Maternity Bra Vs Nursing Bra: The Ultimate Guide

Maternity Bra Vs Nursing Bra: The Ultimate Guide

Maternity and nursing bras are essential for new and expectant mothers but are they the same, and do they serve the same or different purposes?

Are you pregnant or already blessed with a baby and wondering what type of bra to go for between the two? You would want to distinguish between maternity and nursing bras to buy one that rightfully serves your needs and priorities.

So, maternity bra Vs nursing bra, which one best suits you? Well, a maternity bra offers support and maximum comfort to your growing and sensitive breasts during pregnancy. On the other hand, nursing bras have specially designed features to make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable.

Note that a nursing bra can also be worn during pregnancy, as it provides the same support and comfort as a maternity bra. However, a maternity bra cannot be used for breastfeeding as it does not have the necessary features. Read on to learn more about maternity bras, nursing bras, similarities and differences between the two types of bras as expounded in this article.

What are maternity bras?

Maternity bras refer to a type of brassieres that are specifically designed for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

They are designed to offer extra comfort and support to the breasts which usually increase in size and shape during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. As a result, they feature adjustable wide straps, a substantial band, and an extra hook and eyes at the back closure.

In addition, most designers of maternity bras use soft fabric that is stretchy and breathable to accommodate your growing breasts.

Interestingly, some maternity bras also feature clips at the bra that you can easily unclip and breastfeed your baby.

When to buy maternity bras?

It is recommended to purchase maternity bras around six weeks of pregnancy. Most pregnant women report feeling their breast size increase and also becoming sensitive to touch, during this period.

However, bodily changes during pregnancy differ from one person to other. Some may experience changes earlier or later in their pregnancy. It is essential to pay attention to your body and breast changes and to purchase maternity bras as soon as you start to feel discomfort, or notice that your regular bras are no longer fitting properly.

Importantly, get professionally fitted for a maternity bra regularly as the size and shape of your breasts tend to change throughout pregnancy and the breastfeeding period. Doing this helps you ensure that you put on your ideal bra size and bra type for your changing body.

What are nursing bras?

Nursing bras are a type of bra specifically designed for breastfeeding mothers. Nursing bras make breastfeeding convenient and more comfortable thanks to their cups that can be unclipped or folded down. So convenient are the clips and snaps that you simply open and close using one hand.

Just like maternity bras, nursing bras feature wide straps and a substantial band that offer additional support to the heavier and fuller breasts experienced during breastfeeding.

What’s more, nursing bras comprise soft, stretchy, and breathable fabric that not only accommodates the growing breasts but also absorbs any leaking breast milk.

Whether you want a sleeping bra, sports bra, wireless, or underwire bra, nursing bras come in different bra types to meet the varying needs of nursing mothers.

It is important to put on a comfortable and supportive nursing bra. Therefore, seek the services of a professional bra fitter to determine your precise bra size and ideal bra shape.

When to buy nursing bras

Although, there is no definitive time as to when to buy a nursing bra, consider purchasing them at the tail end of the third trimester or after the baby is born.

Nevertheless, It’s a good idea to have a few nursing bras on hand before the baby arrives, so you’re prepared for breastfeeding. You can purchase a few nursing bras in your pre-pregnancy size or in a slightly larger size to accommodate any breast changes that occur during pregnancy.

Conversely, you can choose to buy nursing bras after giving birth. The ideal time is around two to four weeks post-natal, once your milk comes in and your breast size and shape have stabilized.

However, note that your breast’s size and shape tend to change during the breastfeeding period, therefore, always consult a professional bra fitter for precise bra measurements. Remember that too-tight nursing bras can cause health-related complications specifically mastitis, clogged ducts, and in some cases decrease in breastmilk supply.

Maternity bra Vs Nursing bra

Maternity bras and nursing bras are both designed for the unique needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women.

While they are similar in many aspects, the main point of departure is the fact that nursing bras feature clasps or panels on its cup that make breastfeeding more convenient and easy, while maternity bras don’t.

Here are some other key differences:

1. Function

Maternity bras are designed to provide support and comfort to your growing and changing breasts during pregnancy. Nursing bras are designed with special cups to support and make breastfeeding easy and more convenient for the mother and the baby.

2. Cups

Maternity bras have regular cups, while nursing bras have cups that can be unclipped or folded down to allow for breastfeeding.

3. Fabric

Both maternity and nursing bras are usually made with soft, stretchy, and breathable fabrics, but nursing bras often have additional features such as absorbent pads to handle leaking milk.

Maternity bras and nursing bras share many similarities. They include:

1. Designed for pregnant and breastfeeding women

Both types of bras are designed to provide support and comfort for women during the changes that occur in their breasts during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

2. Soft and stretchy fabric

Maternity and nursing bras are typically made with soft, stretchy, and breathable fabrics to provide comfort and accommodate changes in breast size and shape.

3. Wide straps and band

Both types of bras often have wider straps and a more substantial band than regular bras to provide extra support to the growing breasts.

4. Available in different styles

Both maternity and nursing bras come in a variety of styles, including wire-free, underwire, and sports bras to meet the different needs of pregnant and nursing women.

FAQs About Maternity Bra Vs Nursing Bra

Can you wear underwired bras when pregnant or breastfeeding?

Generally, it is advisable not to put on underwired bras during pregnancy and post-natal. This is because they can compress and exert pressure on your sensitive and growing breasts (during pregnancy) or swollen gorged boobs (during breastfeeding). This would result in discomfort and potential damage to breast tissue that could lead to mastitis.

Do I need a maternity bra if not breastfeeding?

Even if you are planning not to breastfeed your newborn, it is important to put on a maternity bra. Here’s why! During pregnancy and after baby delivery, your breasts undergo significant breast changes; becoming fuller and heavier. Therefore, you need a bra that offers extra comfort and support that regular bras can’t provide.

Are maternity and nursing bras the same?

Maternity and nursing bras are similar in many ways. However, nursing bras feature cups specially designed with clasps and panels that make breastfeeding easy while maternity bras lack.
Also, nursing bras come with features such as absorbent pads for leaking breast milk while maternity bras don’t.
See also: Supportive nursing bras for large bust

In summary, both maternity and nursing bras are essential for new and expectant mothers.

While a maternity bra provides support and comfort during pregnancy, a nursing bra is specifically designed for breastfeeding, making it easier and more comfortable for both mother and baby.

You can interchangeably use nursing bras as maternity bras as they offer the same comfort and support but maternity cannot be used in breastfeeding as it does not have the necessary features.

Additional Questions

Are nursing bras and maternity bras the same?

No, **nursing bras and maternity bras are not identical**, they serve different purposes. A maternity bra is designed to provide support to your breasts as they grow larger throughout pregnancy, while a nursing bra is typically used post-birth to facilitate breastfeeding.

Is it appropriate to wear nursing bras during pregnancy?

Yes, you can comfortably wear nursing bras while pregnant. Many nursing bras come with features like **soft, wire-free support**, which are especially beneficial during the later stages of pregnancy when discomfort is common.

At what point should I transition to a maternity bra?

I recommend making the switch to a maternity bra around the 16-week mark in your pregnancy. This is when your breasts begin preparing for lactation and undergo various changes. Opt for a **comfortable, well-fitting maternity bra that can adjust to your changing bust size** for optimal support.

Do I need to size up when selecting a maternity bra?

Yes, it is quite normal to move up one or two cup sizes during pregnancy as your breasts grow. It’s also common for women to become wider across the back due to the expansion of the rib cage to accommodate the baby. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of wearing a **well-fitted maternity bra** since an uncomfortable bra can lead to back and neck aches and even affect your posture.