Nursing Bras Defined
If it is your first time shopping for some nursing bras there has to be certain clarifications made so your searches online or in-store will be specific. Some may confuse the nursing bra as interchangeable with the maternity bra but these two serve different functions. While they both accommodate the growing size of breasts, the nursing bra specifically is made for easy access for breastfeeding while the maternity bra focuses on comfortable fitting during the growth.
For now we focus on how many of the nursing bras you will actually need over the course of the postpartum periods.
Minimum Number of Nursing Bras
Different resources will give you answers ranging from 2-4 bras. But before you start purchasing, you will need to consider aspects of your body that will help you determine your decisions in the quantity needed for you.
Not all breast growth is the same for women, though it is generally agreed that there is indeed significant breast growth, the differences between individuals can vary greatly. That is why some mothers can go through their entire breastfeeding period without having to change their current set. Others make use of 2 pairs of bras that they change after 5-6 months to fit better for the significant growth that occurs in those months.
If you are unsure just how large a growth to expect, 2 pairs would be a safe number to consider and you can add a few more much later when you observe that the fit is just right for you even after a considerable time period.
In addition to fitting at the right time, it is also important that you do it just in time when the milk is fully produced, which is around one week after birth. This way you will not be fitting too early resulting in a need to replace your newly purchased pair of nursing bras.
Make It 3
In terms of practical quantity, three is optimal with each of the bra having its own use during the day. The first one is what you will be wearing. The second one is what will be washed or after it is clean it will take over the first bra should you need to wash it. The third bra is more of a reserve bra because we do not really know what will happen that might call for its need.
Sometimes a bra can become damaged and may cause discomfort especially if you are using the wired one. Oftentimes, a wet bra from after feeding or excess lactation, may need immediate changing if it does not come with the removable pads. In any case, an extra would be helpful for those circumstances.
How Often Do I need to Wash It
Being that this is an underwear, a standard for keeping it clean is washing it every time you finish using it for a day. Even if it does not smell yet or if it looks clean, what you may not see is the material is already absorbing dead skin cells, sweat, and bacteria from the whole day of use.
However, if you are in a situation where daily washing is not possible, it is best to keep it dry and away from moisture that creates a conducive environment for bacterial or fungal growth.
Remember as well the instructions your producer has for the washing of bras. Some blogs and magazines may say frequent washing of nursing bras can make the bra deteriorate faster. However, it all boils down to how you are washing it to make it last longer. Using a lingerie bag greatly helps when washing it in a machine, as well as following the right settings so that the cycle is not destructive to the bra.
Quality over Quantity
Before you go buying those 3 pairs of bras or even more, it is important to consider the fitting of your nursing bra. Essentially, these bras are designed to help with your comfort throughout the breastfeeding and changes of your breast. If you are wearing a pair that only constricts you then it defeats the purpose of the underwear.
Fitting can be done with the help of your provider or supplier. Apart from just checking out the size that fits for you, advice can be given as they have encountered several women who each have their own experiences with regards to the use of nursing bras throughout the whole cycle of breastfeeding.
Sleep Bras Also Help
While it is usual for nursing bras to be used during the day, one more pair may be considered for when you are sleeping at night. Nursing mothers will tend to lactate as well even as they sleep so a sleep bra, preferably with removables pads may help to deal with that excess milk during the night. This way you will not have a mess on your sheets. As opposed to nursing bras, maternity sleeping bras do not have that easy access for breastfeeding and are made for comfort and protection during your night of rest.
Check Before Wear
As with any undergarment, always do a thorough check with your nursing bras so that you will not have any fashion mishaps during the day. It also helps you to know if you are in need of a replacement bra without having to do so urgently.