Most women decide to breastfeed their babies before they've had them. In fact, many women start stocking up on nursing bras and tops before they've even delivered. Nursing bras and tops are designed for easy access to your breasts. Many are also designed for discrete nursing. And many companies are now making fashionable nursing tops that don't look like nursing tops at all. But what kind of bras and tops are the best for breastfeeding?
- Try to wait until your milk has come in before buying a lot of merchandise. Your milk will come in 3-5 days after you deliver. When that happens, your cup size could go up half a size to two sizes. You may find that the bras you bought don't fit, and most places will not let you return nursing bras. Once your milk supply is established, your breast size may go down.
- Try to find a bra that supports your breast while you are breastfeeding. This will help with access and correct positioning of your baby.
- Find a bra with easy openings. You should be able to undo your bra with one hand. Imagine holding your hungry, crying baby and needing two hands to undo your bra. In addition, your bra should not open completely from the front. If it does, you may have difficultly tucking your breasts back into place so you can close you bra.
- Talk to your friends and family members about what works for them. They may have tips or places to buy nursing wear.
- Nursing merchandise should be comfortable. Bras and tops should never pinch or feel too tight. In addition, nursing bras should not have underwires. Underwires can contribute to mastitis. Mastitis is a painful infection of the milk ducts.
- Nursing bras and tops should be made of cotton. Cotton allows breathability, letting your nipples dry (or at least not stay wet) if you leak milk. This is an important factor in cutting down on thrush or Candida. Thrush is a yeast infection of the breasts. Your nursing bra should never have plastic inserts. These will keep your nipples damp, creating a perfect environment for thrush.
- When buying a nursing top, try to buy one with easy access. Try to buy a breastfeeding top that doesn't have snaps or hooks, but has a double-layer of fabric that can be easily lifted or pushed aside, preferably with one hand.
- Look for patterns in tops that may not show leakage. Until you figure out breastfeeding, you will probably leak breast milk. It may be helpful to look for cute patterned nursing tops that do not show the leakage as easily. Darker colors may also help.