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MUMMY MONOLOGUES: Discovering The Alphabet By Taura Walker

12 Apr

I have been sneaking away from my two babies during naps (attempting to – spring cold & flu season has a grip on our house) in order to share some of my hard (& comfy & supportive!) lessons learned in bras & nursing bras with you … I hope this is helpful to at least a few!

First … me: I am 5ft10, 200 lb. I measure 47 over, 35 under. Depending on how tight you learn to love your bra band, I am 34J or 36H on the books. This, of course, changes with every bra … each one has a different shape/fit/feel/stretch to it. ;p

A) it took me until the delightful age of 37 to discover out-of-Canada bras that are properly sized & the uplifting work they can do when worn properly …

B) this has changed me! New posture, new sizes, new clothes, new attitude, along with a new OBSESSION with helping others to look & feel greater than ever too … 😉

C) children … come with a whole new boob-revelation. On so many levels.

A few helpful places I have found online:


Great overall learning & Advice that got me on my way to a good bra (dozen): (I have no affiliation, just really really appreciate their support & advice this last 9 months).

Also: You make me smile. Great take on life, great passion for being YOU and supporting others in the same journey.


Canada has LaSenza. It is our retail bra goddess. Run & Owned by a smart man. He does not see a large enough market for fuller figured or plus size lingerie. So we lean on the UK … from afar … 😉

Second … bras in any size beyond DDD are at least $150 here. So most just ignore the good lingerie stores because they REALLY SCARE US.

Third … I had no choice.  I finally admitted that scrounging for 40DDD at LaSenza and the horrible fit they gave me was wrong.  I followed the smart advice of a friend and called her new friends at Breakout Bras.  Delightful.

It takes a while to get used to letters that are greater than D … E(normous) F(reakish) G(rotesque) H(orrid) were my old words … replaced with kinder, sunnier more REALISTIC viewpoints now. They were patient with my determined self.

I refused to believe that I was larger than a 36G. That finally became 36GG … and an entirely more comfortable 36H … and then I discovered that when the cup was actually big enough to contain me … a 36 still rode up … so a 34J is often PERFECT. Now … If I lose the 20 pounds that I intend to lose as my little baby gets a bit older (9 months & 2.5 years are hard on sleep, thus hard on mood & energy … entirely hard on life & body) … I will definitely be in a different bra. Possibly already by the time I am down10 pounds …

So … Advice:

A) Measure yourself.   Read blogs. Read reviews. Get a feel for what you have on your chest and what bras might feel like based on reviews.  Go try on a few at some of the expensive lingerie stores out there. Do not feel pressured. Go in with a few brands and bras in mind (research online: Bras I Hate has done some great reviews

B) Buy one bra first. Wear ONE for a while so that you can decide (as I did) that your first great fitting bra could be different … IE.

I have a drawer full of fabulous bras including Freya,
Panache, Cleo (Panache balconette bra), Fayreform, Harlequin/Masquerade (Panache), Affinitas Parfait, HotMilk, Bravado, Ah Bra … Each a different size  & fit … I am still in my first year of good bras … I will use each as I can!

Ok. Back on track …

Nursing bras.

Being the size that you now know that I am … keep that in mind as I tell you about each of the following:
My fave: Panache & HotMilk

On the list of tried/have, loved or hated:
Panache: Lorna, Sophie, Alisha
HotMilk: Tangled Web, Wild Composure
Elomi: Smoothing (underwire!)
Bravado: Body Silk, Bliss (like underwire!)
Royce: Lauren

Babe is awake.  More in a while!!

MUMMY MONOLOGUES: Breast Changes And Bras By June

11 Apr

I know other wonderful women have already touched more on the pregnancy/nursing aspect.  Rather, what I want to discuss here is dealing with your breasts after your child is weaned.

