My first nursing bra and pregnancy related perks

Hi dears,

Let’s talk pregnancy bras. During pregnancy, hormones cause changes in the breast tissue, which make the breasts swollen, sore and extra sensitive to touch. It can be painful.

 

Bras that fit well pre-pregnancy become quite uncomfortable to wear during pregnancy due to the added sensitivity, growing breast tissue and the expanding ribs:

  • Bras with underwires, that provide the best support for larger breasts, are especially painful to wear because the wire is now smaller than the growing root of the breast.
  • Many women experience internal pressure around the rib cage, which expands (because the ligaments soften) to accomodate the organs in compression and the expanding uterus, and external pressure from the bottom band elastic, which provides support for the cups. Physically, these counteracting pressures likely lead to discomfort around the rib cage.

 

What can I do to ease breast pain and discomfort?

The amount of discomfort usually varies during the day. If you are a full busted woman, your best bet is to find at least a couple of good, supportive bras (which can be quite difficult).

In my case, I experienced quite a bit of breast tenderness and rib pain around the bra band during the first and second trimester. There were a few things I did to alleviate some of the discomfort:

  • Having a bra extension can help. You can change the length of the bra band by adding the extension.
  • You can also carry a different type of bra, like a sports bra or a bralette, and change it when you feel discomfort.
  • Some people recommend to wear a “soft and breathable fabric belt” or some sort of “cushion” below the bra band to more evenly distribute the external pressure from the band.

If the pain is too intense, some people need the intervention of a physical therapist and sometimes need to wear orthopaedic braces. Rib pain will usually go away once the baby drops towards the cervix in preparation for birth; in my case most of the discomfort disappeared during the third trimester.

 

With all these body changes happening, I was in need of bigger bras with good support, and with little energy to sew my own…

Trying to find a comfortable bra with no underwires in ready to wear (RTW) has been a FREAKING NIGHTMARE!! I found a couple of bras that fitted reasonably well when I first tried them on, but because the cups were made out of jersey, they lost the support after an hour or so.

 

Pattern, sizing and materials:

I was left with no other option than making my own, so I decided to use the EZI SEW nursing bra as my starting point. I originally thought this bra was designed by Bra-makers Supplies, but after working with the pattern, I found that it is not as well drafted as their other bras.

I found a review for this pattern in Pattern Review in case you want to read more about it.

I chose to start with a 24- E according to my measurements. Inspired by Erin, I constructed my bra using the 15 denier in nude color (with a little bit of mechanical stretch), the powernet, and the findings from the pretty pink and black bra kit from the TheEmeraldStudio. I also used 3/4″ nursing clips fromย  Bra-makers Supplies.

Erin Inspiration.jpg

 

Here’s the bra:

This is how this bra (right) compares to the best RTW (left) I was able to find:

 

Likeable & Dislikeable features:

I like several features of this bra.

  • As it is, it is by far the bra I have been wearing the most during pregnancy and the one that provides most comfort.
  • I like that the cups are non-stretch, but do have a bit of mechanical give. They provide more breast support compared to the RTW options I found.
  • I feel like the nursing clips enable extra space to let the breasts to grow and/or swell when they need to.
  • Wireless to prevent strain around the root of the breast.
  • Wide (5/8″), firm elastic for the straps and the bottom band to provide support.
  • Good firm power net at the back band.

The features I dislike:

  • The cups are drafted a bit small and there is gaping between my breasts at the center bra band, where the band should be touching the chest (I’m not even sure that that is possible to achieve for bras without underwires).
  • My breast apex (marked roughly by the center of the pads) is approximately 2″ above the apex line, so that needs to be changed.
  • The instructions for the pattern are not written in detail, so prior knowledge of bra construction is required.
  • Pattern markings are off in certain areas and more of them would be useful to make the construction and fitting easier.

In my next version, I will try trace a 24F size and split the lower cup. Hopefully that will improve the fit.

What do you think? Do you have any advice? Have you tried any pregnancy/nursing bra patterns before?

Thatโ€™s it for today!

Have a great Easter weekend!

โค

M

 

Miscellaneous:

Other notes and thoughts on my dream pregnancy and nursing bra:

From a design prespective, the following bra design features would impact the pregnancy and nursing wearing comfort in a positive way (what I would like to design for myself and/or what I would have liked to find):

  • Thin full band bra with a gothic arch to allow the belly to grow comfortably as far up as it needs, while still providing support to the cups.
  • Cups made out of a fabric with low mechanical stretch, to provide breast support, but without compressing.
  • Cups with movable joints (with nursing clips) so the breasts have enough space to grow and swell
  • Power bar that surrounds and supports the bottom and the side of the cups and grows onto the straps
  • No underwires
  • Wide straps and cups made out of non-stretchy material to provide enough support
  • Wide (5/8″), firm elastic with no picot edge for the back straps and the bottom band.
  • Good firm power net possibly doubled at the back band.

