Tips for buying maternity bras

Nursing bras, side slings, A-frames, full cups, three-quarter cups, OMG! It’s a whole other language!

Maternity bras sound complicated but soon you will be an expert. As with your current bra, finding a good maternity bra is all about look, fit, support and comfort. Firstly you need to know that a maternity or nursing bra is a bra you can wear when pregnant and breastfeeding. It has nursing clips to drop the cup down to feed baby and extended back adjusters to allow room for your changing shape.

Secondly, consider the coverage you need. Full-cup bras cover, contain and support the bust and are great for larger bust sizes as they usually have an A-frame which supports your bust while feeding. A three-quarter cup is a lower cut style that is suitable for smaller cup sizes. It has a side sling to allow skin to skin contact with your baby while feeding.

And finally, styling — just like your usual bra you can buy nursing bras in ultra stylish, lacy, T-shirt and seamless bra styles.

When do I need to start wearing a maternity bra?
Okay, so you’re pregnant, your boobs are aching, growing fast and your current bras no longer fit. Now is the time to buy your first nursing bra. If the increased weight is not supported, gravity will take over and your bust will be on its way south.

When you’re around three to four months pregnant, go to a specialist lingerie store and get a proper fitting. Don’t worry, you will wear these bras again post-pregnancy when feeding has decreased and your breasts have reduced in size. Even though you’re not nursing yet, a nursing bra is already important because it should be wire-free or have a flexible wire to accommodate your developing milk ducts.

You will need a follow-up fitting at around seven months when you’ll most likely need to go up a size to keep up with your expanding bust and allow for growth in the last few months.

While every woman is different it’s not uncommon to go up two to four band sizes (the measurement around the body under the bust) and two to four cup sizes in pregnancy.

I recommend buying your bras before baby is born because between nursing, crying (both you and the baby), nappy-changing, naps and cuddles, your “spare” time will be limited. I suggest you buy at least three bras so you can wear one, have one in the drawer and the other in the wash. Don’t forget to buy matching bikini briefs or French knickers which have a lower front to go under your bump.  

Issue 24Bras

What to look for:

  • A great, supportive fit
  • Wire-free or flexible wire bra
  • Cotton lining
  • Supportive straps
  • Power fabric back for extra support
  • One-handed fuss-free maternity clips
  • Extended back adjusters to allow for your changing body shape. 

Top to bottom:
Elle Macpherson Momamia RRP$59.95,

La Leche League Sports Bra RRP$39.95,

Lovable Maternity Suddenly Shapely Contour Maternity Bra, RRP$49.95, phone 0800 BENDON

HOTmilk Drama Bra RRP$49.90,

Cake Lingerie Sherbet Bra, $74.90,


Wendy Fellows is General Manager of Design for HOTmilk Lingerie and has spent the past 15 years designing and fitting lingerie for women worldwide.


Published March, 2014




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