Between weight loss (over 80lbs now from the day I gave birth to my daughter), pregnancy, and nursing for two years, my breasts (and body!) have changed dramatically.  It doesn’t mean I can’t be sexy with a well supporting bra but I have different needs.  Once I realized that I wrote this little post on the difference between soft and firm breasts. Since then I’ve experimented more and wanted to discuss some tips/tricks when it comes to dealing with post-weaning/post-partum breasts.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

– “Mom breasts” don’t have the firmness that younger breasts do.  Often they’ll become longer (so if you were to lean forward they’d be quite a bit longer).  If you cradle them in your hand they’ll have a flatter shape than a woman who’s never had a pregnancy (and has stayed at a relatively constant weight her whole life).  All this is NORMAL.  I’ve had women come to me both publicly and privately say that they thought they were abnormal because of their soft breasts, they worried something was wrong. Nope, this is 100% normal.  🙂

– When it comes to a good every day bra a high center gore is your friend!  I had the Panache Sienna for months and hated it.  Recently, I altered it by sewing the center gore together and now it’s one of the bras I use the most! It works because mom breast do best when they’re cradled within two UU shapes rather than J shape, which is often how the underwire is formed in plunges and half-cup bras.  Balconettes can sometimes be good, sometimes not (the underwires do tend to have more of a UU shape there).  It depends on how it is cut along the top of the cup, though, and how high the center gore is. 

– Full fit padded or moulded cup bras can give the best shape (although moulded can be tricky to find the perfect fit because the cup itself won’t conform to your breast shape).  I’ve noticed that there are a lot of women with firmer breasts mention that they prefer unpadded bras.  It makes sense, especially if their breasts already have a relatively firm shape so an unpadded bra would work better for them because the bra conforms more to their shape.  When you have soft breasts it’s the opposite.  You want your breasts to conform to the shape that you like.  Personally, I love a nice rounded shape that’s very front and center.  The bra that’s given me the best so far is the CH Onyx from Ewa Michalak:

It’s great because it gives you an incredible shape and the cups aren’t nearly as tall as some other brands, which, like I mentioned above, does really well for softer breasts. Additionally, I’ve found sewing the center gore together a big help too.

Now, in my dream world it would be even more full-coverage.  It would cover the entire breasts and the straps would come closer to the center of the breasts. Apparently, Ewa Michalak has been spying on my dreams because soon BP bras from Ewa Michalak will be coming out and they’re specifically made for women who have been pregnant/lost lots of weight:

It’s still not on her site yet, but once it comes out it’s definitely on my wish list!

– Of course, sometimes we want killer cleavage and that’s a bit of an issue when you have soft breasts.  Plunge bras lead to spillage towards the center, yet if you go up in size you might find that you have gapping where the strap meets the cup.  The best solution that I’ve found is sizing down one size from your normal size in the cups.  You don’t want to get major quadraboob but you should expect some spillage towards the center (and typically that doesn’t show up underneath shirts).  I wouldn’t suggest wearing plunge bras on a regular basis but they can be great as a special occasion bra.  Oh and Ewa Michalak makes them too (the plunge that I currently own is from her!). Look for shorter, deeper cups in your plunge bras.

– Swimwear is another tricky one.  If you wear a larger cup size for some reason all the designer believe that we only want plunges?  I can’t quite figure that one out yet.  A plunge in swimwear is NOT a good combo for me, especially, because I’m a pretty hardcore swimmer.  I’m still waiting for the perfect bikini top but currently I have my eye on the new Curvy Kate swimwear which comes  in a huge size range.  My personal favorite is the Bondi Breeze

It looks like the center gore isn’t too low and it also has a nice brief that cover the lower part of your midsection (normally a good area to have covered if you’re like me with a bit of loose skin post-partum).

Another option that, unfortunately, doesn’t come in my exact size is the Freya Active Swimwear

Personally, I’d really prefer this in a bikini+brief combo but since that’s not out yet the once piece is a pretty good option for a full coverage suit if you do any heavy duty swimming.

Another thing to understand is that swimsuits expand once your in the water.  That’s a BIG issue when you have soft breasts because they also move around a lot more than firmer breasts.  So I’d definitely recommend sizing down a cup size just to be on the safe side. 

