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Are Underwire Nursing Bras Safe?

Many women enjoy the support and form that underwire bras provide, but are they safe for nursing mothers? While most experts don’t outright rule out underwire bras, they recommend avoiding them in the last months of pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Riverview Hospital Association (of Wisconsin Rapids, WI) says this with regard to underwire nursing bras, “Underwire bras can contribute to plugged ducts. If you choose to wear one, it is very important that the band of the wire falls beneath the natural crease where the breast meets the rib cage.” 1 Botsford Hospital also strongly cautions against using underwire nursing bras, citing not only plugged ducts, but restricted milk flow as potential dangers.2   Dr. Sears recommends avoiding underwire nursing bras as well, especially for the first few weeks postpartum. “The breast's milk-producing tissue extends all the way back to your rib cage and up into your armpit,” says Sears, “An underwire may obstruct the milk ducts in this area--besides poking and annoying you.”2 California Pacific Medical Center also recommends avoiding underwire bras for the same reasons.3  It seems to be the consensus of the medical community that underwire bras are not a good choice for nursing mothers. It is best to opt for soft bras that are comfortable and won’t restrict milk flow.   1Riverview Hospital Association. (2012). Clothing and Nursing Bras. Retrieved on April 23, 2012 from http://www.rhahealthcare.org/clothingnursingbras.pdf 2 Ask Dr. Sears. (2012). Choosing the Right Nursing Bra. Retrieved on April 22, 2012 from http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfeeding/helpful-products/choosing-right-nursing-bra 3Botsford Hospital Breastfeeding Services. (2012). How to Buy a Good Bra. Retrieved on April 23, 2012 from http://www.botsford.org/medical_services/new_beginnings_maternity/breastfeeding/Breastfeeding_How_to_buy_a_good_bra.pdf 4California Pacific Medical Center. (2012). Common Problems & Concerns About Breastfeeding. Retrieved on April 23,2012 from http://www.cpmc.org/services/pregnancy/information/breastfeeding-concerns.html

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