A FIRST TIME MOTHER’S GUIDE TO PICKING THE RIGHT MATERNITY NURSING BRA
As a first-time mother, you might be feeling overwhelmed with all the new information you need to learn about yourself, your changing body, and your soon-to-come baby. During pregnancy, you will be experiencing a lot of hormonal changes in your body. Some of the changes you will notice are your breasts growing significantly in size and therefore, you will need maternity bras at some point along the journey!
Buying a maternity or nursing bra can be a daunting task for the new mama. With so many options on the market and conflicting information on the internet, choosing the right bra can be really confusing. Fret not! This article is dedicated to all the lovely expecting mamas to guide you through your search of the perfect maternity and nursing bra for you. You can read here about When to Buy a Maternity Nursing Bra (including when to get fitted for a maternity nursing bra) and 9 Must-Haves for 9 Months of Pregnancy.
Before we jump into the specifications of the perfect nursing bra, let’s cover the basics first ...
MATERNITY BRA VS NURSING BRA
A nursing bra is an underwire-free bra, boasting features that allow for easy access to the breast for breastfeeding. Usually, this is via clips at the front of the shoulder straps or the centre front of the bra in some models. They tend to come in soft or everyday nursing bras, as well as maternity sports bras.
Bras designed for pregnancy are usually also designed for nursing, and “maternity” and “nursing” are often used interchangeably - as the most important feature for maternity is being underwire free, and adjustable, both of which you will also need as you move into the postpartum period. A versatile pregnancy bra can be used not only during pregnancy but also for breastfeeding as a nursing bra, such as our Ultimate Nursing Bra - which can also be used as maternity fitness wear for the active mumma from pre to postpartum!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A NURSING BRA (OR PREGNANCY BRA)
Primarily, a maternity-nursing bra is an essential general and breastfeeding activewear staple. Whilst there may be many options out there, there are certain key features you should always keep in mind when purchasing a maternity nursing bra. We have made a list of the features you need to consider:
The Australian Breastfeeding Association recommends underwire free for both maternity and nursing bras to avoid any pressure on the mammary glands, where milk is produced. An underwire-free maternity bra will help with avoiding mastitis by avoiding pressure areas in your breasts, and ensures an uninterrupted milk flow - helping your baby grow strong and healthy.
Believe it or not, your ribcage can expand by up to 10cm during pregnancy! Plus it often takes at least several months (and then some!) after giving birth for your ribcage to remodel - some mums never go back to the size they were, and our shapes are generally changed forever - a marker of the amazing capacity our bodies have to create and grow life. Since we’ve experienced this journey ourselves, we understand the physical changes that come with it. So we took care in designing underwire-free adjustable bands. With frame sizes that grow and shrink with your changing body, you can feel supported and avoid chafing every day. Our underwire free design also means that your bra won’t inhibit your breasts in reaching maximum milk production for your bub when feeding. These designs really are the best maternity nursing bra to pack in your hospital bag checklist.
2. Supportive whilst non-constricting
The style of the maternity bra will depend on your personal preference and also primary purpose (everyday pregnancy bra or a nursing sports bra). Bras with an “X” back or racer back shape tend to have better impact-support as opposed to a standard shoulder strap. Many women will want to sleep in a nursing bra for support as well as assisting with leakage control. It’s easy to find an all-purpose nursing and maternity bra for day and nightwear if you want low to medium support. A softer, low-impact style bra made of bamboo or gentler & breathable fabrics is best for overnight wear.
However, it’s harder if you want postural and higher impact support like our Gazelle Nursing Bra or Ultimate Support Nursing Sports Bras. Nursing bras may not be cheap but they are very important to prevent too much pressure on your neck and spine (and they have the added bonus of helping to prevent your breasts from sagging!). It is important to have firm support, especially when carrying out prenatal exercise and postpartum exercise too. Being able to comfortably exercise with a supportive and firm maternity nursing bra will make a huge difference in your pregnancy.