– Sport bras.  Again, the more coverage the better and at least with sports bras that’s not a big issue.  The Freya Active line, Panache line, Shock Absorber, and Bravissimo all have what looks like good full-coverage sports bras.  Personally, I own the Freya Active soft cup and it works well for me. I will say that you can actually get away with ordering a cup size down because of your soft breasts.  For instance, my typical bra size is 28J but in the Freya Active because it’s tight in the back and it’s a soft cup I own a 30GG.  A 30H would probably be the best fit, though.  However, because I’m not working out for long periods of time a 30GG does fine.

– Soft breasts move around… a lot. Just something to be aware of and understand that no matter what you will have to adjust during the day. The more coverage the better when it comes to avoiding adjusting your breasts but sometimes you do want a lower cut bra for lower cut shirts so just understand that you should check your breasts during bathroom breaks.

 My story

Just so you know my history.  I didn’t have my bra-epiphany until well after weaning my daughter.  I was always wearing large cup sizes but I didn’t know much about fit and I know for sure some of the shops were upping my band size just to get me into anything that remotely fit.  Following giving birth to my daughter the largest bra that I wore was a 40K (although I think I should have probably be more of a 38L but they didn’t have one at the store).  It was a horribly ugly white soft cup nursing bra that made my breasts look like the largest, soggiest monoboob that you’ve ever seen.  I also happened to gain 65lbs during that pregnancy and was not doing too well at losing it so you can just imagine where my body image was at that time.

But let’s skip ahead to about 6months after weaning my daughter (she ended up nursing for 2 years).  I had lost almost all of my pregnancy weight and was on a MISSION to find a bra that fit.  I had to do something with this new body of mine and I knew that properly fitting undergarments was the best start.  I started researching fit, became absolutely glued to blogs like Georgina’s and was suddenly filled with regret that I hadn’t discovered them sooner!  Finally, there were others like me! Others who had similar body types to me, others who had dealt with the body image issues, the back pain, and the difficulties with clothing!  Needless to say I started ordering bras like crazy.  I read all the reviews I could get my little hands on and did the best I could to figure out my correct size.

Unfortunately, due to continued weight loss and seriously long shipping times to Brazil zeroing in on my size was easier said than done.  I did the best I could, kept a few that were “almost fits” and returned others.  But eventually I started noticing a trend.  Bras that looked fabulous on the younger lingerie bloggers weren’t working very well on me.  Why?

Finally it dawned on me that I had soft breasts and they had different needs than firmer breasts.  Once I realized that it helped me to eliminate a number of beautiful bras that wouldn’t work well on my breasts.  I’m still on the lookout for the holy grail of bras for soft breasts.  My hopes are on Ewa Michalak’s BP and Curvy Kate’s Daily Boost is another promising one.  Thankfully, my weight loss journey is almost done so I’m looking forward to building up a permanent bra collection of bras that do great on soft breasts. 🙂

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MUMMY MONOLOGUES: Maternity Wear By Sasha Walsh

4 Apr

As some of you may have read here I am the mother of 2 beautiful kids. When I first got pregnant around 6 years ago with my son I was excited to do everything a pregnant mom gets to do. And by that I mean shop 😉 I was excited to go shopping for maternity clothes because it finally meant that my belly was growing and starting to catch up to my boobs. I took my Mom and my sister with me and we went to the local Thyme Maternity (a chain store here in Canada) and started to try things on. Horror show. Now before I was pregnant I was a size 12 bottom and 16 top, so now that I was pregnant the top was even bigger with a growing H cup. Nothing fit properly, 98% of the tops were too small, or just fit which meant I would outgrow them shortly. Dresses were no better as if they fit in the boobs, it just hung on me elsewhere and I looked awful. Now living in the suburbs this really was my only option for maternity wear and I was devastated. I left feeling fat, ugly, and disheartened, not what a expectant mom should ever feel. It was bad enough that my bra was ugly, but to get stuck in clothing that didn’t fit, and was totally out of style for me was just…. well heart breaking. Somehow I made it through, and to be honest I don’t really know how I did it without the help of a few girlfriends.

This is me in pink sitting next to my beautiful sister and Mom.

