Breastfeeding Bras; Hands Free!

Introduction.

Brassieres, Bras for short, are specialized forms of women’s underclothing designed to provide breast support. There are several types of Bras with two major design facets. One is to suit fashion, for instance the bullet Bra and the other to suit function like the post mastectomy Bra & nursing Bra. All in all, what ever form and appearance it takes on a woman’s chest, a Bra remains a Bra and has the primary role of support.
There are primary features common to all types of Bras and their labeling is provided below.

The Anatomy of a Bra-Basic components.

Since women come in all shapes and sizes, manufacturers of Bras have taken that into account. A system involving measurement of band size and burst size is in use to help guide with proper fitting.  Band size is the circumference of the lower chest just below the breasts and burst size, chest circumference as measured around the tips of breasts. The band sizes come in only even numbers though, so women with measurements in odd figures have to adjust to the next upper or lower fit. The arithmetic disparity in the two measurements derives the cup size in which the alphabet has been put to good use. The smallest cup size being ‘A ‘ and the larger being the subsequent letter of the alphabet with difference in letter size amounting to an inch. Double/triple lettering is used to account for differences less than an inch. For instance an ‘A’ cup is less than a ‘B’ cup by 1 inch, and an ‘AA’ cup is bigger than an ‘A’ but less than a ‘B’ cup and so on.

Nursing Bras are specialized brassieres that provide additional support to women who are breastfeeding enabling them to feed their children without the need to remove the Bra.
Our discussion from now on will focus on the nursing Bra and from examination of the prototype, insight is provided into what this specialized type really is.

A nursing Bra in use

A nursing Bra has primary modifications at the Cup and it’s attachment to the main frame. The cup actually has a flap which can easily be detached from the apex through a hook or clasps or snaps or simply by squeezing. The cups are made with capabilities to change in shape and size to accommodate the variations of a nursing breast. Another major consideration in its build is the reinforcement at the lower edges of the cups. Usually the underwire is substituted with more comfortable pliable material with good reason. Another minor difference is some nursing Bras have both the flap and cup fused so that the woman’s breast hangs totally free and not through an opening within the cap once ‘let out’. New inventors are shooting two birds with one stone; so we now have a tank top with an in built bra, a bra with padding etc.

Why nursing Bras?

Breastfeeding is a special stage of body transformation for the woman, this occurs especially around the breasts. The size, shape and response to stimuli are all different and special in the pregnant woman. Generally, the breasts are larger, tend to be more firm and sensitive, with a great variation in size and consistency alongside constant “pull out & put back” arrangement all day. This matches the woman’s breast feeding practice. To provide the much-needed support for this ‘new bosom’ without interfering with the natural process of milk production and storage, a nursing mother will need a new bra with special customization, the nursing Bra.

As pregnancy progresses, breast size also changes. Often, mothers will need a change of the Bra by the third trimester! Instead of buying the usual design with only a larger cup size, use it for a few weeks and then acquire a new type after birth, it is fitting to purchase the nursing Bra right at the third trimester. The recommended time interval being at 7.5 to 8 months of pregnancy. Unfortunately, this comes with a problem involving getting the right measurement since there is “an impediment” at the band area, the protruding near term uterus! As a result, the band size is oddly obtained by measuring the circumference around the upper chest. Special considerations is taken for cup size (a size up) and the band free of an underwire. Underwired nursing brassieres exist but are discouraged since they have the potential to cause duct clogging, milk stasis and consequently mastitis.

What to look at when selecting a nursing bra (the good properties)

  • Make (design): as already hinted on above, a nursing Bra is best if it’s; material absorbs moisture and dries rapidly, able to mold and take the shape of the breast rather than one which forces the breast into a shape, has no rigid under wire. Knitted Silk with a blend of elastic material is the ultimate choice, Modal (spun cellulose fiber from eucalyptus and Australian bitch-wood) is a good option, others include lace, cotton/Lycra blend-has a tendency to soak though. With that, the ‘girls’ can be kept in good condition while nursing. Comfort is paramount for a nursing Bra since it can affect breast health, milk production and consequently the process of breastfeeding itself. So it has to be something that can happily be worn in bed.
  • Color; the color of a nursing Bra was traditionally white, with good reason IE to check hygiene! With manufacturers increasingly becoming compliant to consumer demands, other colors have been introduced. The commonest concern with most bra colors, especially black, is the tendency to project through the dress. These days you can get almost any color yo’ve ever dreamed of. I suggest including red because it won’t show in your comfortable and light white T-shirt.
  • Padding; some bras come with a load of padding in their cups (as a ‘bonus’), but this is mostly disadvantageous to the nursing breast as it reduces space and most likely to cause discomfort when in use. Especially for the bustiest. Besides, they demand more maintenance than the non padded Bras.
  • Versatility; something one can use during and out of the Nursing situation  is highly desirable. There  are, “for all seasons Bras out there”!

 

Taking care of bras.

After acquiring a Bra from your choice boutique or supplier, its good practice to cleanse the fabric of unwanted material. In the manufacturing process, most fabrics are coated with starch, this has to be taken off since it can cause skin irritation. Soaking overnight with vinegar is a proven approach. The bra can then be washed with preferably shampoo as the detergent and thoroughly rinsed in cold water till no foam is perceivable. Air dry the Bra, machine drying shortens the half-life of the material.

