When you are pregnant, you expect to gain weight and your belly to grow. What comes as a shock to many is the increase in breast size that comes with the deal. Probably long before you need to think about maternity clothes, you will notice your breasts being fuller, maybe even spilling over the top of your bra. At the same time, the band begins to feel tight.
Your breasts are undergoing the greatest change they’ve seen since puberty. During these 9 months you are focusing on the growing baby, your body is creating a factory to make milk and nourish this new little one beyond the time he spend in the womb. Physiologically, the journey of motherhood doesn’t end at birth. Your body has nourished and sustained the baby for the first 9 months; your milk will continue to do so for many more months.
Aside from the milk making structures that have pretty much been dormant until you got pregnant, breasts are made up of ligaments and fat. Pregnancy sets the milk making mechanism in motion and you see an increase in size, more prominent veins and a change in the color and size of your areola (the darker area around your nipple). Your nipple may get more everted — the easier for baby to find the nipple when feeding. And your breasts will get heavier, doubling the weight of your pre-pregnant breasts.
Back to the bra.
For well-endowed women (who are already familiar with the concept of heavy breasts), this calls for a serious bra built to carry that extra weight.
For the less well-endowed, this may be your first taste of the need for a bra to do something other than look pretty and give a little privacy.
You may even find you sleep more comfortably with a soft bra to help keep the breasts close to your body as you turn during the night.
Maternity/nursing bras (dual purpose here) are designed to accommodate both the increase in size, and weight. Plus you want your bra to carry the extra weight, not just transfer that weight to your shoulders and neck.
The second shocker for many women is that your breasts will continue to get bigger and heavier after the baby comes. They won’t stay that way the whole time you are breastfeeding, but the first few weeks may be startling. Once you pass this high point (size-wise), there will be a gradual reduction in size. By the way, that doesn’t mean your milk is going away, just that your body and baby are reaching an equilibrium in terms of how much is needed.
Does it sound like a roller coaster of sizes? That’s about right. Your size is a moving target during this time. Your breasts are doing the most demanding job they will ever do. That, of course, is what they were made for. (I know, they offer a few other perks along the way, too.)
Do yourself a favor and find bra fitters that understand breastfeeding. If there will ever be a time in your life that calls for expertise in fitting, this is it.