So fast forward to last January when (finally) I found out that I was pregnant again. By then I knew that there was NO way I was going to go back to the “box” stores for clothing. I work in an office setting and needed to at least resemble something business/trendy. My team at work is all women, and they are all amazing. They took my challenge to find pretty/fitting maternity clothes to heart and helped me hunt down some nice pieces. Surprisingly H&M came to the rescue. They had a nice, reasonably priced maternity line, and their summer dresses were all loose and flowing stretchy cotton. Needless to say I got one of those in every colour and lived in them. 🙂 I still had to live with an ugly bra, but when I was able to at least put something pretty on over top, I didn’t feel so bad. After 37 long weeks (a11 of which I was on bed rest) my daughter was born. Those maternity clothes carried me through the first 4 months post birth, well worth the money spent.

Now I have a problem I haven’t faced, getting smaller. Yep, I lost the weight I gained through this pregnancy, and then kept losing. Yay for me you say, how did you do it, you ask. Well to be honest its not something I am proud of. I stopped eating. Not voluntarily, but I have no appetite, no desire to eat at all. After forcing myself to at least consume a little food each day I womaned up and spoke with my Doctor. We had a great chat and I left with the diagnosis of postpartum depression and anxiety, and a prescription for some medication. I am on the road to health but I am still struggling with the body image part. To be honest its nice to hear that I nice/pretty/etc, but I am aware that it is not healthy for me as its making my paranoia of food a dominating aspect of my PPD. Why am I telling you all this? Because its part and parcel of my whole experience and continues to dictate my ability and willingness to go shopping for properly fit clothing and bras. I know the bras I am in right now aren’t the right size, but I don’t really want to go and have to fight with another fitter about the size/fit of a new bra. Maybe soon, maybe after some toast and tea 😉

MUMMY MONOLOGUES: Babies, Boobs And Bras By Sasha Walsh

29 Mar

Before I got pregnant with my son I was a curvy 36F and happy with my figure. Then the pregnancy hormones took over or should I say my boobs took over. I very quickly went up to an H cup, which at that time (6yrs ago) was the largest breastfeeding bra I could get. Sadly this was only my first trimester so the boobs just kept growing. That first trimester was the toughest. With the boobs getting bigger and no tummy it just looked like I was putting on weight, and as a curvy woman already, that wasn’t something I wasn’t comfortable with. But lets get back to the boobs 🙂 not only did they get huge (well I thought they were huge) but they became solid, full, and SORE! I kept being told that I needed to get away from the under wire bras in order to ensure milk flow, but I couldn’t find anything in my cup size without it. I had one bra. It was a nursing bra with huge straps and was utilitarian white cotton, talk about how to make you not feel pretty. Needless to say I lived in that bra, almost wore it right out before my son was even born. By the end of the pregnancy I was too large a cup size to even fit into that H cup, but thankfully my belly held the girls up most of the time for me. Once my son was born then came the hell of trying to breast feed. OK, so what do you do if your breasts are larger that 2 handfuls? How do you hold you breast to your baby for proper latching while holding them? It was a trick that I never sorted out. Having flat nipples meant that my poor boy was trying to latch onto a flat board, and even with a nipple shield (yet another thing I would have to hold onto my breast) it was just impractical for me. I am in awe of the busty moms who manage this juggle.