It’s advised, a Bra be used for up to three wearings for every washing. Nursing mothers will need at least two pieces of these under clothing since they have “a soil and clean arrangement”.

A few picks of Nursing Bras.

Your Choice Breast Feeding Bras...

NAME (BRAND)HIGHLIGHTSVIEW
Women's Nursing Seamless Bra - Auden.

RATED; 5 star.

PRICE; $17 at Target.
PROS:
+ comfortable and adjustable for breast variation with 6-hook back closure
+No underwire
+ Easy to maintain
+ available in many colors and sizes
CONS:
- Made of synthetic material (nylon, polyester & spandex blend); might not be friendly to sweaty mothers.
Bravado! BASICS Double Layer Seamless Maternity and Nursing Bra

RATED; 4 star.

PRICE; $26 at Target.
PROS:
+ easy to use with one handed B clips
+No underwire and seamless for greater comfort.
+ Versatile; can be used from late pregnancy through nursing and afterwards!

CONS:
-Better suited for small breasted women. Will be uncomfortable for large ladies.
BRAVADO! DESIGNS Women's Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra and Maternity Bra

RATED; 4 star.

PRICE; $ 34-45 at Amazon.
PROS:
+ Free falling cup for maximal space during nursing
+No underwire, comfortable, and able to mold to breast.
+ Easy to maintain (dry cleaning)
+ has removable foam inserts to help "adjust for the cup size"
+ available in many colors and sizes
+versatile; useful outside breastfeeding

CONS:
- can retain moisture and takes long to dry ( cotton & polyester blend); might not be friendly to sweaty mothers.
- It's Pricey
Bravado Designs Women's Maternity Buttercup Nursing Bra.

RATED; 5 star.

PRICE; $34-52 at Amazon.

PROS:
+ easy to use with one handed B clips
+No underwire and seamless also has pad for greater comfort.
+ Versatile; can be used from late pregnancy through nursing and afterwards, and in many nursing situations (sleep, in/out doors)
Has bra kit for conversion to regular Bra after nursing
+ can mold to breast
+ alternative strapping (criss-cross or halter)
+ available in many colors and sizes.

CONS:
- made of synthetic material not friendly to sensitive skin (nylon/spandex blend)
iloveSIA 3PACK Womens Full Bust Nursing Bra Seamless Maternity Bra

RATED; 4.5 star.

PRICE; $ 30 at Amazon.


PROS:
+ One handed B clips easy access.
+ cheap; given that it comes in 'Triplets'
+No underwire, comfortable, and able to mold to breast, has removable cup padding.
+ Versatile

CONS:
- Has sizing issues, tight straps, new makes have circular pads which can be uncomfortable for some
Motherhood Maternity Women's Wrap Front Nursing Sleep Bra

RATED; 4 star.

PRICE; $ 17 at Amazon.




PROS:
+ Surplice front; easy access
+ cheap.
+No underwire, comfortable, and able to mold to breast.

CONS:
- can retain moisture and takes long to dry ( cotton & spandex blend); might not be friendly to sweaty mothers.
Dot Mesh Nursing Bralette

RATED; 5 star.

PRICE; $ 42 at Morrow & Mint lingerie.

PROS:
+ single handed cap release; easy access
+ versatile; can be used in bed as well
+No underwire, comfortable, and able to mold to breast, has removable breast pad.
+ allows for aeration , no sweating

CONS:
- pricey


Looks nothing like a nursing bra and yet is all that it should be!!
Natori Private Luxuries Strapless Bra

RATED; 4 star.

PRICE; $ 48 at motherhood maternity.





PROS:
+ Free falling cup (pull down) for maximal space during nursing
+ comfortable, and able to mold to breast, has padding.
+ has no straps; doesn't restrict on type of tops to use...!
+ available in many colors and sizes
+versatile; useful outside breastfeeding

CONS:
- Has underwire, might ride down with time
- It's Pricey
Everyday Nursing Bra


RATED; 5 star.

PRICE; $ 44 at storq
PROS:
+ easy access-slide aside (no clips)
+No underwire, comfortable, and able to mold to breast.
+ friendly organic material; Modal with spandex
+ easy maintenance
+ Versatile

CONS:
- Expensive
_might not serve well for the extra busty.
Essential Pump&Nurse Bra, All in One Nursing and Hands Free Pumping Bra

RATED; 4 star.

PRICE; $ 24 at Amazon

PROS:
+ easy access-slide aside (no clips)
+No underwire, comfortable, and able to mold to breast.
+ friendly organic material; cotton with spandex
+ Versatile; also useful for Breast milk pumping
+ comes in various sizes and colors.

CONS:
- can soak up on prolonged use due to cotton fabric.
All the nursing bras are tested and certified in accordance with Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex requirements, which ensures products are free from harmful substances .

 

Conclusion

Nursing can mean to be arduous for the unprepared mother. Having accessories which improve the experience like nursing Bra’s is undoubtedly very useful. With the information above, one can generate a birds eye view of the whole matter regarding brassieres. I hope this is helpful.

Please feel free to leave comments, questions, suggestions and contributions.

 

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