Nursing Bra Buying Guide: Top 5 Mistakes Made

I didn’t really think about buying a nursing bra until I was holding a 2-day old infant and realized that I needed one. Mistake number one.

So I dashed out and just bought the cheapest bra I could find. I didn’t try it on so I looked like a lumpy, sad mess that was nursing from my navel. Mistake number two.

Finally, when my son was around six-months-old I invested in a nice nursing bra – this doesn’t always mean expensive,  it just means taking the time to find one that’s well made and fits. The damn heavens opened up and I instantly looked about ten pounds lighter thanks to my tits actually being positioned on my chest. If only I had known!

So I asked Tracey from Cake Maternity to give us some tips on how to find a good nursing bra right from the get go so you don’t make the same mistakes I did. Here’s her advice.

Entering the world of breastfeeding can be daunting, especially for a first time mum.

As a specialist in maternity and nursing lingerie, Cake Maternity understands the importance of a well-fitted comfortable bra.

There are five simple rules you need to follow to ensure your investment in nursing bras serve you well.


1. Get professionally fitted

A woman’s breasts will continue to change in size throughout her lifetime, and it is particularly noticeable around pregnancy and post-birth.

It is my recommendation that you take the time to get fitted at around eight months of pregnancy before baby arrives. This is the size your breasts should be at approx. 8 weeks post birth when your body has learned to regulate its milk supply.

A correctly fitted bra will not only make you feel amazing but will also provide your body with that much needed support.

[ Rumour has it that Nordstrom’s is incredible at bra fitting, so get the girls sized up. – Amy ]


2. Buy a bra that fits you well in the cup

A lot of women make the mistake of purchasing nursing bras with extra room in the cup. This is not advisable; as an ill-fitting cup will not provide your breasts with that much needed support. A good nursing bra will have stretchy fabric on the top of the cup; this will allow for movement in the breast as it produces milk.


3. Invest in a bra that has 4-6 hooks and eyes on the back band

At approx. Eight months of pregnancy when you are getting fitted for your nursing bra you should be fitting the back band of the bra on the loosest hook and eye. This will then allow room for you to tighten the back band post birth as your rib cage contracts.

The back band provides 80% of the support of your bra, so this is very important.


4. Don’t try to fit into cup specific bras immediately post-birth

It is during the first eight weeks post birth that your breasts will feel a little out of control. You will notice large fluctuations in breast size as your body learns to regulate its milk supply. A seamless bra is advisable at this time as it will move with your changing body and provide you with that much needed comfort and support.

A cupped size product will not only feel uncomfortable but also will compress and restrict the breast as it learns to regulate its milk supply.


5. Consider your wardrobe

Lastly, consider your wardrobe. There are many nursing bras available in the market ranging from everyday basics, contour, soft cups to beautiful fashion bras.

Purchase nursing bras that will work in with your lifestyle and make you feel great.

(Editor’s note: I also have a post on where to find maternity and nursing bras and larger sizes here.)


Pregnant Chicken’s Favourite Nursing Bras

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  • Thanks for sharing this to all nursing mom out there. I am sure most mom makes this mistakes including myself I made almost all of them. I bought bras in big sizes earlier so that I keep myself prepared during that time. After I gave birth, they all become a waste. At least you have warned women not to buy the bra until they are eight months pregnant.

  • I have a big problem with mine and finding one. I wear a 38G. 🙁 The only thing I could find that even remotely fitted was a 40DD but I’m still lumpy and I fall out sometimes when I bend over. It’s so disheartening.

  • Breast size will slowly change day by day when we get pregnant. For nursing period preparation, it is recommended that we get fitted, as our breasts size become larger. I agree that 8 months pregnancy is perfect time to get fitted. And yes, I think seamless bra is perfect choice to wear in this period until post-birth/nursing period. This kind of bra is able to accommodates the breast change during pregnancy and nursing period.

  • At 8 months pregnant with my first child, I look and feel the exact same as before I got pregnant… My OB/GYN says that most FTM won’t start producing milk (just some colostrum) and "filling out" until a couple days until after the baby is born…so…any suggestions for being prepared in a situation such as my own? A cup size or two larger perhaps? Don’t wanna be rushing around trying to find a good nursing bra the week after baby is born… :/

    • I would suggest getting a seamless bra that fits you now would be your best bet. You still have the support but you get a lot of wiggle room for growth. Plus, they are really comfy 🙂

  • I had two cake bras and HATED them. The lace looked lumpy under my shirts and rubbed against my skin. I got my nursing bras at Target. awesome!!

  • For those of you in Australia, I recommend hot milk bras. They’re pretty and go up to an H cup. They also do free worldwide shipping. I found they were the best for me as I was ok with showing them off when feeding and they had the "A frame" bit so that even when my cup was undone I still had some support. I was a 12H so that was a necessity. There are some places you can buy them overseas, but they also have free worldwide shipping.

  • For any of you ‘hard to fit’ ladies, check out your nearest specialty bra store. Yes, you pay more, but if they don’t have any specifically nursing bras for you, they often can alter a regular bra to become a nursing bra. Worth checking out, especially for those of us who need ‘boulder holders’.

