Help! My nursing bra sucks

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Jessica sent a question about nursing bras — where can she get one that fits without spending tons of money?

old_bras
Photo by How can I recycle this, used with Creative Commons license.
My nursing bras are making me miserable. My 32F bra is too loose in the band and too tight in the cups. I have found a few online that I think would be the correct size but are very expensive — we're talking upwards of $70. Do I really have to suck it up and order the $70 bras without even trying them on?

Where are the bras for women who now have a huge rack due to pregnancy/breastfeeding? Or better yet — is there a creative DIY way to convert a regular bra into a nursing bra?

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  1. I haven't worn a nursing bra in the 11.5 months I have been breastfeeding. I wear a normal bra with plunge cups so mt boobs just pops out pretty easily. I never found one that was totally comfortable for me so I gave up.

    By the way, I have 38Fs.

    2 agree
    • I do the same! I have 34 DDs and it works for me. If I'm going out, I wear a spaghetti top under my t-shirt, so i pull up my t-shirt and pull down my spaghetti top and pop out my boob, that way my whole stomach isn't showing.

      And for bed time, I just use a sports bra (because that's what I've always been comfortable in) and a tank top and just slip my arm out. The one nursing tank top that I did buy from Target ended up having a band that was really uncomfortable/painful. I guess the way I do it might be a bit of hassle, but I honestly don't notice, because I'm so comfy!

      1 agrees
  2. Yes, I think you have to suck it up and buy one good nursing bra, maybe two. I am more of a 36DD, but I've had very good luck with my Elomi bra. It is super high quality, very supportive, and comfortable (for what it is–it's no sleeping bra!). I have a bunch of cheap ones that I wear around the house or even out when I'm being casual, but my Elomi is my go-to bra. I wear it almost everyday for at least part of the day, and, going on 9 months later, it's still very supportive, in good shape.

    1 agrees
  3. BTW, on the "where to get them" question. I always use breakoutbras.com. They have a breastfeeding bra section and a section for busty mamas.

  4. I'm cheap and was too cheap to ever buy an expensive supportive nursing bra. I was just droopy for a year.

    Try herroom.com, they do free delivery and returns so you can order a bunch and return the ones that don't work.

  5. I'm huge. LIKE GIGANTIC. Plus, I'm overweight. I never found a nursing bra that I liked. I've been wearing the full cut, long tank from glamourmom every day for the last 10 months. I've recently tried their new bra since I liked the tank so much. But eh, it's just okay.

    The tanks are awesome, give me plenty of support and easy to wear under deep v-necks for easy on the go access.

    1 agrees
  6. I love love love the hot milk range. sexy and practical (and often available in the sale through 3rd partys)

    I may only be a 40DD but I would not be without mine 🙂

    • YES! I totally used this to make some nursing bras for myself. I prefer the clips, so I scavenged them off of the nursing bras that I hated. The same theory can be used to convert thin strapped tanks/dresses into nursing clothes for much much cheaper. You can purchase the clips online too.

      1 agrees
      • they also sell extra big hook and eyes at a craft or fabric store. i bet they would work well and maybe a little cheaper

  7. Do you have Anita bra's where you live? They're incredible. I owned several Anita 5041 nursing bra's (underwired) and they probably saved my E sized girls from drooping.

    Good nursing bra's don't come cheap, I know. But it eased the pain a little if I told myself that one bra was only 4 weeks of formula 🙂

    2 agree
  8. I would advise going to an actual shop & getting fitted. Then at least you know what size you are. I changed size about 5 times during pregnancy & 2.5yr of breastfeeding.

    2 agree
  9. Mine are double d's now so its not that hard to find a bra for me. I couldnt find a comfortable nursing bra so I bought the strapless w removeable straps.. Works just fine for me and only 12 bucks a pop at target

  10. Can't wait to hear the responses on this one. I was a 30G prepregnancy and am now a 34H at 9 months. I'm planning to order a couple from Bravissimo. Its in the UK so its a bit more expensive with shipping but their prices are cheaper than Nordstrom's (the only place I've found you can actually try on my size). I'm haven't ordered yet since I'm afraid they'll get even bigger when my milk comes in.

    5 agree
    • I am similar sizing both pre-preg and at about 8 months. And even though I thought I could get no bigger – I did! Hold off!
      I have no solid recommendations but can say that things have gone back to pretty much my normal size after breastfeeding ended.

