Can you wear underwire bras when breastfeeding? Read on to find out.
One of the questions most nursing moms have is: ‘Can you wear underwire bras when breastfeeding?’ The answer is Yes.
You may have heard from a midwife, mother, or sister that it is not advisable to wear an underwire bra when breastfeeding. However, from a health standpoint, wearing an underwire nursing bra is just fine.
Most moms are apprehensive about wearing an underwire bra while breastfeeding because they believe that it can restrict the flow of blood and reduce the ability of the breasts to produce milk. Some moms believe that the underwire can lead to a clogged duct or even mastitis.
Mastitis is thought to affect around 10% of Moms and contributes to the need for formula or combination feeding.
However, when we look at the facts and scientific studies, there is no evidence that links underwire bras to lactation problems. Most of the reports you will read online are largely anecdotal. This is why most nursing moms, midwives, and even lactation consultants may pass on this advice.
So, Can You Wear Underwire Bras When Breastfeeding?
There is no harm in wearing an underwire nursing bra when breastfeeding. Let your experience and comfort determine whether you should wear the bras.
For example, if you find underwire bras uncomfortable, don’t wear them. Most nursing bras don’t have underwires because they are simply uncomfortable.
If you choose to wear a nursing bra with an underwire and you end up with clogs or realize that your breasts are producing less milk, go wireless for a few days.
Nursing bras feature easy-to-open designs and are made from soft, comfortable materials. Therefore, you will find them suitable for most days. However, when you need some additional support, do not be afraid to go for an underwire bra.
What is Mastitis?
Mastitis refers to inflammation of the breast tissues due to the milk ducts being blogs. The duct can get blocked when they are not properly drained, for example, when the baby refused to finish nursing or you are suffering from engorgement. When this happens, the milk spills into the breast tissue and causes infection.
Symptoms of Mastitis
The symptoms of mastitis are similar to that of the flu. They include:
- The breast becomes hot and painful to touch
- There is a red swollen area on the breast
- Your temperature rises
- Body aching and shivers
How is Mastitis Treated?
If you experience any flu-like symptoms when you are nursing, it is important to see a doctor for an examination. Most of the time, the doctor will recommend the following treatment:
- Removing the bra and any tight clothing
- Using cold packs to soothe the swollen area (TIP: You can put cabbage leaves inside your bra for relief)
- Draining the breasts after each feed. If the baby refuses to nurse, you may have to pump the breasts
- Taking plenty of rest
How to Avoid Mastitis
During the initial months of your pregnancy, the breasts will get full and may produce more milk than is necessary. You should empty the breast fully to prevent the ducts from getting blocked. Failing to empty the breasts can also make them sore and hard.
If you are weaning earlier, you should still ensure the breast is fully drained to avoid the risk of infection on the ducts.
You should also avoid wearing tight clothing and bras. These not only feel uncomfortable but also make it easy for mastitis to develop.
For bras, go for seamless bras that will stretch and move as your breast size changes. The best seamless bras for nursing are comfortable and provide enough support to the breast.
Finally, ensure that your baby feeds well. Alternate feeding the baby on both breasts well. After feeds, if any of the breasts are still full, use a breast pump to drain it.
Also, feed the baby on demand to ensure you are removing milk from the breasts as often as possible, thus reducing the risk of developing mastitis.