Types of Maternity / Nursing Bras
Nursing bras come in a variety of different styles, colours, fabrications and price points.
The general rule is you get what you pay for.
The main purpose of a nursing bra is to support your growing breasts and body during a time when you are going through a tremendous amount of change. Nursing bras are specifically designed for this purpose, unlike normal fashion bras.
Special features of nursing bras include: drop-down cups for feeding, A frame or side sling support, 6 hooks and eyes for expansion, strong supportive back band, padded straps, fully adjustable straps, cotton lining, supportive cup structure.
Seamless Nursing Bras
Seamless bras are ideal for transitional periods when you are experiencing rapid breast growth.
The soft stretchy fabrications will stretch and change with your growing body, whilst providing that much needed support.
Seamless bras can be worn all day and for sleep during the first few weeks postpartum.
Seamless bras come in easy sizing XS-XL. The bra will accommodate a range of different bust sizes, providing a comfortable fit without restriction.
TIP: Invest in a good quality seamless bra. Look for a bra that has strong supportive fabric with no less than two layers.
Contour Nursing Bras
Contour bras are ideal for women who are looking for a bra that will provide a smooth profile from underneath clothing.
Contour bras have a thicker cup; this is due to the foam pad used.
Foam cups can make breastfeeding a little awkward. Depending on the type of foam used the foam cup can be a little firm and can get in the way of feeding once the cup is dropped.
TIP: Contour bras are not ideal for women who are looking to minimize their bust as they can be thick and bulky.
Flexi-Wire / Underwire Nursing Bras
Flexible wired bras are ideal for women who are looking for a great shape and added support.
The Flexible wire is a softer more malleable metal that is less firm and will tend to move and flex with the body.
Flexible wires in nursing bras should sit around and under the breast tissue. Be careful to ensure the wire does not sit on your breast, as this will cause discomfort and pressure on your breast tissue, which could lead to mastitis.
TIP: A flexible wire is softer than a mainstream wire. It is because of this that the center front of the bra will often not sit directly on the breastbone. It may sit out slightly.
Soft-Cup / Wireless Nursing Bras
Non-wired bras are a popular choice due to the comfort they provide.
A good non-wired bra will provide great support even without the use of a wire. Shape may however, be sacrificed.
TIP: Choose a non-wired bra with a structured cup. The structure will help to separate, support and give better shape to the breast.
Spacer Nursing Bras
Spacer bras are becoming very popular and are taking over the contour bra space, because the wearer gets the same great benefits without the bulkiness of a thick foam.
Spacer bras will conform to the body providing a high level of support, great shape and comfort.
TIP: Ideal for all bust sizes.
Sports Nursing Bras
Nursing sports bras provide women with the support and function they require whilst breastfeeding.
There are a variety of different types of sports bras in the market place.
Seamless sports bras
Seamless sports bras are ideal for low impact exercise such as yoga or palates. They will allow you to stretch freely with some level of support.
TIP: Seamless bras are not ideal for High Impact exercise.
Spacer sports bras
Spacer fabric is very strong and will provide the wear with high levels of support.
A good high impact sports bra will have many features:
Thick straps for comfort, a J hook for added support, wide back band for added support, bounce minimizing mesh panels, a flexible wire for shape and support, A frame sling for support and discretion, drop down cups for feeding, depth in the cups and will separate your breasts.
TIP: Be sure to select the correct sports bra for the type of exercise you are doing. Breasts filled with milk are much heavier than normal and ligament damage can be caused through lack of support.
Sleep Nursing Bras
Sleep bras come in easy sizing XS-XL and are designed to be comfortable, non restrictive and supportive.
A sleep bra worn under your PJ’s will give you that much needed support and will help to keep your nursing pads in place.
TIP: Choose a sleep bra that is made from natural fibers such as cotton and or bamboo. This way the bra will help to keep you cool and allow your skin to breath.
Pumping bras are especially designed to hold and support a breast pump and are not generally used as nursing bras.
Before deciding on what type of nursing bra you will purchase. It is a good idea to answer the below questions first to ensure you buy the right bras for you.
1. Do you have a fuller bust or a petite bust?
2. For what stage of nursing is this bra required?
3. Your lifestyle?
4. What is your preferred shape?
5. Do you prefer and underwire or wire free?
It is recommended that you have one to wear, one to wash and one in the draw at the least. Learn more about when to buy nursing bras and why do you need it.