2 years after my son was born I had gone down to a 38H and stayed there for about 1.5 years. Yes I said went down to a H cup. Some women loose much more cup size after their baby’s finish breast feeding, but mine never did. In fact over the next few years I went up to a J up, which is where I was when we found out we were finally pregnant again. This time I was prepared! (or so I thought) I had found a speciality mom’s shop in the city (Toronto) that carried large cup sizes in Nursing bras. But halfway through my first trimester my boobs were so full and sore I made an emergency trip to La Senza on my lunch break and had to grab some soft cupped bras, settling for a 40DDD to compensate. Now I know it’s not right, I knew the fit wasn’t right, but I needed a soft cup bra without dishing out over $100 knowing i was just going to get bigger. And bigger I did get. Sadly when I went to visit the mommy store they did carry a nursing bra in my size (38K) it was ugly. Huge white thing that came almost up to my neck and made me think i was wearing granny panties on my boobs. Not to mention that to undo the bra to breast feed was next to impossible for me as I have very little fine motor skills left in my hands after multiple surgeries. But considering it was only my second trimester I bore down and bought it ($100+ later) and tried to be OK with it. Once again the boobs just kept getting bigger, and heavier, and fuller….. so that by the time my daughter was born I couldn’t even hold one comfortably in my hands. This time i was thankful that no milk came in for me, I just was not up to fighting my boobs to try and get my daughter to feed. Which was a little heartbreaking as she really seemed to want to. But now 7 months later she is a happy bottle baby and my boobs? Well last i checked I am still a J cup, only now a 34 band size.

Watch this space for me next post. It will be all about the hell of trying to get clothing to fit. (ugh)!

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MUMMY MONOLOGUES: Nursing Bra Odyssey By Clarisse

28 Mar

This blog post is a guest post by the lovely Clarisse.  It is the start of my “Mummy Monologues”, a series of posts by some beautiful busty Mummies that aim to give great tips and advice to any Mums and Mums to be out there.

When I think of my bra experience during pregnancy and breast-feeding and try to sum it all up, I find it quite difficult.

First of all, there are no rules. Or rather there are some rules which are true in most cases – but I have not yet met a mother for whom all the rules would be completely true. Just as women differ in shapes, so they differ in how their bodies react to being pregnant and to breastfeeding. So the first tip – not very helpful perhaps: listen to other women’s stories but remember yours may be entirely different.

Secondly, I have no idea what my size was before pregnancy. It was 4 years ago in Poland, and I believe I was quite reasonably educated in how a bra should fit (no bulging or overflowing – get a bigger cup if you overflow; and if there is no bigger cup, get a bigger band with the same cup).  I thought I was 34F but such cups were not available from local stores, so I usually settled for 36E. For all I know now, I must have been somewhere close to 30GG at that time 🙂 So, without knowing my true size then, I cannot accurately describe how my body changed. But I can describe the trends.

Funnily enough, I owe my bra enlightenment to being pregnant. I noticed that my 36E started overflowing visibly, and I have always been allergic to four-breast look. I knew I had nothing to look for in the local store so I finally began searching the internet. And there, to my surprise, I discovered some sizing charts, some blogs, some completely new truths. Most likely I would not have believed them if it had not been for my pregnancy experience. Why is it so?

It is a general rule that your breasts grow when you are pregnant (like I said: in most cases), so your cup size will increase. And as the baby grows bigger, pushing against your ribcage, your underbust gets bigger too.  So when I finally found my tape measure (I was already 6 months pregnant by that time), I realised that my underbust had grown immensely – by some 6-7 inches – and yet the band of my old bra was still fitting! That meant something must have been wrong with it before. I plunged into the new world I discovered just then: the world of big busts and women fighting for bigger bra cups and smaller bra bands, the world of buying lingerie on the internet (with Brastop and Bravissimo leading the way). I managed to get some bras in a new size, which was 36G.

Now I know was lucky to have no problem with breast sensitivity and no serious health problems in general. A lot of my friend complain that their breasts have become very sensitive when pregnant and all the bras that used to be comfortable suddenly hurt them. This may be partly to the fact that the body changes very quickly and the bras (or our purses) just cannot follow – but partly also because you can be much more sensitive just then. So be prepared your regular bras may suddenly become too hard on you – even to the point that you will look for a different brand than you loved.

After I got a couple of well fitting bras I was determined to prepare myself for what was coming – for breast feeding. I discovered that there seemed to be a difference at some retailers between a “maternity bra” and a “nursing bra”. A maternity bra was the one you were supposed to wear when pregnant. It was often supposed to “grow with you”, meaning usually that the band had 6 rows of hooks instead the usual 3 rows. But I had a feeling they are a waste of money. The band could be loosened all right but that can also be achieved by a simple accessory called “bra back extender”. A maternity bra usually has no wires, supposedly because female body is more sensitive. This seems reasonable – but on the other hand, if you had big boobs without being pregnant and they have grown even bigger, what you desperately need is support. This is something that a wire-free bra is very unlikely to give you. (I will not even mention the looks, I believe it is called a “mono-boob”). So if you have not grown oversensitive, I suggest you steer clear of this kind of “maternity bras”.

