Accommodating the changing shape of your body during pregnancy and breast feeding can cause difficulties, not least of which concern your clothing.
As your body changes size and shape, you need clothing that can keep up with it. Not many people can afford to simply buy a whole new wardrobe at each stage of pregnancy, so having clothes that grow with you is vital, especially when it comes to maternity underwear.
Rather than buying larger-sized regular bras, choosing maternity or nursing bras means you can adjust them as you grow. They are specifically designed not just to provide all the support you need as your breasts grow heavier, but also to adapt to your changing size and shape.
Most come with four sets of hooks in the back band – when you buy one, get it so it fits on the smallest setting. You can then expand it as your pregnancy progresses.
Most maternity bras are not underwired and have full cups made of elasticated cotton. Cotton allows the skin to breathe which is essential when breast-feeding. The stretchy nature of the fabric allows it to grow with your body throughout pregnancy and to accommodate nursing pads when you first begin feeding. Underwiring can put pressure on milk ducts which can lead to blockages so most women choose to avoid it.
Nursing bras are designed with the same levels of comfort and support as maternity bras but also to allow baby easy access at feeding time. Some clasp at the front, others have cups which can be let down or moved to the side, like this one.
The important thing is to find a design that you can operate easily with one hand – remember you will usually be holding a hungry newborn when you are trying to unhook it!
Fitting a maternity or nursing bra is the same as for a regular bra. Measure around the ribcage for your bandwidth (nothing to do with the internet) and then around the fullest part of the bust to work out your cup size. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for this as some vary slightly.
If you choose maternity lingerie from Figleaves and your ribcage measures 32 inches while your bust measures 38 inches, you will need a 32C, but this may vary from other sites or stores. Bend over slightly as you put on your bra to allow the breasts to fall snugly into the cups, and voila, you’ll have a snugly fit brassiere.