Maternity and Nursing FAQ's

Do I need a maternity bra?

One of the earliest and most amazing changes in pregnancy is your breasts start to become fuller and more tender. During this time, many women find a maternity bra essential for offering supreme comfort and support. While all women are, of course, different, on average you may go up two band sizes and four cup sizes. And, although at first this can sound a tad daunting, all you really need is a little preparation. Here are the key things to look for when choosing your maternity bra:

  • Non-rigid cups to accommodate changes in sizes.
  • Extra rows of hooks and eyes to allow for your ribcage expanding as your bump blossoms.
  • Non-wired bras – you can choose from the wide selection in our shop and you may find these the most comfortable option.
  • If you’re unsure about wearing an underwire, a flexi-wire is the easiest and safest option, as it still provides the support of a wire but is thinner/bendier and there is no danger of digging into the breast. With a traditional underwire you must ensure it fits perfectly in order to avoid possible adverse effects. See more
  • Soft lined, smooth seamed or moulded cups with a little give (none of the moulds we sell are rigid) so that there is no rub on the nipples.
  • Breathable fabrics as your skin tends to be warmer during pregnancy.

When choosing your maternity bra, look for styles with extra hooks and eyes, so you can start out wearing it on the tightest hook and eye and then loosen it as you get bigger. Alternatively, you can buy clever bra extenders so that you can continue wearing your bra as you embrace your new curves.

It’s tricky trying to tackle a tape measure to fit yourself, and better to do it by look and feel. You want to make sure the underband is comfortable without digging into the ribcage or too loose by riding up the back. The cups should always fully encase the breasts without any digging in or gaping necklines. Flexi-wires can be worn throughout pregnancy, but ensure you are wearing the correct size and the wires are not sitting too low at the underarm and digging in. If you’re unsure of your size, our bra fitting experts are on hand to help with both fitting and styles over the phone or via Skype.

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When should I start wearing a maternity bra?

It’s not always necessary to wear a maternity bra at the start of your pregnancy, but as your body changes you might feel that a softer more comfortable style and fit is better suited to you.

During the 1st trimester you may decide to change into a non-wired bra, due to your breast tissue becoming swollen. If you would like to still have the support of a wire we suggest a flexi-wire as these are a lot softer, more comfortable and provide slightly further room for growth.

Sleep bras might be an option for you during the 2nd trimester of your pregnancy as these can offer light support while sleeping. During this trimester your ribcage will expand significantly and so ensuring your bra is fitting correctly is vital.

Your breast growth is generally slowing during your 3rd trimester. However, towards the end of this trimester, 36/37 weeks, your breasts will be a similar size to what they’ll stay at if breast feeding; this is a good time to purchase a nursing bra.

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What style of maternity bras would support large breasts?

We would recommend looking for a moulded or padded style as you may find these to offer extra support compared to a non-padded style. Flexi-wire styles are a great option for added support for a larger bust, as these are designed to fit similar to ‘normal’ underwired styles but are more comfortable and forgiving.

What size maternity bra should I buy?

There is no direct formula on what size maternity bra you should buy compared to your normal size. People tend to vary with some women potentially increasing two back sizes and up to four cup sizes. We would recommend checking the fit of your bras often, and if it is starting to feel tight on the underband or small in the cup, try the next size up. Check our trimesters information for more detailed advice on changes you may go through.

Why do I need to buy a nursing bra?

After your baby is born and if you want to breastfeed, you’ll need to invest in a good nursing bra. A nursing bra is very similar to a maternity bra, but with the exception of drop clips and special straps so that it stays in place when feeding. An expert tip: It’s best to buy your nursing bra as late as possible into your pregnancy when your breast growth has slowed down. At this stage you may already be wearing a nursing bra for comfort throughout your pregnancy (and we don’t blame you), but be aware that you will need to reassess your size in the days and weeks after your baby is born as your milk flow and breast size will continue to fluctuate.

A good nursing bra should include the following:

  • Non-rigid cups to accommodate changes in sizes.
  • Extra rows of hooks and eyes to allow for your ribcage contracting back to its normal size.
  • Either no wires or flexi-wires – if you want to wear an underwire make sure you choose a flexi-wire because it still provides support, but won’t dig in (all our nursing bras are either non-wired or flexi-wires).
  • Soft lined, smooth seamed or moulded cups with a little give (none of the moulds we sell are rigid) so that there is no rub on the nipples.
  • Nursing clips to allow for easy access for feeding.
  • You may want to consider padding or pockets to put nursing pads in, in case of leakage during breastfeeding.

Unlike a maternity bra, when you are buying your nursing bra you should fit it on the loosest hook and eye – this allows you to adjust the bra when your ribcage contracts back to a smaller size. Breast sizes will fluctuate throughout the day when you are feeding so a bra with stretch is best to accommodate the changes, while keeping you as comfy as possible.

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Can I wear a nursing bra with an underwire?

You may have heard that you should wear a wire free rather than an underwired bra when you’re pregnant, however this is something you can decide on safely if you follow some simple guidelines.

During pregnancy

Throughout your pregnancy you can wear a traditional underwire, it’s just really important that it fits properly. If the wires press on your milk glands or ducts they can get blocked or inflamed, which naturally will be painful.

As you get bigger and your beautiful bump expands, it’s important that you make sure that you don’t outgrow your underwired bra. If it starts to feel snug – as it will – change your bra size to accommodate your larger underband and cup size. The alternative, and easier option, is to opt for flexi-wires as they are not restrictive like traditional underwires and so are more forgiving.

During nursing

During nursing we recommend either non-wires or flexi-wire bras. Some women prefer flexi-wires because they offer extra support and a more uplifted shape. On the other hand, some mums have found non-wires can be a more comfortable option, so it’s really a question of personal preference. Why not try on both and see what best works for you.

Saying that, if you have received specific medical advice not to wear underwires then this, of course, should be followed.

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