How To Choose a Nursing Bra

At this point (28 weeks) in my last pregnancy, I really had my act together. The nursery was set up, gear was assembled,and I was fully stocked with postpartum necessities – everything from maxi pads to painkillers to nursing supplies.

This time? Not so much.

Even though the new baby doesn’t even have a place to sleep yet, I’m at least trying to tackle some of the less intimidating tasks, and this week that means getting serious about buying some new nursing bras. (I breastfed my first son for 20 months, so those old bras are TRASHED.) Here are my tips for finding bras that will work for you.

  • Plan to be larger (possibly much larger) when your milk comes in than you are right now. I went up two full cup sizes and several inches in band circumference.
  • Make sure you can unattach and reattach everything with one hand. For me, the cups that unhooked from the shoulder straps were much easier to deal with than anything that had snaps or center closures. When you’re trying them on, definitely do the one-handed test drive to see how a particular style works for you.
  • Yes, you’ll need more than one. “But how many could I possibly need?” I actually said out loud, and I’m surprised no one bopped me on the head with a baby rattle. Breastfeeding can be messy, especially in the beginning, so make sure you have enough bras to at least get you through wash cycles. Different options for different outfits/situations also came in handy (as opposed to buying several bras of the exact same style).
  • Don’t be afraid to spend more for quality. Two or three good nursing bras will be better for your sanity than a dozen that don’t give you top-notch support and convenience. You don’t have to shell out $100 for each, and they don’t have to be particularly fancy (or even attractive), but keep in mind that getting something super-cheap might actually be a waste of money if it’s awful and you hate it and never wear it.
  • Don’t forget the nighttime nursing bra. Even if you opt for something more structured during the day, you’ll probably want something with a soft cup at night. Again, consider getting several so you don’t have to pull one out of the washing machine and hit it with a blowdrier before going to bed (not that I’ve ever done that!).
  • Ask for advice. See which features store clerks, friends, family members and online reviewers tout as must-haves for nursing bras. For instance, a lot of experts recommend staying away from underwire bras, which can put pressure on your milk ducts. If you’ve never nursed a baby before, it’s hard to know what to look for. Ask someone who’s been there!
  • If it’s not working, fix it. Breastfeeding has enough challenges all by itself – don’t let your nursing bras be part of the problem! Try on as many styles and fits as it takes to find something that works for you, and then give yourself a high five when you hit the jackpot.

Share your tips for those of us in the market for new nursing bras! Which features are on your list of must-haves?

(Pictured: Bella Materna Anytime Bralet)