do you really even need a nursing bra?

do you really even need a nursing bra?

This post is sponsored by Nakturnal. All opinions are my own. 

Now that I’m definitely done breastfeeding (!!!!), I’ve been cleaning out my closet.

It’s amazing what I have buried back there.

Enough baby carriers to wear a small army. (I’m keeping all of those forever because reasons.) Maternity clothes of various seasons and sizes. (Why do I have so many summer maternity dresses when I was only ever pregnant in the winter?) And nursing bras.

This last item is particularly absurd, considering I barely ever wore nursing bras.

Buying bras is bad enough at the best of times, but buying bras while pregnant just adds insult to injury. I for one had no idea what my actual band and cup sizes were even before I got pregnant, and getting measured while pregnant? Not my idea of fun.

So if you’re pregnant and planning to breastfeed — do you need nursing bras? Here’s my argument for no:

  1. You don’t necessarily need a bra at all. Ever. No, really — hear me out. We’ve all been told all our lives that not wearing a bra will cause our breasts to sag, right? But a few years ago this study came out, and it was just the scientific excuse I’d been waiting for to quit wearing bras. This topic merits its own post, but short version: if you’re going to quit wearing bras, while you’re breastfeeding is the time to do it. Because pregnancy and breastfeeding will keep your boobs perky all on their own, at least until you wean. Enjoy it while it lasts.
  2. You don’t need an actual nursing bra. Any old bra will do, as long as it’s comfortable and it meets the criteria of the best nursing bras (most important here is fit — any squeezing on your breast tissue can lead to plugged ducts, which, believe me, you do not want). But that little latch that lets you unhook your bra to breastfeed is often more trouble than it’s worth. As long as your bra is stretchy enough, it might be simpler to just stretch it to the side and nurse that way, without bothering with a hook.
  3. You can convert any bra into a nursing bra. If you have a bra you love that fits well, and you want to be able to to unhook it so you don’t stretch it out, it’s pretty easy to add hooks to the strap of any bra. I did a couple of these myself (because I was crazy during my first pregnancy and thought I wanted to sew things), but you can probably get it done professionally for a very reasonable fee.

Not convinced? Maybe you do need a nursing bra. Here are the arguments in favor:

  1. Nursing bras are designed to adjust to your changing breasts. Your cup size can change considerably while you’re breastfeeding — as much as a size or two just over the course of the day. Most bras are designed to hold a specific shape and size, while a good nursing bra is designed to stretch and shrink to accommodate your body changes.
  2. You need new bras anyway and you deserve good ones. This was actually the reason I did go get fitted and buy expensive nursing bras during my first pregnancy. The chances of your pre-pregnancy bras continuing to fit during pregnancy and postpartum are essentially zero, so you might as well get some good bras — and if you’re planning to breastfeed, there’s no reason not to buy nursing bras.
  3. Some nursing bras are multi-purpose. My favorites are nursing tanks, which have a built-in bra (real bra, not shelf bra!) and the added benefit of keeping your belly covered if you pull your shirt up to nurse (huge bonus for breastfeeding in public). My absolute favorite of these, which I sadly didn’t discover till my babies were too big for its primary purpose, is the Lalabu babywearing shirt (still my favorite bra, even though I’m way past breastfeeding).

At this point, though? I can probably let most of these go. Anybody in the market for a Bravado?

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