Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nursing bras reviews

I'm not a fan of spending a lot of money on my clothes. In fact, most of what I buy comes from a thrift store where my mom volunteers. Nursing bras are hard to come by in thrift stores, however, so towards the end of my pregnancy, I bit the bullet and actually spent some money on nursing bras. I went to Target and bought four of the cheapest ones they had. Some experienced moms out there are saying, "Oh no!" Oh yes. In the hopes of providing some good information for other moms-to-be, here is a review of the six styles I have now.

Gilligan&O'Malley padded demi bra
Pros: These are very inexpensive, less than $10 if you catch a good sale. They are padded, which means you're not showing off the contours of your nursing pads if you wear a fitted shirt. If you aren't leaking much, you could even get away with no nursing pads. (I have never been that fortunate.) The clasp to drop the cup is easy to open and close with one hand.
Cons: On these bras, "padded" translates to "structured". They are not bad for casual wear around the house, if you're not going to be bending over or lying down. However, if you are in any position other than upright, your breasts tend to move while the cups stay right where they are. This is particularly annoying if you are in bed and want to roll over. Also, the cups have been known to try to resume their usual position while my son is trying to nurse, pushing his latch off center. Ouch! Finally, I am not confident these bras will last past child #1. They seem rather flimsy.

Gilligan&O'Malley seamless softcup bra
Pros: One step up the ladder, but still relatively inexpensive. They are comfortable to wear for sleeping and have the same drop-cup clasp as the padded bras, which is very easy to use. The bra moves as you do and the cups are a little stretchy to accommodate changes in breast size throughout the day.
Cons: These offer very little support. They are a way to hold nursing pads in place, but not much beyond that. If you are at all large, I would recommend looking for something else. Also, the cup fabric is very thin, so nursing pads are highly visible.

Medela sleep bra
Pros: As the name suggests, these are GREAT for sleeping. The whole bra is stretchy, so you just slide the cup aside to nurse. The fabric is smooth and not too constricting. This is definitely my top recommendation to wear while sleeping.
Cons: I wouldn't recommend wearing these during the day. The support while moving around is almost non-existent and the fabric tends to stretch more throughout the day in my experience. If you do choose to wear it in public, this is another one that makes nursing pads very visible. Occasionally, the cup starts to creep up while Peter is nursing, but it is easy to readjust. 

Medela seamless softcup bra
Pros: The cups on these are a bit thicker and hide the contours of nursing pads well. They are flexible enough to move with you and accommodate changing breast size during the day. The straps are wide and the bra offers good support without being restrictive.
Cons: The only thing I don't like about this bra is that the clasp is virtually impossible to close with one hand. However, I bought mine used and when I looked at images online of the ones being sold now, they seem to have the more common plastic hook/loop clasp that is easy to use. If mine had that kind of clasp, this would definitely be my favorite style.

Motherhood Maternity wireless full coverage bra
Pros: This bra is very lightweight and is nice if it is hot and you're trying to wear a minimal amount of fabric. The cups are flexible. The straps are wide and easily adjustable.
Cons: The cups do not stretch at all and, since they are so thin, nursing pads show. As with the G&O softcup, there is not much support. Even running up the stairs might make you wish you'd chosen another style!

Leading Lady cotton wirefree nursing bra
Pros: I consider this to be my church bra. :-) It has what is marketed as a "full sling", which basically means the area exposed while nursing is smaller -- a circle in the middle rather than the whole cup dropping. Very discreet, hence the church bra. I would imagine the full sling is also good support for larger women. The fabric is thick enough to disguise nursing pads and thin enough to move with you.
Cons: The fabric is not at all stretchy and the band around the bottom can feel rather constricting once you get it snug enough to offer support. To accommodate changing breast size, the cup hook can go in to one of three loops. There are a couple problems with this. First, the hook and loop are small and metal and can be very difficult to close with one hand. Secondly, you may want it on the smallest setting right after you finish nursing, but not by the time a few hours have passed! So then you have to reach inside your shirt and adjust it, or just put it on the bigger setting when your little one is done. If you use it as a church bra, though, you're not wearing it all day, so that becomes less of an issue. :-)

Happy shopping!

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