Help Me Shop Online for Nursing Bras
June 30, 2014 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Help me shop online for nursing bras. I am currently a 38G with the expectation of major fluctuations after the birth of my first child in August. I do not have stores nearby with a range of nursing bras in my size, and I prefer to shop online anyway, so please help me sort through the options.

Please help me! I need suggestions for supportive nursing leisure bras and also regular nursing bras with the lift & support & separation (and comfort) of my current bras.

I am currently a 38G (up from a 38DDD before pregnancy) and I will be bigger, of course, after my milk comes in. I know my size will change a lot in the months following delivery. I don't expect to buy a ton of bras now, but I would like to get some suggestions for good bras in this size range, as well as advice on how to buy a nursing bra when one doesn't know how much fluctuation to expect and how to get good lift & support despite the fluctuations.

I live in a small town and my options are limited. I am really only interested only in items that can be purchased online and shipped to the continental US (especially as these purchases will likely be made post-baby when I will not be interested in driving 4+ hours to shop for bras).

My favorite bra is the Cacique Balconette from Lane Bryant. I've worn these exclusively for many years. They are serious underwire bras with major support. I understand that underwire is verboten for breastfeeding or I would consider altering some of these bras with clips.

Leisure nursing bras will be okay for the first couple of weeks. After I start to leave the house again, I will not be comfortable without some support, lift, and separation. At about 6 weeks postpartum, I will be attending my sister's wedding with the new baby in tow, and I will need a decent bra for that, and then also for my return to work after 12 weeks postpartum.

Please keep in mind my size above, and please suggest stores that cater to that kind of sizing or bigger. I will not consider bras that aren't sized by band/cup, and I will be hard-pressed to consider any bra that doesn't look like it will be supportive (multiple hooks & padded straps at least). I prefer molded & padded cups for the non-leisure bras.

Please do not suggest cheap nursing tanks with shelf bras. Shelf bras are the worst. A friend passed along an old Target nursing tank that was too big everywhere but even my currently non-inflated breasts were too big for the shelf bra. I do plan to buy some Undercover Mama tanks later on, but those are intended to work with a nursing bra rather than provide any support on their own.

Thank you!
posted by aabbbiee to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Hm, I don't have any good online references specifically, but you might have good luck getting references if you join your local (or regional) La Leche League group. You might also try to find some lactation consultants in your area, they should have good references.

You might also talk to your hospital. My hospital offered a full range of support with regard to breastfeeding, from renting pumps to selling nursing bras, but I don't think they carried larger sizes. But if your hospital offers similar services, they may have some references for you.
posted by vignettist at 1:59 PM on June 30, 2014

There are plenty of nice underwire nursing bras. They're perfectly safe. I'm about your size (and didn't get much bigger when my milk came in) and found Bravado worked well.
posted by judith at 2:04 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

As a fellow large-busted person, Lady Grace was my go-to for nursing bras (in person, not online, but as you can see they do sell on line as well). Full range of sizes up to a 46I. These are sturdy, no-nonsense classic nursing bras. I wore the Elila style, but of course that may not work for you.

That being said, I was measured for a nursing bra 4 days before my son was born, and it didn't fit 1 week post-partum AT ALL. So, my biggest advice would be not to buy anything but tanks prior to birth, and then measure really, really carefully about 1 week post-partum (when your actual milk comes in fully, not just early milk), and be financially prepared to order a range of sizes and styles and return the ones that don't work. Here is their on-line return policy.
posted by anastasiav at 2:07 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bravissimo in the UK currently offers 4 styles of nursing bra, it appears. I used to order from them quite a bit - their shipping is fast and they have good customer service.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:11 PM on June 30, 2014

I purchased from this store when I had our first child. She has a huge selection of bras and sizes. I actually visited their warehouse, so I didn't puchase online, the owner was super helpful and I overheard her helping someone over the phone figure out their size while I was in the changing room.

I 've heard good reviews of BreakoutBras although I haven't used them.

Also both Nordstrom's and Zappo's carry a small selection of nursing bras and have free shipping/returns.
posted by snowymorninblues at 2:23 PM on June 30, 2014

I had a difficult time finding nursing bras in my size. I ended up going to Nordstrom a few weeks ago where they have expert fitters and carry a huuuuuge array of sizes that the nice ladies BRING you to your fitting room. The only way to shop for bras. I got fitted in a *regular* bra and for an extra $16 they have a seamstress who can alter almost any bra and turn it into a nursing bra. Worth every penny for correct support!
posted by crayon at 3:17 PM on June 30, 2014

When my wife was in a similar situation we had amazingly good service from The Bust Stop in Tulsa.
posted by Runes at 3:42 PM on June 30, 2014

I nurse Nd wear an underwire. It just has to be wide enough not to push on your breast. I had the ladies at Nordstrom confirm and then alter.
posted by mrfuga0 at 3:43 PM on June 30, 2014

Decent Exposures. The bras are supportive, they come in large sizes (I went up to a 40J when my milk came in), they are comfortable enough to wear to sleep, they are extremely good at fitting you over the phone as the majority of their business is mail order, and they are made in Seattle by women who get paid a living wage.
posted by KathrynT at 3:43 PM on June 30, 2014

I am a chesty lady myself, and when I was pregnant/nursing, I ordered some great bras from I can't remember the exact brand that I purchased, and unfortunately, I've gotten rid of the bras.