  11. I'm not a mom, so I dunno about an actual nursing bra. However, I do have a completely insane bra size: 34G. Lane Bryant doesn't carry bands that small and Target, JC Penny, etc. don't carry cups that high. I've found regular bras in my size at Macy's and Von Maur, though my favorites are by Chantelle and tend to be very expensive- $80 to $90. Those stores might have nursing bras that will fit you- and if they don't, the staff is usually very helpful and will order it for you.

    • Bravissimo should stock 34G! Based in the UK so there will be shipping costs, but they are good for women with small band sizes with big cup sizes. Also, have you tried figleaves.com?

      1 agrees
  12. I was going to post the jan andrea link too. <3 You can turn any bra into a nursing bra! Same goes for most cami-style tank tops into nursing tanks.

    • What ends up getting me about most tank tops with "built in" bras is that there is an elastic band which runs around the entire circumference of the tank top. For whatever reason, having that kind of pressure run across my back will cause the muscles to seize up. I have managed to find a(n extremely) few supportive tanks that don't have this elastic strap in the back – just cups in the front or a back that's fully elastic (allowing the pressure to be evenly dispersed.

      I can't tell from their website whether these tanks have the traditional, circle of elastic style of built in bra, or just cups in the front support. Can you tell me?

      1 agrees
  13. breakoutbras.com is awesome. I was a 32G while nursing, which is an impossible size to find. Their customer service helped me find some great bras. I ended up with Anita bras. I don't think they come in that exact size, but I believe they run a little small, so they helped me figure out what size to get, and they were great.

    1 agrees
  14. Definitely watching this thread. I was a 34F before pregnancy and trying to find maternity bras was a waste of time. I bought a Medela Comfort Bra at BabiesRUs for about 40$. It's one of those "this size will fit all of these band sizes and cup sizes" bras. It sort of works except that it smushes my boobs together and is not all that flattering or supportive. But it's a whole hell of a lot more comfortable than my too small underwire bras while I'm shopping around for something better.

    The only bras that have ever really worked for me were Empreinte balconette bras. The underwire support comes up high enough in the middle to keep my boobs from smushing together. Ideally, I'd be able to find something that would work like that for nursing, but I have no idea where to start searching.

    1 agrees
  15. really really, the best nursing bras i have found so far are sleep bras. they spread so well across the back and shoulders- distributing the weight. the easiest access to feed baby quickly. no fuss. so lovely

  16. I've been wearing Glamourmom nursing tanks since about 2 months after giving birth. The other brands of nursing bras never fit right. Either they made me have madonna cone boob syndrome or they were just too tight with teensy tiny shoulder straps and bands that were uncomfortable.

    Glamourmom tanks fit really well, though now that they are 16 months old I find that they are a bit worn out and don't support as well.

    1 agrees
  17. Where even are the bras for less than $70 for the women who wear 30Hs anyway? That extra cloth isn't that damn expensive!

    4 agree
  18. I was a 32 H while nursing, and I LOVED my Medela bra. It was the seamless underwire one. So, so comfy. And the cups are super stretchy, yet they totally shape you, as opposed to letting you droop like some stretch bras. Most of us in the F, G, H, range (even in a small band size) CANNOT get away with going cami-only or the like. Ugh, the thought of it makes me cringe!

    1 agrees
    • I didn't even realize there was an underwire one until I was on the Medela website. I'll have to see about ordering one once I start nursing. They seem to only sell the non-underwire versions in the stores here, and those things aren't very supportive at all. I'm really glad to hear your opinion on it, as they are much cheaper than some of the other nursing bras that I was looking at.

  19. Hotmilk! I am a 36GG and got mine in a sale for about $NZ30 which is about $US20. Most comfortable bras I've ever owned! Got mine at bellybeyond.co.nz

  20. I've been breastfeeding for the past 4 years thanks to some bad timing. The best bra I found but finally died and I can't find anywhere was a random one I'd found at Walmart, I think Announcements was the brand. I just started using a Bravado original nursing bra which are about 30$ each and they seem to be holding up well after a couple of washings. They're fairly comfortable and breathe well even though they're very supportive. I measure to a 38G and am wearing a Large in the double plus style.

