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what size nursing bra

Real talk: Your belly isn’t the only thing that expands and contracts as a result of pregnancy — so do your breasts! This can make bra shopping post-childbirth somewhat challenging. Of course, nursing bras are immensely helpful after your baby is born, because they make breastfeeding more comfortable as well as more convenient. However, your fluctuating breast size can make finding the right fit a bit difficult.

Luckily, we’ve rounded up some foolproof tips on finding the right nursing bra size for you. Read on to find your perfect fit.

Get help from a bra fitting expert

Just as you get fitted for your regular bras, you’ll need to get do so for your nursing bras. This step is especially crucial to finding your correct nursing bra size as it’s more than likely changed both during and after childbirth. Fittings can be done at many department stores and small lingerie boutiques. We recommend either getting fitted eight months into your pregnancy (as your breast size will be the closest to when you’re nursing) or two to three weeks after childbirth.

Consider the cup

The majority of women will notice that the volume of their breasts seems to increase over the course of pregnancy. Then, as your breasts prepare to produce milk, they will likely expand even further. So don’t be surprised if you have to go up at least one cup size when buying nursing bras. The idea is to ensure that your breasts are completely contained by the cups without any extra room (as that means it simply can’t be offering sufficient support). You’ll probably want to seek out nursing bras with some stretch, as they can conform better to your breasts if there are subtle size changes from week to week.

Related: What’s The Difference Between Maternity Bras and Nursing Bras?

Allow for adjustments and changes in size

The fit of a nursing bra isn’t all about the cups, though. As you may or may not know, the band actually does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to support. However, your size will obviously be fluctuating a tad over the course of the breastfeeding process. So to make sure you nursing bras always fit properly, be sure to invest only in nursing bras that have at least three rows of hook-and-eye closures in the back. That way you can adjust as needed throughout the nursing stage. You may want to purchase bras that fit on the middle row of hooks so you have room to both tighten and loosen the band.

Run some tests

Make sure that you can fit two or three fingers underneath the cup — this ensures that the bra can accommodate slight growth and also that you can take advantage of nursing pads if you wish. It’s also a good idea to try standing, sitting, leaning forward, and raising your arms above your head while trying on nursing bras to ensure that they don’t shift too much and that they remain comfortable in a variety of postures and positions. As it’s clearly important that the nursing bras work with your wardrobe, don’t forget to try the bra on underneath a go-to top or two to make sure that it doesn’t show through.

Every woman’s body is different, of course, which makes shopping for nursing bras a unique experience for every individual. Still, the previous tips should help you find some flawlessly-fitting bras that promote a pleasant breastfeeding experience. When in doubt, it’s always smart to leverage some guidance from an expert instead of blindly ordering bras based on an assumption — so unless you’ve already been fitted, now is a great time to do so!

Related: Where To Buy Maternity Bras

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Featured image lingerie:
Leila Nursing Bra NB502 in Bare
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Published by

Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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