We’ve talked before about how the wrong bra size or a bra that doesn’t fit properly can cause physical discomfort and pain. But one thing we haven’t covered is the danger of an ill-fitting nursing bra for lactating and breastfeeding women. Bra fit is even more critical in women who are lactating, as bras that don’t fit properly can cause mastitis. This is in addition to the potential medical issues that all women face of back pain, neck pain and muscle tension headaches that can come along with poor fit. What’s the lesson here? Make sure your nursing bra is properly fitted!
Poorly-Fitted Nursing Bras can Cause Mastitis
Mastitis is an inflammation of breast tissue that is caused by the obstruction and infection of milk ducts. Breastfeeding women who wear a nursing bra that is too tight and puts pressure on the milk ducts are at risk of mastitis, as this obstruction can lead to infection and inflammation. Other risk factors for mastitis are irregular breastfeeding, or sleeping on your tummy for long periods of time – so wearing a properly fitted nursing bra doesn’t completely prevent your chances of developing mastitis. But wearing a looser, more comfortable bra that doesn’t press against the area around your nipple is a good way to eliminate your chances of developing bra-related mastitis.
Underwire Nursing Bras are Safe to Wear
One common question that nursing mothers often struggle with is whether underwire nursing bras are safe to wear. With the risk of mastitis from an ill-fitting bra, some women worry about underwires constraining the area around the breasts and causing potential health issues. Fortunately, ladies – a properly fitted underwire nursing bra poses no risk of health issues.
An improperly fitted underwire nursing bra, though, where the underwires rest on breast tissue can cause health issues. This type of fit issue is typically caused by a combination of the band size being too large and the cup size being too small. Go up a cup size and down a band size and that should help. In a properly fitted underwire nursing bra, the underwires should rest comfortably against your chest under your breast tissue. If the underwire digs into breast tissue, either the size is wrong or the particular bra design isn’t a good fit for your body.
How to Properly Fit a Nursing Bra Nursing bras can be extremely difficult to fit, as your breast size can fluctuate during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Your breasts will swell when you begin lactating, and you may notice some fluctuation in bra size during breast feeding. For this reason, you may need nursing bras in a few different sizes to swap as needed throughout these fluctuations. Determining the bra size for a nursing bra uses the same process as determining the bra size for a standard bra – check out our bra fit guidelines for details.
In terms of nursing bra design, selecting the right nursing bra for you is pretty subjective. If your breasts are particularly tender, you may feel more comfortable in a soft-cup nursing bra. If you’re more concerned about support, an underwire nursing bra is a good choice. Many of our nursing bras have quick-release cups that you can open with one hand for ease of breastfeeding. Browse our complete selection of nursing bras to find the ones that best fit your needs – and remember that size DOES matter in these critical garments!