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Here you are, pregnant with your chest growing every day. Mind you, if you are going to nurse, this pre-birth size will just get bigger after the baby is born until your milk regulates itself. How do you deal with bras before and after the birth?

No one really tells you how to deal with this. In fact a lot of women even forget to purchase nursing bras or tanks before the baby is born and then end up having to run around that first week trying to locate just what to buy with a newborn. That isn’t exactly convenient or fun. I’m not even sure if there is an exact science to this and you don’t want to purchase every size bra and nursing bra in the book as your breast size increases and decreases. Here is what I did on my first child and what I am currently doing for my pregnancy.

If this is your first child, your breasts may not fully take shape until after the baby is born. Yes, they will get bigger but for me they really got big after the baby was born and my milk came in. I started off as a normal full 34 C before I got pregnant. Then prior to the baby being born I grew to a 34 D. The first 2 weeks after my son was born they grew to almost a 34 DDD and then eventually calmed back down to a 34 DD once my milk was in and nursing was in full swing. Talk about needing a variety of nursing bras for about a 1 month’s time period. Before the baby is born you don’t need nursing bras, but can purchase them if you wish. For me that wouldn’t have worked as I would never have used them after the baby was born as I was too big for them. Here is how I got around buying every size under man. First off, you don’t need really expensive bras. I shopped at Walmart for some inexpensive bras as I began to grow during my pre-birth time period. They weren’t all that attractive but having a couple white bras on hand was perfect for my newly large chest. That was enough to get me by should I need to go out somewhere dressy or for work. Second, I purchased 6 nursing tank tops at Target. I absolutely love these. They are a life saver as they can stretch with your ever expanding chest in the weeks after birth. Plus, they are really easy to use and you don’t have to deal with the harder formed bra and padding that the nursing bras typically are made with. The tank tops are just soft cotton and are double lined in the bra area so that you have some support. I wore the tank tops with various shirts and could even incorporate them into cute outfits with a second layer as my son was born in June. This was a perfect bra top to have both before he was born and after he was born.

Once he was born, my size swelled from 34 D to 34DDD and I never had to go out and purchase another bra during that two week time period. Yes, the tank got really full but never looked bad nor was my chest billowing out of the top. Plus, unless you are going to the Emmy’s then you really don’t need to go out and have every size bra for that short time span while your body takes shape. The cotton allowed for the growth to occur and then as my chest took on its soon to be normal size of a 34DD so did the tank. I’m telling you these tanks are a must have. I purchased the size Medium from Target in a variety of colors from the Gilligan & O’Malley collection. Try on a few sizes and choose the one that fits, but doesn’t fit snugly before you give birth. Purchase a couple before you give birth and then follow it up with a few more after you give birth. This will allow for your chest to take on its permanent shape after you deliver and you should be able to get by with a few if you want to make sure the size is correct before you buy many more.

As it was summer when he was born and I didn’t have to be dressed up for work or any great occasion I only purchased 2 more additional bras. One was a sleeping nursing bra and the other was a more formal bra for going out to nicer places where I couldn’t use a tank top all of the time. I don’t see the actual sleeping bra online by Gilligan & O’Malley but here is one that is close by Medela. I then bought something similar to this Gilligan & O’Malley bra as my more formal bra. I also was able to continue to wear my sports bras for working out and didn’t need to purchase additional sports bras as mine gave into my newly found size.

Then about 10 months into nursing I did go and purchase a few more normal bras but in the 34DD size as I knew I was going to be weaning my son off at around the year mark and I wasn’t nursing all day long. I had cut down to nursing him in the morning and at night and was able to then wear a normal bra during the day for work. Once I stopped nursing my size fell back down to my 34C and I went back to wearing my old bras again. I know that this isn’t common for most women and some need to go out and purchase a smaller size bra once they stop nursing. Just be prepared and don’t be too upset should your size go down. Think about that small sacrifice compared to the lovely new baby you now have.

Now for my second baby things have gotten a lot bigger a lot quicker. I have already hit a 34DD just being pregnant. My actual weight hasn’t gotten bigger compared to my last pregnancy, but my chest is definitely bigger. I am back to wearing the 34DD bras I purchased at the end of my pregnancy and they are working out great. The only thing I see that I will need to do is move up from a M tank to a L tank as I now anticipate that that my after birth size will probably grow to a 34E and then take on a 34DDD while nursing. Holy cow. That is big. Plus my tanks are extremely worn out and I need to purchase new ones anyway. Again, I’ll purchase about 6 more and then a sleeping bra and a regular prettier nursing bra for nicer occasions.

Over all I’ll probably spend less than $150 on bras total. Bras can get very pricey especially nursing bras. Don’t kill yourself over what to buy. It can be overwhelming. Here are just some tips to remember:

*More expensive doesn’t always mean better. Go for simple and basic.

*Buy what is comfortable to you.

*Try them on before you leave the store. Throw a shirt on over top of the bra and in the changing room try using it as if you were nursing. If it is difficult to pull the bra down or the hook is tricky, don’t buy it. Keep trying on bras until you find one that is easy and makes sense to you.

*Some of the padded bras, while supportive, are stiff and awkward to use.  If this is your first baby, then you want something easy while you tackle nursing.

*Don’t forget to take with you in your suitcase to the hospital a nursing bra or tank as well. This is a simple thing to forget to take.

Good luck and happy nursing!

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