What you need to know about bras whilst breastfeeding (and beyond)

Bras and breasfeeding

My name is Chloe Mabey and I am the founder of Maybe & Baby Maternity. I am a professional bra fitter specialising in pregnant and nursing women. I chose to specialise in this area as it was at this point in my life that I realised how badly fitting my bras were but also the lack of choice and knowledge out there.

I would say at least 90% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra and there are lots of aspects that can be incorrect. I find it even more so with pregnant and breastfeeding women as the choice available is so much more limited and women are generally too busy focusing on baby to actually think about bras.

This is why I offer a home-based fitting service (where possible) as it reduces all the stress and brings a large choice direct to your doorstep.

So why is it so important to wear a well-fitting bra?

Well we have ligaments in our breasts that will stretch if they are not supported enough. This can lead towards breastfeeding surrey stretch marks. If something as simple as a well-fitting bra can help reduce them then surely that’s a good thing?

Our bras are designed to support our breasts and therefore reducing aches and pains that a lot of women just put up with. Women don’t often realise that these issues are caused by years of wearing ill-fitting bras. Most women’s aches will be drastically reduced or alleviated once a decent bra is worn.

A badly fitting bra can lead to health issues as mentioned above but also problems like mastitis which is especially prevalent in breastfeeding women. It is so important to have bra that has been fitted professionally if you are wearing wires. This is because they can press on the breast tissue if they don’t fit properly.

I would not recommend wearing wires for at least 8 weeks after baby is born. This is due to your body changing and your milk becoming established. It is wise to get fitted at this point.

Bamboozled?

Most women are completely bamboozled by bras and their sizes and what they all mean.

So the number 32, 34 etc relates to your under bust measurement. A lot of retailers (naming no names!) use a very outdated method which basically results in an oversized band. This drastically reduces the support your bra provides to you. Your under bust measurement should be what you actually measure. No adding odd or even inches! This is only a guide though which is why a good fitter doesn’t rely on a tape measure.

The letters relate to the cup size and the difference in size between the fullest part of your bust and your under band. This is where it can get tricky!  A bra fitter will know what different bras fit like but they will also take into account your body shape, breast shape and height. Remember that bras are just like clothes, in one shop you might be a size 12 and in another you are a 16. Don’t be put off after trying just a couple of bras.

Bra issues

So what are the most frequent problems that I see women face?

The most common is that the bra band keeps rising up your back. This shows your bra is too big in the band (probably at least 2 sizes).

A lot of women get armpit fat. This is usually breast tissue that isn’t encased in your bra because the cup size is too small.

The common belief when a bra feels tight is to go up a band size. This is quite often not right, it’s usually that the cup is too small and “stealing” space from your band.

Your straps dig in. This is because you are using the straps to provide the support you need. Try to think about the band giving 80% of the support and the straps 20%.

If you have any questions at all about your bras ad how they fit please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I would be happy to help.

For an online fitting, or in person fitting (around Leicester), contact Chloe today!

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