Types of Maternity and Breastfeeding Bras

As soon as you’re pregnant, it can feel like your boobs start to undergo all these changes. Sensitive, sore, swollen… it’s not long until you need some new bras for these new assets.

But with so many options to choose from, where do you even begin? In this blog we take you through the different types of maternity and breastfeeding bras in NZ.


Wire-free or not?!  

First things first: Pregnancy and breastfeeding is the time to go wire free! Wire-free maternity bras will accommodate changes more comfortably and won’t dig into your sensitive breasts. Wire-free bras are flexible, soft, and safe for breastfeeding.

When is the best time to buy a maternity bra?

As soon as your current bras start to feel uncomfortable or no longer fit well, it’s time to move to a maternity bra. A supportive, non-wired bra will give you the support and comfort you need through pregnancy and beyond.

Maternity bras are usually made with wider straps on the shoulders and in the back, softer material, and they have clips in front to allow for easy breastfeeding access. A nursing bra should be supportive and well-fitting, but not tight.

Seamless Breastfeeding Bras

Seamless nursing bras are designed to grow with you, making them ideal for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Whether you are nearing the end of your pregnancy or have started breastfeeding, seamless breastfeeding bras are a comfortable, flexible choice.

Seamless nursing bras provide light to full support and are often made from stretchy nylon, spandex, and cotton blends. They are seam-free and therefore won’t dig in or irritate sensitive skin. Seamless bras work for pregnant and nursing women and due to their stretchy fabric, and many rows of hooks - one size can fit your changing band and cup size. 


Sleep Nursing Bras

Night-time can be uncomfortable when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and you may find a soft sleep bra will support your increasing bust size as you sleep. A lot of women also find that once they have their baby, they need to wear a bra or sleep bra in bed to hold breast pads in place for leakage control (and the subsequent washing!). You don’t only have to wear them at night of course - these bras are great for those who have sore, tender breasts.

Sleep bras are designed to make sleeping more comfortable while providing easy access for breastfeeding. Some sleep bras have no rows of hooks (pull on over your head). Made of breathable cotton, nylon, and spandex, sleep bras generally provide light support. Some sleep bras have cross-over designs and pull-down cups for breastfeeding access instead of clasps, so there’s no plastic digging into you - or baby - overnight.


Drop-down Cup Breastfeeding Bras

Drop-down cup breastfeeding bras are some of the most common styles of breastfeeding and maternity bras. They have a clip or clasp on each side that allows the cup to drop open for feeding access. Some have peek-a-boo style access, while others use a side-sling so the entire cup comes away (great for skin-to-skin contact).

Drop-down cup nursing bras are often designed with better support for heavier breasts. They are wire-free, have supportive bands and straps, and use many rows of hooks/eyes to allow for band changes.


Sports Nursing Bras

Maternity sports bras offer more coverage, support and padding than the average sports bra - plus with clips to allow for easy breastfeeding access while you’re working out.

Maternity sports bras are often designed with more coverage through the cups, and with thicker straps or a racerback design to provide maximum support. Maternity sports bras may have extra padding to prevent leaks or built-in pads for absorption, and they tend to have moulded or soft fabric cups with adjustable straps. These bras are great for working out or running errands on the go with high support. Look for sports nursing bras made from moisture wicking fabric to keep you dry. 


Crossover Nursing bras

Crossover nursing bras are soft and stretchy, with cups that simply pull aside for breastfeeding access, rather than clips. These maternity bras provide fast and easy breastfeeding access as there are no clips to deal with. Pull-aside nursing bras often provide less support, making them ideal for lounging and sleeping.


Pumping Maternity Bras

Pumping bras allow the convenience of hands-free pumping. With a pumping bra, you can also breastfeed on one side while pumping on the other. Pumping bras can also be worn as normal nursing bras. They usually have small openings in the front to make breastfeeding or pumping easier, and a way to secure the pump without having to hold it. As well as this, many pumping bras have an inner lining to absorb leakage. They usually offer mid to full coverage and support. 

Front Fastening breastfeeding bras

Front-fastening breastfeeding bras have a zip or clasps between the bust. Some women find this style is less discreet, because when the centre fastening is opened both breasts can feel exposed.

Choosing the right maternity bra

We all have our own preferences when it comes to the choosing the right maternity and breastfeeding bra. Sometimes you need to try on different designs and styles, to find the right fit for you.

At Close to the Heart we make exchanges super easy. It’s free to return your bras if the style, size or fit isn’t right. You’ll then receive a store credit to purchase your preferred size or style. For help choosing your breastfeeding bra, contact us at hello@closetotheheart.co.nz.


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