Age and breastfeeding have not been kind to my breasts. What once was up is down, and my boobs have a sort of deflated quality. Look, I know this sounds like I'm complaining - I'm not. I've never really been a boobs person, so I am not attached to them or upset that they've changed - significantly - in the last decade. But, yes - having babies means your body changes. Heck, even just the passing of time is going to leave its own wear and tear on your chesticles. And while I fully support your choice to go braless if you want, I personally feel more comfortable with a bra. If it has a little padding to help shape these ladies into more buoyant jubblies, all the better! An underwire? Don't mind if I do.
I'm willing to drop a pretty penny on a good bra. If, of course, it fits. Here's what's frustrating - it's dang near impossible to find a good bra. The unicorn of the bra world is a good nursing bra. I imagine you, shouting at me on the other side of your screen: "Have you tried Victoria's/Soma/ThirdLove/etc.?" Trust me - I've tried it.
A quick Google search pulled up several (recent) articles that outlined a few reasons why finding a bra that fits is more of an art than a science. Most bra companies only manufacture a set range of sizes; so if you're outside that range, you're out of luck. Variation in material means that a bra that fits well at purchase stretches out within two months. You've heard it before - most women aren't wearing a properly sized bra. But there's no "standard" - every brand fits differently and some bras have specific functions. Even if you measure as a 34C in one brand, another could fit best at a 32DD. It's a crap shoot, and a discouraging one at that.
Here's the thing: we each have our idea of what makes "the perfect bra". You might want padding, underwire, or even something a little sexy. But when your six-month-old is pawing at your chest for a snack, you also want something that can easily latch and unlatch.
I thought I had found the Holy Grail of nursing bras. It had a little padding, just to keep the errant nip in control. A comfortable underwire, straps that more or less stayed in place, and a decent band thickness. Bonus: this bra was only $20 at Target! So I bought several when I was nursing Shep. By the time Rory came along, those bras desperately needed replacing. After trying a few different disappointing styles, I remembered the Target bra. Back I went, trying on and buying a different size than before. And this bra was Giving. My. Boobs. Life!
Until it wasn't. The second time I wore the bra, the underwire poked itself up through the center yoke. Both cups simultaneously gave up the ghost. So I shrugged off the defective bra and put on the same bra in a different color. Predictably, that bra also fell apart within a few wears.
I'm on the hunt again. The perfect nursing bra eludes me - and I know I'm not the only mom on the quest for the Unicorn (Nursing) Bra. Before I had children, Soma bras fit me very well. After Shep was born, I've either been in a nursing bra or wearing a ThirdLove. Pricey? Yes. But if the bra fits, wear it.