Last month of pregnancy
Now it’s time to pull things together!
Nursing Bras: between now and the time your baby comes, your ribcage may get a little larger, but an extender on a bra that fits on the widest hooks now will keep you comfortable.
Your rib cage will get smaller after the baby comes (Faster than it took for it to grow...hooray!), so you want to have as many hooks as possible to reduce the band size going forward.
Cup size is another story. They will increase A LOT in the first 3-8 days after the baby is born. The last thing you will want is a binding or cutting too-small bra when your breasts get tender. The easy answer here is to get a non-structured bra which will grow with you and stay with you as you get smaller over the next few weeks.
A couple of other reasons to go very soft at this point:
- You never want to sleep in an underwire. An underwire can lay across a milk duct, obstructing free flow of milk. This can cause a plugged duct which is painful; which can lead to mastitis which is more painful and makes you feel sick all over; which means you’ll need to get the doctor involved....you can see you don’t want to head down this path.
- You will be getting lots of sleep. What?! Everyone says you’ll be sleep deprived! This is a glass half-full or half empty kind of thing. The point is this: you need to sleep when your baby sleeps. At the beginning, prepare yourself for the same 24-hour clock your baby will be on. This means you’ll be taking lots of 1-2 hour naps. Night and day will run together. You’ll be in and out of bed lots. To avoid the previously mentioned don’t-sleep-in-an-underwire, just stick with a soft bra.
If you want a more traditional softcup bra, you can go that route too.
- Rule of thumb #1: increase the cup size by one letter compared to what you are wearing now (at 36 or so weeks). This will allow room for a nursing pad and your milk.
- Rule of thumb #2: if you can try the bra on, with the bra on, put your opposite hand around your breast inside the bra cup. Does the cup expand enough to accommodate your hand? It will probably be ok.
No matter what bra you buy or inherit or otherwise end up with, DO NOT wear a bra that is tight and cutting when you are engorged. It is better to go without a bra for these 36-48 hours than to risk a plugged duct and milk supply/flow problems. You will not stay this big for long. Do not despair!
“What about underwire bras? That’s what I am used to wearing. I need that for support,” you say.
We hear you. Some say you should never wear an underwire bra while breastfeeding. We say that’s not necessarily so. When your size has stabilized (3 or 4 weeks into breastfeeding) there is no reason you can’t wear an underwire bra, if it fits well.
These are the “rules”:
- get the widest underwire you can find. You want the wire to surround all of your breast tissue and some of us have a fair amount of milk producing tissue almost back under your arm. (Time for some self-groping here so you can feel where your breast ends.)
- don’t wear a non-nursing underwire bra planning to just pull it up and out of the way while you nurse or pump. Some women can get away with this without causing plugged ducts, but it is especially risky with an underwire bra.
- make sure you get all of your breast inside the wire when you put your bra on. Don’t let it ride up on the bottom of your breast. Sounds uncomfortable, but we’ve seen people wear their bras this way.
- never sleep in an underwire. Your breast’s center of gravity changes when you lie down. The underwire that didn’t pinch when standing up may be completely different lying down.