We spend a lot of time talking about baby gear for our bundles of joy when in reality, mama’s needs some new gear too. If you are breastfeeding, a good nursing bra is an essential piece of gear. There are several features to look for, a few that should be avoided and lots of choices when it comes to actual bras. We’ve tried and are reviewing several as part of our Nursing Bra Buying Guide. One of our favorite lines of nursing bras is Bravado Designs and we are giving away a nursing bra to one lucky reader!
You may be asking, do I really need a separate bra for nursing?
The answer is yes. You can actually start wearing some nursing bras during pregnancy and it can last you through your breastfeeding days. As your pregnancy progresses your breasts grow and change and your “normal” bras will likely become increasingly less comfortable. Many nursing bras are designed to be worn during pregnancy to help keep you comfortable as your breasts change. When it comes time to nurse, nursing bra’s are designed to allow easy access to the breast as well as be comfortable as your milk supply increases (before feedings) and decreases (after feedings). Here are the advantages of a nursing bra:
- adjustable width. Bravado Design’s fabulous bras come with a, “bra conversion kit” which is basically a fabric extender with fasteners that allow you to extend the band width whenever you may need. This nifty feature allows the bra to accommodate your size through pregnancy and beyond. Personally, I love this feature as near the end of my pregnancy with Margaux, I liked the extra length but now, 12+ week post partum I have removed it. The conversion kit allowed me to keep using the same bras throughout.
- soft but supportive. My favorite of Bravado Design’s nursing bra’s is the Body Silk Seamless which is a seamless bra with soft cups and removable foam pads. The foam pads help with support and shape. You can remove the foam pads if you prefer not to have them or you can replace them with breast pads if needed (you can also just tuck breast pads inside the bra).It is important to mention that avoiding underwire is pretty much a necessity. Beyond being uncomfortable, underwires can obstruct your milk ducts if the bra does not fit properly.
- nursing clips. Bravado has some of the BEST nursing clips around. They are easy to use one handed (a must, think about it, you are holding a hungry or milk coma sleepy baby with the other) and lay flat underneath clothing. BUT as much as I love them sometimes I don’t use them. Because of the nice, flexible fit of the Bravado line I often just “pull down” the bra and use it that way – this is especially true for night time feedings.
- easy access. Going along with the above about nursing clips, you want your nursing bra to provide easy access to the breast especially if you plan to nurse on the go. Be sure the nursing bra allows full access to the breast i.e., the flap can come completely down. The last thing you want to be doing is fumbling with your bra/breast while trying to nurse in public – believe me.
- breathable fabric. Look for a bra that is made of breathable fabric like cotton or some synthetics. You don’t want to provide a breeding ground for bacteria and want ample air flow to the breast.
Since your body is ever changing during pregnancy and after, how do you find the right fit?
You must measure! If you only have a measuring tape, get out a piece of string and measure it against your tape. Or you can find a download of a tailor’s measuring tape but that requires some cutting and taping together.
Basically, you want to combine your chest and band measurement and determine your size from there. Here’s a helpful diagram from Bravado Design:
For more information on sizing and a helpful demo video, check out this page. No matter which brand you decide on be sure to check their sizing guide before making a purchase. Proper fit is key to ensuring a comfortable nursing bra.
How many nursing bra’s do you need?
Experts say, and I agree, that you’ll want at least three: one to wear, one to wash and one to have in the drawer. You never know when leaks, spit up or any other “mom” reason may require a change.
So which bra is best?
Well obviously, I have lots of opinions here. But I love, love my Silk Seamless Nursing Bra from Bravado. It is super, super comfortable, functions great and looks nice under clothing. I love the support and shape the foam cups provide – they are soft without being too structured. I wore this bra for the last trimester of my pregnancy and continue to wear it almost daily.
The Essential Nursing Bra is also very comfortable. It has less padding but is equally as supportive and is made from a blend of cotton and microfiber. I found this one to be a little less “stretchy” than the Silk Seamless bra but have enjoyed during my time nursing.
The Bliss Nursing Bra is also another great option. It has molded foam cups and provides really great support. It has a nice satin finish (and some models have lace) – I would consider this a more “dressy” while still functioning just as nice as the others.
Nursing tanks are another great alternative and especially great for your time in the hospital. they offer the same support as a nursing bra with the added benefit of being a wardrobe piece. The Essential Nursing tank from Bravado offers a bit more coverage under a robe than a traditional nursing bra.
As mentioned, we are giving away a Bravado Designs nursing bra of your choice (based on availability)! The giveaway starts today, Friday March 14th and ends Tuesday, March 18th at 3pm CST. Winner will be chosen at random, contacted via email and have five days to claim their prize.
Of course there are more nursing bra’s out there than Bravado Design’s here are a few of my favorites:
Gilligan & O’Malley nursing bras. I mentioned these in my post Monday and I love them. They are much more simple than other nursing bras but are supportive, easy to wear, wash well ad are super affordable. I should note that I am not super busty so if you are more busty than me (non pregnant 32B) these may not be enough support for you.
boob Designs Fast Food bra. boob Design describes this bra as, “soft, seamless bra with a perfect fit both during pregnancy and nursing” and I couldn’t agree more. It is super cute and really comfy but functions really well for nursing. I didn’t have this bra during pregnancy but could see it being as comfortable during pregnancy as it is for nursing.
The Dairy Fairy, Arden Bra We’ve featured this bra several times and it is especially great for you mama’s switching between breastfeeding and pumping as it allows you to do both in ONE bra. The Dairy Fairy just released a new tank which is equally as awesome – more about this next week!
We would never accept money for a product review but we were sent Bravado Design’s nursing bra’s for use and testing as part of this review. All of the opinions expressed herein are that of The Wise Baby.