The experts at Bravado have kindly dropped by this month and shared some commonly asked questions about Maternity bras… hope this helps!
When should you first begin looking for specific maternity bras and what should you look out for?
Every woman is different, but most will notice that their pre-pregnancy bras are feeling snug when they are about 3 months pregnant. It’s a good idea to get fitted professionally as 80% of women find they are wearing the wrong size. Most women find they go up a back and cup size, for example a woman wearing a 34B will go up to a 36C usually in the first six months of pregnancy.
Bravado secret: Bras made of a flexible fabric such as Bravado’s Body Silk Seamless or Original Nursing Bra make perfect maternity bras as they provide great comfort shape and support during pregnancy as well as once you are breastfeeding.
What advice can you offer about fitting – both in store and for women whose only option is shopping online?
It’s important to get fitted throughout your pregnancy as you will need the right support. A well-fitting bra can really make a difference to tender breasts. Get fitted by a professional fitter in a shop you know and trust. There are also specialists who fit maternity and nursing bras. If you can’t get fitted by a professional and want to shop online, make sure you think carefully about what size you will need. For example in pregnancy your band and cup size will increase, and then once your milk comes in your cup size may go up again. Once your bras are delivered, try them on and make sure the cups fit comfortably over your breasts without any spillage. The back should feel supportive, not too tight or too loose. The main support should come from the band, not the straps so make sure they aren’t digging in or too tight. If you are unsure or feel uncomfortable do try and go for a proper fitting. Remember different brands of bras may fit you differently.
Bravado secret: Bravado bras are designed especially to accommodate fluctuations in size. The Body Silk Seamless moulds to your exact shape, so if you do go up a size or two your bra will still be comfortable and supportive.
Underwire or soft-cup?
Experts do not advise wearing an underwire bra during the later stages of pregnancy or during the first 2 months of breastfeeding. Some mums find that an underwire creates pressure on the milk ducts, which can lead to mastitis. An ill-fitting underwire bra can affect your success with breastfeeding.
However once a breastfeeding routine has been established (about six weeks post birth) you might want to try an underwire, and should be safe to do so if you haven’t experienced any pressure on your milk ducts.
Bravado secret: Bravado’s Bliss bra has a Flexi-fit ™support channel especially designed to give lift and support to tender breasts. Mums find this creates a similar look to that of an underwire bra, but without the discomfort!
Maternity versus nursing bra?
Maternity bras provide extra support during pregnancy when your breasts are growing and may feel tender. Whereas a nursing bra supports during breastfeeding and has special clips and a drop cup design, making it easy to breastfeed and allowing skin to skin contact.
Bravado secret: Our stringent wear testing programme and consultations with Lactation Consultants and Midwives ensure that all Bravado Bras can be used from maternity through to end of feeding. Nursing bras can be worn as maternity bras, as they are often wire free and very comfortable!
Are there options for specific situations (occasion wear, sports, more luxurious fabrics?)
Definitely, nursing and maternity bras come in a wide range of fabrics, colours and designs. For something stylish, lacy and feminine mums might like Bravado’s Sublime bra, it’s great for wearing under a pretty dress or top. Lots of maternity and nursing bras also come in a sports bra style, and can be worn whilst exercising too.
Bravado secret: Our Essential Nursing Tank and Original Nursing Bra have an Oeko-Tex award for their fabric content.
What would your three top tips be for someone buying maternity and/or nursing bras?
1. Make sure you are fitted, there’s nothing worse than an ill-fitting bra especially when your breasts are tender and swollen.
2. Make sure your bra fabric content includes a breathable fabric like cotton. Whilst nursing your body temperature will be approximately 1 degree higher than normal, so you’ll want a bra that allows your skin to breathe. Breathable fabrics like cotton, also prevent the build-up of moisture, and therefore reduce the risk of infection.
3. When choosing a nursing bra make sure the cup drops down so you can have skin to skin contact whilst breastfeeding. This is very important when establishing a breastfeeding routine.
For larger cup sizes, what specific advice would you give?
Maternity and nursing bras generally go up to larger sizes than regular bras, so don’t automatically assume you won’t find a bra to fit you. It may take a bit of research online to find out which brands accommodate larger sizes. Most importantly don’t settle for something that is too small.
Bravado secret: Bravado’s Bliss bra fits up to a size 38 H/I