Maternity & Nursing Bra Guide
When should I get a fitting?:
trimesters as you become engorged after birth, and then let down as you begin nursing.
What size maternity and nursing bras should I buy?
- Your breasts slip out the bottom of the band.
- The bra band rides up in back.
- The bra cups wrinkle.
- The straps slip off the shoulders on the tightest setting.
- There are mounds of breast poking out the sides or over the top of the cup.
- The bra “pokes” you anywhere.
- The center of your rib cage band rides up and doesn’t lie flat.
You’ll need a measuring tape and a mirror (or a buddy).
Step 1: Rib Band Measurement
First take a measurement around your rib cage where the bra underband will sit. Make sure the tape stays parallel to the floor, checking the back with a mirror. The tape should fit snuggly around your body without any gaps. Take a deep breath and breathe out. The tape should feel snug, but still comfortable. Take note of the measurement and round to the nearest even number (34, 36, etc). This will be your rib cage size.
Step 2: Cup Size Measurement
Next, move the tape up to the fullest part of your bust, just over the nipples. Make note of this measurement, rounding up to the nearest full inch.
Step 3: Do The Math
Lastly, subtract the rib cage measurement from the cup size measurement. The difference in inches represents your letter cup size (1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=D).
How many bras do I need?
1. Maternity (for the 1st through 3rd trimesters)
Best bras during pregnancy
Everything is changing and you can always use some extra support! Tenderness and sensitivity, along with fluctuating changes in breast size, during pregancy is normal, and varies from person to person. Some ladies may increase a full cup size (or more) during the first trimester, and others may continue to grow up until the birth (and after!). To accomodate this fluctuation of sizes, we recommend at least one wireless bra, with lots of stretch, that’s designed to grow (and shrink) with you.
Try our Staff Pick, the Bodysilk Seamless by Bravado that features knit “zones” for medium support and definition to avoid the dreaded “uni-boob.” Plus, it's nursing ready to get the most bang for your buck.
2. Sleep Bra (for 3rd trimester and beyond)
The ABC’s of getting Z’s
Prevents leakage while you sleep (even if it’s not for very long)! A good sleep bra will keep your breast pads in, provide light support while you’re uncomfortably engorged, and still allow for easy, sleepy, feedings.
We love the organic 24/7 bra from Swedish design house, Boob. It’s moisture wicking fabric will keep you dry and light weight fabric is comfortable for all day (and nigth) wear.
3. Nursing Bra (6 weeks postpartum)
In it to win it
Once your sizing has stabilized, we recommend investing in a good nursing bra with medium support, and easy clip-down access for frequent feedings.
Our go-to for everyday wear is the lightweight Natori “Feathers” bra. She’s functional and cute. Looking for a larger cup size? Our favorite Bodysilk Seamless is a must-have.
4. Pumping Bra (6 weeks postpartum)
Pump the jams
Pumping without a pumping bra is gymnastics feat! This is one of those “trust us” moments. A pumping bra allows hands-free pumping with special cups designed to hold the pump shields in place. All the better to continue your super mom multi-tasking while you’re at it.
Already have a bra you love? We suggest trying the adjustable Simple Wishes Hands Free Pumping Bra. Or the self-proclaimed “sexiest pumping bra” from Dairy Fairy with lacy cups and a flexible underwire for extra lift.