Breastfeeding fashion: bras & basics

The most important clothing item when breastfeeding is the bra, obviously.  Here are some important aspects to consider when shopping for a nursing bra:

  • Comfort and support, preferably wireless. A good fitting is essential, the breasts must be supported but not too tight so as to not interfere with milk production.
  • For the busy day-to-day, natural fabric is best.  Cotton allows the delicate breast skin and nipple area to breath, and it´s easy to wash and tumble-dry.
  • There is a myriad of methods to “open” a bra for nursing. Make sure you can get quick and easy access with one hand, once you have kids multitasking goes to entirely another level.
  • Sizing can be tricky. Your breasts will probably be a different size when you start breastfeeding right after birth (ideally seconds after!) and later on when you lose the baby weight and nursing is established. So my advice would be to get a couple of bras when you are pregnant in your 3rd trimester, and wait some weeks after birth to buy some mor. By then you will know what you want and what you don´t in a nursing bra.
  • There is no reason to sacrifice the looks.  There are still too many mumsy breastfeeding bras out there, but don´t despair, there are also plenty of pretty, good quality ones.

I´ve created small selection of nursing bras you can buy online (and store):

  1. H&M 2-pack maternity bras (£14.99): Organic cotton softness and comfort, great value too.
  2. Bella Materna Adjustable Anytime G/H Nursing Bralet Bra  at Journelle ($76): No-hooks, easy access bra.
  3. Elle Macpherson Intimates Momamia striped stretch nursing bra at Net-a-porter (€43): Beautiful casual bra.
  4. Gilligan & OMalley® Womens Nursing Sleep Bra at Target (US only) ($16.99):  Because you can never have too many polka dots.
  5. Topshop Maternity Tia Lace Bra (£20): A breastfeeding bra you can can proudly show with a summer dress or vest top, amazing colour and elegant on-trend lace.
  6. Amoralia Nougatine Nursing Bra ($75):  can a nursing bra get sexier than this? I love the nonobvious toffee colour and the delicate lace.

Another underwear item to consider is the nursing tank or vest. It won´t be the most good-looking thing in your wardrobe, but it can be very functional in some circumstances (and nobody has to see it):

  • Hospital stay: a breastfeeding vest is more comfortable under a nightgown than a bra, it gives your newly wobbly belly some warmth and support.
  • It´s also great for those exciting/hazy/sleepless days (weeks?) postpartum at home, when you  literally live in your pajamas or sweatpants. Put on the tank and you are half-dressed!
  • A 100% cotton nursing vest can be superb as sleepwear for the night-waking breastfeeding months.

Click to see some nursing tanks from around the web: New Look, Gap, Mamas&Papas and ASOS.

Now share your wisdom on mamas´ undergarments! What nursing bra do you recommend? Did you buy a bra that wasn´t as good as expected? Any advice as to what else to look for when buying a breastfeeding bra?

(First image: Mother and Child, 1904, Janis Rosenthal, via this)

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