Bra Help During Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Beyond
It’s hard enough to find a bra that looks and feels great, but when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, that perfect fit can feel like a moving target, as your boobs seem to ebb and flow (and literally flow) by the hour. Thing is, when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, securing the breast comfort and support is key. We reached out to Ra’el Cohen, Chief Creative Officer for ThirdLove—a company that was born to solve the problem of finding a bra that fits—to get the skinny on what you need to know about your boobs and your bras from pregnancy through breastfeeding...and beyond.
Be prepared for (big) boob changes
Every woman’s body is different, but if you’re pregnant, generally prepare to get bigger. Cohen recommends buying a bra that is one full band and one to two full cup sizes larger than your typical size. You’ll know you’ve found the right fit when the bra band sits comfortably mid-way up your back for full breast support. (If the band is too high, your breasts will be low. Too low and your breasts will ride high). If you’re overflowing your cup, it’s time to go up a cup size. “The goal is to be supported and smoothed, but not squeezed,” says Cohen. For a comfortable (and pretty) bra that can grow with you, try ThirdLove’s 24/7™ Seamless Stripe Wireless and Seamless Lounge Bras
Find bras that provide comfort and support
While you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, drop underwire styles. New breastfeeding moms need supportive bras that are soft and comfortable (hello, chafed nipples!) Look for bras made of natural fibers like cotton that offer both flexibility and breathability. “I recommend that women start wearing their nursing bras at the end of pregnancy,” says Cohen. “If you buy a nursing bra in your third trimester you'll wear it for several months before and after the baby comes, getting the most value out of your bras.” For a bra that’s been intentionally designed to be both beautiful and functional (without any scratchy tags on the band) try ThirdLove’s 24/7™ Classic Nursing Bra.
Wash your bras by hand. Seriously.
You’ll get more life out of your bras if you treat them right. (Also, if you have a few well-fitting bras in regular rotation, says Cohen.) But the best way to wash bras, according to Cohen, is by hand. “Setting aside five minutes on a weekend morning to clean will substantially extend the lifetime of your favorite bras,” says Cohen. She recommends using mild soap and water, gently spot-cleaning any stains first, and soaking your bras for a few minutes in the sink. After rinsing, be sure to lay them flat to dry. Another pro tip from Cohen: “To get rid of any excess water, gently fold your bra against a towel before laying it out to dry.” If handwashing isn’t realistic for you, put your bras in a mesh laundry bag, use the gentle cycle, and avoid the dryer.
Know when to let go
If you hold onto your bras for a long time, well, we feel you. But it’s important to know when it’s time to let go. “When fabric begins to fray around the edges, it means your bra has done its job,” says Cohen. “If your straps are falling, it means your bra straps have lost their elasticity. If you’ve been wearing your band on the tightest hook for a while now, it means your band is no longer supporting you as it should.” Channel Mari Kondo, thank those hardworking bras for their service, and say goodbye. Then treat yourself to a bra that makes you feel your best.
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