I can hardly begin to tell you how much I despise bra shopping. Especially nursing bras. I wear an odd size, so I have no choice but to order online, and they are always expensive. Between pregnancy weight gain, weight loss, initial nursing engorgement, then gradual size change as my kids nursed less and I lost weight, I thought I had just about every size I needed.
As my children grew older, I just wore a regular bra where I could pull the cup to the side to nurse, but I stuck with soft cup nursing bras initially. However, I have never found a soft cup bra that gives me decent lift and shape, as well as comfort. Even ones with a wide band underneath tended to just roll up under my bust, and they all looked awful under tops. I had an occasion recently where I had to look presentable, so I grabbed an underwire bra from my “stash” that looked decent, but (since the band was too big) the underwire dug into my underarms. Thus started my latest, desperate, money bleeding search for a decent nursing bra.
Finding the right size is ridiculous and annoying since they vary so much by brand and style. Plus, only certain cup shapes fit me well, and a 30″ band size with a larger cup is hard to find. In the past, if I’ve found a bra I like, I will buy the same in different sizes as I’ve lost weight. (I have quite a few by Fantasie!) For me, a bra needs to be comfortable; the right band size, the right cup size, with no riding up and no shifting inside the cups. It needs to lift and separate (sounds cheesy but true), be supportive, and be smooth under clothing. A very, very tall order apparently.
Reviews for the Bravado Bliss Nursing Soft Cup Bra seemed good, it was actually a bit cheaper ($54 retail) than many others, and it came with an extender and a kit to convert it to a regular bra when you were finished nursing.
It has kind of a cheesy little thing in the middle, but there isn’t much holding it on, so you can take it off. It’s not as utilitarian looking as many, and has adjustable straps.
I initially ordered this in the next size down and instantly fell in love, but I was spilling out of the sides of the cup a bit. It does not come in a 30 band size, so I had gone up to a 32 and sized the cup down to make up for it.
Be leery of anyone who tells you to add inches to your rib cage measurement to get your band size. This will usually end up getting you too big of a band size and too small of a cup size. For someone who is say, a 30F, the old add 5 inches thing will get you in a 34 or 36 A cup!! Not happening. You want the bra to be snug (but not tight) on the loosest clasp setting when it’s new, so you can tighten it as it stretches with age. If the band is on the tightest setting, you likely need to go down a band size (and up a cup size to make up for it if the bra otherwise fit.)
Anyhoo, what I love about this bra is that it has molded foam cups, with a firm but flexible support channel underneath. The support & shape were as close to an underwire as I’ve ever seen from a soft cup. The band didn’t fold under my bust, even when I slouched. The cups provide modesty, hide nursing pads, and can catch a little “oops I forgot nursing pads” leakage. I happily chopped those tags off and wore it. And then…and then…
You have to remember that when you go up a band size, the whole bra is changed proportionately. It’s not like an inch or two was just added to the back. The cups themselves are designed for someone with a broader rib cage. Therefore, going from a 30 to a 32 band size moves the cups from the front of my chest closer to my underarms. Then what happens is that as I reach, bend, move etc., my nice shape turns into a uni-boob, which quickly turns into a quad-boob. This has happened before with molded cups and a band size that’s too big (especially with companies not known for small band/large cup sizes.) It’s never apparent in the “trying on” stage, only after I’ve cut the tags off and worn it. With a non-nursing bra, I can use fashion tape to keep the cups in place. Otherwise, I have to try to nonchalantly stuff myself back in the cups every 5 minutes. Obviously, taping myself in the bra isn’t an option when I’m nursing.
I can’t return it, and there’s not exactly a market for used nursing bras, so I’m out $50. If this came in a 30 band size, I might love it. For now, I ordered two more sizes of my favorite non-nursing, underwire bra, since I have 1 that’s a little too small and 1 that’s a little too big, but I think the right size will work for just pulling the cup to the side. For the record, out of the zillions of bras I’ve tried, used and/or returned over the past 8ish years, my favorites are the Freya Millie Balcony Underwire Bra, which I believe has been replaced by the Naomi Balcony Underwire Bra, and the Fantasie Smoothing Balcony Underwire Bra.
Finding a bra that works for me stinks. Finding one that also works for nursing double stinks. I’ve come to realize that I can only buy from a handful of brands that specialize in small band/large cup sizes. So how about you? Do you have bra issues, or are you a lucky one that can grab something at the department store for $30? If you have an oddball size, some places I’ve shopped are Her Room, Fig Leaves and Bigger Bras. Not affiliate links, just places I’ve frequented in recent years! Just be aware that a lot of brands are European, so the cup sizes at DD & beyond will be labeled differently! (Ex: Fantasie goes C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G etc. Most American sizes would be C, D, DD/E, DDD/F etc.) So, you could be an I cup in the U.S. but wear a G in a European brand!
FTC compliance: Although I paid normal retail prices for the pictured item, this post contains affiliate links. I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own.