But there is something you will absolutely need, and these are: nursing bras. They are quite often wire-free and may have the same enhanced adjustment range but there is one thing that is unique about them, and that is a drop-down cup. The straps have clips or some other fastenings at the front – ideally you should be able to open them using one hand. The top part of the cup drops down, letting the breast out for the baby, but the bottom part does not fall – it is fastened with an elastic tape to the strap.  A simple thing but so damn useful!

So I got down to get myself some nursing bras. I heard that right after birth breasts become full of milk and grow enormously (it is called “engorgement”), so I looked for bras with the same band but a bigger cup. With 36G (UK sizing) I found to my disappointment that I did not have much choice. All the brands widely available in Poland, such as Alles or Anita, ran up to the equivalent of FF cup. No good. Bravissimo and Brastop did offer some Royce nursing bras (at that time they had annoying non-UK sizing), as well as some other less popular brands. I settled with one down-to-earth white wire-free Royce bra in a size equivalent to UK 36H or HH, a perfectly beautiful Emily B bra in 34H and a soft cotton bra by Medela. Medela is a company that provides all sorts of aids for breast feeding and they are very good at it. But I know now that they are not bra specialists. Their bras are sized from S to XL – how is that supposed to suffice?

Anyway, I thought I was well prepared for what was coming. Life proved me wrong 🙂

First of all – my breasts did not grow enormously in the first days of nursing. They just grew slightly. I was grateful for that as they seemed to me big enough already. Later I was told that it was often the case with very big breasts. Breast basically consist of fat tissue and what grows enormously in those very first days is the milk-producing tissue. If your breasts are smaller, you are more likely to experience huge volume changes.
If your breast are bigger, the changes to milk-producing tissue will not change the size of your breasts that much. Usually. But as I said at the beginning, there are no universal rules.  Secondly, I never took into account that after the baby leaves the womb there will be no more pressure on my ribs from the inside and my underbust will shrink drastically.

So what I ended up with was the following:
– Emily B lace bra which gave me absolutely no support and I put it in the drawer after trying it on once; it was to beautiful to be thrown away.
– Cotton Medela bra which gave little support so I only wore it when I washed my regular bra.
– The “regular” nursing bra, a Royce; plain as hell, with a band quickly becoming too loose (it was 36) and with cups waaaaaaay to huge (for which, by the way, I was grateful, I could put an ice compress inside when needed!)

The tip I would give my fellow mothers here is the following: unless you have just won a lottery, do not spend a fortune on nursing bras when you are pregnant. It is very hard to accurately predict your size after you give birth to the baby. And even if well predicted, your size will change very quickly as your body will be getting back to its normal way of functioning.
You will need some bras for the very beginning, that’s true. And remember that most breasts suffer a temporary but serious volume increase in the first days of nursing – this is also the time when your breasts will be most sensitive. A cotton wire-free nursing bra will be just fine for those first days. You will get some better fitting ones later. But even then do not buy a drawer full of bras. Your body will continue changing. Those changes will have different pace – you may return to your starting point or even pass it – or you may stop somewhere half way. So there is no telling really what your size will be in a month or in 3 months after your baby is born. Try to get fitted often, keep an eye on how your body changes and try to give it as much comfort as you can.

Comfort is extremely important when breast feeding. That is why many people suggest wearing only soft cup (non wired) nursing bras. While I believe that wire-free bras give almost no support to big breasts, I realise why this suggestion is so common and generally quite reasonable. It may be very hard to find a well fitted and a comfortable bra when your body changes so quickly. Even when it does not, you sometimes struggle trying to find the good fit. During breastfeeding this need for comfort is taken to extremity.
Because you need comfort – and because your breasts need comfort if they are to feed the baby. Any discomfort to your breast tissue may harm the production of milk and have painful consequences. An ill fitting bra may cause more harm when it has wires.

