Taking care of a baby is a herculean task that cannot be taken lightly. Thus, parents go out of their way to make life easier for themselves by getting certain products that do just that. One of the best things moms can get when they’re breastfeeding is nursing bras, a special type of bra that is specifically designed for lactating and breastfeeding women. However, you know you won’t be breastfeeding your baby forever, so how many should you get?
Mothers would recommend that a good starting point would be around 2-3 normal nursing bras that can be worn outside and another 2-3 nursing bras for home use. It’s also advised to get a couple for sleeping to ease engorgement discomfort as well as prevent leaking. Factors you’d need to consider for this include how often you’d be able to do the laundry, what your lifestyle is, what your budget is, and how much you leak.
What is a Nursing Bra?
A nursing bra, also known as a nursing brassiere, is a special type of bra that allows mothers to breastfeed much easier. Compared to a normal bra, a nursing bra comes with clasps and hooks at the front that allow the cups or flaps to open easily for breastfeeding ease.
Fortunately, new mothers can find nursing bras in different bra types. Thus, they can find nursing bras in styles that they find comfortable. Namely, one can find nursing bras in the form of sleep bras, soft-cup bras, underwire bras, sports bras, and even tank-top bras.
This also means nursing bras can come in a variety of materials. Typical options would include cotton and spandex. However, you can even find more stylish options that offer lace.
While it is a common misconception, a nursing bra is distinctly different from a maternity bra. While a nursing bra is supposed to be worn for breastfeeding, a maternity bra is supposed to be worn during pregnancy. The main purpose of the maternity bra is to support the breasts as they grow and change throughout the three trimesters.
Do You Need a Nursing Bra?
While you may not necessarily need a nursing bra, it would undoubtedly help make your life easier. Aside from the latches that allow easy access for breastfeeding, a nursing bra also aims to solve other issues.
For one, nursing bras can come with leak-proof cups. Accidental leaking can happen every now and then when breastfeeding. If you don’t want to have a wet spot on your clothes, you might want to consider a nursing bra as it comes with cups that specifically prevent leaking from seeping through.
Another reason to use nursing bras instead of your normal bras is that nursing bras are designed to provide incredible support and comfort, especially during this time as your breasts are extremely sensitive. Nursing bras provide full coverage and molded cups which will help support your breasts. Some even have adjustable straps that would allow you to adjust for maximal comfort as your breasts go through subtle changes over time.
Another factor to consider is if you’re pumping milk. There are specialty nursing bras that specifically help you pump milk hands-free, making the process much easier for you and allowing you to rest while you pump.
How Many Nursing Bras Do I Need?
Now that you’ve decided to get yourself some nursing bras, you might be asking yourself: how many nursing bras do I need? Well, the answer differs from person to person. You will have to determine the correct answer yourself by familiarizing yourself with the following factors.
The first factor you’d have to consider is how often you are able to wash those bras. Understandably, access to a washing machine would provide a significant benefit as you’d be able to throw in dirty clothes at any time. However, even if you have a washing machine, that might not mean that you do the laundry every day. Plus, some would recommend that you should hand wash bras instead to make them last longer.
If you do the laundry once a week, then you should probably base your number of bras on that factor. For example, you could get around 2-3 nursing bras that are strictly for inside the house and 2-3 nursing bras that can be worn outside.
Some mothers would also recommend you get a couple of comfortable nursing bras for sleep. Wearing supportive nursing bras during sleep can help ease the discomfort when your breasts become engorged – this is the discomfort felt when the breasts are full of milk. Plus, it also helps prevent leaking at night as well.
Given that there are different types of nursing bras, it should really depend more on your lifestyle. For example, mothers that need to be out and about every day might need more nursing bras that are appropriate to wear outside. These may include normal nursing bras, nursing sports bras, and such.
Alternatively, mothers who spend most of their week inside the house can prioritize comfortably soft bras that are more appropriate in the privacy of the home. It would really depend on the lifestyle, preferences, and habits of the individual.
Two to three of each is still a good number to start with, especially because you can always get more when you find out that you need more. However, most mothers won’t be needing a new nursing bra every single day.
Of course, budget is an important factor to consider. Taking care of a baby is extremely expensive, so even the little things will eventually add up.
If you are on a tight budget, it might benefit you to get nursing bras that can be worn in multiple situations. One recommendation is to simply get two nursing bras: one normal nursing bra and one sports nursing bra.
You can find nursing bras that are comfortable enough for daily use (e.g., household chores, activities, exercise, etc.), as well as for sleeping. Many nursing bras can be found to be “all-in-one.” Some can even function as a hands-free pumping bra as well.
Since new mothers can have an overabundant supply of milk or hyperactive reflexes, they tend to leak longer than normal. This could get pretty messy, and this is an important factor to consider as well.
If you find yourself leaking a lot, then you might want to get more nursing bras. Nursing bras that come leak-proof will prevent the leak from seeping to your clothes. However, you still wouldn’t want to keep wearing bras that have already been leaked on.
Mothers who have dealt with this issue in the past, they recommend getting a nursing bra for each day of the week. It’s important to decide early because leaking will typically continue throughout breastfeeding, and even until weaning (which can be up to 4 to 6 months).
One of the best ways for a new mother to get answers is to go get advice. If you’ve attended classes during your pregnancy, then chances are that you already have a group of friends that can tell you their experience when it comes to their number of nursing bras.
Even if you don’t know anyone in particular, you could always go to online forums where supportive mothers generously share their experiences and wisdom. From their stories, you would be able to find that everyone is different: some might find 2-3 nursing bras enough while some found 4 to be lacking.
It’s always a great option to hear from mothers firsthand because they can tell you how it was for them exactly. While some mothers might be in different situations as you, you might find others who were exactly in your shoes in the past.