I know other wonderful women have already touched more on the pregnancy/nursing aspect. Rather, what I want to discuss here is dealing with your breasts after your child is weaned.
Between weight loss (over 80lbs now from the day I gave birth to my daughter), pregnancy, and nursing for two years, my breasts (and body!) have changed dramatically. It doesn’t mean I can’t be sexy with a well supporting bra but I have different needs. Once I realized that I wrote this little post on the difference between soft and firm breasts. Since then I’ve experimented more and wanted to discuss some tips/tricks when it comes to dealing with post-weaning/post-partum breasts.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
– “Mom breasts” don’t have the firmness that younger breasts do. Often they’ll become longer (so if you were to lean forward they’d be quite a bit longer). If you cradle them in your hand they’ll have a flatter shape than a woman who’s never had a pregnancy (and has stayed at a relatively constant weight her whole life). All this is NORMAL. I’ve had women come to me both publicly and privately say that they thought they were abnormal because of their soft breasts, they worried something was wrong. Nope, this is 100% normal.
– When it comes to a good every day bra a high center gore is your friend! I had the Panache Sienna for months and hated it. Recently, I altered it by sewing the center gore together and now it’s one of the bras I use the most! It works because mom breast do best when they’re cradled within two UU shapes rather than J shape, which is often how the underwire is formed in plunges and half-cup bras. Balconettes can sometimes be good, sometimes not (the underwires do tend to have more of a UU shape there). It depends on how it is cut along the top of the cup, though, and how high the center gore is.
– Full fit padded or moulded cup bras can give the best shape (although moulded can be tricky to find the perfect fit because the cup itself won’t conform to your breast shape). I’ve noticed that there are a lot of women with firmer breasts mention that they prefer unpadded bras. It makes sense, especially if their breasts already have a relatively firm shape so an unpadded bra would work better for them because the bra conforms more to their shape. When you have soft breasts it’s the opposite. You want your breasts to conform to the shape that you like. Personally, I love a nice rounded shape that’s very front and center. The bra that’s given me the best so far is the CH Onyx from Ewa Michalak:
It’s great because it gives you an incredible shape and the cups aren’t nearly as tall as some other brands, which, like I mentioned above, does really well for softer breasts. Additionally, I’ve found sewing the center gore together a big help too.
Now, in my dream world it would be even more full-coverage. It would cover the entire breasts and the straps would come closer to the center of the breasts. Apparently, Ewa Michalak has been spying on my dreams because soon BP bras from Ewa Michalak will be coming out and they’re specifically made for women who have been pregnant/lost lots of weight:
It’s still not on her site yet, but once it comes out it’s definitely on my wish list!
– Of course, sometimes we want killer cleavage and that’s a bit of an issue when you have soft breasts. Plunge bras lead to spillage towards the center, yet if you go up in size you might find that you have gapping where the strap meets the cup. The best solution that I’ve found is sizing down one size from your normal size in the cups. You don’t want to get major quadraboob but you should expect some spillage towards the center (and typically that doesn’t show up underneath shirts). I wouldn’t suggest wearing plunge bras on a regular basis but they can be great as a special occasion bra. Oh and Ewa Michalak makes them too (the plunge that I currently own is from her!). Look for shorter, deeper cups in your plunge bras.
– Swimwear is another tricky one. If you wear a larger cup size for some reason all the designer believe that we only want plunges? I can’t quite figure that one out yet. A plunge in swimwear is NOT a good combo for me, especially, because I’m a pretty hardcore swimmer. I’m still waiting for the perfect bikini top but currently I have my eye on the new Curvy Kate swimwear which comes in a huge size range. My personal favorite is the Bondi Breeze
It looks like the center gore isn’t too low and it also has a nice brief that cover the lower part of your midsection (normally a good area to have covered if you’re like me with a bit of loose skin post-partum).
Another option that, unfortunately, doesn’t come in my exact size is the Freya Active Swimwear
Personally, I’d really prefer this in a bikini+brief combo but since that’s not out yet the once piece is a pretty good option for a full coverage suit if you do any heavy duty swimming.
Another thing to understand is that swimsuits expand once your in the water. That’s a BIG issue when you have soft breasts because they also move around a lot more than firmer breasts. So I’d definitely recommend sizing down a cup size just to be on the safe side.
– Sport bras. Again, the more coverage the better and at least with sports bras that’s not a big issue. The Freya Active line, Panache line, Shock Absorber, and Bravissimo all have what looks like good full-coverage sports bras. Personally, I own the Freya Active soft cup and it works well for me. I will say that you can actually get away with ordering a cup size down because of your soft breasts. For instance, my typical bra size is 28J but in the Freya Active because it’s tight in the back and it’s a soft cup I own a 30GG. A 30H would probably be the best fit, though. However, because I’m not working out for long periods of time a 30GG does fine.
– Soft breasts move around… a lot. Just something to be aware of and understand that no matter what you will have to adjust during the day. The more coverage the better when it comes to avoiding adjusting your breasts but sometimes you do want a lower cut bra for lower cut shirts so just understand that you should check your breasts during bathroom breaks.
Just so you know my history. I didn’t have my bra-epiphany until well after weaning my daughter. I was always wearing large cup sizes but I didn’t know much about fit and I know for sure some of the shops were upping my band size just to get me into anything that remotely fit. Following giving birth to my daughter the largest bra that I wore was a 40K (although I think I should have probably be more of a 38L but they didn’t have one at the store). It was a horribly ugly white soft cup nursing bra that made my breasts look like the largest, soggiest monoboob that you’ve ever seen. I also happened to gain 65lbs during that pregnancy and was not doing too well at losing it so you can just imagine where my body image was at that time.
But let’s skip ahead to about 6months after weaning my daughter (she ended up nursing for 2 years). I had lost almost all of my pregnancy weight and was on a MISSION to find a bra that fit. I had to do something with this new body of mine and I knew that properly fitting undergarments was the best start. I started researching fit, became absolutely glued to blogs like Georgina’s and was suddenly filled with regret that I hadn’t discovered them sooner! Finally, there were others like me! Others who had similar body types to me, others who had dealt with the body image issues, the back pain, and the difficulties with clothing! Needless to say I started ordering bras like crazy. I read all the reviews I could get my little hands on and did the best I could to figure out my correct size.
Unfortunately, due to continued weight loss and seriously long shipping times to Brazil zeroing in on my size was easier said than done. I did the best I could, kept a few that were “almost fits” and returned others. But eventually I started noticing a trend. Bras that looked fabulous on the younger lingerie bloggers weren’t working very well on me. Why?
Finally it dawned on me that I had soft breasts and they had different needs than firmer breasts. Once I realized that it helped me to eliminate a number of beautiful bras that wouldn’t work well on my breasts. I’m still on the lookout for the holy grail of bras for soft breasts. My hopes are on Ewa Michalak’s BP and Curvy Kate’s Daily Boost is another promising one. Thankfully, my weight loss journey is almost done so I’m looking forward to building up a permanent bra collection of bras that do great on soft breasts.