As all women who are hoping to conceive for the first time, are already pregnant, or have had children will know, pregnancy changes your body drastically. Whilst many women will experience unpleasant changes like weight gain, digestive discomfort, exhaustion and morning sickness, these are all side effects as your body prepares itself for the purpose it is perfectly designed for: supporting a baby. Aside from the “baby bump”, the most noticeable change will be in your breasts. They can grow almost beyond belief during pregnancy, and will continue to change once you have given birth, especially if you breast feed. It is recommended to wear maternity bras as you reach the late stages of pregnancy, as your breast tissue will be tender and needs the support and protection that regular bras do not provide.
Once the baby arrives you will need to progress onto nursing bras. As they are designed specifically for breast feeding, they are much more convenient as well as comfortable. The cups conveniently unhook without requiring much adjustment or wriggling about. Don’t buy your nursing bras too early on in pregnancy, as your breasts will continue to change and grow, and they may not fit when the time comes. It is a good idea to wait until the last few weeks of your pregnancy, that way it is more likely that your breasts will have reached the size they will be once you’re breast feeding.
Nursing bras are very different from the everyday bras you will be used to, so here are some things to look for when shopping for nursing bras:
- The flaps should be easy to open with one hand – if you’re holding baby you will need to be able to open your bra one handed. If you can fasten it with one hand again this is an added bonus.
- You breast should be supported from underneath even once the cup is open. This will make feeding time more comfortable for you and the baby.
- It is very important that the bra feels comfortable and doesn’t dig in or rub – when lactating your breasts are susceptible to blocked ducts, infection and even mastitis. An uncomfortable bra will increase the likelihood of these problems, so make sure your maternity bra fits properly.
- Underwired bras should be avoided. Milk ducts extend surprisingly far under the skin, up to the armpit and along the ribcage. If your maternity bra is underwired it could dig or block the ducts, causing soreness or infection.
- Ensure you select natural, breathable fabric such as cotton to allow your skin to breathe. Sweaty skin breeds bacteria which could infect you or the baby.
- Ideally buy three maternity bras – one to wear, one in the wash and one in the drawer. Remember that they will need to be washed more regularly than your normal bras as you may have milk leakage, or even baby sick to contend with.
Lynn Palmer is a mother of two and keeps a family blog on her parenting experiences. She bought her maternity bras from //www.totallyblooming.co.uk, who have a large variety of styles and sizes available.