 

 

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24 Comments Add yours

  1. Rocio Lopez says:

    Me encanta ver , como logras identificar los problemas del embarazo y les buscas una solucion positiva y tan creativa. Tu punto de vista nos hace compartir contigo este bello embarazo. Luces preciosa! Excelente trabajo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ๐Ÿ™‚ Te quiero mucho tia!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A wireless bra will not lay against your sternum, like a wired bra. We’ve come to believe that all bras need to fit that way, which isn’t true. As long as it is comfortable, you have a winner. Looks good under the shirt, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your feedback JBP, very appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

    2. I think I should still change the cup line to fall onto my apex…

      Like

  3. Amelia Larson says:

    I think the Gothic Arch idea is a good one. I found under wired bras very uncomfortable during pregnancy mainly because I’m sort waisted and the wires chafed the top of my belly. Otherwise I think they’d have been fine. I think multiple clips to help accommodate breast size changes is also a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amelia,
      Thanks for your comment. ๐Ÿ™‚ My underwired bras were quite uncomfortable at the beginning of my pregnancy, and I did notice theat my breast root size changed. I think underwired bras will only work once you are certain that your breast root is fully developed.
      I am hoping to try gothic arch and thin full band in one of my future versions, so we’ll see how that goes.
      All best,
      M

      Like

  4. Abbey says:

    Oh Mon! Even your preggo bra is nice! Will you be showing your next try?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Abbey, I surely will! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love to get feedback and advice from the online comunity!

      Like

  5. Wow, you put so muh information into this post! I think that’s great and I really liked reading it. Maybe I’ll come back on it sometime! I’m glad you sewed yourself a bra that feels comfortable. Looking forward to seeing your next one ๐Ÿ™‚
    Katharina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kat,
      That’s just what I thought while I was writing it. I really needed to write all the stuff that I found relevant in one place. I had it spread in different files. I also wrote more things because the thoughts I have while I’m writing… It would be great if other people find this information useful. There is really not that much about this pattern nor about nursing and pregnancy bras. I think that’s mainly because pregnant women don’t feel like sewing much during the pregnancy.
      Best,
      M

      Like

  6. Brooke says:

    I actually have this pattern and have made it quite a bit- mostly trying to get it to fit! As the sizes get larger the straps get farther apart and the top cup is quite deep. Some of the adjustments I needed to make for myself were moving the straps closer together in the front and the back by A LOT, shortening the top cup by a lot ( which means shortening the inside support, too, which was a PAIN), and I made the bridge as narrow as I could get. Some of these were just to fit me and some were due to grading issues, I think. I bought the pattern back when Elingeria was still around. It is not drafted by Bra-makers, but I would love to see them draft a nursing bra pattern. I would buy it for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s such an interesting report! I did think of bringing the straps closer together, and I also think that there’s a grading issue because working with the largest size cups available, the lower cup doesn’t reach my bust apex. I’m now trying some adjustments and we will see how the new version fits. Thanks for your comment Brooke! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  7. I’ve actually had a lot of luck with Lane Bryant’s cotton no-wire bra for both nursing and pregnancy, but I have a very different shape than you. While I was nursing, I actually found the whole clip unclip dance really annoying, it was much quicker and easier to just pop a boob over the top of the cup than bother with a clip. A lot of my friends really enjoy nursing camisols which are like camis with a built in nursing bra instead of a shelf bra. They’re really great in summer and it’s so hot you don’t want to put any extra clothes on at all, and also great during the depths of winter when they can be an extra barrier between body and air.

    Like

    1. Hi NWR, those would definitely be options if my breasts weren’t so big!! Apparently they will even get more so with the engorgement! ! I can’t even imagine!!!

      Like

      1. My biggest complaint about the commercially available nursing bras is the complete lack of support. I’m so glad you’re being proactive about this! It was really awful to spend all that money on something that barely even lifted my breasts from my belly. It made me feel even worse about how I looked after having my daughter.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey NWR,
        I couldn’t agree with you more! I am on the path to finding a bra that works for me and makes me feel supported and beautiful during this pregnancy. I will continue to share my experiments along the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

        It’s certainly unfair that the RTW industry can make us feel so uncomfortable or worse about our bodies while they perform such a wonderful and loving job during pregnancy!

        The greatest advantage about being able to sew our own clothes is that we can turn that feeling around and make clothes that make us feel beautiful and confident in any situation.

        Thanks for sharing your experiences! ๐Ÿ˜‰

        โค
        M

        Like

  8. Andie W. says:

    Looks great! One step closer to a great fit. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been testing different cup alterations like a crazy person!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ luckuly I figured out an efficient way to do it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  9. Tanya Maile says:

    Leave you to you make a nursing bra! But of course with all of your bra-making talent, we should expect it. You’re getting closer to your little one making an appearance. It must be so fun preparing for her!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi my darling, I was hoping to meet the CSC deadline for the lingerie month, but my body was in some sort of sleepy inertia. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Like

    2. Also, it really has been fun preparing for this little one. We read in preparation for it every morning and we have started to get some important things. The best part of it all is feeling that she moves a lot and that she’s growing healthy. Hopefully everything will continue to be as good as it has. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

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