  21. Feel ya' sister! I too am a member of the big ol' titty committee! I'm a 40F. When I was still breastfeeding my son I wore sports bras that were one size too small for support. If I needed to wear a normal bra I would wear one that had a plunging line so that the girls could be sprung free more easily.

  22. So many good ideas! I had the original question, and I noticed in some other threads that others were in a similar situation. small ribcage, but larger bust. I actually don't think I *look* very busty, but because my ribcage is small (28-29 inches) the cup size has to be like a F or G, or bigger.
    I've been living in my sleeping bras, (Bravado) so I try not to jog up the stairs too much. When I was fitted at the dept store for a work-type bra, It seemed ok at the time, but the band rides up after a couple hours. I actually caught myself tugging on it in front of my coworkers who are all men! ugh.

    1 agrees
  23. I LOVE my Bravado Body Silk seamless bras and I am 36/38 F and wear an XL in that bra. I also recommend getting fitted. Nordstrom does a great job if they are in your area. They did sell me some underwire ones that were a disaster. They took them back almost a year later after I wore them a few times though.

    • Second the Bravado Body Silk! Amazing and I hate wearing bras. I'm a 36D ish, I bought a Large, and this bra fit through the crazy changes of size from late pregnancy through birth and still at 10 months breastfeeding.

      The Body Silk has no underwire, which is good, but it's actually supportive…something I've never had in an underwire before. It really will fit you though multiple body and breast changes and be so stupid comfortable. It looks kind of matronly in the photos online but in person, looks just fine.

      I'm going to have to nurse this baby until he's at least 10 to have an excuse to keep wearing this style of bra. I really can't recommend this one enough.

  24. Hot Milk is cute (I don't know if they work well or not – I don't have babies yet)
    figleaves.com is the only place I buy bras now because they are usually 50% cheaper than anywhere else

    1 agrees
  25. I'll second Nordstrom's customer service. I returned a bra they fitted me with after I'd already worn it – it might have helped that I was pregnant and almost in tears. But, they told me up front that they only carry one nursing bra in my size and customers aren't all that happy with it.

    Jessi: It looks like Break Out Bras that was recommended by a couple of people carries small bands and larger cups. And they do free shipping! They also have what looks like a really useful sizing page. Now I can't wait to get out of this stupid minimizer (that was the only other one Nordstroms had in my size) but Break Out says to wait until three weeks after the baby gets here…

    1 agrees
    • I do like Nordstrom. They have such a variety of sizes. I got my first nursing bras there, but I was still pregnant. I know it's usually not recommended, but I was bursting out of the bras I was wearing, and I thought I would need something for right away after the birth. So, maybe my ribcage was bigger when I was pregnant, but they never really fit quite right. I might just go back there and get re-sized. I think I bought my sleep bras from Break Out… I love those!

      1 agrees
  26. I went from a 36DD to a 40E by the time I was 4 months pregnant. I tried to stay in my regular bras for the longest time, because I love underwire and the support is wonderful.

    However, the time came when I had to cave and admit that I needed a new bra for the time being. Surprisingly, it was easier than shopping for a new regular bra.

    Since I am going to need a nursing bra once the baby is born, I got them now. Found them at Motherhood Maternity, particularly the Pea in a Pod brand with no underwire, and a one cup size larger because apparently these puppies will grow a bit more once my milk comes in. So 40F… at about $40 a piece (which is the same I would normally pay for a regular bra). I tried the underwire ones but the cups all were ridiculously smaller than what they said they were sized at. I am almost 7 months along now, and they have been wonderful. Not exactly the sexiest thing I've worn, but they sure are comfortable and do the job.

    Though I love those nursing cami's that Ariel mentioned above. Those things are God-sends. <3

    1 agrees
  27. Bravado makes the best stuff for the small waisted large chested bunch which can be hard to shop for. I was only a 34C before pregnancy and got up to a 34DD quickly while pregnant. Now that I am nursing I am a 34F/G. Very hard to find this size. I think for early breastfeeding days before you get close to being one size, the bravado body silk and original nursing bra have been awesome. They have good sizing and allow you to customize 🙂 I also love my bravado nursing tank. It actually supports my tata's! Anything else just looks like a joke on my giant boobs. I think the price of these at about $40 ea isn't bad at all. I have also heard that you aren't supposed to wear underwires for the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding because it impedes milk/blood/lymph flow.

