Do I have to wear a nursing bra all the time?

Nursing bras are great. They are the ultimate all-rounder when it comes to comfort, support and convenience. We all know the benefits of nursing bras.

But if you are used to letting your girls go free, it can get a bit old wearing nursing bras all the time.

To answer your question: No, you don’t have to wear a nursing bra all the time. You can choose to wear nursing bras only when they serve their purpose.

Read: Are nursing bras really necessary? and Can I wear a regular bra while breastfeeding?

When should you wear a nursing bra?

I wore various types of nursing bras throughout my breastfeeding journey. In fact, I wore nursing bras between pregnancies. That’s testament to how comfy they are.

But what if you were itching to be rid of nursing bras? When are the most important times to wear nursing bras?

  • The first few weeks post-delivery

The first week of new mom life is overwhelming to say the least. Especially if you are trying to navigate breastfeeding. Your boobs are so confused with how much milk it needs to produce that it fluctuates wildly in size no matter what you do.

I’ve not seen a mom who didn’t have at least few episodes of boob engorgement. Most first-time moms also get really sore nipples from baby latching on for the first time.

Sleep nursing bras (or any comfy wireless nursing bra) will help support your engorged and achy boobs without blocking up your milk ducts. The soothing softness of a good quality nursing bra also prevents your sore nipples from chafing on your top.

Most moms live in their nursing bras during this time.

  • In the first 4-8 weeks

After the first few weeks of craziness, things settle (usually) to a sort-of-routine. Even then, your boobs can get engorged every time baby pulls out his or her feeds. When this happens, you also inevitably get milk leaks.

This tends to happen at night when you’re asleep. Many a mom has woken up to milk-drenched sheets.

You don’t need to wear a nursing bra (or any bra at all) all the time but I found them supportive for my heavier boobs and gave me a layer of protection when my milk leaks.

During this time, I wore nursing bras throughout the day but often went braless to bed. On those nights when I knew my son wasn’t feeding as much, I would wear my sleep bra with pads purely to catch milk leaks. (Read this article for more options to wear to bed)

  • When you first go back to work

After the initial few months, most boobs start behaving themselves and you can leave off the nursing bra if you feel more comfortable doing so.

Your next hurdle is when you go back to work. There is inevitably an upset of routine. Sometimes you might be late for a pumping session or you might be delayed in getting back to baby for their next feed. This was when I found myself getting engorged and having milk leaks again multiple times in the day.

I wore a nursing and pumping bra which I found worked great with my Spectra pump. If you are pumping, these are the best nursing/pumping bras to wear for work. If you’re not pumping (assuming you have a way to breastfeed at semi-regular intervals), I still recommend wearing a wireless nursing bra for obvious reasons.

Can you wear a regular bra while nursing?

Other than these ‘special times’ when your boobs need more nursing bra TLC, you can go braless. And even though I can’t understand why you would want to, you can even wear a regular bra.

However, I caution against wearing a regular underwired bra as you run a high risk of clogged ducts and mastitis.

I admit wireless regular bras or going braless can be ‘freeing’ but without proper support, your heavier breasts might be at higher risk of earlier sagging.

Read: Can I wear an underwired bra while breastfeeding? 

Does not wearing a bra decrease your milk supply?

No it doesn’t. Not wearing a bra can cause back and shoulder ache if your boobs are heavy. It can cause milk leaks to ink onto your top. It can increase your risk of breast sagging later on.

But not wearing a bra will not decrease your milk supply.

Does not wearing a bra increase your milk supply?

Nice try but no, not wearing a bra doesn’t increase your milk supply either.

To wrap up

Ultimately, it is your choice whether you wear a nursing bra all the time, some times or not at all. To get the best of both worlds, why not wear your nursing bra when you most need it for support and when you’re having a rest, let the girls breath?

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