Did you ever think your biggest early pregnancy problem would be your breasts? You knew you might get morning sickness and start putting on a bit of extra weight? But having to go and buy a nursing bra before your bump even starts to show? 

Breast changes are one of the very first signs, besides a skipped period, that women are pregnant. The mammary glands begin changing, growing and multiplying in early pregnancy. The breasts become larger and fuller while the nipples darken and become more sensitive.

You don’t know what to do, you have never been so busty in your whole life. None of your regular bras fit you and you need a comfortable nursing bra solution fast!


Take a deep breath.

It’s going to be OK!


Tip 1: Do not order nursing bras online.


There are so many bra sizes to choose from, and on top of that so many bra companies as well. The best way to find the right bra is to go to the store in person to try it on.


Tip 2: Find the right band size and then the right cup size in that band size.


The mistake that women most often make is choosing a band size that is too large in order to accommodate their cup size. In many North American stores, the largest cup size is often DD or possibly DDD/E if you’re lucky. That means that if you actually need a 34G, you will likely end up buying a 38DDD to accommodate your cup size. The band will be way too big and won’t give you the support you need.

The band should fit snug on the loosest hooks when you first buy a bra. If the largest cup size available in the band size you need is too small, then you need to look somewhere else, most likely a specialty store.


Tip 3: There is no need to buy a ‘maternity’ bra.


Maternity bras are typically bras without underwire and without much structure at all that are made for providing comfort during pregnancy. Their goal is not to make you look nice.

You can find the same comfort, but actually feel supported and look good in your clothes by buying a wirefree bra at a regular store that fits you correctly.


Tip 4: If you can, wait until about 2 weeks before your due date to buy nursing bras.


Buy two nursing bras that fit you comfortably on the middle hooks so that you still have room to grow. Buy a nursing bra that is 2 cup sizes bigger than what you need at the moment of purchase. It is very likely that your breasts will grow at least that much when your milk comes in. Keep in mind, it is not an exact science and these are just guidelines. Every woman is different!


Tip 5: After 6 weeks it’s time to buy additional nursing bras.


Your milk levels should even out by the six week mark and you should be a more consistent size without as much fluctuation. This could be a time for you to purchase an additional two nursing bras in your new size.

You can safely wear a nursing bra with underwire if you’d like to, as long as the wire goes completely around you breast tissue, which goes way back under your armpit. If you notice any discomfort at all, don’t wear it and wait a bit longer until you try again.


Tip 6: Don’t be surprised if you need to purchase new nursing bras several times throughout your nursing journey.


Your size will change at several intervals, like once your milk levels even out, after your rib cage goes back to it’s pre-pregnancy size, or when your baby starts eating solids or when they have a growth spurt.

If you follow these six easy tips, you should be comfortable as your body grows and changes during pregnancy and postpartum.

You’ve got this, Mama!

This story was written by Andrea Munk. Andrea is the owner of the amazing Guelph bra shop Cedar Lily,  and the inventor of Babe Magnet, a bra conversion system Hamilton Family Doulas proudly offers if you have a favourite bra you’d like to convert to a nursing bra. Find out more about Nursing Bra Conversions on our site.