When you’re pregnant, your breasts start growing and the tendency for many is to buy new sets of bras. I did not see the need to spend much on new sets of bras just for my pregnancy. After all, I knew my breasts could even get larger after birth. For my pregnancy, I solely depended on sports bras (and all kinds of stretchable bras) AND bra extenders (you may read about it HERE).
Buying bras post-birth is a different story, though. If you’re breastfeeding (most especially if you do direct feeding), for me, investing in nursing bras is a must! It makes breastfeeding a lot easier especially when you nurse at night, and in public. The idea of keeping only one side of the bra open is IMPORTANT – because you will have leaks, so if you’re not catching the leaks from the other breast, you better have something there to keep your leaks from spilling all over your body and your bed.
They need not be the most expensive ones in the market, though I admit, a mid-priced bra versus a cheap one can spell the difference in terms of comfort.
Here are the ones I’ve tried and my thoughts about them. Hopefully, they help you as you search for nursing bras for your breastfeeding journey!
MAMAWAY SEAMLESS MATERNITY AND NURSING BRA
Price: PHP 2088
This bra is wire-free with built-in removable padding. It works great as a t-shirt bra, and breasts are easily accessed through its drop-down clips.
MY EXPERIENCE: This bra is super comfortable, the padding is so easy to put back to its original space and shape, and I love that the style is classic (wide-set straps) so I can use it in almost ANY top. The padding is soft and comfortable, so even when my breasts were too damaged that anything that touched it caused pain, this wasn’t bad at all. It was one of the bras that gave comfort during those times. The padding is also thick – so this is what I use for going out – no nipple show at all, and no need to put breastpads for my leaks. The only drawback for me is the price. It’s PHP 2088 and in reality, you can’t live with just one piece of nursing bra most especially if you’re direct feeding everyday. Oh, another disadvantage is that while drop-down clips allow you to access only one side of the breast if you want, it’s not so easy to release and put back the strap. Also, with this style, you end up rolling the side of the bra that you dropped down so it goes to the bottom of your breast. This is fine now, but when baby P was a newborn and he was small and we were still getting used to our groove, we had a hard time dealing with this nuisance. This was not my preferred style when I started breastfeeding, but like I said, it’s fine now – it’s working so much better for us since baby P’s bigger and we’re already confident in our breastfeeding journey.
You can buy Mamaway bras HERE. They also join bazaars and have a physical store in Shangri-la Plaza.
MAMAWAY CROSSOVER SLEEPING AND NURSING BRA
Price: PHP 1088
The pink one is called a far-infrared thermal crossover bra, which supposedly helps boost blood circulation (and supposedly encourages milk production), while the nude one is called an antibacterial crossover bra, which uses meryl fibre – an extremely strong spandex that has antibacterial and anti-odour properties.
MY EXPERIENCE: This is my preferred bra style. Instead of using drop-down clips, all you need to do is pull one side and your breast is out! I have seen other brands with this style, but honestly, I really like the fabric of this one – it’s soft, comfortable, and still looks the same even after many uses. The only downside of this one is that it doesn’t come with padding, so it’s not my recommended bra for going out. Mamaway sells a set of disposable breastpads which you can use for this when you go out (or for leaks), but those disposables did not sit well with me. Apart from them being disposable (which I try to avoid), they were not comfortable at all. The disposable breastpad they have is similar to a sanitary napkin, only it’s round and smaller. I end up using washable breastpads for this one, because it’s too thin (which is what makes it so comfortable on the skin, actually), so if you’re leaking, expect it to get wet really quick if you wear it without breastpads.
These are the washable breastpads I use – Avent and Bamboobies. Personally, I looooove Bamboobies (Avent was a gift during my baby shower!). They are so soft and comfortable. When my breasts were feeling pain to almost anything that touched it, this is also one of the products that saved me. It’s very gentle on the nipples. My only problem with washable breastpads is that even after several washes, they tend to leave residue on my nipples (I guess it’s also because my nipples get stuck to them when I leak) so I always have to check for any residue before I feed my son, which is quite a hassle for nightime feedings when I’m too sleepy and groggy, haha! You can get Bamboobies breast pads HERE.
COOBIE NURSING BRA:
Price: PHP 1000-PHP 1200
All Coobie Nursing Bras are racerback (they only have one style – but in different colors) and is also accessed through its drop-down clips.
