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Nursing Bra Fitting the story

A Maternity / Nursing Bra Guide -- from our 14 years of experienceNursing Bra Size Chart
Congratulations, welcome to the world of motherhood.  Now, be sure to take care of yourself -- it is as important as taking care of your baby - they need you to be well!  Whether this is your first baby or your sixth baby, it is unique each time.  Our bodies change with each stage of pregnancy, even more reason for added help when finding the right size: a maternity bra, nursing bra or maternity clothing.                                                                     Properly fitting bras are especially important for your pregnant and nursing comfort.  8 out of 10 women wear the wrong size bra because it is not easy to know and most stores do not stock a full range of sizes. This is even more true when your body is changing and growing - when you are expecting or breastfeeding your little one!  We make the best bras, with comfort, support, flexibility and style all sculpted into a beautiful garment for you.  Your safety, health and care at the forefront of our developments.  Bella Materna bras are built to last, even guaranteed, many moms report our bras are the most practical because they last; not only from pregnancy through nursing, but for the little sisters and brothers that follow. ( No, that cheapo bra will not last, and you will spend more on several cheap ones, than a few high quality ones -- think of bras like tires...very important to get you to your destination.)

3-4 months pregnant = pre-pregnancy band with extender + increase cup 1 size (generally)
We recommend getting a new bra when you are pregnant and cannot fit into your pre-pregnancy bras (about 3-4 months).  Your breast size will out-grow this bra by the end of pregnancy!  But do not fear, you will get back to this size again when your cute little baby starts eating solid foods (World Health Organization recommends this at 6 months).  
The extender is very important and allows room for your rib cage to grow.  Ideally when new this bra will be on the 3rd hook of a 6 hook & eye closure at the back of a bra.  You will need the next 3 hook settings, as your rib cage expands.  The growing baby pushes your organs up toward your breasts, which is what makes the rib cage expand, so after delivery the ribs decrease again.
Ideally this bra has breastfeeding access, so you can wear it again when your breasts have decreased back to this size at solids. This enables you to get the most wear out of a bra, and the most for your money.  
6-8 months pregnant = pre-pregnancy band with extender + increase cup 2 size (generally)
Then you will need to increase your bra size again near the last few months before the baby is born.  Since the baby belly is getting big, you will really want to focus on comfort and support.  This bra should be flexible enough to fit throughout the end of maternity, and also the first several months of breastfeeding (until your baby starts solids).   When your milk comes in (a few days after delivery - give or take a few days -- everyone's body is unique), you will increase again in size, usually this is temporary until your body has settled into the rhythm of breastfeeding.  Be sure to have a flexible but supportive bra to fit this range of needs.  TheAnytime Bralet is the ideal bra for its flexibility, comfort and support. 
This bra should have breastfeeding access, so you can wear it when the baby is born. Then you are not buying a bra for the short term.

Finding your Maternity Bra & Nursing Bra Size – get out the tape measure and put on the best fitting bra you have! Keep in mind, a proper fitting bra will hold the fullest part of your breast mid-way between your elbow and shoulder, when looking at your profile.  The band should not ride up in the back either, as this makes the front less supportive.  A good fitting bra will lift you and reveal that high waistline, this helps show your feminine, beautiful shape.

1.  Band Size - the foundation: 
First, measure under your breasts; parallel to the floor from the front to back, hold it firmly not loose.  Then, review our size chart for your band size, keep in mind what your pre-pregnancy size.  The extender will add 2 1/2" (about 6cm) in extra length,  hopefully this measure matches in the range of your pre-pregnancy size.

In our 12 years of experience, it is best to purchase your pre-pregnancy band size and wear it with an extender if one is not already sewn on.  This is because after delivery, your rib cage will decrease back quickly (especially because breastfeeding helps burn calories).  The ability to have a firm fitting band will support your breasts better than a loose band that rides up.
My usual metaphor for a loose band is a dump truck, if the band rides up, it dumps the front!

2.  Cup Size - the house: 
Most women increase 2 cup sizes by the end of pregnancy.  i.e. If you were a 34D pre-pregnancy we recommend a 34F with an extender by month 6-7. (yes F means Fantastic! Do not be afraid of larger cup sizes - these are not test scores!!)  

Measure over the fullest part of your bust.  
Keep in mind, a proper fitting bra will place the fullest part mid-way between your elbow and shoulder. If your bra does not fit well, this measurement will be smaller than it should be, and you might buy too small of a cup size.  Compare this measure according to your matching band size.  

