Can I wear a regular bra while breastfeeding?

Short answer:

Yes, you can. But I highly recommend wearing a nursing bra.

Longer answer:

If you are thinking of saving some money by wearing a regular bra while breastfeeding, I am telling you now that it’s money worth spending.

Nursing bras are a necessity, not a luxury. Breastfeeding and motherhood can be difficult and emotionally taxing. The last thing you need is to run into problems from not wearing the right kind of bra.

Good nursing bras that fit well will make your breastfeeding journey much more enjoyable.

There are many affordable nursing bras that are high quality. Plus, they are so comfy that you will probably continue wearing them long after you’re done with breastfeeding.

What is the difference between a regular bra and a nursing bra?

In a nutshell, nursing bras have extra features that regular bras lack:

  • stretchy material to expand and contract with your fluctuating breast size
  • extra support features like side slings, thick under-bust band, wide straps, double-knitted zones etc. for heavier breasts
  • allow easy and convenient breastfeeding with drop-down cups or pull aside flaps

Read Nursing Bras vs Regular Bras for a more detailed comparison.

Why can’t I wear my regular bra during breastfeeding?

Even if you got away with wearing your regular bra throughout pregnancy, (and I can’t imagine why you would – read when to start wearing nursing bras and why) breastfeeding is a different ball game altogether.

  • Fluctuating breast size

I never knew my breasts could fluctuate in size so much. During the first few weeks of nursing when my boobs were still trying to figure out how much milk my baby needed, I would get engorged breasts multiple times in the day.

Regular bras are not stretchy and most are underwired. Your regular bra will feel uncomfortably restrictive and clog your milk ducts, which often leads to extremely painful mastitis.

Nursing bras are always made of stretchy material and most are wireless.

Read: Can I wear an underwire bra while breastfeeding? 

  • Your nipples are exquisitely sensitive

Especially if this is your first time breastfeeding, your virgin nipples are soft and untested. Your newborn will be clamping down on them at least 12-14 times a day learning how to suck milk.

Your nipples will be sore all the time. They might even crack or bleed.

Nursing bras are usually lined with cotton and made with super soft fabric for comfort. Even the most high quality regular bras can’t rival nursing bras when it comes to softness.

  • Risk of clogged ducts and mastitis

Anyone who has had mastitis will tell you that it was one of the most painful experiences of their life. Some say it is worse than labor and that’s saying something!

Regular bras will almost certainly cause clogged ducts which can lead to mastitis.

I go to great lengths to prevent clogged ducts and mastitis by wearing only the most comfy wireless nursing bras.

  • Regular bras can affect your milk supply

As I said before, regular bras don’t stretch and are restrictive. When your boobs enlarge, it will press on your ducts causing clogged ducts.

This will send a feedback signal to your milk producers (the alveoli) to reduce milk production.

If you end up having mastitis, the pain, inflammation and engorgement will also send the same negative feedback signal to cut down on milk production.

Not having enough breast milk is a breastfeeding mom’s worst nightmare. Why take the risk of having your milk supply affected by wearing a regular bra?

To wrap up

It’s a no-brainer. You can wear a regular bra while breastfeeding but why the heck would you? Nursing bras are not only a necessity while breastfeeding but are so comfy that you’ll probably continue wearing them long after you’re done nursing.

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3 thoughts on “Can I wear a regular bra while breastfeeding?”

  1. Pingback: Are nursing bras really necessary?

  2. Pingback: Best strapless nursing bras and bandeaus for breastfeeding - The Sensual Mom

  3. Pingback: Do I have to wear a nursing bra all the time?

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