I’m writing this blog post in collaboration with my favorite nursing bra brand and long-time sponsor, Le Mystère. I’ve worn their Sexy Mama and Mama Mia styles for years now and get asked all the time what my favorite bras are, so here they are!
Getting a pretty nursing bra that made me feel and look good was a game changer for my new mom confidence. The black lace one is called Sexy Mama and the simpler nude style is the Mama Mia. They’re both underwire bras, which I prefer since they give me the best shape and support under clothing while still being comfortable since I’m wearing my right size. Sizing is super important–get measured every year, at the least, and whenever a big fluctuation in weight happens, such as pregnancy. Even my outfits look better with the right bras.
Sleep nursing bras don’t have underwires; I’d recommend wearing those to actually sleep or just lounge around the house. Although soft and wireless, they aren’t going to give you much shape nor make you look like the “yummy mummy” that you are. The Sexy Mama bra is named that for good reason! When you’re ready to make it outside the house, these contoured underwire bras are going to help you feel like your pre-motherhood self.
I’d get both black and nude in each Le Mystere nursing style, if possible. If you’re on a budget, I’d get the black and/or ivory in the Sexy Mama style, which is my favorite. The lace doesn’t show up under most of my clothes, and even if you can see a bit of my nursing bra, it’s rather pretty! The clips don’t unclip by themselves and are easy to clip back on with one hand. It’s definitely worth the investment in yourself–you wear these every single day! Hand wash your nursing bras (and regular bras) if you can, or wash them on gentle cycle with cold water in their own lingerie bags to help keep them looking new.
As far as knowing which size to order, getting measured before the baby arrives is crucial to finding the perfect fit when you’re going to need it the most. I recommend getting sized at Nordstrom or Bloomingdales around the eight month of pregnancy. That’s because your breasts are likely to stay that size up until eight weeks postpartum. For reference, when I’m not nursing, I wear a size 34E/DD. When I’m nursing/pregnant, I wear a size 36F/DDD.
Based on feedback from you ladies on Instagram Stories, I’m going to share my breastfeeding tips since having my first baby in 2014. I breastfed my daughter for two years and well into the first trimester of my second pregnancy with my son, whom I’m now nursing as well.
Some of the things I’ve learned along the way that helped me keep breastfeeding for so long:
- Be confident and commit to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding becomes your lifestyle, and it’s ok if you sometimes feel like you’re a cow in the sense of being milked all the time. You’re doing an amazing thing continuing to feed your little one with your body–first through the umbilical cord and now through your breasts. I’m sure you’ve already heard there are great health benefits from breastfeeding for both the baby and you (the perfect source of food for little ones in the first part of their life, better immunity for the baby, lesser chance of breast cancer for you, triggers your uterus to contract and get smaller, burns extra calories) as well as being a free source of food for them. And if you’re lucky enough to stay home with your baby, boobs are easily accessible and don’t require any bottle washing!
- Learn what a good latch is and how to get it. You need to get the nipple pretty far down their little throat. Don’t be afraid of hurting your baby by doing that or of them hurting you. Practice will make perfect. The right latch feels like the baby has strong and equal suction around the nipple, sounds like the baby is swallowing milk, and looks like a whole lot of your breast tissue is in their mouth. Breastfeeding shouldn’t really hurt (well, possibly–read point 10) since the nipple is all the way back at the soft palate of the baby’s mouth. Talk to a lactation consultant as soon as possible to help you figure it out; hospitals usually have them come in and help you . Breastfeed right away, within an hour of birth. Also, be mindful of possible tongue-tie. Check for this if you’re having trouble latching. Nipple shields can also help if you’re having a tough time getting your baby to latch, especially if you have inverted nipples or the baby’s mouth is too small or your breasts are too big.
- Watch other mom friends breastfeed. Sometimes seeing someone else do it helps you understand more than reading about it. Ask your girlfriends questions and reach out to them for support as you learn! If you see your friends doing it successfully, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. If you don’t have any lactating friends at the moment, do the next best thing–watch YouTube videos.
- Wear nursing bras that work well and make you feel good. Get measured around the eighth month of pregnancy, since this is the size you’ll likely be at eight weeks postpartum. You can wear your nursing bras when you’re pregnant too! My favorite nursing bras are by Le Mystere–the Sexy Mama and Mama Mia styles. Not only are they beautiful, they fit me really well and clip and unclip easily. The comfortable underwire gives me the support and confidence I want for my larger nursing bust.
