You learn so much when you first become a mother, it can all be extremely overwhelming!
You discover things that have never once found their way into your realm of thought. Big things, from truly understanding the power of what your boobies are made for, to smaller things like how hard it is to get ‘Sudocrem’ out of the carpet…that stuff could plaster walls.
There are a plethora of things you learn as you go, and finding the best breastfeeding clothing is something most mothers learn after they’ve given life. But wouldn’t it be handy to know what clothes to wear when breastfeeding...before you give birth? So you’re not left hoisting your old (and most likely tight) bra over your boobs and squishing everything to feed…it’s okay – you’re not the only one to have done this! In fact this is exactly what happened to Cadenshae founder - Nikki Clarke...thus inspiring her to design some quality nursing sports bras...shot Nikki!
At Cadenshae, we’re all about ensuring mothers feel comfortable, stylish and most importantly supported while breastfeeding and working out. Some of our customers don’t exercise in our gear for quite some time, opting to buy it for lounging around the house because it’s THAT comfortable! So whether you intend on running a marathon 12 weeks postpartum (be careful!) or you just plan on relaxing around home (recommended) until you’re physically and mentally ready to exercise – Cadenshae has you covered.
We’ve supplied women globally with over 150, 000 units of breastfeeding clothing, and had every question under the sun come into our customer service team, so we thought we’d share some frequently asked questions and/or concerns, teamed up with some tips from us to help prepare you for becoming a milk cow…I mean a nurturing, life-giving source of maternal awesomeness.
Many women ask, ‘can you wear a regular bra while nursing?’ As alluded to before, you technically can…but you’ll be very uncomfortable, it’s not practical, and from a medical standpoint, this can be dangerous. If you’re wearing a regular bra while breastfeeding, it’s probably one you owned before you got pregnant, and is most likely too small now your milk has come in…are you exploding out the sides, not only with your milk, but flesh too? Ow. As aforementioned, you have to push your bra up above your nipples so your baby can feed, this can hurt and it pushes down the milk meaning it can come out too fast for the baby. OR, you take your bra off each time to feed, annoying! There’s also the option of not wearing a bra at all, which is for the most part fine if you’re comfortable, but not so great if you want to go out (leakage) or if you have a house with stairs (ouchie)!
To boot, wearing a regular bra increases your chances of contracting mastitis, a common condition in women who’re nursing. Twenty percent of women get mastitis in the first six months after birth. Early symptoms of mastitis feel like the flu, with many women experiencing shivers and aches. Some mums who don’t have any early signs of a blocked duct may get mastitis out of the blue. The boob will be sore like it is with a blocked duct, only even more painful. It’s usually red, swollen and hot. The skin may be shiny and there may be red streaks. You could feel quite rubbish.
Cadenshae nursing sports bras have been medically endorsed by a lactation consultant and Dr. Caitlin Zietz, a leading Canadian Dr. who specialises in prenatal and postpartum care. Both professionals recommended our bras as they help to prevent mastitis and blocked milk ducts due to the fact the bras fit well, and do not have an under-wire, resulting in less pressure being placed on the breasts. So…moral of the story is, you can breastfeed in a regular bra if you want to, but it’s annoying (for you and the baby), it’s uncomfortable and you’re increasing the risk of developing mastitis, which also affects your milk supply – who wants that? Get a good nursing bra girl!
And that leads to the next question, a lot of women ask, ‘how many nursing sports bras do I need?’ Each woman’s circumstances are different of course, but generally speaking we recommend mums purchase three nursing bras (if you can). One for wearing while one is in wash, and the other spare for when you leak or get spewed on…because you WILL get spewed on! If you buy only a few items for your breastfeeding journey, we recommend nursing bras first and foremost.
‘What kind of bra should I wear while breastfeeding?’ is another frequently asked question. The answer is pretty simple – bras that fit properly, are supportive, are of a high quality and make you feel good. This could be a Cadenshae bra, or a non-activewear nursing bra, whatever works for you. However, you can wear a Cadenshae bra while working out, and underneath a work shirt or while out and about (if you find the energy!), whereas a nursing maternity bra you can’t wear working out…so better bang for your buck getting a nursing sports bra as it swings many ways.
Every woman’s bust and band sizes are different, so do a bit of research as to what size you are now you’re possibly packing a bit more than you used to! Cadenshae has a selection of 10 bras, all serving different purposes and band/cup sizes. Get yourself measured so you can find a bra that suits you best. It’s not a bad idea to get a bra with a little bit of wriggle room so you can grow comfortably once the milk has come in. Also, have a think about what you prefer style wise? Racerback or traditional straps? A bra with clasps or without? We’ve got something for everyone!
A lot of our mothers also wonder about the safety of wearing a nursing sports bra to bed. Some prefer to do this for support and to help manage leakage. It’s perfectly safe to wear a nursing sports bra to bed, as long as it fits correctly and you’re comfortable. Unfortunately though, wearing a bra to bed probably isn’t going to prevent your ‘girls’ from sagging. Gravity holds all of us prisoners…keep that in mind…keep the expectations realistic.
When should I start wearing a nursing sports bra? This is completely up to you! Some women get in them at around 20 weeks pregnant as they’re so much more comfortable, especially as a number of them have no under-wire (all Cadenshae bras have no under-wire). Some choose to wear them only once their baby has arrived, but it’s highly recommended to birth in a maternity bra, or at least have one in your hospital bag so you can pop it on afterwards (in case you deliver naked!), you’ll soon find you love the convenience of a nursing bra and want one on immediately.
Aside from nursing sports bras, there are a number of items we recommend women have in their breastfeeding clothing arsenal. A few nursing tanks or tees for those of you in warmer climates are very handy as you can unzip to feed, or pull to the side so the baby can get at you! Nom, nom, nom! Maternity shorts are also a smart choice as well (yes, Cadenshae has those too). For those who deliver during the winter months, a breastfeeding hoodie is a great investment to keep you and bubs warm and cosy.
Maternity leggings are a must have for winter mamas, and can be worn whenever for whatever!. If you find a good pair, they can pass for work attire also. FYI too…Cadenshae’s maternity leggings have been medically endorsed by Dr. Caitlin Zietz and Auckland Physiotherapy for providing the ultimate levels of support for pregnant and postpartum tummies. Not saying you have to buy a Cadenshae pair, but they are the best! Just saying…
So there you have it, a few tips to help you with your online shopping session. There’s some great stuff out there, but remember, with all of Cadenshae’s gear, you can wear these items LONG after you’ve finished feeding. Think of any Cadenshae purchase as a sensible, long-term investment, because it truly will be.
Now go forth and treat yourselves ladies, and good luck with it all, you’ve totally got this!
Written by Ellen Chisholm.