesn’t mean you have to wear the same style your grandmother would have worn 50 years ago,” says Sara. Find bras that make you feel good and that you will enjoy wearing.
Sara’s Top Nursing Bra Picks
Elle MacPherson – These bras are comfortable from the get-go and grow with you as you change sizes, says Sara. They are wire=free and can be worn at night as well.
Royce – Targeted toward well-endowed women, the Royce line features seam-free t-shirt bras, as well as fashionable choices including a limited collection black-and-cream pinstripe bra.
HOTmilk – Made for moms that still want to feel sexy while nursing, the HOTmilk collection offers a combination of function and style, with one-handed maternity clips, but also pretty details including feminine bows and flowers.
For more information on finding the right nursing bra for you, go to www.poshmommy.ca.
Photo: Elle MacPherson nursing bra.