However, the website is excellent. The search tools are great. It's not cheap, but if you are looking for high quality, dependable nursing bras and lots of choice, this is a great site to try.
posted by cleverevans at 4:00 PM on June 30, 2014

Somewhere on here I was referred to Linda the Bra Lady. You can get great help over the phone. The person I spoke with knew what she was talking about, and two years later, I'm still wearing the nursing bra I bought from then. That takes the price-per-wear down pretty low. It looks like they have a few options in your size.
posted by orange (sherbet) rabbit at 4:10 PM on June 30, 2014

I am 8 months into nursing, and wear a 36H now. This Up from approximately 36F pre-pregnancy.

I've ordered from breakout bras, and fig leaves. Breakout bras used to have free returns but I don't believe they still do.

I'll go one step further and give a recommendation for Anita underwire nursing bras. (I'll note that in non nursing years, I wear cacique bras, but not balconettes.) They do NOT have padded straps, but the straps are beautifully constructed thick and soft elastic. They work perfectly with the undercover mama tank I have, too.

Good luck!
posted by waterisfinite at 6:31 PM on June 30, 2014

I ordered from Lactation Connection when I was nursing and also fed up with those horrendous shelf bras from Target. Here is a link to the one I got.

Looks like it goes up to the size you need. Good luck! I loved this bra because it lifted, gave support, and hid the nursing pads.
posted by elisebeth at 6:41 PM on June 30, 2014

Just was going to recommend the bravado bliss as well. I tried on ~5 at a hospital lactation store and this was the best (32D/E). Even after I stopped nursing I kept wearing them (they're comfy supportive and I was pregnant again so you know) and just ordered a larger cup version (F/G) bc back to back pregnancy nursing pregnancy requires it.

I'd also say that if you have any doubt about the band size, you should probably go with the smaller size. It'll stretch of course as all bras do, but it also comes with an extender tab. So I probably need a 34 right now but just barely, so I got a 32 and use the tab, then when the darn thing gets stretched, I can ditch that and it'll still fit.

Also they are available from amazon.
posted by pennypiper at 9:35 PM on June 30, 2014

I was your exact same size during pregnancy and went up to a 38I when my milk came in. Bravada bras are comfy, but not supportive enough for me. You will almost certainly need underwire. I went and got fitted and bought a couple Anita bras. They are surprisingly affordable. The Elomi is very supportive with padded straps.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 8:23 AM on July 1, 2014

My second is 8 months old, I am wearing a 38G currently in nursing bras. I refuse to wear a non wired bra, as soft cup bras (even the "good" ones are for shit). And I will not wear sports bra either, because uniboob is an awful look on anyone, let alone a nursing mom

Breakout, bare necessities, and Bravissimo are your friends. Read the fit notes on breakout bras, they are super helpful. is also good. But follow the sizing tips from breakout bras, and look askance at anyone telling you to add 4 inches to get your band size.

Lactation consultants recommended Bravado bras, which are awful and have zero support. I bought two that supposedly were my size according to the chart, and they did nothing. I would not take bra recommendations from them ever again, and the selection I've seen at my local nursing /baby stores are almost exclusively soft cup shit, but I am a bra snob.

Normally, non nursing, I'd say nordstrom, but their selection of nursing bras in the higher ranges is not great.

My go to brands are Anita, and Elomi . occasionally cake and hot milk have decent styles

Styles :
The best ever, I have worn one out and repurchased two more : Anita stretch microfiber 5068

Anita spacer nursing bra 5059

Anita 5092
Anita padded softcup #5034 (the only soft cup I will tolerate)

Elomi seamless cup #3912

Cake flexible wire balcony #21-1010-37
posted by kumquatmay at 5:57 PM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Update! I ballooned out to a 38J when my milk came in after the birth of my son (August 28, 2014). I have found a few bras that work for me, so I'm linking them here.

First of all, the Elomi Seamless Underwire Bra is my favoritest. It is supportive and comfortable. I do not like the nursing clasps as they require two hands, but the two-layer cups allow for some fluctuation without breast tissue oozing around the edges of the bra. The fabric is thick enough that I don't feel totally exposed given that I'm used to a padded contoured bra.

I did try the Anita Nursing Bra (#5068), which I thought was okay except that the fabric is really really thin. However, it doesn't go all the way up to the cup size I am now.

For a leisure/sleeping bra, it turns out that I really like the Leading Lady leisure bra that I bought early in pregnancy. The hooks in front allow me to keep the bra together while nursing from one side or the other. It's comfortable for sleeping. I found that the nylon version stretches much better than the cotton version of this bra; the nylon version is pretty comfortable even for a J-cup (even though it says F-G-H).

I bought an Amamante Comfy & Curvy Nursing Bra, which is okay but really not supportive for even a G-cup. I do not like the way it's held together for nursing on the front and not on the sides.

I also bought a PumpEase pumping bra that I like a lot. I have the large size and it fits me best on the smallest hook setting. The colors are crazy, but then you only have to take a glance into your pumping bag to be sure you've remembered it.

You'll notice my favorites include underwire. I just couldn't go wire-free; I'm far more comfortable with wires. I've read that most people who have clogged ducts attribute them to underwire that is too small, though, so I'm hoping I won't have to deal with that.

Thank you!
posted by aabbbiee at 2:57 PM on November 6, 2014

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