The Big & the Bold

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Got large breasts and looking for a good nursing bra? Here’s some sage advice!

By Nikki Clarke

Even in this day and age, there’s not a lot around when it comes to nursing bras for women with a little bit, ‘more,’ so to speak. If you’re on a mission to find a nursing bra for your hefty, beautiful ‘girls,’ then check out these little snippets of advice, they just may help you to make the best selection possible!

Good luck!

1. Have you got the right size mama?

It’s so very common for new mums to buy the wrong size nursing bra, especially as they get larger when pregnant, and even larger again when the milk comes in!

Trying to squeeze breasts into a nursing bra that’s too small can cause a plethora of issues:

  • Discomfort and breast swelling.
  • Difficult nursing access.
  • Breast infections (blocked ducts or mastitis).
  • Bra straps that dig in.
  • Added strain on the back.
  • Aggravated nipples.
  • Under-boob rashes.
  • Spillage out the sides and top of the bra.

So, to avoid all those nasties, if you’re buying in store, make sure you go alone, (without any children to rush you) and ask a bra specialist to measure you up correctly. Do not be embarrassed, they’ve seen so many breasts, they could care less anymore! Your boobs are perfectly normal, relax woman!

If you’re buying online, be sure to check the company’s size guide. If they don’t have one, be wary…you may end up with the wrong size and then have to deal with return issues. To that point, if buying online, make sure the company you’re buying from has a good return/exchange policy and top quality customer service to help you with your exchange. You don’t need any added stress in our life right now, no matter how small!

2. Avoid these things…

If you have big boobs, unfortunately your chances of getting blocked ducts or mastitis can increase (yay for us). So…you want to avoid…

    • Ill-fitting bras – as above!
    • Thin straps.
    • Thin fabrics such as lace, as your breasts will have very little support.
    • Wires or underwires as they can put additional pressure on the milk ducts. Say NO to the wire!

3. Not able to find an extra-large cup with a small band size?

As aforementioned, this is a problem for a lot of women. Most bras on the market are a size 12B, 12C, 12D, 12E, 12F, but once you get into a G, H, I or J cup, all of a sudden those cup sizes are only available for women in sizes 18, 20 or 22. Dumb.

This means many of us are walking around with the wrong band size, and if you’ve got the wrong band size then you’re not going to get the support you need…cue problems! Having a wider firm band at the bottom of the bra disperses weight evenly throughout the under bust, which is so important as the majority of support comes from underneath.

One possible solution is to try the “Luxe Bra,” by Cadenshae  as it was specially designed to accommodate women with an extra large cup and a small band size. Could be a goer?

4. What if I need the same cup size, but my band size increases?  

For whatever reason many women’s band size increases while pregnant and/or breastfeeding but the cup size remains the same. If the cups of your bra fit well but your band is too small then the bra needs to be able to allow for a few more centimetres in the under-band.

Cadenshae (them again?) have come to the rescue on this one as well, by creating the “Ultimate Bra” with a specially designed adjustable back band, as well as convertible straps which can morph into a racerback design. This gives you the flexibility of increasing the band size, without going up a cup size. Genius!

5. What should a properly fitting nursing bra feel like if you have big ones?

  • You should be able to slip two of your fingers underneath the band with ease.
  • The wing support should feel nice and secure, but not restrictive.
  • The bra should comfortably expand and contract with you through your deepest breath.
  • Cups should always fit smoothly across the breasts, without any spillage, bulging or digging into your breast tissue.
  • Your posture should be upright with your shoulders drawn back slightly, not pulled forward.
  • There should be no elements of the bra digging into your body; i.e. straps leaving imprints on your shoulders or back.

6. What should I look for in a good nursing bra?

Large boobs have more needs than the average boob, no doubt. Here’s what you should be looking for in a quality nursing bra:

  • Sturdy fabrics to provide comfort, stretch and support.
  • Encapsulating cups to lift and separate the breasts. No squishing!
  • Wide straps to disperse weight and prevent the bra from digging in.
  • Adjustability to allow you to perform different degrees of intensity in exercise.
  • Full coverage and all over support.
  • No underwire.
  • Padding to prevent leaks.
  • Easy access to the breast for feeding.
  • Ability to grow with you through pregnancy and nursing.

7. What should I look for in a good nursing SPORTS bra?

Breasts can weigh a lot – in fact the average weight of a F cup is 1.2kg and if it’s not being supported properly, you can’t move too much as it can rip the tissue in your breasts, ummm ouch! Having large breasts can be a massive hindrance for some, and if they don’t have the right bra, then exercise is simply out of the question. Boo!

Here’s what you should be looking for in a quality nursing sports bra:

  • Padded straps for extra comfort.
  • Enough support to take the load off your back.
  • Wider straps around the back to help disperse any pain points.
  • Seams designed to expand and contract with you.
  • Complete coverage to provide all round support.
  • Thick bands underneath the bust to reduce vertical movement.
  • No wires to help prevent blocked ducts and mastitis.
  • Lightweight breathable fabric for comfort (but it needs to be strong enough to keep its shape).
  • At the front of the bra, you should look for foam moulded cups and nylon spandex over top so it’s offering some stretch, but also a lot of support.
  • Adjustable backs are key, as some days you may prefer the support of a racerback design. 
  • Bra extender – this will give you a few more centimetres, on those ‘really full’ (i.e. your baby slept through the night for once, wooohoo!) days. 

 

So there you have it – seven tidbits of advice to help you with your purchase.  All the best mum, you’ve totally got this!

Nikki Clarke is the founder of Cadenshae, the global leaders in activewear for pregnant and nursing mums, wife to Adam and a mother of four. 

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