When Should I Buy Nursing Bras?

May 31, 2012

As you a preparing for your baby’s arrival, nursing bras may not be at the top of your shopping list. However, it is best to buy your first nursing bra while you are still pregnant. It provides comfort for your growing breasts and room for nursing pads – an important factor, since many pregnant women notice that their breasts start leaking in the last month of pregnancy.

Isis Blue and Ella Rose by You! LingerieIf you haven’t had time to buy a nursing bra prior to your baby’s arrival – don’t fret, you may be able to get your first bra at the hospital. Many hospitals sell breastfeeding supplies, such as nursing bras and tank tops, breast pumps and milk storage bags. They will also offer bra fitting services provided by certified bra fitters.

Pediatrician and author Dr. Sears says this, “Your breasts will enlarge as your milk “comes in” after birth, so perhaps purchase one or two less expensive bras late in pregnancy that are one numerical size and one cup size bigger than what you’re wearing. These will get you through your first several weeks postpartum. When your breast size settles down, usually after the second week, purchase additional bras that fit well.” 1 Ann Witt, an Ohio pediatrician and Coordinator of Breastfeeding Medicine suggests getting fitted for nursing bras in the last month of pregnancy as well.2 Riverview Hospital Association of Wisconsin Rapids, WI, provides the following advice, “During the last month of your pregnancy, purchase one bra to get you through the first few weeks after the birth of your baby. Then about 4 to 6 weeks postpartum, purchase one to two well-fitting bras. This will help you get a better fit.

During the first few weeks, your breast size will change dramatically.”3 The consensus is that you should purchase your first one or several nursing bras in the last month of pregnancy (or earlier if you desire), and buy additional bras after you start nursing to accommodate your style needs, breast changes, and lifestyle.


1Ask 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
2 WebMD. (2012). Breastfeeding: 11 Things That Can Help. Retrieved on April 22, 2012 from http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/breastfeeding-items-that-may-help
3 Riverview Hospital Association. (2012). Clothing and Nursing Bras. Retrieved on April 22, 2012 from http://www.rhahealthcare.org/clothingnursingbras.pdf

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For the determining the best starting point for your bra size, please visit our How to Measure Your Bra Size page.  


Cup Bra Sizing Guide (in inches)

  1. Measure your band size

Wearing your bra, take a snug measurement around your ribcage, directly under your bust and keep level all around. If you get an odd number, round up to the next even number. This is your band size.

  1. Measure your bust size

Take a loose measurement over the fullest part of your bust, keeping the tape level around your body. If needed, round up to the nearest inch.

  1. Calculate your cup size

Subtract your band size from your bust size, and use the difference to find your cup size on the chart below.

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