How to Buy a Nursing Bra

Three Parts:Determining Your Bra SizeSelecting a Nursing BraTrying On Nursing Bras

Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. You may be so focused on your changing waistline that you forget the fit of your bras will change too. By the end of your third trimester, your breasts have already enlarged significantly and they'll become engorged in the days after the birth of your baby. Ideally, you'll already have a few bras on hand that will accommodate your rapidly changing bra size. Once you've settled into nursing your infant, you'll want to pick up functional bras that will provide support and allow you to nurse easily.

Part 1
Determining Your Bra Size

  1. 1
    Find a trained professional to measure you to determine the correct bra size. Work with a professional trained in measuring bra sizes or a lactation consultant. While you can measure yourself, you'll get more accurate measurements if someone else does it so you're not shifting and moving around during the measurement.[1]
    • Most lingerie stores or maternity stores offer free measurements.
  2. 2
    Get fitted before the baby is born. You should get your first nursing bra measurements when you're seven or eight months pregnant. By this point, you'll probably need larger bras anyway since your breasts have enlarged. It's also a good idea to have a fitting done so you can buy one or two nursing bras before the baby is born. This way, you'll be prepared if the baby comes early or you don't feel like getting measured if you go past your due date.[2]
    • You can wear nursing bras throughout your pregnancy. These can offer more support for your changing breasts. If you don't wear nursing or maternity bras during pregnancy, you should at least avoid wearing restrictive bras with underwires. These can constrict your breasts as they enlarge.
  3. 3
    Do another measurement after the baby is born. Your breasts may become engorged when your milk comes in (a few days after the baby is born). Your breasts may increase a cup size or two when this happens, but they'll go down in size once your baby settles into feeding.
    • Give yourself a few weeks or a month before going back for a measurement. You'll probably have your hands full with a newborn and this will give your breasts a chance to settle into a size.
  4. Image titled Buy a Nursing Bra Step 1
    Measure your band size. With the professional's help or on your own, wrap a soft measuring tape around your ribcage just below your armpit level. The measuring tape should be completely level and horizontal above your breasts. If you end up with a fraction of an inch measurement, round up to the next whole inch. This number will be your band size.[3][4]
    • For example, if the measuring tape wraps around and meets at 36 inches, your band size is 35.
    • You can keep an unpadded bra while you measure yourself or get measured by someone. Try to wear your best fitting bra so there aren't large gaps of material or tension.
  5. 5
    Measure your cup size. Wrap the soft measuring tape around the fullest part of your breasts, keeping the tape level and horizontal. Avoid pulling tight on the tape which could give you an inaccurate measurement. Subtract your band size from this measurement. The difference in size determines your cup size. For example, a difference of:[5]
    • 0 to 1.5 inches = A cup
    • 1.5 to 2.5 inches = B cup
    • 2.5 to 3.5 inches = C cup
    • 3.5 to 4.5 inches = D cup
    • 5 to 6 inches = DD/E cup
    • 6 to 7 inches = DDD/F cup
    • 7 to 8 inches = G cup
    • 8 to 9 inches = H cup

Part 2
Selecting a Nursing Bra

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    Get two or three nursing bras. It's a good idea to get several nursing bras. This way, you'll have one to wear, one to wash, and one as a spare. You may find that you need to change your nursing bra several times in a day because your baby spits up on you or you leak milk.
    • If you're shopping for a nursing bra while you're pregnant, you may only want to buy one or two inexpensive nursing bras, since your bra size could still change considerably.
  2. Image titled Buy a Nursing Bra Step 6
    Find a variety of comfortable nursing bras. Most bras marketed as nursing bras will be made of a comfortable material that can expand. Many nursing bras even have spandex so they can expand. Consider your wardrobe needs and get a variety of nursing bra styles. For example, you may want:[6]
    • Fashion nursing bras
    • Everyday soft-cup nursing bras
    • Nursing sports bras
    • Nursing sleep or overnight bras
  3. 3
    Look for nursing bras with lots of support. Nursing bras can vary when it comes to fasteners, hooks and support. The cups should be flexible, but the band shouldn't stretch. Choose nursing bras that fasten in the back and have several adjustable hooks, the more the better. You should see side and under-cup support.[7]
    • An extra-wide back with lots of hooks can distribute the weight of your breasts which is great for support.
  4. Image titled Buy a Nursing Bra Step 4
    Consider nursing access. Most nursing bras will have clasps at the top of each cup, near the strap. These can be snapped open or shut to provide access when nursing. Other bras have flaps or slits that can be pulled open or closed for easy access. The cups on sleep nursing bras can be pulled to the side for nursing access.[8]
    • Bras with the clasps at the top of each cup will offer the best support for your breasts.

Part 3
Trying On Nursing Bras

  1. Image titled Buy a Nursing Bra Step 3
    Make sure you can nurse easily. Practice opening and closing the nursing bra clasps with one hand since you'll only have one hand available when nursing your baby. If the nursing bra doesn't have clasps, make sure you can easily open the nursing flaps or pull the cups aside in order to nurse.
    • Avoid buying a nursing bra that you can't easily nurse in. If you struggle to open the clasps, you'll be less likely to wear or use the bra.
  2. Image titled Buy a Nursing Bra Step 5
    Consider if you have room in the bra. Some women leak frequently in the early weeks of nursing. If you do or if you want to plan on wearing nursing pads, make sure there's a little space inside the nursing bra to place the nursing pads comfortably.
    • Keep in mind that you only need a little space. You don't want large gaps in your nursing bra, especially if you'll only use nursing pads for a little while.
  3. 3
    Look for signs of a poor fit. A nursing bra should feel comfortable. Beyond that, you should also look for pinching, tension, and stretching. Look at the bra's band. It should lie flat against your chest, not lift up towards your breasts. Your breasts should fill the cups. There shouldn't be large gaps or overflowing breast tissue.[9]
    • Adjust the straps while you're trying the bra on. If you've adjusted the straps, but the bra is still too tight or too loose, you probably shouldn't buy it.


  • The sizes of some brands may be different so it's important to always try on nursing bras before buying them.

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Categories: Brassieres | Pregnancy