This was a question I asked during my first pregnancy. I put it out there on the internet to my group of online friends with the same due date month as me. I was overwhelmed with choices of nursing bras and was wondering do I actually need a nursing bra? I mean why couldn't I pull my regular bra up or down? The answer I received from the experienced moms was YES you do need a nursing bra!
Now I suppose you could get by without one under certain circumstances. I have heard it recommended to wear a soft cotton bra that is easy to pull up or down in lieu of a nursing bra. In my case I am large chested and there is no way something like that would work for me except for sleeping. I can say now without any doubt that nursing bras are a number one necessity and accessory for breastfeeding in my case. While I was overwhelmed picking out nursing bras during my first pregnancy, I have since gone through plenty of trial and error to find my favorites.
So why do you need a nursing bra?
It makes breastfeeding easier. I know it seems like maybe you can pull your bra up or down, or pull your breast out of a regular bra, but it's not that easy. And you are going to do this many times a day. Nursing in public is also easier when you are not fiddling with pulling your breast or bra up or down.
Nursing bras can change with your changing breast. Many nursing bras adjust as your breast fills with milk or empties out. Your regular bra is not meant to adjust this way.
Nursing bras can conceal leaks and hold breast pads. Most nursing bras are meant to hold pads or even come with their own pads or padding for leaks.
Nursing bras come in soft support, underwire support, sleep support and everything in between. There are so many options and you do not need to sacrifice style. Many nursing bras convert to regular bras after you are done nursing making them more cost effective.
Nursing bras are healthier for your breast. For all the reasons I listed above, having support and bras that adjust with your breast can help prevent issues. It is important to have a properly fitting bra meant for nursing to prevent clogged ducts and mastitis. I had mastitis twice. The first time was after wearing a swimsuit and the second time after wearing a sports bra. You do not want to squeeze your engorged breasts into something too snug, trust me.
I worried about buying something I did not necessarily need or would not last me that long but my nursing bras have been well used. I am on my third pregnancy and my nursing bras are still going, but I am planning to buy a couple of new ones too just because I know how much I use them. I used my nursing bras for my entire first year of breastfeeding. At that point I switched to a regular bra since I was only nursing a couple of times a day but I still use my nursing bras at other times. I wear them around the house when I want a little support, I wear them for sleeping, and I wear them during pregnancy when my regular bras are uncomfortable. So, despite my concerns I definitely have gotten my money's worth out of my nursing bras.
It is hard to know what and how many you will need. If you end up only nursing weeks it may not be worth it. If you know you are committed and will be nursing a year or more that's different. If you are unsure, maybe wait and see or only purchase one or two to start. I recommend having a sleep bra and a bra you are comfortable wearing the rest of the time. Eventually I like to add an underwire bra as well. Underwire is not generally recommended for nursing because of the possibility of plugged ducts but I've never had an issue and my underwire bras are nursing bras made with nursing in mind. You want to make sure you have a good fit.
Through two babies I have tried SO MANY bras I haven't even covered them all on my site. Here are my favorite basics:
You can read my reviews of these bras at the links below. I have tried many and these are the ones that worked the best day in and day out and have been my favorites. Maybe it's a coincidence they are all Bravado but that brand works well for me.
This is a soft support bra with lots of customization. It was one of my first nursing bras and the only one that made the long term cut from my initial purchases. These bras that I purchased in 2012 after the birth of my daughter are still being used today! And, they still look brand new.
This bra has more support than the seamless but is still underwire free.
This is an underwire nursing bra. It won't be for everyone but if you feel you need that support I love this one.
Now these are my favorite basics. There are many other brands out there making gorgeous and stylish nursing bras with all the design of a fashion forward regular bra. I recently got to try You Lingerie's underwire bra and it is gorgeous:
There are many brands coming out with beautiful nursing bras I haven't tried yet so there is bound to be a nursing bra that appeals to you. As you can see I found a nursing bra a must have while breastfeeding. Hopefully this list of reasons to use one, and list of my favorites gives you a good start. Please let me know if you have any questions about nursing bras at all!