The postpartum period is a unique, special and sacred time. It is also, arguably, one of the toughest times of a mum’s life. After nine months of pregnancy followed by birth and now the 24/7 task of looking after your precious newborn, chances are your body is feeling exhausted and depleted. You’re probably also needing a lot of loving care; emotionally and physically. And let’s be honest, a dose of extra confidence wouldn’t go amiss right now!
While post-birth essentials such as nourishing food, practical help from family and friends, and as much rest as your baby allows should absolutely be at the top of your priorities list when it comes to self-care, choosing the right underwear to support your healing postpartum body may make an incredible difference to how you feel too. Don’t try and squeeze back into your pre-pregnancy undies or resign yourself to rotating the same two worn maternity bras. Instead, check out our guide to finding postpartum underwear you’ll be glad you invested in.
I just want to feel comfortable
Your body is going through huge changes in those first few weeks and months after the birth of your baby. Whether you are breastfeeding or not, your breasts will have changed size and shape since before your pregnancy and will likely continue to change. They will probably also feel tender and you may even experience some pain or discomfort. With all this in mind, you need a bra that is comfortable above all else.
“I spent ages looking for the right nursing bra when my daughter was born. I wanted something that felt soft, luxurious and comfy so I could just cherish this time with my little one,” says underwear brand Lounge’s founder Mel Marsden. “I couldn’t find anything that felt good and was also great for nursing in. So we created one.”
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Fabric is key when you’re choosing underwear that feels luxurious and gentle to your healing body. Lounge’s new Nurture collection uses a super soft cotton-mix fabric that is cosy, comfortable and supportive. Bras are underwire-free, which is perfect during pregnancy and postpartum. Damage can occur to the breast tissue if the wire presses into your breasts, and this can happen when their size and shape are fluctuating. Midwives generally recommend not wearing underwired bras for at least 6-8 weeks post-birth, and longer if you’re breastfeeding. Instead, try a Lounge Nurture bra with an elasticated band that won’t pinch your skin and will allow for size fluctuations at a time when your hormones are running the show!
I don't want to think about my underwear too much
All your thoughts will be on your baby during this unique time and you’ll likely be in that ‘newborn haze’ where night and day blend into each other. Thinking about your clothes – and especially your underwear – won’t be a priority. And that’s exactly the point! The best clothes are the ones that you forget you’re wearing, because they feel so much like a natural part of you.
Opt for easy-to-wear, mix and match sets in the softest cotton that are perfect for day or night feeding, whether you’re breastfeeding, bottle feeding or combi feeding. The comfier your underwear, the more confident and at ease you’ll feel doing skin-to-skin with your newborn. The Lounge Nurture range comes as either a bra & brief or bra & thong set in black or cream. Simple, easy and perfect for snuggling with your little one in.
What to look for when choosing a nursing bra
- Soft, supportive fabric
- No underwires, look for elasticated band support instead
- Comfortable enough to wear to sleep in
- Easy-release nursing clips
- Supportive fit so your breasts don't feel heavy or drooping
- Easy to wash and care for
I don't know how to get the right fit
Ensuring a good fit can make all the difference to how comfortable and confident you feel. Fluctuating breast size and shape is very common after birth, so it makes sense to regularly check you’re wearing the right size.
You can get measured at any good lingerie store and most department stores will have lingerie services where you can be measured for free. Alternatively Lounge offers an online fitting room experience where you can find your size in under a minute.
Sizing often differs from brand to brand but there are two basic measurements that will guide you regardless - the band size and the cup size.
If you’re measuring yourself at home try the following:
- For the band size: Stand upright without a bra on. Using a measuring tape measure around your back and under your bust, where the band of your bra would usually sit. Make sure the tape is snug rather than tight. Measure in inches and if it’s an odd number round up to the nearest inch.
- For the cup size: Wear your comfiest bra and measure around the fullest part of your chest. Then subtract your band size from this bust measurement. The difference denotes your cup size. 0=AA; 1=A; 2=B; 3=C; 4=D; 5=DD; 6=F; 7=FF; 8=G; 9=GG; 10=H; 11=HH; 12=J; 13=JJ; 14=K and so on.
Remember that this is your benchmark measurement. It may change depending on fabric and fit.
Confusingly, different brands often use different sizings and this is true when shopping for international lingerie brands too. Check out individual size guides when shopping online or if you can’t try on new styles. Try Lounge’s size guide.
Common signs the fit isn't right
- The band is riding up – if this happens it's likely that you need to try a smaller band size.
- The cups are gaping – try a smaller cup size that's more supportive.
- It looks like I have double boob – try a larger cup size. This is very common during the postpartum period so don't worry about going up a cup size or two, it's very normal.
- My straps keep slipping off – tighten the straps or try a smaller band size.
- The straps are digging in – loosen the straps or try a larger band or cup size.
I want to look and feel like myself again...
It’s common for us to get impatient with our postpartum bodies, wanting them to immediately look and feel the same as they did pre pregnancy, but remember that your body has grown, nurtured and birthed a new life. Give your body time to heal and let go of the expectations often placed on us by society to go back to how we were before.
Lavish love, care and attention on your body. Use your favourite body oil or lotion after a hot shower, get as much rest as you possibly can and invest in some good quality underwear that fits you right now.
Briefs should be soft, cosy and comfy for this time in your life. If you prefer a thong then look for one that’s designed for a postpartum body and is extra soft, such as Lounge’s Nurture Thong & Bra set.
All these small steps will help you remember you're still you – just the new you who has a precious baby now.
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