* Prices may differ from that shown
As I am currently nearing the end of my second pregnancy in two years, it's fair to say that my bra size has gone up and down like a yo-yo in recent times. I've always begrudged having to spend cash on yet more, mostly unflattering underwear for myself when it could be better spent on baby stuff or put away in savings and so I've taken a fair bit of time shopping around for maternity and nursing bras that don't break the bank. One of my favourite buys has been this particular two-pack of nursing bras, which I discovered in H&M.
I doubt there are many people who aren't aware of this originally Swedish clothing chain, as you'd be hard pressed to find a high street in this country without one of their stores. H&M sell clothing, accessories, make-up and toiletries for both sexes and all ages and have plus size and maternity ranges, generally at quite affordable prices and of a decent quality. The layout of their stores has always taken me a little getting used to as there is such a huge range of clothing, which isn't displayed as clearly as most other shops. I know some people who hate shopping there as they think it's like a jumble sale, however I quite like having a good rummage through the rails to see if I can find a hidden gem!
I was browsing through the maternity section of my local store one day when I came across these bras- a two pack including a white and a black one. I can't say I desperately wanted them at first sight, as they look very plain and functional, however on seeing they were just £14.99 for a pack of two I decided to try a few sizes on and see how comfortable they were. As it happened, I soon found a size that not only fitted perfectly, but also felt a good deal more comfortable than the other bras I had at the time. I was also very pleased to see that these bras seemed to give my bust more support than my other maternity bras and created an attractive silhouette, so I was soon at the checkout with my card at the ready.
These bras are made from 95% organic cotton and 5% elastane, which goes some way to explaining why I find them so comfortable. My son was born in the middle of August, so I found this material felt breathable and cool during those hotter months. The fabric is also quite thick compared to the other nursing bras I own, which I think gives my bust a little more support and helps to disguise the 'smuggled peanut' effect some of us get during pregnancy! Although they are fairly plain, there are also a few feminine touches in the shape of a little bow between the cups and the elastic edging is prettily scalloped.
Two things that I consider most important in any bra, (nursing or otherwise) is that it provides me with decent support and creates a pleasant silhouette with clothes over the top. I often find nursing and maternity bras sadly lacking in this respect, due to the lack of underwiring and the fact that most of the design is centred on the cups being easily unclippable. These bras however have quite a sturdy design- the cups are joined in the middle rather than being separate, the elastic around the base of the bra is thick and doesn't ride up and the fastening part is quite wide, with three hook and eye fasteners. There is also some wiring in this bra, although I wouldn't call it 'underwiring' as stated on H&M's website. The wiring is actually situated at the sides of the bra and provides extra shape and support, without pressing on any breast tissue, which is important if you want to breastfeed as underwiring can end up causing damage to the milk ducts. All in all, this gives a nicely lifted silhouette, which makes me feel good about myself. Pregnancy and breastfeeding obviously take their toll on a woman's shape- I can accept this whilst bra-less but if things still look as if they're heading south even with the help of a bra it can make you feel very unattractive!
At the end of the shoulder straps there is a small, plastic hook, which clips through a rectangular shaped hole in a little plastic fastening at the top of each cup. By pulling the fastening up over the hook, you can unattach the top part of each cup for breastfeeding. Underneath the cup, there is a ring of cotton which helps keep breast pads in place and provides additional support. The shoulder straps are of the normal elasticated adjustable variety found in most bras.
The washing instructions recommend a 60 degree wash and I have washed mine accordingly many times with no problems or shrinkage. You can tumble dry and iron these (not that I have done- does anyone actually iron their bras?!) and they have stayed in very good condition for a good two years (although they have only probably been worn for about 9-10 months in total.) The only gripes I have is that the black one has always felt a little tighter than the white one, although it still fits comfortably and that the wiring in the sides has started to bend over time. I have had them quite a while though, so they could probably do with replacing ready for baby no. 2.
These are definitely my favourite bras to wear during pregnancy and breastfeeding- I also have nursing bras from Debenhams, M&S and Mothercare, all more expensive yet less comfortable and less attractive under clothes. I would therefore highly recommend these to any expectant mummies!