MATERNITY BRA’S TRIED & TESTED (+ Expert Tips)
One of the biggest changes to the body during and after pregnancy is your bust, aside from the obvious bump! Cup size increases and your back widens, so nothing quite fits properly. Once you’ve had the baby and your milk fully comes in, your breasts regularly fluctuate up and down in size too.
Marks & Spencer’s Bra Fit Expert Julia Mercer says women increase breast size on average by 2 underband measurements and 4 cup sizes during pregnancy. If you’re usually a 34B, you may find you go up to a 38F! Having the correct underband size can really help with back ache too, she says.
NURSING BRAS: Julia’s Top Tips
- Have a fitting for your nursing bra around 2 weeks before your baby is due.
- Easy fastening and release clips make for the best feeding bras – remember you need to be able to do this with one hand!
- Look for a soft, fold down cup which is comfortable but also practical when feeding.
- Also look for a ‘sling’ feature which still holds the breast when the cup is down for feeding, this provides comfort and also holds the cup nicely in position for feeding and easy fastening.
I’ve been road testing some best-selling bras, belts and lingerie to give you my thoughts…
1. CAKE MATERNITY SEAMLESS SLEEP & YOGA NURSING BRA, £32.90
DETAILS: The winner of Mother & Baby’s Best Maternity bra for three-year’s running, Cake’s Yoga and Nursing Bra has a t-back for medium levels of support and no padding or underwire. It has the sling feature for easy access when nursing.
VIEW: This is similar to a supportive crop top and the fabric feels super soft and breathable to wear. A lady once told me her best kept secret for a gravity-defying bust in older age was wearing a night bra. I’ve never really fancied this, as the last thing I want is to feel something digging into me, but I’ve found this bra prefect for night time. My bust actually feels good in the morning, rather than heavy and saggy. When you’re breast feeding, your milk will come in during the night, so actually having something to support this whilst you’re asleep is a good idea.
2. PARFAIT ELISSA CONTOUR UNDERWIRE BRA, £37
DETAILS: A padded/underwired bra that can be worn five different ways. This is the ultimate in multi-tasking lingerie. It can be worn strapless, halter, criss-cross and regular.
VIEW: This is probably one of the most comfortable bra’s I have worn. It keeps everything firmly in place, without any digging but it also minimises my bust so is great worn under t-shirts – if you want to reduce the “matronly bosom” effect! I’m also a big fan of light padding when you’re breastfeeding, it stops any leakage showing through on your clothes and prevents the need for breast pads.
EXTRA: I recently came across Parfait and it has some beautiful lingerie. It looks good on but is also super supportive. A friend saw me recently breastfeeding and commented on how pretty the bra was.
3. ANITA Underwired Nursing Bra, £35.99
DETAILS: Best-selling, underwired nursing bra from Anita lingerie. Includes sling feature for easy access when breast feeding.
VIEW: This is a great bra for the early weeks breast feeding. Strong underwired support keeps everything in place but the cup fabric is very soft and lose fitting so great for fluctuating bust size. You really don’t want to feel too restricted in the early weeks.
4. TRIUMPH SCULPTING SENSATION MINIMISER BRA, £42
DETAILS: Minimiser bra with a visible reduction of one cup size, 3D shaper wire for optimum support and wide adjustable straps with integrated gel pads for extra comfort.
VIEW: This bra is the ultimate in comfort and support. The integrated gel makes it appear seamless- so is great under t-shirts or more fitted tops. The padding also stops any leakage showing through on clothes. It really keeps everything in place, but without feeling restrictive in any way.
5. Embrace Luxury Baby Belt, £36
DETAILS: A support belt which is worn under clothes to help prevent back pain during pregnancy. It is also said to help the tummy regain its shape after birth.
VIEW: I couldn’t talk about maternity underwear without mentioning Baby Belts. I wore a Baby Belt during both my pregnancies, every day for the last few months. It really helped support my back and bump when on my feet and out and about working during the day. I found it a tremendous support and I really can’t recommend enough. I got one in black, white and nude so it would go with every outfit.