The importance of breast support from Physiotherapist Joanne Brown
As a new mum navigating the ‘world of baby’ finding a maternity and nursing bra that ticked all my boxes wasn’t easy. I was looking for a bra that was supportive, functional and stylish. A friend recommended Hotmilk Lingerie to me when I was pregnant with baby number one and I have never looked back!
Being a Physiotherapist who has treated sore necks, headaches, sore backs and boobs in pregnant and postnatal women for many years I am all too aware of how important a well fitting bra is. A bra that doesn’t fit properly can contribute to various issues, especially in a nursing mother whose body has recently been through the rigours of growing and birthing a baby. Such issues include poor posture and impaired milk duct flow.
As the breast itself is made up of soft fatty tissue, a loose fit will allow more drooping and stretching of the skin and Coopers ligaments that support the breast. Heavy breasts with reduced bra support can pull the shoulders forward, encouraging a slouched posture. This causes joint stiffness in the neck and upper/mid back joints and increased muscle tension. It can also effect the bra strap position; if straps are too thin or sitting in the wrong position they can dig into the muscles lying across the tops of the shoulders causing pain and discomfort. Conversely, if a bra is too tight or not fitted correctly it can constrict or dig into the breast tissue applying pressure on the many channels or ‘ducts’ that bring milk to the nipple, causing blocked ducts and mastitis.
In my opinion there are several features a nursing bra needs to have: a soft wirefree or flexiwire cup made of comfortable supportive fabric, the ability to grow with a pregnant and postpartum body and nursing clips that are easy to undo. Hotmilk’s bras have all of the necessary features a nursing woman should look for in a bra. The cups are made of 100% breathable cotton with no irritating fabric across the nipple (great in the early days when nipples are tender). They are designed with stretchy fabric across the top of the cup to allow for breast growth (ie they accommodate a ‘full’ breast without having to go up a cup size). Breast pads fit perfectly inside and you can wear most of the Hotmilk bras with a normal top without worrying about the bra being visible. Most of the bras are wire free which as you know reduces the chance of blocked ducts and mastitis by ensuring your breast tissue isn’t being compressed. I often find no wire means no support however the design of the fabric and stitching gives you maximum support. For those craving more structure and support, the flexiwire option is great once breastfeeding is well established. The nursing bras are able to be undone (quickly) with one hand and drop down easily for breastfeeding thanks to handy nursing clips. The straps are the perfect thickness, with larger sizes having a wider strap to ensure they stay in place (there’s nothing more frustrating than a bra strap that keeps falling down!). I also love how they have a side sling option in the cups for nursing with more skin to skin contact or an A frame for those wanting a little more discretion when breastfeeding. There are six pairs of triple hook and eyes in the bra closure meaning the bras are suitable for late pregnancy (plenty of room for rib cage expansion) and the various stages post partum.
With the practical aspect of a nursing bra covered, I think it’s also important to have lingerie that makes you feel good about yourself. Hotmilk’s range of bras caters to most women’s tastes in lingerie – they have a range of colours and patterned fabrics, lace, and for those that are into them - bows. Wearing a well fitted, attractive bra helps to improve your body confidence, even if it just makes you stand a little taller and feel good rather than feeling like a frumpy new mother. The bras aren’t cheap but with the high quality and amount of wear you get out of them you can totally justify the price. I have bras that are still in perfect condition despite wearing them countless times during my first (18 month) breastfeeding journey and have invested in some new nursing bras and singlets for my second time around. I doubt any cheaper brand would live up to the same amount of use and washes in my front loader (that weren’t washed in the lingerie bag or on a gentle wash setting most of the time!). Don’t fall into the common ‘mum’ trap of buying your kids the best of everything, only for you to be wearing old cheap bras and underwear that you’ve owned for years. Put yourself first. A good bra is worth the investment!
For more information on the importance of breast support you can contact the experienced Joanne Brown from: