When it comes to breastfeeding, there are long lists of dos and don’ts. No coffee, no chocolate, no junk food -- and according to many websites and lactation consultants, no underwire bras. Underwire bras, experts said, could block the natural flow of breast milk, thus decreasing milk supply in the long run. So imagine my surprise when I learned that Bravado, one of the leading nursing brands, has launched an underwire nursing bra!
Once I started digging into the underwire issue, I learned that several other nursing brands now have underwire options available. Could this trend be an indication that this whole time, we didn’t need to forgo the amazing support that underwires provide us just because we were nursing?
Let’s find out.
First, you may wonder: what’s the deal with wanting to wear an underwire? If it’s not healthy while nursing, shouldn’t you just be okay without them for a while? Well, it’s not that easy.
For bustier women who really need support, an underwire is a must. And many new moms suddenly find themselves in this category, as breast size can increase 3 cup sizes when producing milk for baby. Under some clothing, especially professional work wear, an underwire bra with soft cup can also create a more attractive shape. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel sexy, which an underwire bra can really help achieve. It’s an instant mood “lifter.”
The concern about underwires and breastfeeding has to do with constriction. Milk ducts are not just in the visible breast tissue -- they extend all the way back to your rib cage and up into your armpit. Since milk needs to move freely through these ducts if you want to avoid a decrease in supply and even mastitis, it seems logical to nix underwires from the breastfeeding mom’s wardrobe, but now that more underwire lovers (count me in!) are questioning this notion, it turns out there is no evidence that an underwire actually restricts the ducts. The real culprit? A bra that fits too tightly.
That said, even if you now have the green light to wear underwires while breastfeeding, you will still need to give easy boob access to your little one, which regular bras don’t necessarily do.
Bravado’s new underwire nursing bra Belle has features such as a unique and flexible underwire designed to support several breast sizes without constriction while moving with mom’s body for extra comfort. It also has Petal-Soft™ fabric for absolute comfort, full drop away bra cup design for maximum skin-to-skin contact, and super soft foam cups with gentle stretch to accommodate mom’s changing shape. This style has also been tested and certified by Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 requirements, which ensures products are free from harmful substances. It’s a modern, smooth, sleek lingerie design with pretty feminine details that allows you to give your breast ultimate support while also giving your little one easy feeding access wherever and whenever he or she needs.
Rebecca Agi, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant of Best Milk LA , was apprehensive when first hearing of underwires making their way into the world of nursing bras. But she was pleased with the extensive studies that Bravado had done to design the Belle. She does however advise breastfeeding moms to avoid underwires for at least the first 6 weeks postpartum for the body to normalize to its new functions. At that point the mom will also know what is normal, should she make a change in her bra and notice a difference in milk production.
Rebecca says the Belle provides a great option for women who need the extra support that only an underwire can provide. That’s because the underwire placement was designed to sit lower than a typical underwire. Plus, it’s a great alternative to professional mothers who need undergarments with structure while still needing pumping functionality.
Don’t forget to do what’s best for you, however. Make sure that you feel comfortable in your bra and that it’s a flexible fit and not too tight. If you notice changes in milk production or develop mastitis while wearing an underwire, take a closer look at the fit of your bra and any other factors that are known to contribute to these conditions.
In the age of the supermom - juggling family and career while making it all look effortless on social media - we can now also keep our breasts properly supported while looking sexy and feeding our offspring. That’s right, the myth has been busted, and we’re so excited about it that we don’t even feel the need to have that coffee we shouldn’t be having.