As soon as a baby is born, it needs to start eating. That usually means breastfeeding. So that means getting a nursing bra. You want to be ready for when the time comes, but is earlier really better?
Well hold on to your horses. We know you want to get the jump on things but earlier is not always better. In this blog post we are looking at a very common question we often get from our boss mommas: I am X months pregnant. Should I start looking at your nursing bras now?
What is a nursing bra?
A nursing or maternity bra as we’ve used interchangeably in this piece is a special bra designed to provide comfort for expecting mothers plus convenience when breastfeeding.
A vital feature of a nursing bra is the flaps on the cups which are usually opened with one hand whenever a mother wants to nurse her baby; this removes the need for the lactating mother to remove her bra to access the nipple.
The flaps are often held in place by a clip to the strap which you can easily remove with one hand. Also, you will notice for most of the nursing bra on the market that they are made of elastic material – that’s actually good since the fabric must be able to provide support for your breasts as they change in size.
When is the right time to start looking for a nursing bra?
The nursing bra size you should get is unlikely to be the same as the bras you are currently wearing. Pregnancy is a time of change. At around 18 weeks (the second and third trimesters), the expecting mother’s body starts to change. The milk duct system in their body begins to grow and change. These changes help prepare her for breastfeeding once the baby is born. But they also necessarily cause her breasts to start changing in shape and size.
Generally, these changes cause the average mother’s breast to go up about 2 underband sizes and 4 cup sizes. But none of these changes happen overnight so if you get fitted too early then it is possible that your breasts can continue changing and end up making your bras uncomfortable. (We try to adjust for this by giving our maternity bras a lot of adjustable leeway and comfortable fabrics but you never know) Thus, an expecting mother should get fitted out with new maternity bras in the third trimester, the closer to birth date the better.
In our experience, the eighth month seems to be an excellent time to get those nursing bras. Around then, your breasts will have likely reached a stable size for breastfeeding. But changes are known to still happen even during that phase. So do not be surprised if the bras you got even then one day start feeling uncomfortable.
What should you look for when choosing a nursing bra?
Comfort is the number thing you should consider when looking for a nursing bra. You don’t want one that’s too tight, you feel stuffy, or one that’s extra-large that it can’t support your breast.
Once, you find one that snugs nicely with your shape, check if the fastening is easy to use. Can you unfasten the clip with one hand? Remember, you’ll be holding your baby while trying to undo the hook. At MORI BAY, we looked to make our bras as adjustable as possible so that you can accommodate changes even throughout the day.
Finally, consider the fabrics. Is the bra made from quality material? You don’t want a bra that would chafe your tender breast while wearing it. Breathable fabrics like cotton make sense here. Also, since you will probably be washing the bra frequently, you may want to go for one that washes well.
How many nursing bras should I get?
The answer to this question depends on how often your baby will feed as well as how often you washed your bras before pregnancy.
Normal bras need washing about every 1-2 weeks. But a nursing bra has to deal with different circumstances. Nursing bras have to deal with spilled milk, engorgement, and your baby’s spit getting all over it. Depending on how often you feed your baby, this can get real dirty real fast.
When your baby is born, it takes about 4 weeks to determine your baby’s feeding patterns. You can pick up a few more (check out our maternity collection for our top maternity bra picks) once that happens but until then the safe bet is to get three. One bra for day to day use, another for the wash, and another for drying.
Oh by the way, some washing reminders. Bras are delicate things (your average bra has up to 30 technical parts in them!) so make sure to put them into a lingerie bag and close all hooks and clasps before throwing them into the wash.
We recommend eight months into your pregnancy as the best time to go shopping for a nursing bra. You can go in for a fitting earlier if you want but whatever you find out then is likely to change once more. Even so your body is constantly undergoing changes before and after childbirth so do not be surprised if more changes occur.