Choosing a good nursing bra

Finding a good fitting bra at the best of times is a challenge and so many women are, in fact, walking around in an ill-fitting bra.  Most of us have two different sized breasts and it is important to fit the larger breast rather than the smaller.  Having a good fitting bra (and some might add attractive too) when you are nursing your babies, is an essential part of the process.  A nursing bra needs to provide good support for enlarged breasts, be comfortable, easy to undo when it is time to nurse and helps us feel good about nursing.

Here are some tips on choosing a good nursing bra

  1. Have someone else do the measuring for you so that you can be sure the measurements are correct.  Looking down and measuring can be a challenge to do correctly.  You need two measurements:  one around the fullest part of the breast (i.e. over the nipples and level around the back), and one just below the breasts on the rib cage.
  2. Inhale deeply each time before measuring.
  3. For your bra size, measure your rib cage and add 10cms. (4ins.) to the measurement you get, e.g. if you are 710.2cms. (28ins.) around the rib cage, add 10cms. (4inches), making you 810.3cms. (32ins.).  If your rib cage measurement is an uneven figure, e.g. 730.5cms. (29ins), then add 12.5cms. (5ins.), making you 860.5cms. (34ins.).
  4. To obtain your cup size, measure around the fullest part of your breast. The difference between the the rib cage measurement and the breast measurement, provides the cup size:

Less than 2.5cms (1in.)   – A cup
2.5-5cms. (1-2 ins.)   – B cup
5-7.5cms. (2-3 ins.)   – C cup
7.5-10cms. (3-4 ins.)  – D cup
10cms. (4ins.) or more  – DD cup

  1. When you are trying on the bra, try to undo the cup flap and do it up again with one hand.  Many a nursing mother has found her other arm engaged in quieting, holding and/or positioning a baby as she prepares to nurse.
  2. There are many new styles of bras out now, some resembling a stretchy tank top (e.g. Bravado) or bathing suit top.  Many women like these as they are comfortable, stretchy, easy to arrange for nursing and come in great colours so if anyone notices, it is no big deal.
  3. Remember that your cup size may change as you continue to nurse your babies and your breasts swell to accommodate the demands of feeding two or more infants.  If your bra is feeling uncomfortable or tight, you probably need a new size (usually larger).
  4. You will no doubt need some nursing pads to catch any leaks so your clothing won’t be soaked.  In case you weren’t aware, ANY crying baby will stimulate your milk letdown so if you are in the mall and another baby begins to cry, with nursing pads you are prepared.  Nursing pads come in disposable and washable/reuseable.  The downside of the former is that you may not feel when they are wet, and therefore run the risk of getting sore nipples as it rubs against you or thrush* which can be transmitted to your babies.
  5. There are conflicting views on underwires.  If these are not bothering you and you would rather that your bra have some, then go for it.  It needs to work for you.
  6. Most Lactation Consultants can help fit you for a proper sized nursing bra.


Thrush is common term used to describe candidiasis of the mouth and throat. The formal term used to describe Thrush is Oropharyngeal Candidiasis (OPC). Oropharyngeal Candidiasis or Thrush is a fungal infection that occurs when there is overgrowth of candida fungus. Candida is normally found in small amounts on skin and/or mucous membranes. However, if the conditions inside the mouth or throat become out of balance, candida will multiply and cause symptoms of Thrush to start to appear.


Reviewed and input by Erin Shaheen, mother of 4, including twins.