“ Brand: Bravado / Clothing Type: Maternity Bras „
The first Bravado nursing bra I bought felt like an incredible indulgence at nearly £20 nine years ago, but it has proved to be a worthwhile investment as it is still going strong four children later! In fact, it has been joined by several more, as these bras have seen me through nearly ten years of pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The style may not be the most flattering or sexy, but for sheer comfort they win hands-down, and at least there are a few different colours and prints to choose from, so you don't need to feel totally frumpy.
The bra is designed for purpose (Bravado only make nursing/maternity bras) and it shows in features like the high cotton content (92%) for easy-breathing comfort, while stretchiness and support comes from the 8% Spandex.
The bras are styled subtly differently depending on size and level of support needed too, so that the original nursing bra comes in three slightly different styles to suit different cup sizes. Don't worry that it will be tricky to choose the correct size though, because there is a fair degree of overlap between styles and the bra is designed to adapt to fit expanding and, er, deflating breasts - you may find that there is a large difference between your cup size before and after a feed, so this is a useful attribute! There is also plenty of space for breastpads, should you need them, and the cotton is thick enough for them not to show through too obviously.
The Bravado has a wide band of elastic which gives a good supportive base and helps the fit to be as forgiving as it is. As a nursing bra this works well, but I have found that it was sometimes uncomfortable to wear in mid to late pregnancy (although this is sold as a maternity bra as well as a nursing bra) because it tended to bunch up and dig in. This is the only criticism I have, but if you want the Bravado to last you through multiple children then it may be worth noting, especially if you intend to feed through pregnancy and/or tandem feed.
The cups fasten with poppers, making it easy to fasten with one hand once you get the hang of it. I certainly found this system easier than fiddling with the hooks and eyes on other nursing bras, while the zip-up nursing bra I tried was simply painful!
The Bravado Original is a pull-on style, which is very easy to use, since the elastic at the base can just be pulled into place. The straps are adjustable and the thin elastic which holds the shoulder straps in place when the cups are unclipped is good quality so it does its job well and lasts a long time - unlike cheaper bras I have tried where the elastic has perished and left me fishing about for the fasteners. Not a good way to end a discreet breastfeed! As I said, one or two of mine have been in almost constant use for years now and are still serviceable (if not pretty!) so they certainly are made to last. It's just a shame the wide elastic doesn't always stay as flat as it should.
Besides the Original there are now other styles on offer, including one specifically for the fuller-breasted woman (the Supreme) and another (the Lifestyle) a rather slinky little number which has a cotton lining and microfibre outer layer for a smoother finish. Since this offers less adjustability than the Original it is better for use once breastfeeding has been established and your cup size less likely to fluctuate as much. There is less room for breastpads too, if this is an issue for you, but it is nice to have a nursing bra which looks so "normal" and yet still performs its function well.
I tried several different bras during my first pregnancy and breastfeeding, and didn't like any of them. They didn't fit or support very well once they'd been washed a few times and didn't take into account the size changes that happen all the time when you're breastfeeding. These are different. They're a crop top style with a crossover front, but most importantly they're a cotton and lycra mix. If you're anything like me you can go from a B cup to a DD in half an hour - this bra cup stretches, so it grows with you and still supports well. They're available in all sorts of designs inculding a raunchy leopard print, and they wash well - although you probably aren't supposed to tumble dry them, I have, on a low heat with no ill effects. I haven't seen them in shops - I bought mine mail-order from JoJoMamanBebe, who have a catalogue and website. The only down side I can think of is that the cups fasten with a press stud, which can be tricky to undo while you're holding on to a wriggly baby. However, I've had two of these on the go since the start of my pregnancy and my son is now 6 months old. They're still comfortable and supportive - I'd definitely buy them again.
The bravado crop top style bra will see you through from pregnancy to breastfeeding. Because this bra grows with you, each size covers a range of measurements - see the table below.