  • If you’re in the Toronto area, go to one of the two Evymama store locations. They have awesome fitters and a big variety in sizes, so even I (a 34K while breastfeeding) found several (pretty!) options 🙂

    I live over an hour from the store, but there is nowhere in my (Niagara) region that can fit the girls 🙁

    • I LOVE After I had my second son I had to send my poor husband in there by himself with the orders to "buy nursing bras". They were amazing and set him up with two of the best bras I’ve ever owned. I also bought my Ergo carrier from them.

  • I tried TomGirl and wanted to love it but she has a major design flaw…when you unhook the pad to nurse, the bra strap falls down your back as it isn’t connected to any other part of the front side of the bra. Trying to reach the strap and bring it back over your shoulder while nursing a newborn is a little too frustrating. I was very disappointed. After several trial and errors I loved the BOOB Fast Food nursing bra, and agree with your choice of Medela sleep bras.

  • Problem with finding a seamless nursing bra is I’m a k cup and my options are limited, and many large cup bras are seamed, anyone have a suggestion?

  • I know you are in Canada, but have you ever tried Bella Materna Bras? I discovered them AFTER I finished nursing, but I soooo wish I had had one. (and, no, I am not affiliated)

    Also, I saw a new bra recently by Bamboobies – it looks really great, and it’s Oeko-Tex certified, which is something you don’t see often with nursing bras.

  • I hated the Bravado – it was too elastic/squeezie in the rib cage (and I had the correct size) – especially when I was sitting/lounging. I ended up at Motherhood, three weeks and about 2 1/2 discomfort meltdowns into having a baby after my husband said "lets go spend the money – why are you waiting? you are miserable." I thought Motherhood would be expensive or not have my size but I was wrong on both counts. They had WONDERFUL underwire nursing bras that were SO COMFORTABLE. Every thing I read said "underwires are terrible when nursing" so I had thought I wouldn’t be able to wear them – but its the style that I prefer in "real life" so I went ahead and tried a couple on and found seriously so comfortable, barely padded underwire bras for $25 each. I’ve worn them regularly since and am just thrilled that I’ve had them. 🙂 So my biggest word of advice is: try on a bunch of bras and buy the one that fits best and is comfortable.

  • Your advice is spot on. I am pregnant with my 4th child (due tomorrow!) and have nursed 3 babies for 2 years each and hands down, that Bravado seamless nursing bra you pictured is the best one I’ve ever bought. I have it on now and have been wearing it in several colors for the past 6 weeks. SO COMFY and good support. For me, how it fits at about 8 months preggo is how it will fit about 1-2 months postpartum so that advice was spot on as well. One other thing I will suggest… since you WILL be engorged greatly after birth, and for a week or two or even three after birth, and your regular nursing or pregnancy bra will not really fit, buy a few of those lovely cotton sleep bras that criss-cross in the front, in a few different sizes, one of which would be a really large size to accommodate you during engorgement. You will need something during that time, and those little cotton sleep bras are what, like 10 bucks? so cheap enough to get a few and not a big deal if the big one doesn’t fit for long. They are stretchy and will accommodate quite a bit of swelling. Although if you are already very large busted I don’t know if the larger sizes will work for you. I was a 36C pre pregnancy, a 38D-DD during pregnancy and probably a 40DDD during engorgement.

  • Next trick: easily finding somewhere to be fitted that carries higher than a G cup. Of the series you showed, only two go up that high in my experience. Poking around Nordstroms did not work, Belks tops out at GG and doesn’t carry nursing bras past a tiny few…heck, the specialty shop I often go to was going to have to order for me and then the manufacturer didn’t go that high!

    Any suggestions?

    • There is a bra shop (location in RI and NH) that carries nursing bras for the large cup set – they are SUPER expensive, but then again, so are multiple visits to the chiropractor and OB for breast pain caused by an ill fitting bra 🙁 It’s called Zoe and Company. With my Daughter I went from a DD to a J. But with a 32-34 band size. There are no major retailers that carry that size. And forget about the stretchy tank bras – to accommodate my cups, they are WAY too big in the band, and my bugs just end up unsupported. 🙁

    • I only featured two because I didn’t want the small breasted women all pissed at me for showing only boulder holders (they can run fast because their boobs don’t weigh them down.)

      I was actually pleasantly surprised at the number of places that did carry larger sizes, although, most of them are online so it’s a good idea to get fitted and take yourself home to shop.

    • A lot of people recommend I haven’t ordered from them yet, but seeing as how I was sized as a 36J right before I found out I was pregnant (I was a DD before my first child was born!), I am planning on ordering some nursing bras from them. If you sign up for their emails they frequently do half price US shipping.

    • THE best nursing bra that I’ve tried to date is Decent Exposures:
      They make any cup size available (all bras are made domestically in the US and are made on demand so you can also customize as much as you’d like). I wear a 32K normally (although needed a 30L in their sizes) and the bra is supportive, super comfortable and the materials are just amazing.

      Other brands that I’ve tried are Freya and Royce lingerie. Freya was ok but I had to size up so much in the back (they go up to HH cups only) that it compromised support. I still love Decent Exposures the best.

      For Freya you can order from Figleaves or Ebay UK. Decent Exposures you buy directly from their website.

  • I would love to look at your favorite bras but the ads on the page are covering them up and when I try to close them they just open. So frustrating I just gave up.

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