Monday, September 05, 2011

In which I discuss nursing bras

Now that both of my male readers have wandered off...I hope these reviews will be helpful for others trying to get a decent nursing bra in a large cup size.

Some background here: Little Miss S and I got off to a moderately rocky start with our nursing career. Well, she was perfectly happy, but I was, literally, bleeding. Also crying. For the first six weeks or so she spent nearly all her waking hours eating. She would nurse for an hour at a time, easy. In the evenings before bed, even more. Even though we got our latch issues figured out early on, it took weeks for me to heal because I got no rest.

Then at 6 weeks she got a soother and decided that it was pretty good. She still nursed a lot, but not every moment of every day.  Eventually I could manage to feed her without pain killers (again, not exaggerating, here). Then at about 3 months she dropped to eating only 10-20 minutes at a time and I was able to leave the house. After that, life was easy and we happily nursed until about a month ago, when she decided she was done. 17 months. I'm pretty happy with that. I never had trouble with my supply, for which I am very grateful. I also (maybe not a coincidence) didn't lose much weight nursing. Oh well, she is a happy healthy kid.

Okay, so 17 months of nursing. I fully intend to go a similar amount with #2 (and I am very stubborn) so something needs to change this time. And that something, is my nursing bras.

Full disclosure: I was a 32 GG before I got pregnant with S and went up to around a 34 J while nursing (US sizing). I'm a bit smaller now that I've weaned, but not a ton because I weaned while pregnant. There are limited options in the small band/large cup area for any bras, and even more so for nursing. Which I find strange, as everyone is bigger when nursing. Whatevs.

Here's what I had first time around:

1) Bravado Tanks
I wore the 34 F/G while pregnant and after 2 months. I wore a 38 for the first 2 months until my size stabilized. Trying to wear anything tighter in that time gave me plugged ducts (super funs!). These are great. I can't wear them out of the house due to the cleavage factor, and I can't wear them under shirts due to the ruching. They are, however, fantastic to sleep in and wear around the house and pretty supportive even at my size (although not perfect). Comfy for maternity with full belly coverage. My cousin is closer to a D cup and wore these everywhere when nursing.

2) Bravado Body Silk Seamless nursing bra.
If you are anything above a D cup this bra has next to no support, sadly. Great sleep bra though. Moderately busty girls love it, but at a J cup? No.

3) At the advice of the girls at my lingerie shop (who normally I love to pieces, they find me the cutest Freya bras, which is all I wear, normally. I miss my Freyas!) I bought two Royce nursing bras, the Sadie and the Charlotte. The Sadie actually busted seams on me and I hated them both. They were supportive but made me look super dumpy. Also, they have no give, with means I usually spilled out the top when full, even in the correct cup. I spent a lot of money on these and am very sorry I did.

And at a year or so, I started wearing my Freya underwire again whenever I left the house and buried the Royce bras. Grrrrr.

This time around? I want cute bras that make me look good. Thank you very much. So I went to Breakout Bras and ordered 4 bras in two sizes (so 8 total). They have free shipping to Canada (and the US), a great return policy and good prices. Also, reviews by customers and the store owner. I like reviews. I picked 2 and am returning the others next week.

The runners up:
Elomi's Goddess Soft Cup Nursing Bra
Lots of girls love this. I thought it made me look weird.

HOTmilk's Luminous
This is a super cute bra, and if I was smaller I'd like it. It has a pretty lace detail under the cup, which just ends up being all squished in my size.

And what I chose:

Elomi's Seamless Underwire Nursing Bra.
Great fit and smooth under t-shirts. A lot of people will tell you not to wear underwire's while nursing. This is true for the first few months, but then you're body figures out what it's doing and mastitis isn't much of an issue if you're wearing a properly fitted bra. And busty girls do better with an underwire. The wire doesn't hit my breastbone, but otherwise it's a good fit.

HOTmilk's "Her Tangled Web Tantalised" Nursing Bra
Three things I like about this bra: 1)It fits supportively 2)It's super cute. The straps are fairly wide, but covered in really pretty ruched ribbon. Overall it just feels pretty. 3)They make it for maternity as well, it has over twice the hooks that an average bra has, so I won't need an extender with it at 9 months. And it's comfy and wireless so will be great when I can't wear an underwire.
The only downside is that the straps don't have a lot of play, I might end up sewing them up as I tend to need the straps at their shortest. I got this one a cup bigger than the Elomi, so that I can wear it when I am pretty big still at the beggining.

Phew. Hope that helps someone! I found it a very frustrating (and expensive) experiment overall, so I wanted to share my findings and maybe save you busty girls some grief. And the rest of you have a new found happiness to be a smaller cup, don't you?