Bras for Breastfeeding: Finding Your Perfect Fit (Updated, 3/2021)

Buying a nursing bra should be fun; but often it’s frustrating.  I recently sat down with Bella Materna‘s Anne Dimond to learn more about finding the perfect fit. She gave me lots of great tips, but first she treated me to a personal bra fitting of my own.   Thank you, Anne, for enlightening me on the intricacies of bra-fitting!  Here is what I learned:

    • Find your band size. This is the measurement around your rib cage-along the underside of your breasts. The band should feel snug and firm, “like a new pair of shoes.” The band should not ride up.
    • Remember that bras lose elasticity over time, so don’t start with a bra that is a bit loose!

  • Expect a 2-cup increase in pre-pregnancy size. So if you were a B before you were pregnant, expect to measure a D when you’re breastfeeding.
  • Did you know that a 36D is the same cup as a 34E and the same cup as a 32F? I didn’t either!
  • The more your bra is worn, the looser it will feel. Tighten the hooks as needed or simply retire that bra!
  • If your straps are digging into your shoulders or back, you probably need a larger cup size.
  • I used to tell breastfeeding people, “Never use an underwire bra while breastfeeding because it may cause a plugged milk duct.” I stand corrected! An underwire bra is fine for breastfeeding—just make sure it fits correctly. The underwire should fit around and beneath the breast tissue—never on top of breast tissue. Be sure that your breasts are positioned correctly in the bra each time you put it on.
  • Breasts should not bulge or spill out of the cups. If you’re experiencing “spillage,” you need a larger cup size.

Of course, nothing beats a personal fitting—especially when you are looking for nursing bras. Many larger department stores (Nordstrom is one example) employ expert bra fitters and will be happy to help you find your perfect bra in the perfect size. 


One thought on “Bras for Breastfeeding: Finding Your Perfect Fit (Updated, 3/2021)

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I purchased a bra from Birth & Beyond and I’m not super excited about the fit – although they did a fitting there is definitely spillage! I’m excited to try out Bella Materna for some better options. THANKS!

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