Behind the Seams, Bra Fit Experts

New Mom Laura Burke on How to Choose a Nursing Bra


Say hello to Laura Burke, Director of Customer Service, Bra Fit Expert and mom to a 4-year-old son and a 7-month-old daughter. To say she’s a woman in demand, at work and at home, would be a serious understatement. We wanted to find out everything she knows professionally and personally about nursing bras (one thing new moms don’t have all that much of is free time to do research), not to mention how she holds it all together when life’s going a hundred miles a minute in every direction.

Give her, or any of our certified Bra Fit Experts, a ring at 877-728-9272 or tweet questions to @barenecessities with the hashtag #getalift. They’re at your service.

Laura Burke, Director of Customer Service

Bra size: 34DDD
Life’s work: Building teams of smart professionals who genuinely want to help others. We Bra Fit Experts derive serious satisfaction from what we do. Every call is different and a chance to build a lasting relationship, to help our customers thrive in their day-to-day lives. We hear from them directly, and I love being able to anticipate their needs before they know they need something! Our goal is to use our fit and style knowledge to make women feel invincible.
Role model: Other women. My twin sister and I only had our mom in our lives for 15 years and now, as we get closer to 40, the age at which she passed, we work harder and harder to embody her strength and courage.
Personal mantra: There is a little nugget of goodness in everyone. Find it, appreciate it and learn from it.
Passionate about: Is it bad to say shoes? Okay, my job and the success of my family.

Nursing bra know-how

We Bra Fit Experts are specially trained to fit nursing bras, which have clasps or panels that allow easy access for breastfeeding. The toughest part is figuring out what sizes to buy for during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Personally, I went from a 34DDD to a 36H and every size in between. Later in pregnancy, your rib cage expands, so typically you need to go up one band size to be more comfortable. You may want to consider a stretchy cup to accommodate some of the fluctuation. A nursing bra should never be too tight. Underwire versus wire-free is a comfort preference; there is no right or wrong.

Personal choices

Some women start wearing a nursing bra in the third trimester. Others wear their favorite bra throughout pregnancy, just in a bigger size. You’ll be wearing a nursing bra for as long as you decide to breastfeed, and that’s a very personal decision. When you’ve weaned, get re-fitted—you may not be the same as your former size.

Where to buy nursing bras

Find nursing bras in your third trimester so you have a better idea of your size, and your hospital bag will packed and ready. I would also pick up some nursing camisoles for daytime so your belly is covered. We WILL have your size in many different brands, and we WILL be able to figure out your fit. And shopping online is perfect for that uncomfortable third trimester when you don’t feel like doing much. Your bedroom becomes your dressing room!

Our dedicated nursing bra merchandizer, Michelle, loves:

Bravado Body Silk Wire-Free Nursing Bra – a best seller for its ease and comfort

Anita Stretch Microfiber Nursing Bra – an underwire style in an inclusive size range

Elomi Molded Nursing Bra – could totally pass for a regular bra and goes up to an H cup

Heidi Klum Intimates Sabine Wire-Free Nursing bra – stretch lace so gorgeous you’d never know it was a nursing bra…because you deserve to feel divine right now!

Ups and downs

Your milk comes in a few days after giving birth, and you want to anticipate the engorgement. After a month or so of nursing, you’ll most likely go down a cup size, and you’ll need to go back to a tighter band. It’s also common to sleep in a bra while nursing. Consider a cotton sleep bra or bralette for the extra support you need. I liked the Coobie bralettes.

Nursing bra fitting

The center of the bra, or the gore, should tack against the chest wall, and the cup should fully surround the breast tissue. For the band, you can ease up a little in a nursing bra. It shouldn’t be as snug as usual. You can always tighten the band as your body returns to normal, so get a nursing bra that feels comfortable on the loosest hook.

On juggling

For years, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mom, but now I couldn’t imagine life without my two little monkeys. I keep it all together because I chose well in a spouse. He’s a true partner, and we have to support each other to survive. He’d say I run a tight ship. It helps me stay sane, and my kids feel secure because they always know what to expect.

Best new mom advice

This will be a beautiful, magical experience, yes, but it’s okay to admit it can also be challenging. Regardless of what you’re feeling, speak your truth. Breastfeeding can be surprisingly hard and it may not happen for you or, like me, you may not like it. It’s all good. Just take care of yourself and do the best you can for your family.

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Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.
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