Should You Sleep in a Nursing Bra if You're Breastfeeding?

Information and Tips for Choosing a Bra to Wear to Bed

Should You Sleep In A Nursing Bra If You're Breastfeeding?
You can choose to sleep in a nursing bra or not. It's up to you and what you feel is more comfortable. Cristian Baitg/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Should You Sleep in a Nursing Bra When You're Breastfeeding?

To sleep or not to sleep in a nursing bra...that is the question. And, the answer falls into the "it's your call" category. Here are some things to consider:

The size of your breasts: If you have small breasts, wearing a bra is a matter of preference. But, if you have large, full breasts, a bra can feel more supportive and more comfortable.

Although, even if you have smaller breasts, during the first month or so after your baby is born when your breast milk is adjusting, you may find that the support of nursing bra overnight is just what you need.

How much breast milk you're leaking: If your breasts don't leak very much, you don't have to worry about wearing a bra. But, if you have very leaky breasts, you need something to hold your nursing pads in place unless you want to wake up in a puddle of breast milk and have to change the sheets every morning.

Your comfort: Comfort is important! As an exhausted new mom, the last thing you need is to be uncomfortable when you're trying to get some much-needed rest. If you have smaller breasts, it may be more comfortable to go without a bra, and if you have larger breasts, it may be more comfortable to wear a bra. A comfortable, soft, cotton nursing bra is a good choice for both day and night, and a sports bra style may also make a comfortable bra for nighttime use.

Here are some tips and options:

Always Wear a Bra That Fits You Well

If you do choose to wear a bra at night, make sure it's soft, comfortable, and fits you well. You should not wear an underwire bra or one that's tight and puts pressure on your breasts. Tight bras and underwires can cause plugged milk ducts or mastitis.

Bravado Bras are a great choice as they are supportive, yet not constricting, and very cushy.

Try Lily Padz 

Lily Padz are perfect for braless sleep. These breast pads are made from comfortable, flexible, breathable, medical-grade silicone. And, since they stick right to your breasts, you don't need a bra to keep them in place. 

Think About Using a Nursing Tank Top 

If you don't want to wear a bra, but you're worried about your breasts leaking overnight, an excellent option is to wear a maternity tank top with a built-in shelf bra to hold your nursing pads in place.

For this purpose, Japanese Weekend maternity camisoles are fantastic. They're soft, comfortable and beautifully designed with a bit of Spandex. They stretch well to accommodate your breast fluctuations, especially during the night.

Will Sleeping in a Nursing Bra Prevent Your Breasts From Sagging?

Wearing a bra to sleep in general, not just while you're breastfeeding, is believed to help prevent sagging breasts. When you wear a bra, both during the day and overnight, it supports the structure of your breasts, especially the Cooper's ligaments.

These ligaments give your breast its shape, but the extra weight that breast milk adds to your breasts can pull and stretch your cooper's ligaments. However, while wearing a bra may help, it cannot completely prevent sagging. Saggy breasts are the result of a combination of factors including the number of pregnancies, weight, and heredity.

Sources:

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby. 2011.

Riordan, J., and Wambach, K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Fourth Edition. Jones and Bartlett Learning. 2014.

Edited by Donna Murray

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