I would like to take a moment to digress from the main subject, which is bras, to say a few words about nursing. I don’t know about England but in Poland people still have a lot of misconceptions about nursing the baby. I know that when you have your first baby you don’t always feel secure. This is a whole new world you discover and I myself often struggled blindly for clues. Here are some truths I found which may not be popularly known so I would like to share them:
– Your milk supply does not depend on the size of your boobs! Women with small and big breasts alike are able to nurse their babies effectively!
– The shape of your breasts or even your nipples cannot prevent you from
nursing your baby; even persons whose original shape of the nipples is
“sucked in” are able to nurse their babies.
– Your milk supply does depend on how much the baby eats – surprisingly, the more milk is eaten, the more is produced! the mechanism is simple: if the baby eats little, your body “thinks” that little is needed so it will produce less and less; so if you have milk supply problem the best method to overcome them is to nurse more and more.
– The colour of your milk has nothing to do with how nutritious it is.
– The knowledge how to nurse and how to latch does not come automatically to
all people – if you have a problem it is wise to see a lactation consultant
(a nursing expert) who will check what is wrong and will give you useful
Mother’s milk is fascinating. Did you know that its content changes depending on the age of the baby, depending on the ambient temperature (in high summer temperatures mother milk will be more watery to satisfy baby’s thirst better!), and even depending on the time of day. Did you know that mother’s milk contain antibodies to all the germs that the mother encounters? A newborn baby is not able to produce those antibodies by themselves, so mother’s milk can even save their lives – but even a toddler who is still breastfed is less likely to catch a cold when everyone around sneezes and coughs because he gets additional protection. I think I will never stop wondering at how amazing this is 🙂

But back to nursing bras. I ended up with a couple of ill-fitting and non-supporting nursing bras. But I made do with them. Actually, the first three months of breast feeding bras were the least of my problems. We had nursing problems, my baby’s weight was too low and my nipples were badly bitten. We did overcome it with some assistance of my husband and a lactation onsultant, and after 2 months I re-fitted myself using a tape measure, a sizing chart and my old bras. The result was 32JJ.

And that was a problem. Not the letters themselves. A JJ cup actually restored my belief that I did have big boobs (a believe somewhat shaken by my first encounter with A-K sizing chart). But there was a major problem with 32JJ breastfeeding. There were no nursing bras in that size – not a single one. I think Royce probably reached J+ cups at that time, but my band was smaller than they offered. All other companies’ offer for mums ended around H cup.

This never ceased to amaze me. It has always been common knowledge that woman’s breast grow when she is pregnant and nurses the baby. WHY then are there companies offering everyday bras up to K cup, but nursing bras only up to H cup? Where is the logic gone?

A nursing bra in 32JJ? By that time I was part of a big online community of big breasted women in Poland. With Polish bra companies very uncooperative, they learned to solve the problems the only way they could: Do-It-Yourself. An instruction how to change an ordinary bra into a nursing bra was already there. You needed the cheapest nursing bra you could get (to have the clips for opening the cups); and a piece of elastic tape – ideally its colour should match the bra you will be working on, and the bra itself. I do not have much manual skills and sewing is definitely not my cup of tea. And yet I managed to make myself a nursing bra. It was a nude Tango Pure I got from E-bay at ridiculously low price. I think I got carried away – I even transplanted the little flower decorations from the late Emily B to my very own Tango nursing bra. And it  was not the last one I made.

I bought several 32JJ bras. That was quite a mistake. Somehow I believed 32JJ to be my “true size forever”. If I was 34 before, I reasoned, how much slimmer can I get? If forgot that I was not a real 34. I forgot that my body was not yet through with all the changes and “getting back to normal”. And I forgot my son was allergic.

