Here it is, that ever so glam subject of maternity/nursing bras. They seem to be an issue for most women who have ever had the (dis)pleasure of wearing one, we ran a poll in our Facebook Group asking women what they thought about them and the results weren’t exactly positive;
So you might think it doesn’t matter that the bras aren’t ‘attractive’ or that the choice is limited, it’s serving a purpose isn’t it? Well not when you see the number who also struggled with the support too and to some women, me included, it does matter and we should be catered for and thought about. I have 3 children, age 8, 3 and 8 months so I’ll discuss my experience with the 8 month old as this will be most relevant. Pre-baby I was wearing a 34H/HH but by about 18 weeks I felt like my ballooning boobs were being tortured so I switched to a 36HH. I did not buy a maternity bra, I need support and contrary to popular belief you can continue to wear normal wired bras in pregnancy, just make sure you get fitted so your wires are positioned correctly and you feel comfortable, So I bought Cate by Elomi (click for my review) which was like heaven to wear. I then turned my attention to finding a nursing bra and the real struggle began!
Knowing my choice would be more limited due to the size I’d require, I figured I’d need to go up at least 2 sizes (so 36JJ) I decided to look to the brands I would usually wear and, working in a lingerie shop I had access to wealth of them, my first stop was Elomi and I found this Smoothing bra , it looked perfect. It has flexi wires, which I wanted, it looked very supportive and the smooth finish was perfect for under clothes but then I noticed the size range stopped at a H cup which was disappointing for a ‘curve’ brand which caters for women up to a K normally.
My next try was Panache, they offer up the Sophie Nursing bra a lacy, non wired style which did stretch to a J cup, I toyed with it for a while but then I was told by a trusted source that it wasn’t great in larger sizes and the fact it was lace didn’t really appeal to me, it is quite pretty but not that practical and the lack of support put me off. I have to say I was beginning to be quite disheartened at this point, the bras themselves were fine but I just couldn’t get anything in my size!
My last shot for my usual brands was Freya, they actually have a soft cup and wired option in their nursing bras (hurrah choice!) the soft cup is Rosie and it offers some colour options, a good size range D-HH and bands from 30-40 which ruled it out of the running for me but was definitely one of the better contenders. The wired bra is Pure and is very similar to the Elomi (which makes sense as they are sister companies) except Pure manages to go up to a HH cup in some band sizes (up to a 34) I have heard rave reviews on this bra though so if you fall into their sizing range it is absolutely worth checking out!
I got a bit fed up at this point, I hadn’t even decided if I was definitely going to breastfeed, I thought a relaxed approach of just seeing how we got on was best for us and I have to admit this was making me feel like giving up before I even began. Eventually I needed to buy something to wear in bed because my boobs were, what I can only describe as, like two baby hippos sleeping inside Richard Branson’s hot air balloons and I needed a bit of relief so I sacrificed fit due to it only being worn in bed and bought Royce Blossom in a 38 G/GG/H the fact it spanned a few sizes, thanks to the drawstring centre, NOT to be confused with these bloody ‘instaboob’ wow, stick on things that are doing the rounds at the moment (don’t get me started on them!) was a bonus and despite not being my size it did actually support me ok but there’s no way I would have felt confident enough to go out and about in it however if you’re not quite as full busted as me it is a good option as it allows for changes in size in between feeds and its comfy, smooth finish and there’s quite a few prints to choose from. I spent some time flicking through catalogues and looking online and Royce seemed to be the only company that actually went above a H/HH cup which I did find discouraging, especially when companies who ordinarily cater for women up to a K cup size somehow think these women either wont have children or wont want to breastfeed?
If you are shopping for your maternity or nursing bras now then I suggest you try to get into a local lingerie shop for a fitting, I really don’t recommend “baby” stores such as Mothercare, so you can be comfy as possible in the pregnancy, a good fitter will allow for changes too, then you will need refitting once your milk is in and settled down. I think something like the blossom bra is really good for that post birth time when your boobs are just living their own life of milk explosion and you need something that is easy and comfy that will change with you, then switch to one of the more supportive ones once everything has settled.
Oh and since I was discussing my experience of pregnancy and feeding I thought I’d share a picture of me and my boy just after he was born. We only fed for a few days, he refused my boob shortly after ( I don’t blame him, even I was terrified of them!) and it was the best decision for us at the time. My 3rd and definitely my last baby, if for no other other reason I can’t face the trauma of bra shopping again!
How did you find maternity/nursing bras? Was I missing a gem that you know about? Let me know 🙂
If you are breastfeeding or planning on it you might find these support sites useful: