Love your lingerie: expert tips to prolong the life of your bras
When you’re a mum, it’s easy to let things slide in the lingerie department, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Christine Stride asked maternity bra specialist Franny from Breastmates for some pointers on bra care.
Maternity bras become like a second skin to breastfeeding mothers, especially in those first few months. Perhaps this is why we're a little lax when it comes to looking after them. Franny reckons that, while women may have a drawer full of bras, most typically have two or three that are their favourites to wear in rotation. Rotation? When I heard this, I knew that, as someone who happily wore the same bra for, ahem, some days in a row while breastfeeding, I had a lot to learn from Franny.
To prolong the life of your bras, Franny suggests the following:
1 Wash every 2-3 days
When I finished LOL-ing, I quietly hoped I wasn’t the only one who thought Franny had made a mistake here, and meant "every week", not "every two to three days". Erm, right?
2 Wash with like colours, and separate the darks from the lights
Phew! I was so relieved to find out that the reason my bras go gray is due to a lack of control in the laundry hamper and not because I only washed them every week!
3 Make sure you remove breast pads
Oh yes, there is nothing more devastating than finding an exploded gel or disposable pad dispersed throughout your washing. (And that’s especially true for the dark wash you forgot to separate from the white).
4 Soak stains in gentle detergent
If you have milky stains from breastfeeding, or perhaps baby vomit that found its way down to your bra, Franny recommends leaving it to soak in warm water and a gentle detergent before the washing cycle. She also says that Sunlight Soap is wonderful for gently removing stains.
Not sure how she would react to my admission that, if the above happened, I was often happy to just put a towel over my chest during night feeds and doze until the next one.
Fill a tub with lukewarm water and gentle detergent, swish them around for a few minutes, squeeze out the water, rinse, and leave flat to dry if possible. Leaving flat to dry draped over two lines of the clothes line will help prevent the bands from stretching. Don’t wring, or twist your bras trying to get the water out as this will cause them to stretch and damage.
Can’t fault Franny here. If I'd ever made it out to the clothesline, that’s exactly what I’d have done. Otherwise, the baby mobile is a great place to hang damp bras after you’ve showered with them on to save washing time. Don’t judge me.
6 If you do machine wash, use a net bag and the gentle cycle
If handwashing your bras isn’t an option, use a gentle cycle and put all your lingerie into a laundry delicates net bag. If you don’t have a net bag, put all your lingerie into a pillowcase and tie a knot in the top. Then wash them like this in a gentle cycle.
Since handwashing bras was never an option in my house, and because you now know my shameful shower washing secret, I skipped to the next point in Franny’s list.
7 Never use a dryer
Oh but when you do (yes, you will) definitely make sure that you have attended to point 3, to avoid something far, far worse than what’s in point 4.
8 Storing your bras
Franny says that if you have a moulded cup bra, don’t fold or turn the cups inside out as this can damage the shape. Take note ladies, because you’ll need shape; post-breastfeeding boobs rarely regain their pre-natal perkiness.
Hope these tips come in handy!