Bra Fitting Help
Oh my goodness, you wouldn’t think it would be the case, but every bra manufacturer and even the
different styles within that brand can fit differently. My favorite link is the one from Bravado Designs.
They measure above the bust to get the band size, which I find seems to work best.
If you measure below the bust... round up to the next even number and then I would add 2 to that number for your size. If your breasts are very full and heavy, I would stay with the smaller band size to help with support.
This link is interactive. Use your mouse to move the slider to match your measurements and they will calculate your size for you.anita.com
SOME OF WHAT I’VE LEARNED OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS FITTING NURSING BRAS
Each mom is an individual. I can offer suggestions on how bras are to fit, but if the woman doesn’t like how it fits, then her preference rules!
- Softcup bras with some stretch are most comfortable in the last half of pregnancy and the first month or two after delivery. These bras have more flexibility of fit and should not constrict the growing cup size or the flow of milk.
- Most of the growth in the breast tissue happens in the first half of pregnancy. However, once delivered, the cup size will generally settle in at one-half to one cup size bigger. The cup size will usually stay this size until the weaning process begins.
- Engorgement is temporary. Generally lasting anywhere from 1 day to one week. The worst day to fit a bra is between day 3 and 5. (We do have some comfortable styles which work well for this stage) These are the days you are at your largest. The breasts are not just engorged with milk, but blood flow is also congested. That congestion will eventually subside.
- Rib cage expansion is happening as the pregnancy progresses. A woman may expand 2 inches or 6 to 8 inches. The ribs take about 2-4 weeks to go back to how they were before pregnancy.
- Weight gain in pregnancy will change your band size and your cup size. I’ve noticed that many smaller women can put on a significant amount of weight. It seems the body craves that extra weight for pregnancy. These are typically the women who lose weight, relatively quickly after delivery. Their bra size may change significantly as they lose the weight.
- Yes, you can wear underwire nursing bras. But... they must fit properly and you definitely don’t want to sleep in one. ( It’s hard on the wire and the wire could press into your breast tissue during the night and cause a plugged duct.) It’s best to avoid them until your size is settled. Plus, if you fit it too soon, it may not fit down the road. However, they give the most support and a more professional look for when you go back to work. Luckily, there is a good selection of supportive bras without an underwire. If you have chronic plugged ducts it’s best to avoid them, or if you have breast tissue which goes farther back under your arm. It is interesting though, I’ve had a few women over the years who have told me they had plugged ducts until they started wearing underwire bras.
- Most moms will want a comfortable bra to sleep in. Lactating breasts are quite heavy and that support at night can feel very good. Also, leaking at night can be an issue of concern. The bra allows you to wear bra pads to protect the bedding. Also, the pressure on the nipple from the bra and the pad will actually slow the leaking down.
- How many to get? I suggest 2 stretchy comfortable bras to begin. Once you know breastfeeding is going to work,and your size has settled, you’ll want a few more. Unfortunately, nursing a baby can be a little messy and you’ll need to wash your bras more than you’re used to. The dryer is always a “No,No” so, it takes time to air dry. If you continuously wear one or 2 bras, they will stretch out quickly because they need time to rebound after being stretched.