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What Is A Nursing Bra?

Written on 26 September 2023

what is a nursing bra

If you’re expecting a baby or have recently welcomed a new arrival, you might be wondering ‘what is a nursing bra?’, How to measure for a nursing bra? When should you get measured? And, What size of nursing bra should you buy? - this article aims to answer these questions.

Whether a nursing bra is something that you really need for breastfeeding your baby. People talk about how cheap breastfeeding is in comparison to bottle feeding, but you’ll quickly notice the costs stacking up when you start buying nursing bras, breast pads and pumps.

In this article, we’ll explain exactly what a nursing bra is, as well as uncovering the truth about whether this is a must-have for breastfeeding mums or a gimmick you can survive without.

What Does A Nursing Bra Do?

During pregnancy, you may notice that your breasts go through many different changes as the network of milk ducts begin to develop and mature in preparation for feeding your baby. In fact, every time you’re pregnant, your body creates new glands, ducts and sacs to carry and hold your milk for your baby.

During your third trimester, your body will begin making colostrum – the first milk that your baby will drink. This is highly concentrated with antibodies to begin to build your baby’s immune system.

You may notice that your breasts become larger due to these changes. They may also feel more solid as your body begins producing milk towards the end of your pregnancy and when your milk first comes in after birth.

A nursing bra is specially designed to give your breasts the additional support that they require when they’re going through these changes. Many nursing bras also have clip straps, making it easy to feed your baby without the need to remove your bra. This is particularly useful when you’re feeding out and about, as you are able to breastfeed more easily and discreetly than in a normal bra.

Nursing bras are usually non-wired. This is because normal underwires can dig into the breasts, particularly as they are changing so quickly. If an underwire presses on a milk duct, this can lead to blockages and infections, potentially causing a painful condition called mastitis. Nursing bras help to avoid this as they are designed to accommodate your changing breasts, keeping them healthy, supported and comfortable.

Discover our full range of nursing bras here


Do You Need To Wear A Nursing Bra?

Whether or not you decide to wear a nursing bra is down to personal choice, however it is highly recommended. Not only do many mothers find that they are more comfortable wearing a nursing bra, but they offer your breasts the support they need during the maternity and postnatal period, as well as helping to keep your breasts healthy.


When Should You Wear A Nursing Bra?

If you’re currently pregnant, you might be wondering when you should start wearing a nursing bra. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as it is completely down to personal preference. However, many expectant mothers choose to start wearing a nursing bra during their third trimester. This is because nursing bras offer your breasts the support that they need as they’re changing in preparation for breastfeeding.


How to measure for a nursing bra?

Measure under bust

Whilst wearing a non-padded bra, stand up straight and stand in front of a mirror. Take a measuring tape and wrap it around your torso. Place is directly under your bust where the bra band is. Making sure the measuring tape is level and snug, read the measurement in centimeters (CMs).

Measure over bust

Once you have measured the under bust, move the tape measure to the fullest part of your breast (usually over the nipples). Again, make sure the measuring tape is level and ensure you don’t squeeze the breast.

Measuring during pregnancy

Your cup size will go up by at least one size once your milk comes in.

In the weeks after birth, your rib cage will reduce back down (this is why nursing bras have more back adjustment than a normal bra.


When should you measure for a nursing bra?

If you are considering buying a nursing bra before you deliver your baby, wait until you are around eight months pregnant. If you have given birth and are measuring for a nursery bra, measure your breasts when they are full (before a feeding, close to the middle of the day).


Nursing Bras: Our Top Picks

If you’re looking for a nursing bra to support you through pregnancy and breastfeeding, you might be wondering which is the best nursing bra to choose. We’ve picked out three of our favourite nursing bras on the market right now, to give you some inspiration.

Royce Charlotte nursing bra

Royce Charlotte Nursing Bra

For a nursing bra that is easy to wear, as well as offering the perfect combination of comfort and support, the Royce Charlotte non-wired nursing bra is a great choice. This nursing bra features a mesh top, meaning that it doesn’t compromise on style either.

With easy release drop cups and four sets of hook and eyes for ultimate adjustability, the Royce Charlotte is a stylish and practical choice for any nursing mother. This nursing bra is available in sizes ranging from 28DD up to 40L, as well as colours black, beige and white.

Discover the Royce Charlotte non-wired nursing bra here

Royce Maisie nursing bra

Royce Maisie Nursing Bra

The Royce Maisie nursing bra is perfect if you’re looking for a supportive and comfortable nursing bra that won’t compromise on style. The Maisie non-wired nursing bra offers amazing support, as well as being soft to the touch and incredibly comfortable.

This Royce nursing bra features ultra comfortable smooth foam cups, providing all day comfort. Simple easy to use clip fastenings make the Maisie nursing bra a great choice for breastfeeding mothers. The Royce Maisie comes in sizes ranging from 32C up to 40FF, making it suitable for most nursing mothers.

Find out more about the Panache Sophie non-wired nursing bra here

Freya Pure nursing bra

Freya Pure Underwired Nursing Bra

If non-wired bras don't appeal to you, or you've reached a time in your breastfeeding journey where your milk supply has settled down and you feel ready to return to an underwired bra, the Freya Pure underwired nursing bra is a great choice.

This moulded Freya nursing bra features simple clip fastenings for easy removal, as well as adjustable straps and a non-slip bottom band. This makes it incredibly easy to wear and comfortable, perfect for any nursing mother. The Freya Pure Nursing bra is available in sizes 30D up to 40G and comes in black, nude and petal.

Learn more about the Freya Pure underwired nursing bra here


In Summary

Breastfeeding your baby is an experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. However, it isn’t always easy. Choosing a supportive and comfortable nursing bra is key to ensuring that your breasts remain healthy and well supported through your breastfeeding journey, whether you choose to breastfeed for weeks, months or years.

In this article, we’ve answered the question ‘what is a nursing bra’, as well as discussing why a nursing bra is important during the maternity period. We’ve also shared some of our favourite nursing bras on the market today to give you inspiration for choosing the right nursing bra for your journey into motherhood.


Discover our full range of nursing bras here

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