What has it got to do with my bra size? Well, quite a lot as it turned out. Ever since he was born my son had a mild allergy – but as it was mild I did
not feel compelled to go on a diet in order to check which part of my menu he was allergic to. But as he was about to be 6 months I realised it was time to introduce some real food into his diet. Allergy to food elements transported by mum’s milk may have been mild, but if he is to eat stuff himself – I need to know first what exactly he is allergic to! So I went on a diet. It is a normal procedure when breastfeeding to eliminate just one element from your diet and continue this way for a week – it should be enough to determine if the stuff you eliminated was the cause of allergy. So I went on for some weeks testing  various food stuff, and finally, as I was getting no results, I just started eating rice, chicken and apples. I never discovered the source of my son’s allergy – I somehow managed to scare it off because it disappeared. And I managed to lose a few pounds in the process.

I never realised that until I went to an bra swapping event. It was wild fun to try on hundreds of bras, new and used. It was fun to meet a new Polish designer of bras, who brought all her prototype designs in all sizes, not yet available commercially – and a new Polish designer of bust-friendly clothes, who brought the prototype designs of her clothes. I think it was the clothing designer who first suggested to me that she would love me to wear her clothes but not until I get a better fitting bra. It was a surprise – I tried a couple of bras and it seemed I was no longer 32JJ but 30J at the most! Somehow, busy with nursing my baby, I overlooked it! But the stunning Freya Arabelle and the quaint Freya Eleanor was now withing my reach! (in those days Freya’s biggest cup was J). This was not the end of my nursing bra odyssey. I went for a fitting a month later and emerged a newly fitted 28JJ. A white Tango II 28JJ was the last bra I changed into a nursing bra myself.

No, I did not quit breastfeeding just yet. But my son grew and ate more and more “grownup food”, and breastfeeding became supplementary. That meant I did not have to open the bra cup every two hours and nurse for an hour. At that moment I discovered Ewa Michalak’s padded plunges up to L cups and more and they were good for nursing without any adjustments. At least for occasional nursing, which was now more emotional than nutritional. For  my son my titties meant safety and attachment. Not just food. In total I breastfed my son for over 2.5 years. After initial weight loss I gained weight again,  getting as far as 30K, and then 32J and 32JJ. Quite a number of bra sizes I went through 🙂

So even after your lactation has normalised, your should keep a close watch on your body and your breasts. Your bra size is not given once and for all.

After I weaned, I was really curious how my breasts would react. It is commonly believed breasts are back to their pre-pregnancy size. It is not always like that. I have heard women despairing that their breasts were “almost completely gone”, smaller than at the start. For myself, there was a brief size change from 32JJ back to 32J. So again – there are no universal rules. Or if there are, you will have to accept that your breasts be aware of them 😉

The only rule there is: when you’re breastfeeding, your boobs need the best! And you have to find a way how to provide the best for your boobs and how to keep up with their needs without spending a million pounds.

When I look back at my breastfeeding and nursing bra odyssey I am happy to see how much easier it is for young mums today. Those three years really make a difference. There are Freya’s ordinary bras up to K. There are Panache   nursing bras up to K cup and also Hot Milk and Cake Lingerie, the latter goes up to a J cup. Royce is still in the market with UK sizing. And just a few days ago Ewa Michalak announced her first nursing bras, based on the plunge design so the cups will be from A to K+.

In a way I feel like a dinosaur, seeing all the all the problems I remember disappearing as if by magic. The “new Polish designer of bras” I once met briefly at the beginning of her way, now wins international bra polls; the “new Polish designer of bust-friendly clothing” who set me on the well-fitting track again is now gaining international renown. My son, who has been with me though the ups and downs of nursing and bra-fitting, still says he loves “mummy and her titties too” and keeps asking me to take him to a bra store to get mummy a new bra. I must be getting really old – I sometimes wonder what kind of bra his girlfriend would be wearing when he brings her to introduce her to the parents. But I guess one is never too old for a new bra? 🙂

Here are some useful references and sites that may be of use to expectant mothers. Please note that they are mostly in Polish:

Instructions on how to make a nursing bra, it is in Polish
but illustrated with photos:
Stanikomania is probably Poland&&’s most popular blog about bras
and the articles are very good.

Before-and-after pictures with well fitted