Get set with the right nursing bra for post-pregnancy.
We know that preparing for the birth of a newborn means that you already have enough on your mind, besides thinking about your underwear. However, the risk of blocked milk ducts is something you don’t want to experience either (trust us!), but if 80% of women are wearing ill-fitting bras, then this number is likely to be even higher for nursing women.
When you’re nursing, wearing a properly fitting bra is more important than ever. Here’s a handy guide on what to expect and how to stay comfortable and supported during your pregnancy (bra-wise at least!), during the breastfeeding stage and beyond. From small to larger bosoms, we’ve listed the best shops in Hong Kong where you can get fitted as well as online shops so you can shop at your own convenience, which means more time at home for you with your new bundle of joy.
Some facts to know before you buy:
Your breast size will fluctuate constantly during pregnancy and after giving birth, so we thought we’d break down what you should expect, to help give you an idea of what type of bra you should be wearing at each stage.
Stage 1: First Trimester
As early as the first three months of pregnancy, you’ll experience dramatic changes in your cup size, possibly by up to three cup sizes. It’s not always necessary to wear a maternity bra during the first trimester but because your breasts are starting to swell, the best thing to do is to listen to your body.
Stage 2: Second Trimester
Your bras from your first trimester may be feeling increasingly snug, so again listen to your body and adjust your bra size based on how it fits. This is the stage where some women also like to invest in a sleep bra for support and comfort during the night. Seamless, non-wired or flexi-wired bras (which are less restrictive) are perfect for this time. If you want to stick to your traditional underwired bra, just make sure that it fits properly.
Stage 3: Third Trimester
This is when your breasts first dramatically increase in size due to the introduction of the milk supply (it’s getting real now, mama!). Your bosoms will be at their maximum size, weight and tenderness (we feel your pain) due to the milk production. Your seamless bra from the first three to six months of your pregnancy will also come in handy here.
Your breast size during the eight to nine month stage of pregnancy will most likely be your nursing cup size from when the baby is one month old until you introduce solids (your breast size will reduce then due to weight loss and less feeds, therefore, less milk production). This is the perfect time to get yourself fitted for a nursing bra (around 36/37 weeks).
Stage 4: Immediately post-birth (baby is 0 to 4 weeks)
You will need the most comfortable bras during this stage (…as well as plenty of sleep, back rubs and to be showered with adoration because you deserve it!) because immediately post-birth there will be some engorgement as your breasts learn to regulate their milk supply. It’s not recommended to wear a cupped-size bra at this time, in order to avoid mastitis or other discomfort and pain. Your trusty seamless bra will, once again, come in handy here.
Stage 5: Four+ weeks post-pregnancy/breastfeeding
From four to eight weeks post-birth, breasts will return to the size they were at eight months of pregnancy. This generally happens as the body has learnt just how much milk is required to feed your baby and it should, hopefully, no longer produce any excess. A flexi-wired nursing bra will give you added support and a flattering shape at this stage. The flexible nature of the wire is designed to move with your body and is much more comfortable than the rigid wire found in mainstream bras.
Stage 6: Continuing breastfeeding with solids and weaning
As you continue breastfeeding, or feeds become less frequent after introducing solids, you will most likely see continued changes in your size. Often your breasts might drop to a smaller size, this is often due to weight loss and the introduction of solid foods to your baby’s diet which means less milk production. If you feel at any time that your bra is not fitting you as it should, it’s best to get re-fitted so that you are properly supported and unrestricted (well, as unrestricted as a bra will allow you to be).
Find your perfect fit: where to get measured
Sheer continues to hold its place as Hong Kong’s premiere lingerie destination with its curated collection of over 40 international designer labels, selling cup sizes A to F and offering an expert in-store complimentary bra fitting service (nursing and maternity wear included!). The Chantelle Merci Maternity T-Shirt Bra is a little pricey ($690) but is a practical everyday t-shirt bra and a popular choice for nursing mums.
Sheer, Shop 310, 3F, Landmark Atrium, Central, Hong Kong, 2388 2876, www.sheer.com.hk
Linea Negra Maternity
Founded in 2002 as a result of the lack of fashionable and flattering maternity clothing in Hong Kong (when the owner, Patty, was expecting her first child), Linea Negra Maternity sells sought-after maternity, nursing, pregnancy and postpartum skincare brands from around the world. You’ll also find stylish clothes that you can continue to wear well after delivery and nursing to suit your changing body shape. The Body Silk Nursing Bra ($399) is made from a double-layered, four-way stretch fabric that moulds to your changing shape and size during pregnancy and nursing. This wire bra also comes in black or nude colours – we’d recommend getting both to have all outfits covered (plus, it’s always useful to have a spare!).
Ah Mothercare, where would we be without it? If you’re not familiar, Mothercare is a British retailer born almost 50 years ago out of an idea to provide parents and parents-to-be with the best quality and most innovative products for their children, all under one roof. Though they have nine locations across Hong Kong, you can get measured at its Lee Gardens or iSQUARE locations. We love the pretty Coral And Floral Nursing Bras (even better, it’s a pack of two!).
A go-to for designer maternity and baby goods. Bra measuring services are available in three of its stores, where you can find many options for nursing bras and stylish maternity wear.
MotherCourt, Shop G03, Man Yee Building, 68 Des Voeux Rd Central (entrance on Pottinger Street), Hong Kong, 2522 8934
MotherCourt, Shop 5B, G/F, 33 Sharp Street East, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2890 6288
A household name in the department store business in Hong Kong, you might just be surprised with the practical nursing bras and maternity wear options you’ll discover here. Just remember like most department stores in the city, it gets very busy at the weekend so choose your timing wisely. We’re already struggling enough with being preggo in the heat, we don’t need to fight our way through even more crowds!