- Wear nursing-friendly clothing. Once you find the perfect nursing bras, you can start thinking what items in your closet will work for breastfeeding and what you might need to add to your wardrobe to make it more functional for your new role. Wrap styles, button-downs, stretchy necklines, tops that lift up easily, and off-the-shoulder styles worked best for me. I wear actual nursing clothing (ideally maternity clothes that double as nursing clothes) as well as adapt non-nursing clothing in my closet. I have a blog post with more nursing fashion tips here.
- Eat well and eat often; continue taking your prenatal vitamins. You need to be taking in good nutrition to make that liquid gold. This is where it’s very helpful to stock up on healthy frozen meals as well as have family and friends who can bring a home-cooked meal once in a while if you’re blessed like that. Thank them profusely and be grateful they are in your life. Don’t even think about weight loss in the beginning at all. Focus on taking in the right nutrition, and the weight loss will follow suit. If your baby has some kind of reaction to your milk, be mindful of what you’re eating and try to figure out if they have a food sensitivity. I have friends who can’t eat spicy food or consume cow’s milk products, because their babies react negatively to what’s in the mom’s diet (just something to note).
- Drink lots of water. You need to be hydrated to make that milk! Use your big hospital water bottle if you got one from recovery. Drink coconut water or mineral water if regular water gets boring, or infuse your water with fruits.
- Nurse often. Breastfeed on demand day and night as your milk supply establishes and your body kind of figures out how many babies you had, hehe. Think every 1.5 to 3 hours. Wake the baby up if they aren’t waking up on their own because of hunger. Take their clothes off and put them on your chest for skin-to-skin contact if they’re drowsy. Cluster feeding is ok. Allow baby unlimited time at the breast when sucking actively, then offer the second breast to makes sure your baby gets the hindmilk, which has a higher fat content as opposed to foremilk.
- Find comfortable positions. Sit on a chair or couch, in your car, or in a nursing room (Nordstrom has the best mother’s rooms), lay on your bed, or even stand and walk around with a ring sling or wrap. I would often put my daughter in a ring sling and get a bit of light housework done while she breastfed. Use a nursing pillow if you’d like the support; use a nursing cover when out in public or guests are over if you’d like to cover up. I use my swaddle blankets as nursing covers so I can take less things with me on-the-go; just tie one end to your bra strap if you’re worried it’ll fall off.
- Keep persevering. My nipples hurt really badly for about a month with my first where I had to brace myself before putting my breast in my daughter’s mouth; with my second baby, they hurt for about a week but not as badly. I think it’s because the delicate skin around the nipples is not used to being sucked on and staying moist for long periods of time. I use this nipple balm in the very beginning but don’t really need it later on. My other theory is that the baby’s mouth gets bigger and your breasts get a little smaller as the milk supply levels out, so the fit between breast and baby’s mouth is more ideal later on. Know that there is an end in sight to discomfort and feeling like you’re not sure if you’re doing it right! It was definitely worth the initial pain to be able to breastfeed both my babies. I know it’s hard, but stressing about it will only add to your breastfeeding woes. As the baby gets older, you won’t be feeding as often, so don’t think you’ll be this milkmaid forever and ever. The beginning is the most intense. And if it doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up for it. At least you tried your best. It’s not the best option for everyone, and a fed baby is best, no matter how it’s done.
In regards to pumping, I rarely do it because I’m just not a fan of it. I did pump to have frozen reserves with my daughter but haven’t started pumping with my son since we’re always together anyway. I’ll start again soon so that maybe my husband and I can go somewhere alone in the foreseeable future. I use the Medela pump I received through my health insurance and this hands-free pumping bra. If you need to pump, make sure you know there are different breast shield sizes in case you’re finding the fit to be uncomfortable. Also, if you have a choice, go for a hands-free pump that allows you the freedom to walk around because of the rechargeable battery; I regret not asking about paying to upgrade mine since I really dislike sitting attached to the wall for long periods of time multiple times a day.
As far as pacifiers and bottles go, I read that a lot of doctors recommend waiting until the baby is a month old to introduce artificial nipples in order to prevent nipple confusion. With my daughter, she didn’t like ANY pacifiers or bottles I gave her anyway, but with my son I’ve already started giving him a pacifier after he’s full of milk but still rooting. Otherwise, if I keep giving him more of my breast for comfort, he takes in too much milk and spits a lot of it up and we have to start all over with the feeding. So far he hasn’t had any nipple confusion, and the pacifier has been a great help. For bottles, I have a large stash of Comotomo bottles and a few Baby Brezza bottles I’m excited to try.
I hope these tips and my experience were of some help for you if you’re struggling to figure out this whole breastfeeding thing, especially for the first time. I love hearing from you on Instagram, email, and here on the blog! If you try the Le Mystère nursing bras, let me know how you feel about them.
Sponsored by Le Mystere. Thank you for supporting the brands I love that make this blog fun to write!