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nursing bras underwire or not

One of the most practical purchases you can make during your pregnancy (or right after childbirth) is a nursing bra — this undergarment is specifically designed to offer comfortable support while you’re breastfeeding, and best of all, you don’t even have to take it off during the process thanks to flaps in the cups that can be opened.

There are a variety of nursing bras on the market, and the right one for you will depend on a range of factors such as your breast size and style preferences. One of the most common questions that arises, however, is: should nursing bras have underwire? The short answer is: It’s a matter of personal preference. But as the subject is slightly more complex, read on for the full lowdown on whether you should opt for a nursing bra that’s wire-free or not.

The myth:

Maybe you heard it from your mother, or your neighbor, or your best friend — but it’s a common concern that wearing an underwire bra while breastfeeding can cause clogged ducts or mastitis (infection of the breast tissue) by obstructing blood lymph flow. It’s also believed that it can inhibit the flow of milk from the underlying ducts beneath the wire.

The reality:

Despite what you may have heard, there’s no real scientific evidence linking underwire bras to breast problems. So on the whole, you can consider that an old wive’s tale that’s been continually passed on. Of course, if you experience any discomfort, swelling or reduced milk production while wearing an underwire bra, you should try a wire-free one and observe whether the issue goes away.

Related: When To Buy Nursing Bras

Should nursing bras have underwire?

So, should your nursing bras have underwire? Ultimately, that depends on which style you find the most comfortable. Rest easy that there isn’t any real evidence that underwire bras cause health problems or impede milk production. However, you should be sure to prioritize fit when you’re choosing a nursing bra, whether it features underwire or not.

Finding The Right Fit

First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that your nursing bra fits well. A bra that’s too tight (wires digging in anywhere are a surefire sign) could lead to plugged ducts or an infection where the milk flow is blocked.

It’s worth noting that breast size will change postpartum. So, how do you know what size nursing bra to buy? It’s likely that your breasts will be the largest in the several weeks right after childbirth (as milk is initially produced). This is why it’s best to wait until the final month of your pregnancy to buy nursing bras.

After the second or third week following your baby’s birth, your breast size may begin to return to normal. Fortunately, the majority of nursing bras accommodate for this fluctuation with several rows of hooks at the closure, so you can loosen and tighten as needed. The bra should fit comfortably on the loosest hook and eye in the first couple weeks of breastfeeding so that you can gradually tighten the closure as your ribcage begins to contract. Ideally, the nursing bra will feature stretchy fabric toward the top of the cups as well.


Even when the flap is open, the nursing bra should still offer adequate support for the breast from underneath to ensure a comfortable feeding experience. Moreover, you’ll want to seek a nursing bra that’s constructed of a breathable fabric so moisture doesn’t get trapped under the surface, as this can lead to bacterial growth. Opt for a nursing bra with wide shoulder straps a broad back panel and tall center gore for maximum support.

Related: Where To Buy Maternity Bras

We Highly Recommend

If you’re shopping for new nursing bras, 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!

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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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