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what is a maternity bra

The reality is, that along with the rest of your body, your breasts go through some significant changes during pregnancy and after childbirth. These fluctuations are a result of hormonal and weight shifts, and can include the size as well as level of sensitivity of your breasts. Meanwhile, they are also preparing for milk production. So it goes without saying that your regular everyday bras simply may not do during this phase of your life. Investing in some well-made maternity bras and nursing bras (also known as breastfeeding bras) ensures that you continue to receive adequate support throughout all of these breast changes. With wider, cushioned straps, super soft lining and extra rows of hook-and-eye closures, a maternity bra is the comfiest option during pregnancy. A nursing bra, meanwhile, lends easy access to the nipple for breastfeeding without having to remove the garment whatsoever.

On the hunt for some maternity bras or nursing bras to make your life a little easier? Whether you’re newly pregnant or already gave birth, this guide will point you in the right direction of some ideal stores to start shopping at.

Department stores

There are several perks to shopping at department stores. For one, they have a larger inventory, which means more options to choose from. Secondly, the lingerie department will usually have a staff member who’s well-trained in fittings, meaning you can get some extra help finding the right size (which is a unique challenge for maternity bras given that it can change drastically).

Kohls offers a wide selection of nursing bras, for example. You’ll find everything from an unlined underwire nursing bra to a wire-free nursing bralette with lightly padded cups and a full-figure nursing bra. So this is a solid place to start if you want substantial variety in terms of bra styles.

Nordstrom is another stellar option, and this department store sells both maternity bras and nursing bras. Bras can be filtered by style, such as bralette, wireless and convertible, so you can easily find the specific kind you’re looking for. Moreover, Nordstrom offers a unique array of nursing camisoles, nightgowns and PJ sets, which aren’t so easy to find elsewhere.

Related: When To Buy Nursing Bras

Online retailers

Feel like shopping from the comfort of your own home? Browsing online has the obvious benefit of being ultra-convenient, and let’s face it — when you’re pregnant or caring for a newborn, you don’t exactly have lots of time on your hands to go out shopping. Luckily, there are plenty of e-retailers that have a wide selection of maternity bras and nursing bras.

Belk, for example, offers nursing bras from a number of different brands — some specifically made for plus-size women.

HerRoom has an even larger selection of both nursing bras as well as maternity bras in both underwire and wireless styles, and a variety of cuts, including T-shirt and racerback. From luxe satin to casual cotton, you’re bound to find one that meets your personal preferences. This site even offers unusual options, like nursing sports bras, as well as helpful accessories for size changes like bra back extenders.

Lauren Silva is another site that sells nursing bras. The best part? This online retailer carries cup sizes all the way up to JJ. From soft-cup to molded cup and seamless styles, there is a pretty impressive variety to choose from, too.

Lingerie Boutiques

You can’t beat the one-on-one attention and guidance you get at boutiques — and you may be able to find what you’re looking for at both lingerie stores as well as maternity stores. A boutique that only sells undergarments or maternity wear will no doubt have a specialist on staff who can measure you properly and lead you to the best choices for your body.

Linda’s Bra Salon, a renowned boutique with locations in both New York City and New Jersey, offers a substantial collection of maternity bras and nursing bras in band sizes 28 to 46 and cup sizes AA to K. This store also carries a number of plus-sized nursing bras specifically. Be sure to take advantage of the expert fittings, which are free with any purchase (appointments recommended in advance).

It’s especially important to seek out a professional bra fitter when it comes to buying maternity bras and nursing bras, because as previously discussed, your breast size may fluctuate. Once you know your correct size for these specialized bra types, you can browse around at any of the aforementioned sources to find products that will make your pregnancy and/or breastfeeding experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Related: Is It Safe To Wear An Underwire Bra While Nursing?

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:
Dalis Bralette P5641 in Black
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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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