If you are planning to breastfeed your baby, it is important to
select a good nursing bra to provide support and a comfortable
fit (and a place to hold your nursing pads!). A good time to
purchase a nursing bra is during the final weeks of your pregnancy.
That way, you will have one or two with you during those first
few hectic days at home with the baby, and when your postpartum
rib/bust size will not be substantially different.
In order to ensure a good fit, take the following measurements: Measure around your body just under your arms with a measuring tape. Keep the tape snug, but not tight. If the measurement is an uneven number, round it up to the next even number. This is your band size. Next, while wearing a good-fitting, unpadded bra, measure around the fullest part of your bust. Each 1" difference between your band size and this measurement represents one cup size. So, if your band size is 38" and your measurement at the fullest part of your bust is 40", you would wear a 38B. There should be no breast tissue beyond the side seam or "spilling" out of the top of the cup.
Most women's upper bodies slim down after delivery, so make sure you have the ability to tighten the band in the future. This means if you are purchasing a bra toward the end of your pregnancy, choose a nursing bra that you can wear on the last set of hooks, or which is stretchy around the rib cage. The band should be snug, but should not "ride up" on your back. If your milk has not come in (usually before 3-5 days postpartum), try to allow for extra cup room, or have hooks that will adjust to accommodate your changing breast size. If you need to purchase a larger size after your milk comes in, you may be able to switch back to the smaller size after your milk supply is regulated (usually about 3 months postpartum).
We get many questions about whether it is okay to wear underwire nursing bras. Underwire bras can dig in to your breast tissue, clogging a milk duct without your being aware of it. Many lactation consultants prefer nursing mothers to wear softcup bras. However, many women prefer the support of an underwire bra, and can wear one comfortably. If you do choose an underwire bra, make sure that all your breast tissue is inside the cup, and that the wire is not pressing on any part of your breast.
If you have any additional questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. We carry high-quality Bravado, Royce Lingerie, and Anita nursing bras, and are happy to help you find the one that's right for you!