Wing On, various locations
Marks and Spencer
If we can’t survive without Mothercare, then there is no way we can forget about Marks & Sparks! It’s a mamas go-to shop, especially for those blessed with more up top and nursing mums. The only issue is that it sometimes runs out of certain sizes, but don’t worry – if the store doesn’t have your 34E, you can order it online via the UK site and you’ll end up saving a little bit more. Prices start from around $200.
Nothing too fancy here, but H&M can be a great affordable option for nursing bras and comfortable chic maternity wear such as easy-to-wear dresses and cute blouses, perfect for when you need something unrestrictive. Choose from its many locations across Hong Kong; call ahead first to make sure they carry nursing/maternity wear in the store you plan to visit.
Not only do Baby Basics stock everything you might need to get ready for your new arrival (including cots, bottles, bibs…you name it!) but it also stocks a range of maternity and nursing bras for your growing bosom. Think no-frills, non-wired nursing bras, which are perfect for comfort.
Originally founded in Taiwan, Gennie’s has a section within the SOGO department store and a store on Lee Garden Road. It offers a good selection of maternity and nursing underwear and a personal fitting service. No matter how many months pregnant you are, this bespoke service takes measurements that allow for the inevitable growth! We’d recommend to call ahead and book in to make sure you can be seen by its trained shop assistants.
Gennie’s, Shop 23, 7F, SOGO, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2838 4938, www.sogo.com
Gennie’s, 56 Lee Garden Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2504 5885, www.gennies.com.hk
Cotton On’s Causeway Bay store has a small but worthwhile maternity selection. Its range of nursing underwear includes classic t-shirt bras, lacy options in seasonal hues and comfy sports bras. With very reasonable prices (from $119 for maternity bras), it’s worth dropping in to stock up on a handful of pieces to add a little variety to your pregnancy lingerie drawer. Its online site also offers a small selection of maternity clothes, loungewear and fitness apparel, so logging on to stock up is also a good option with this bargain brand!
Cotton On, Floor 2, Lee Theatre, Percival St, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2557 1110, www.cottonon.com
Sassy Mama Tip: Eugene Baby is also worth checking out as nursing bra fitting can be done in store. As a side note, Uniqlo also deserves a special shout out for its selection of Women’s Maternity ultra-stretch jeans and leggings pants which we love.
Once you know your fit – go online!
The good news is, shopping for nursing bras gets easier and better once you are confident that you know your right size. Although bras do vary depending on the cut, style and even brand, so keep that in mind when ordering online (we found it good practice to order several sizes and return the ones that aren’t right). There are many online shops with great selections that will deliver to you:
Perfect for mums-to-be and new mamas who need a little more time at home instead of battling the crowds; Mayarya offers free shipping and returns worldwide, and same-day delivery to Hong Kong. We love this brand as you can request multiple sizes online and its staff will deliver your items straight to your home! You try them on and a courier will take any unwanted items back for you. Now, that’s service!
Sassy Mama Tip: Try the Easy Fit Nursing and Sleep Bra for effortless night-time feeding ($320).
One of the most recommended online shops for nursing bras. It’s easy to understand why in-the-know mums love Figleaves. With over 200 brands, it carries A-K cups, offering something for all women – whatever your shape, size and style. Figleaves is also a member of the Ethical Trade Initiative, ensuring that looking great does not come at the expense of others. It checks suppliers to make sure products are manufactured in safe working conditions and that the people that make them are treated fairly and paid a fair wage. Props to that!
Sassy Mama Tip: Some of our favourite brands from Figleaves include: HOTMilk (starting around $284) and Heidi Klum Intimates for sexy and functional nursing lingerie (because nursing bras never have to be boring). Freya (which goes up to HH cup and is loved by our Sassy Mama team), Royce and Emma Jane are the some of the best brands to look into for comfort and good value for money.
Mothers en Vogue
Focused on natural fabrics (think cotton, linen, silk, bamboo and naturally derived yarns), MEV believes nursing mothers and babies benefit most from wearing natural textiles as these are the most comfortable and breathable, reducing incidences of skin sensitivities or reaction. Check out MEV’s most popular t-shirt friendly nursing bra called In the Clouds Too Nursing Bra ($459 but currently on sale for $200!), it’s easy to wear under fitted clothing, with a soft lace that adds a hint of sexiness.
For those slightly more blessed in the boob department, Bravissimo is a great option for larger sized maternity and nursing bras (we’re talking HH+). With non-wired, soft cup (great for lift, support and separation – no sweaty mono-boob here!), sleeping and sports bra options (with maternity swimwear included), this UK-based store ships to Hong Kong and takes around a week to arrive. If the items are not the right size, you can return them for an exchange or refund (paying a small fee at the Hong Kong Post Office). But note, you can only return by standard delivery as the customer service team in the UK cannot sign for tracked deliveries. We’ve never had any issues returning items though. We love the Panache Eleanore Nursing Bra ($378) shown above, the seam-free cups and flexi-wire give great shape and support (even for larger sizes) and the nude colour means you can wear it undetected.
Another online shop that stocks the best nursing bras in the market. It has the Bravado ($245) and Anita (starting from $119) nursing bras which mums swear by. It offers fast international delivery, too, if you need some support stat (a bargain at only $10 for shipping)!
There’s not the widest selection of nursing bras on ASOS but we absolutely love that it has a whole dedicated section on its site to nursing wear. There’s a variety of reasonably priced tanks, tops and dresses specially designed for new mums. A special shout out goes to the double layered tops ($392 for a pack of two), which are perfect for summer in the 852 and keep everything discreet for when you’re breastfeeding on the go.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 25, May 2018 by Czarina Sunga and updated by Alex Purcell Garcia on 15, August 2o19.