Bella Materna Baby Bra Guide: 
Anytime Collection - this is suited to flex and be comfortable, it is designed to be worn day or night, while you are expecting or you are nursing.  Heck, my mom loves this bra and she is a grandma!

T-Shirt Bras - these bras are for looking your best out and about, while they certainly should be comfortable and supportive they are a firmer fit and will elevate you the best - always try them on with a shirt!  These are best for getting showing your  high waistline, your feminine shape is beautiful, this will help show your curves. Feel free to call us to chat about what you need. 

Sexy Bras - these bras are the secret beneath it all.  Especially in this time when everything is changing it is great to feel confident and know that you are doing the important work of motherhood!  Honestly, this kept my spirits up when I needed it most, and fueled me to love the body I am in.  Of course, your partner will be happy because you are happy!

Loungewear - in your new body you will need new pieces to fit your changing needs and shape.  Our collection is designed for while expecting and has functionality to meet your needs through nursing.   We want to hear what you need for loungewear.

Feel free to contact us, we are here for you!! or Toll Free 1-888-700-8438 M-F 9am 3pm PST

Anne D

Mom of 2 | President of Bella Materna


We are here to help, please feel free to Chat/Message or call our Seattle boutique: 206-286-8108 or Toll Free: 1-888-700-8438

While measuring make sure you are wearing the best fitting bra you have.

1/ Find your Band Size -  The underbust measure is the most important measure to start with, because it establishes your BAND measure. 

2/ Determine your cup Size -The overbust measure will change the most for pregnancy, 1 cup by the 2nd trimester and 2 cup sizes by the end of your pregnancy. 


1st Trimester Pregnant- Congratulations!  The band should be on 2-3rd hook out, from tightest.  That way the bra will fit you again when you are 3rd stage nursing. Get your nursing bra now, so you can wear it again when breastfeeding.

2nd Trimester Pregnant- The band should be comfortable on the 3rd - 4th hook out.  Still enough room to let it out during 3rd trimester and bring it back down after birth. This nursing bra will be perfect for breastfeeding, about the time your baby starts eating solids.

3rd Trimester Pregnant- The band should be comfortable 4th-5th hook out, the 6th hook for the last month before birth. This same nursing bra will work as your first nursing bra, and you can move the hooks tighter as your rib cage decreases.  Usually by the end of your 3rd trimester, your bust is 2 cups bigger than your pre-pregnancy bras.  The Anytime Bra is very comfortable during this stage, and flexible enough for what is coming next - baby!

Note; if you have changed more than 1 dress/pant size, then you may need to jump up in band too but the cup size actually stays the same ie 36 because the cups ladder with the band.  So a 34D cup is the same as a 36C cup and a 38B cup.  

First Breastfeeding- Right after birth, you may not even have a bra on, but if you do want a bra on, the Anytime Bra is great, as you will still have the most skin to skin contact.  The Anytime nursing bra is still be perfect! 

Engorgement 2hrs to 4 days after birth -  About 1 week after birth, your "milk will come in", your cups will increase again, but only for a week or less.  The Anytime Bra is great because it will flex for this temporary period.  Be ready for dealing with engorgment, read those helpful baby books.

1st stage Breastfeeding- Your milk supply is established; the band should be comfortable on the 4-6th hook out, you will start to move toward the tighter hooks as your ribcage decreases. Usually, now your bust is 2 cup sizes larger than pre-pregnancy.  We recommend waiting on using an underwire until a couple of weeks after birth, when your milk supply is established.  Generally, you will remain this size until you start pumping or feeding your baby solids, which is recommended not until 6 months.

2nd stage Breastfeeding-  ..The baby is growing up, and changes are happening, by now you have started solids, and your cup size is decreasing, the bra you wore in 2nd Trimester while pregnant will fit you again, the band will be comfortable on the 4th-5th setting, with room to decrease to the tighter hooks.  Your body will fluctuate with weight loss and your breastfeeding strategy.  For many moms, this stage will last until the baby is 1 year old.  If you have lost additional weight, or are breastfeeding less, then the bra you wore during your 1st Trimester will be comfortable on the 3rd - 4th hooks, with room for you to tighten the hooks as your ribcage decreases. 

 Breastfeeding weaning- this might have only been a short time, or years!  But this is a personal decision for you and your family, we want to support you every step of the way.

Please call or email us any questions.  We are here to help!

 Take Care,

Anne Dimond

Mom|President|Bella Materna|