    Good luck ladies! I love my bravado bras!

    1 agrees
  28. I second the Bravado bra! I am a j/k now with nursing with about a 36band size and their bras are super comfy! also try ample mama .com too- they have lots!

    1 agrees
  29. I appreciate this post SO much! I was a 44 G pre-pregnancy and can fill out an H cup since pregnancy and am slightly terrified at what size I'll be once my milk comes in. I have checked out many of the sites listed here…hotmilk etc as well as a few others I've found and haven't found my size combo yet. I did find a nursing bra that fitat my local motherhood maternity store, but find it isn't very supportive. Good luck on your search and I'll keep looking too.

    1 agrees
  30. I am your girl!! I have been converting regular bras to nursing bras locally (Phoenix, AZ) for awhile now, and just (barely) opened an etsy shop. Email me for more info, but for just a few dollars, I can convert you favorite bra into a fully functional and comfortable nursing bra. I recommend going into a lingerie store for a fitting, but even buying an expensive bra and converting it to a nursing bra is cheaper and fits much better than a good nursing bra.

    1 agrees
  31. I went for spending the money. I rationalized it by thinking this isn't going to be my only baby and I may be nursing for the next eight years.
    I went to intimacy in Atlanta. I bought regular highly structured bras and they altered them by adding clips where the strap meets the cup. The girl told me that cups that are lace on the upper half are great for containing the fluctuations in milk throughout the day. I love them. I spent money buying cheap bras that didn't do the job and I'm glad I finally bought nice ones. I'm a 34J and love my underwires!

    1 agrees
  32. have you been fitted for a bra? or you could do what i did… and try on a different size. seriously! i used to wear a 36 or a 38 D. 36 fit in the band but the cups were too small. 38 fit in the cup but the band was too small. so after years of this. i finally tied on a 36 DD, and now i finally have a bra that FITS!!!! 😀

    1 agrees
  33. When I was 6 months along I switched to nursing bras because my old ones wouldn`t fit. Although I´m much smaller built (like, dd after the milk came in) I completely relied on h&m nursing bras, they have much bigger sizes in stock where I live. Main argument for me was that they´re really inexpensive compared to other brands.

    1 agrees
  34. It's so nice to read all these comments and see that I'm not the only one having a hard time with this.
    Right now I'm wearing a 36/38 G/H depending on manufacturer. I got an Elomi nursing bra that fits OK, but not as well as I would like, plus the clips are almost impossible to work one handed.
    I've ended up basically living in the Bravado nursing tanks, they actually provide some good support without driving me crazy (I've always been the type to whip off anything constricting the second I got in the door at the end of the day).
    I've actually been pretty sad about my boobs being such a PROBLEM, instead of just getting to enjoy their magical transformation like some of my smaller breasted friends. (They are MAKING FOOD! That is so COOL! And here I am putting all this stress and money into trying to figure out how to clothe them.)

  35. I went up to a 36G with breastfeeding and the only bra I've found which is really supportive, comfortable and looks good is by Hot Milk. I also have some comfy but less supportive Bravado sports-top style bras which are great. As far as nursing tanks go, the only ones I found that are supportive enough to wear on their own without looking obscene are by Bravado as well. These are all, unfortunately, quite expensive but I think at this size there simply aren't cheap options that are going to work properly. I've ordered all mine online (in Australia) and just return the ones that don't fit for a refund.

  36. Reading everyone's facts & figures made me remember that I went from 32B to 34EE last time. Argh.

  37. I wear a 36H, and I have GREAT luck with Bravado Bodysilk in XL. It comes in black, white, tan, and pinks. It's a comfy, wirefree bra, with one hand snap. Love it! If it's okay to say, I order mine from momsmilkboutique.com because they always have cool coupons through their facebook. Last time they sent a free amber necklace. If you order the bra through bravado check out retailmenot.com sometimes they have %25 off discount codes you can enter at checkout. So, $40 or free stuff. Kinda cool.

  38. I am a 30 G and do my bra shopping at figleaves.com. They usually have sale going on and have a great selection of nursing and non-nursing bras. They even have cup sized maternity swim suits!

    their own brand is usually $20-$40 for a bra and goes up to a G cup. the cheapest unwired maternity bra they have now is $33 and goes from 32B-40G.