The bra institute has long recommended that women who wear D+ cup bras wear two bras for high impact activities. Meanwhile, Rosie’s physiotherapy background taught her the importance of posture in a pain-free state and the scientific impact posture can play on our moods. Therefore, she ensured that all Lenny Rose maternity nursing bras were designed to give additional postural support using our bra-within-a-bra feature. Both our Ultimate Nursing Bra and Gazelle Nursing Bra offer adjustable postural support straps that discreetly mimic a posture support brace. These added support makes them both comfortable to wear all throughout your pregnancy journey, when breastfeeding, practicing yoga, or going for a jog, and ranks them amongst Australia's best breastfeeding bras, backed by experience and anatomical knowledge.
3. Adjustable Straps
It is important to have a maternity nursing bra that is adjustable around the frame and nursing cups to ensure it can support your changing milk and therefore breast volume. You also want to be able to ensure a firm fit to allow minimal breast bounce when exercising but not uncomfortably tight so as not to impede milk supply. Our maternity nursing bra range has a “bra within a bra” design for optimal support and makes breastfeeding as easy as possible without requiring the removal of any clothing.
Maternity nursing bras usually have several more rows of hooks, which is important as your frame size will change throughout and after your pregnancy. Besides expanding during pregnancy, your bust will change in volume from early to late nursing, and pre-feed to post feed! This amount of constant volume flux is why adjustable straps are a necessity for maternity nursing bras. Adjustable straps allow ultimate comfort and practicality by tightening and loosening them as needed. Letting you get through your day exercising, relaxing, and breastfeeding all in one bra, which is the ultimate goal for busy mums and their breastfeeding activewear! Having adjustable feeding panel clips is also helpful to support the change in shape and fullness of your breasts over the course of pregnancy and motherhood.
Generally, breathable materials, and the inclusion of removable, or leak-proof and absorbent breast pads for leakage should be at the top of the list of things to look out for. Ideally, you should opt to invest in maternity and nursing bras that have breathable and soft fabric that reduces the chances of irritation and chafing.
5. Versatile & Convenient
To maximise your investment in maternity bras and clothes, choose maternity bras that have multi-purposes and are suitable for pregnancy support, running, and nursing. All of our maternity nursing bras offer a supportive front flap panel to allow ease of nursing access. Their under layer boasts a 9x9cm diameter space where your bub can easily access your nipple for breastfeeding. You can even change the firmness of the breast support by adjusting where you attach the front clasp. Choose the lower clasp for less tension and more room when you’re in the early stages of nursing or select the higher clasp for more support when doing high impact exercise.
A perfect addition to your ultimate maternity clothes wardrobe, our Gazelle Nursing Bra offers additional breastfeeding access via a midline zip. This zip allows you to easily and discreetly feed your bub when wearing a shirt or top with midline access. Giving you the option of feeding from the usual side panel or midline in public environments, or both panels for full access when private or preferred.
HOW TO CARE FOR AND MAINTAIN THE QUALITY OF MATERNITY NURSING BRAS
We recommend hand washing your maternity nursing bras with like colours and line drying on a hanger to maintain their lifespan. The nursing pads can be removed, washed and reinserted easily, making them reusable across the life of your bras.
At Lenny Rose Active, we’ve designed Australia's best maternity and nursing bras with intention to feature everything an expecting mum needs. Through her experiences, as both a mother and physiotherapist, yoga, and fitness instructor, our founder Rosie has carefully crafted the Lenny Rose Maternity Nursing Bra range to be versatile and functional, and one that provides ultimate comfort and optimal support whilst never compromising style.
Sign up for our hospital bag checklist (with printables) to get a list of essentials and ensure you and your bub are all prepared so that you can say motherhood never felt so good! Shop online for the best maternity nursing bras Australia has to offer, for a breastfeeding sports bra you can wear before, during and after pregnancy.
And for more guides on how to pick the perfect maternity wear for you, read our other guides here:
- A Guide to Buying the Best Maternity Activewear
- A First Time Mother’s Guide to Buying Maternity Tops
- A First Time Mother’s Guide to Buying Maternity Bottoms
- A First Time Mother’s Guide to Picking the Right Maternity Leggings