So, you’ve decided to breastfeed. Congratulations on making one of the best decisions for your child’s health, brain, development, immunity and environment. But what about you? What’s the easiest and more efficient way to get the job done? Is it important to wear a nursing bra? It’s actually not important to wear a nursing bra while breastfeeding at all, that is, if you don’t care about the following:
- Breast health
- Ease of nursing (especially in public)
- Your ligaments
If you do, then read on.
Why You Should Wear a Nursing Bra Instead of a Regular Bra
The main difference between a nursing bra and non-nursing bra is obviously the nursing clips for feeding, but there’s so much more that a well designed nursing bra will offer compared to a regular bra. Here’s a quick summary of a normal everyday bra compared with a well designed nursing bra:
Normal Bra vs Awesome Nursing Bra:
Hard wires vs flexible wires:
- Regular bra wires are usually hard, stiff and rigid to retain the shape of a non-fluctuating bust, whereas flexible wired bras can easily move in 4 different directions. This makes them much more comfortable and also suitable for your breasts which may change in size and shape, sometimes multiple times in a day.
Regular shaped wires vs nursing shaped wires:
- Regular shaped wires are also more narrow between the ends. A well designed nursing bra wire is shaped wider and deeper to allow for the bust to sit entirely in the ‘u’ shape, rather than being pinched, which can cause breast damage if you’re wearing the incorrect size.
Monoboob vs separated and upheld:
- If you’re not keen on wired bras, wire-free bras are designed to do the same amount of work as a wired bra, without the wire. These will defy gravity and also keep your breasts separated.
Hard and scratchy linings vs soft cotton linings:
- Regular bras usually have linings that are task force oriented rather than comfort driven.
Thin and weak straps vs reinforced straps:
- Fashion and everyday bras usually have pretty straps that are designed to take the weight of a normal everyday breast. A breastfeeding breast of the same size can be up to 33% heavier than a non-breastfeeding breast. Cake Maternity understand the importance of this, and therefore make their straps strong and pretty.
Rigid cups vs stretchy top cup:
- Fluctuations are a real thing, even after 6 months of breastfeeding. There needs to be room and stretch in the cup to allow for these. If there’s not, the bra may end up causing damage to your breast and we don’t want that.
Wearable fashion vs built to last:
- Everyday bras are just that – you wear them during the day. You put them on and then at the end of the day, you take them off. A nursing bra is made to withstand the rigours of breastfeeding; pulling, tugging and dropping down the cups up to 10 times a day. Not only this, but you wear them all day, everyday. They have a tough job to do.
Single layer vs double layer:
- Double the layers means double the integrity and strength. Single layers can often stretch out and are usually purchased just for that season.
Non-environmentally friendly vs Oeko-tex Certified:
- If you are breastfeeding you’re more than likely concerned about the environment too. If you are, then look for an Oeko-tex Certified bra. This means there are no harmful dyes or chemicals used during the production. Good for you, bub and the environment.
Advantages & Benefits of Wearing a Nursing Bra
If you would like to carry on living your normal, everyday life (as much as this is possible with a newborn), then a nursing bra can help you do this. There are styles to suit most tastes, activities, functions, sizes and colours. You can keep on jogging, wearing your favourite t-shirts, your low cut dresses, your strapless tanks and your office work wear all in the comfort of styles you’re used to plus so much more.
When nursing, it’s 24 hours a day. If you’re not used to wearing a bra at night, then you may feel more comfortable doing this, especially if you are fuller busted or experience any leaking. If you are wearing a sleep bra, you will be able to be comfortable, supported, nurse and keep your breast pads in place so you don’t wake up in a puddle (sorry dad).
Finding the Right Nursing Bra
Like any bra, it’s important that you are wearing the right size. There are many multi-cup fitting bras out there for the first 6 weeks after you’ve had your baby (when everything is fluctuating and also sore), so go for one of these in this stage. After your milk has settled down and you’re into more of a routine, you can go for a flexible wired bra, wirefree bra or any nursing bra that suits your taste, style and budget.
If your bra is too small then you could be doing damage to your breast tissue. If your bra is too big, then you’re not actually being supported.
If you are unsure, then it’s best to be fitted by a professional. If you’re unable to get to a store in these uncertain times, then grab a tape measure and follow these simple fitting guidelines.
Remember the reason why you are breastfeeding and giving your child the best possible start in life whilst enjoying this phase too. There are many different bras out there to help you achieve this effortlessly and comfortably, all whilst being beautifully crafted and well designed, especially for you.
Katie is the proud mum of two beautiful girls and has been responsible for all the designs, style and fit at Cake Maternity for over a decade now.
Katie is a nursing bra specialist and a fit, pattern and grading technician. She is passionate about breastfeeding and the many benefits it offers to both mum, bub and the environment.
She is determined to make the breastfeeding journey a comfortable, supportive and beautiful one for all mums, understanding that it doesn’t always come easy to everyone. That’s why she has made it her mission to empower women as they mindfully navigate the world of motherhood and help make breastfeeding easier, through experience-driven innovation.