At a sizeable 30J, bras WITH underwires are my friend. They’re not the horrid mastitis-causing, duct-plugging foes that most websites lead me to believe.
Anything relating to breastfeeding was the main cause of the pain when my first child arrived.
Be it the boobs themselves, the horrifically fitting nursing bras or just attempting to perfect my babies latch.
There’s a wealth of information out there for breastfeeding, some good, some bad.
I’m highlighting my experience to show that you can be a successful big-boobed breastfeeding WITHOUT wearing the nursing bras everyone raves on about.
It took too long for me to bite the bullet and wear a standard underwired bra for breastfeeding thanks to all the conflicting advice on the internet.
Instead of focusing on learning how to feed my newborn, I was grappling with flaps, clips and cups that just didn’t support me in any way shape or form.
So to the big-breasted Mum, googling ‘can I wear an underwired bra for breastfeeding’ you can. I did and lived to tell the tale.
Infact it was a relief when I finally made the leap from an ill-fitting nursing bra.
Long story short, here are my vital stats;
- Pre-pregnancy = 28GG.
- Pregnancy = 32GG
- Milk arrival = 30M
- Milk supply established = 30J
- Weaning Sprog = 30G
I go into how I survived the nightmare that was my milk coming in elsewhere, but for the time being, I’d like to share how I managed to find a suitable bra to support my big boobs while breastfeeding.
Every bit of advice warned against wearing an underwire because it would block ducts and cause the dreaded mastitis. So lets dispel that myth.
I want to let you know that even though I wore underwired bras from the second week Sprog was born I NEVER got mastitis.
At my size, you HAVE to wear a bra that fit wells. The bras underwires have to sit flat against my chest, otherwise I get blisters and chafing that leads to infection whether you’re breastfeeding or not.
I presume the advice to give underwires a miss is for those that can get away with a poorly fitting bra with no consequence.
You do have to forego the ease of those nifty little clips they have on nursing bras, but the couple of times I wore those poorly fitting ones they were useless anyway.
Once Sprog had finished feeding, it was a physical impossibility to dig the cup flap out from underneath my boob and attempt to hoiyk my weighty tit up, all with one hand.
I’ve taken to discreetly slipping the shoulder strap out from my t-shirt sleeve (long-sleeve t-shirts are a no-no I’m afraid) and it’s worked well for me all these months.
In terms of actual bras, I visited Bravissimo for a fitting.
In the end I went for full cup, soft lacy numbers, as opposed to moulded cups so I could easily drop the cup to feed the sprog. AND importantly, as my breast size in the initial weeks would change on an almost hourly basis the soft cups stretched to accommodate my fluctuating bosom, rather than being restricted by the moulded cups.
Other general tips;
- Get fitted regularly. If you’re big boobed, you probably do this anyway, but it’s amazing just how much your bra size changes post birth. I’ve had 4 different distinct sizes in the past 6 months, since Sprog was born.
- Buy bras regularly. Yes, it is expensive but, washing, pulling up and down to feed and just the sheer weight of your boob stretches your bra. A stretched bra offers zero support. I was embarrassed when I went for my latest fitting as my boobs hid in the bottom of a gaping cup!
- Trust your gut. If you try a bra on and it’s not 100% comfortable. DO NOT BUY IT. I’ve thought a little niggle from a ribbon detail wouldn’t matter, and ended up with blisters. While nursing with big boobs, this could be a cause of mastitis.
- Hygiene. Ensure you give your boobs a good wash every day, especially underneath the boob and around the nipple. Same too for your bras, I wore them (with daily fresh bamboo nipple pads) for a maximum of two days. Rather buy an extra bra than risk any unnecessary infection.
So don’t think you’re a freak when nursing bras don’t fit. I found it an impossible task and it made me miserable. I’ve a short torso, so even though the cup was big enough, there was no support from the straps because they were far too long. This meant my boobs rested on my torso, meaning sweaty under boob and potential for mastitis.
And before you ask. Yes, I tried to shorten the straps, but then the sides of the cup near my armpits would rub and cut me. Yet another potential source of mastitis.
Then there’s the fact that these nursing bras have soft cups with no underwire. Lets just say my left boob loved getting comfy with my right, and a sweaty river would flow between the two as the jostled in a material hammock. Oh, hello mastitis.
After wasting over £150 on nursing bras, I just thought, surely a well-fitted underwired bra would cause fewer issues. Trusting my instincts I went out to Bravissimo and just got on with it, I’ve never looked back since.
There may be a lot of anecdotal evidence that poorly-fitting underwire bras can lead to clogged ducts, but there’s no real evidence that underwires cause problems.
Just find out what works best for you and know that there are people out there that have survived breastfeeding without nursing bras.