Before your baby belly bump pops, you’ll notice some other, um, parts getting bigger. That’s right; your always-an-A cups are suddenly overflowing. As you make your way toward labor, your boobs are likely swelling, aching and seemingly growing in Playmate proportions. Time to stash those tiny lacey bras (at least for now). If your mom friends didn’t tell you: During (and after) pregnancy you’ll need to update your lingerie. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes as a new parent (don’t worry, your kids will still turn out just fine), but you should at least be comfortable in the right bra. These are the five styles you *need* as a pregnant woman and new mother.
1. The Maternity Bra: Sure, it’s totally tempting to run out and buy the next cup up in your regular bra. But the gentle lace design or silky stitching of your old standard isn’t likely to give you the support that you need now. Maternity bras are specially made for a pregnant mom’s growing breasts. They have thicker straps, added hooks/eyes and a softer lining. They offer support o’plenty, minus the uncomfortable underwire of your pre-baby bras.
When investing in one of these gems (they can be a bit pricey), have a pro measure you for the perfect fit (Victoria’s Secret and Nordstrom do this for free). Some of the best maternity bras will grow with you during pregnancy and also double as a nursing bra, like this Bravado Essential Embrace Nursing Bra ($49) or Hotmilk Chic Nursing Bra ($60).
2. The Sports Bra: Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you’ve totally given up exercise (unless you’re on bed rest, of course). But bounce-inducing movement plus common pregnancy breast tenderness mean you’re definitely feeling some discomfort… if not a little pain. The extra support of a sports bra is what you need here. Not only will a sports bra stop the bounce, but it’s also made from fabric that keeps your now-sensitive skin sweat-free (or, at the very least, it wicks the moisture). Look for a high-impact model to keep your new assets in place, like the Cake Maternity Zest Flexi Wire High Impact Sports Bra ($80).
3. The Nursing Bra: You’re a new mommy and are all about nursing. Going braless isn’t exactly comfortable, but baby needs to eat! Not only do nursing bras provide the support that you’re craving, but they also have flaps over your cups that open down for easy access to your milk. Check out the Cake Maternity Parfait Lace Nursing Bra ($65) or the Anita Microfiber Underwire Nursing Bra ($59). If you’re going to be pumping at all, a multitasking model with a hands-free breast pump function like this Simple Wishes Supermom Bra ($50) will be a Godsend.
4. The Sleep Bra: The days of tossing your bra off when the sun goes down are gone — for some new mommies, that is. If nighttime support is something that your changing body absolutely needs, a sleep bra is a must-have. These hold the girls in, while still being soft and completely comfortable. A wrap-style bra made especially for new moms, like this A Pea in the Pod Maternity Nursing Wrap Sleep Bra ($38) or a tank-style, like this Bali Comfort Revolution Bra ($15) will keep you feeling good while you snooze.
5. The Leak-Protector Bra: Technically, any bra can fill this category. You just gave birth, and now you’re trying to breastfeed. Your milk has come in and is apparently flowing freely — all over your shirt. There’s a fix for that. Absorbent breast or nursing pads sit in your bra and act as mini maxi pads for your nipples. They catch the extra leakage and keep your shirt safe from two tell-tale wet spots. A maternity bra or a bra that fits snuggly are best for holding these pads close to your skin.
What’s your favorite maternity bra? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo !
(Photos via Getty)