best sleep bras for pregnancy

Top Nursing Bras and Tips for the Already Well-Endowed DD+ Mama, Part One: When to Buy and Sleep Nursing Bras

I am SO excited to bring you this guest post by Patricia, a Brabbly reader who wanted to help other DD+ moms desperate for nursing bra solutions. From the underwire question to pumping bras, she shares her abundant, hard-earned tips and faves in a series of posts this week. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did! XO, Jeanette}

Between sleep deprivation, lactation, and learning how to keep a helpless human infant alive, bra shopping will probably be the last thing on your mind in the first few weeks with your new baby.

If you’re like me, you’ll spend most of that time in a robe or topless anyhow, as you embark on feeding your hungry babe round the clock. But I could only go commando for so long before I realized that eventually, I would have to put a shirt on, and possibly even go out in public.

After the arrival of my milk in the first week or so, even my trusty maternity bra (a 34G, up from my normal pre-pregnancy 32F) was too tight when I was engorged, and extremely uncomfortable. Not to mention, I needed the easy-and-quick access of a nursing bra.

As a longtime member in the large cup/small band club, I’m used to having a hard time finding bras that fit. To my great annoyance, though, finding suitable nursing bras was just as hard as finding regular bras pre-baby!

After much searching and a lot of frustration, I finally found a few great nursing bras that work for me. This week I’ll share my top tips for already well-endowed mamas in search of the same, plus some of my personal picks.

Please feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments, and to add your own thoughts and suggestions!

And now, without further ado:

TIP #1:  If you can, hold off at least 2.5 weeks (if not 3) to start the search for a proper nursing bra so your bosom can settle into its new milk-making size.

When I first set out in search of nursing bras about two weeks postpartum, I couldn’t find anything in my size with an underwire. As you’ll see in the next part of this series, for me, an underwire was a necessity!

In my frustration, I decided to instead get a regular lace bra model that I already owned, but in my newly expanded size–at that time, a 34J. But by three and a half weeks postpartum, once my milk factory had hit its groove, my size was somewhere between 34G and 34I, depending on the time of day.

The new bra, though a handy emergency source of a pair of fancy lace yarmulkes (perfect for those last minute Bas Mitzvah invites!), was rendered useless. Plus, it was also not ideal because it was not actually a nursing bra. More on this in the next instalment.

So, my advice is to hold out a few weeks if you can to get your nursing bra.

Instead:

TIP #2:  Get a couple of soft sleep nursing bras to start.

In the early days, while you wait for your size to stabilize, you probably won’t be wearing a lot of proper clothing or getting out much anyway. So, I recommend starting out with some comfy sleep-type nursing bras. At the New Beginnings boutique at Scripps Hospital here in San Diego, I was able to pick up a couple of soft sleep nursing bras that fit pretty well.

I’ve never been a fan of sleep bras, which I’ll likely regret in a few decades when my girls head South for retirement. But in my lactating state, I have appreciated having a comfortable option for day and night that can hold nursing pads to prevent milk leakage, even if I never wear them out in public. Plus, these types of bras will be wearable for a long time, since they can accommodate slight changes in size.

A very helpful lactation consultant who worked at the boutique helped me find my picks below. I do recommend getting help and trying on before buying–ideally from someone well-versed in lactation–since these bras seem to all have different sizing systems.

My Best Sleep Bras for Nursing Picks

Medela Comfort Line Nursing Bra
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

My favorite, with its thin, soft and breathable material, is the Medela Comfort Line Bra. The bra offers very easy access, thanks to a simple push-button style latch on the cup. This makes it perfect for middle-of-the-night feedings/milkings.

The bra comes in sizes S – XL, and based on the sizing chart (below) I fit into a Large. I found the chart’s prediction pretty accurate. And with material this stretchy, I can see how each size would fit a wide range of women.

I like this in Nude but it also comes in white.

Bravado The Original Nursing Bra

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

Wearing plain cotton bras was essential in letting my sore nipples air out early on, especially when I was recovering from thrush. The Bravado Original Nursing Bra offers very minimal support. However, I’ve ended up liking this bra a lot for sleeping.

Based on the size chart (below), this bra doesn’t come in my size (34G/H/I/J depending). However, I gave the S++ in Butterscotch a try. Even though the band is a little on the loose side, I still find it comfy and useful for what it is. Bravado also offers fit consultations, if you have questions (though I never called).

The bra also comes in Black, Blush, White, and Leopard, according to the Bravado website. However, the boutique I went to did not have all of these available.

Here’s the sizing info from Bravado website:

Find your Original Nursing Bra (Double Plus) Size

Rib Band Size

Cup Size

32 -34

36 -38

40 -42

44 -46

DD(E) to F

S++

M++

L++

XL++

G

M++

L++

Read the full Bravado Original Nursing Bra review here.

My Best Nursing Pads

Nuk Ultra Thin Nursing Pads

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

The Nuk Ultra Thin Nursing Pads are less wasteful since they aren’t individually wrapped, breathable, and don’t stick to you. To take on the go, just put a few in a Ziploc.

Bamboobies Organic Bamboo Washable Nursing Pads

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads are super soft–“like a sweater for your nipples” as one Amazon reviewer put it. These nursing pads wash well and although expensive, they are worth it in my opinion. I’ve rotated the same 4 for months now and they are holding up great.

The pads are great for sore nipples, especially in the beginning. However, they are not as good for healing as letting them air out.

Now that you’re first few weeks as a nursing mama are covered, you’ll be able to hang in there until you’re ready for a proper nursing bra. In Part Two, Patricia shares her top supportive nursing bra picks and tips

Patricia Shepard is an attorney and, most recently, law school teaching fellow, turned stay-at-home mom.  She lives in San Diego, California with her husband and baby boy.

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