  39. I have 42Fs and I wore nursing tanks most of the time. Luckily, I am pretty perky, so it wasn't a big deal for me to just wear tanks, but I found some pretty supportive ones at our local Walmart, bestform brand.

  40. My issues with finding a good nursing bra are: (1) I can't do underwire because I tend to get plugged ducts (ouch!), and (2) my boobs vary size so much over the course of the day that most formed bras are too big one hour and too small the next. What I've found to be best–and not especially expensive–are the Basics by Bravado Stella bras that are sold at Target for $23. They aren't super supportive like a formed underwire, because they are microfiber and wireless, but they are incredibly comfortable and they fit no matter how big or small my boobs grow during the day (I vary between a 34D and 34E and I bought the medium). They don't make bras over DDD size but they are good for those in the D range.

    http://www.basicsbybravado.com/products/stella-nursing-bra

  41. I am a small band/very large cup size, like many others here. I wasn't able to find a nursing bra that fit and I couldn't afford to keep trying. Instead, I made sure I was properly fitted and invested in a few bras with easy-access. Then, I just wore tanks under my shirts so that I could nurse without everyone seeing my belly or boobs. It worked out well!

  42. I didn't see it already mentioned, so I HAVE TO speak up for Decent Exposures.
    I tried every one of the bras mentioned here. I'm a 36F when nursing. I agree that you should go to a fitting. Decent Exposures bras are handmade to your specifications and fabric choices. You can customize any part, and send it back for free adjustments (I think for the first month?). I had crazy customizations–shorter straps, elastic stitched inside out. I was VERY wary of anything with an underwire because I didn't want to get plugged ducts. But I tried everything, and every bra was extremely uncomfortable–just not designed to handle and distribute the weight for large, milk-heavy breasts!
    Best of luck.

  43. I have the opposite endowment issue, but I've found that front closure bras are super simple to use for nursing.

  44. I'm also a 32F, and I sucked it up and bought the expensive Nordstrom bras, thinking I'd just return them if they sucked. I've been thrifty in every other area of baby shopping so I think this was reasonable. Actually I bought one bra off eBay too but it wound up being too small when my milk came in.

  45. Go here:

    http://www.wizardofbras.com/nursing.aspx

    I am an everyday 30G. Who knows what I will be when I am nursing, but they have great bras in large and hard to fit sizes. They have some in the $35 range. It is a great store and for $7 they will even alter your bras when they no longer fit.

  46. 32J here. The only bra that I have found that fits and is not insanely uncomfortable is the Bravado Sublime Nursing bra. It's still not terrifically comfortable, because, let's face it, a 32J is never comfortable, but at least my bosoms are not hanging out around my navel when I wear it, (which is where they are currently spending most of their time) so I can actually leave the house sometimes.

  47. WHY didn't I find this post 4 months ago? I was a (I thought) large breasted woman before pregnancy at 38 D. Then during pregnancy, I thought my boobs were huuuuge at 42 DD. Ha. Now, nursing, I am wearing a 34 H. (I have lost about 22 lbs doing elimination diet for the baby's allergies, hence the smaller band size). My personal recommendations: Hotmilk is my favorite, and zulily.com has them every few weeks for about 50% off. Bravado's Sublime nursing bra was pretty good but I don't love the foam drop cups (they are great for when you're wearing a sleeker top, though – no seams). The Medela sleeping bra is okay, but really doesn't offer a lot of support. Sometimes it made my back hurt. And on the CHEAP- Wet Seal tank tops that go 5/$20. They are extra long, great for wearing around the house or under tops during pregnancy and for nursing. I love them.

  48. I agree Holly, why didn't I find this months ago??? I had to flail my way through nursing bras and let me tell you all, its was *hard*. The only brand that I seem to like was Leading Lady. I really only tried them because they were the cheapest online source, but actually, they're really comfortable and I'm glad I tried them, even if it was based on cost. I would definitely recommend them to anyone still looking!
    http://www.leadinglady.com/nursing-bras.html

  49. try amazon.com i got some at a 36i forbout 40-50$ but yes bras at that size will be expensive. ive been looking for bras cheap now for 5-6yrs 40 is bout the cheapest i have ever found

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