MY EXPERIENCE: For me, this comes next to Mamaway’s Seamless Nursing bra in terms of comfort. The comfort of the padding is similar, but its racerback style makes it a bit harder for me to put it on. However, it’s cheaper by half than Mamaway, so I have more of these. It comes in two sizes: regular, which fits 32A-36D, and full, which fits 38A-44D. Buying this can be a bit tricky if the one selling it to you is not so familiar. You see, I already had a few of these when I decided to buy more. After telling the saleslady that I forgot what my size was, I was told they only come in one size, so I got them. When I got home, I noticed it felt really tight. It turned out I was given the regular when my size is actually full. The tricky thing though, is that if you read the label of the regular size bra, it actually says one size. No wonder the saleslady was confused. It’s okay though, because replacing it was not a problem at all. I replaced them with the full size (and added PHP 200/bra because the full size is more expensive), but when I got home, I couldn’t figure out why the bra still felt small. Upon talking to the distributor here, I found out that the black color seems to be a bit smaller than the rest, and that’s the color I got. Again, it was replaced, though I would advise you to just get the other colors to be sure and to save time. Overall though, if you consider both the quality and the price, this would be my recommended brand. Oh and also, I like their colors better than Mamaway’s – they have the basic colors while Mamaway only has pink and purple for their seamless style.
EDIT: After a year and four months of using this, they’re still in good condition. But there’s one important thing I feel I need to mention: the racerback style does not work for me at all. It peeks out for 90% of my tops, so when I started going back to normal tops (non-nursing), these are almost untouched. I ended up using their normal bra (sports bra style) and just pull down the bra on one side while nursing, but it got worn easily. It’s too saggy now, so I just use it at home.
TINY TOTS BANDEAUS:
Price: PHP 399
I realized that I also need strapless bras, and originally, I was thinking of just buying from the local brand Bench (they have a lot of bandeaus), but was afraid I’d have no size. I also didn’t have time to check out their physical store, so it’s a good thing that I stumbled upon THIS online store for cheap nursing wear.
MY EXPERIENCE: Well, it’s just PHP 399 (super cheap), so don’t expect much, but it’s decent. Neither Coobie nor Mamaway offer a strapless option, so I’m actually happy with this. Compared to Bench (my original plan for a bandeau), this one is really made for nursing. You can just flip the bottom and there are 2 holes for your nipples for an even easier access (check it out HERE), but when I fit it, my nipples did not fit the holes. I guess I’ll just pull the whole thing down when I use it. That’s still okay with me! For the price, the comfort is not bad at all for this style. They also have other styles, too! They have one called comfy nursing bra which is similar to Mamaway’s crossover bra. I ordered it but I’m still waiting for the smaller size because the size the seller recommended is too big for me for that style (The padding for this one is not so nice, BUT I plan to just take out the padding and just use it as a nightime bra with my breastpad – a cheaper alternative to Mamaway!). That’s the downside of just an online store – it’s really a guessing game even if they give the sizes – it’s really different when you get to fit! For this brand, I would recommend the bandeau but if you can allot a higher budget for the other styles, I’d still go with the two brands I previously mentioned – the quality and comfort is far.
EDIT: Revisiting this blog after 1 year and… I take it back, I wouldn’t spend my money on any of these. The bandeaus were hardly used because they’re too thick! I felt like my breasts doubled in size whenever I wore them, and it was really a challenge finding a top that would go well with the fit of the bandeau. Their comfy nursing bra was a waste of money for me.
MY REAL FIND: STRING BIKINI TOPS!
I don’t know why nobody ever mentioned this to me before (I’m sure others have discovered this way before me), but seriously, this is my favorite NURSING BRA find! During the first few weeks of my breastfeeding journey with my son, like I mentioned earlier, the drop-down clip style of bras bothered me. It would take a while for me to put down the clip. It seems easy, but when you’re holding your son on one arm and trying to put this down with the other, it’s not as quick – and by the time I put it down, my son would already be crying non-stop. And then, that part I pulled down would be at the bottom of my breast, which would obstruct my son somehow. Again, this is all okay now – we have found our groove, our breastfeeding journey is so much better, so this is no longer an issue. HOWEVER, when we were starting, I was trying to find other bras that would fit my son’s needs – and I realized they were in my closet all along…
String bikini tops are heaven-sent in my breastfeeding journey. All I have to do is slide it on one side and my breast is out, and I don’t have to worry about placing all that fabric at the bottom – so it does not bother my son at all! The only downside is that the padding is not made for nursing, so you might have to add breastpads for extra comfort and leaking issues!
So there, those are my finds! Hope that was helpful! And just to help you some more, if you’re really on a budget, you can check THIS store out. I just saw them online and read that they sell nursing bras for as low as PHP 100! Wow, now that is REALLY CHEAP. I have not tried this out, but looking at the photos, well, you can tell the quality is not as good as Mamaway or Coobie, but then again, for PHP 100, I really would not bother to compare them.
Just one last tip when you buy nursing bras: ALWAYS, ALWAYS go for bras where you can take out the padding. As your baby nurses, the pads will keep moving and somehow end up being misaligned. If you go for those bras with padding that you cannot touch (cause they’re sewn with the bra), it would be very hard to keep aligning them.
And after 1 year and 4 months of nursing, my top tip really is…if you can, don’t go for the really cheap ones. In my own experience, I realized I was not able to save money. Instead, I wasted money..really. 🙁
Happy nursing-bra hunting! And may you have a great breastfeeding journey ahead!