Buying a maternity bra can be a nightmare. Wading through the drab and uninspiring collections in a lot of the high street brands and department stores is frankly often depressing. I appreciate getting it right is not an easy business, with your shape and your boobs constantly changing, meaning you need more support, comfort and flexibility than ever before, but it still seems like such a shame that so many of the big names still default to drab neutrals.
Navigating the minefield can be tough, so heres a few thoughts on where to shop and what to look for, along with my picks of what is out there at the moment.
If you’re not looking for a nursing bra because you’re in the early stages of pregnancy then naturally the options open to you are a little wider, but finding something suitable can still be tricky. It’s worth remembering that you don’t have to give up on underwire when you’re pregnant, particularly in the early stages, but you may find it more comfortable to go with a non-wired option as your shape changes.
Bear in mind that you could go up a number of cup sizes along the way, so you might want to hold off spending too much in the first trimesters. This time around I’ve gone from being a B to an E cup which has been quite the shock! Having stocked up on more comfortable, fabric non-wired options in the early days it’s meant I haven’t need to buy new ones every month which is great. Though at 31 weeks, I’m definitely getting to the stage now where I’m starting to think about more supportive (bigger) and possibly nursing options.
Debenhams have a solid range of non-nursing maternity bras, which are simple but designed for the job. They also stock the Triumph “Magic Wire” bra which has a flexible silicone wire which would be a good half way house too.
The other department stores are frankly lacking in their maternity bra / nursing assortments. John Lewis has broadly the same styles I had when I was pregnant almost 3 years ago. Though they have added in a floral print which frankly wouldn’t be out of place in the “my first bra section”. It’s disappointing to say the least.
M&S do a decent range of non-wired options though, with t-shirt bras and bralets which would definitely work for you through pregnancy, and they don’t cost the earth.
I also went to Selfridges this week as I’d been told their maternity range was really broad. Unfortunately it really wasn’t, with only 3 brands on offer, but I have to say the service was amazing. I didn’t have an appointment, and fully expected to be sent away with a flea in my ear as I have been in pretty much every other department store having walked in and tried to be fitted. They squeezed me in though and spent ages fitting and running around grabbing new styles in different sizes for me to check they worked perfectly. I did come away with a Heidi Klum bra, which I’ve listed below as it was so pretty and functional I couldn’t resist.
If you’re looking for non-nursing bras which would work for pregnancy and really want to keep spends down then check out Primark too. They do a number of bralets and non wired options which are frankly cheap as chips. I’ve got a lot of use out of a £3.50 bralet this pregnancy, and it’s pretty and comfortable, though not quite as supportive as I need in this final trimester.
If you’re looking for nursing maternity bras it’s definitely worth checking out some of the smaller independent brands which are designing some great options which won’t leave you desperate to ditch them as soon as possible. I’ve included a lot of them in the round up below, but if you’re looking for a bit of a one stop shop which covers a few, then check out new maternity online store Ninery. Ninery has has a dedicated Bra Hub talking all things maternity bras.
Despite my aversion to it as you can tell from the above, the best thing when it comes to maternity bras is to get fitted regularly so you don’t end up uncomfortable in what you have. Mothercare have a good guide on when to get fitted through the trimesters. And remember most stores expect you to book an appointment online now, so don’t forget to do that before heading out.
If you’re looking for right at the end of pregnancy, and planning on breastfeeding, then get some sleep nursing bras. I thought they were pointless for about 3 days after having my first, and then after faffing around with clips and hooks in the middle of the night for what felt like the millionth time, I relented. I bought a couple of night feeding bras from Jojo Mama Bebe and never looked back, they simply slip sideways so you can feed, and are soooo much easier!
If you’re looking for nursing bras, and want to protect a bit more modesty but not make your child feed under a blanket the whole time, look for options with a modesty panel. This sits on top of the boob, and makes you feel a bit more covered. As your confidence grows you might not be bothered, but they’re a good way to start the breastfeeding process.
Finally it’s definitely worth investing in some new maternity bras as it’ll lift your mood and your outfit if you’re happy with your underwear. Plus having the right fit and shape for your changing body will avoid any unwanted lumps and bumps.
Here’s my picks of maternity bras focusing this time predominantly on nursing options…
Figleaves has always been a go-to site for me for lingerie, particularly when looking for maternity as they have a number of different brands. The assortment isn’t huge, so not overwhelming, delivery isn’t extortionate, and returns are easy and free, which when you’re not sure on sizing, is a must!
And now for the best of the rest…