"When do I buy a nursing bra?"
The answer is as early as necessary. If you have a bra that is leaving marks on you because it is too tight or if the under-wire is poking you, that is the time to buy your first nursing bra. Moms moms find it helpful to buy their first nursing bra between 3-7 months of gestation.
"What type of nursing bra do I buy during pregnancy?"
A soft cup non under-wire nursing bra is best to keep you from getting clogged milk ducts which can occur even before delivery. We also recommend a bra that has a variable cup size to accommodate your changing shape like the Amamante Caress & Contour Nursing Bra. These offer you the widest range of fit and value.
Measuring for a nursing bra during the last 3-4 weeks of pregnancy is the best time to buy something to fit after you have your baby. This is the time that your breast have finished enlarging other than engorgement. The enlargement that often occurs 3-5 days postpartum called engorgement or the "milk coming in" only lasts 48-72 hours so the best bra for that time frame is a sleep bra like the Night & Day Nursing Bra 1-2 sizes larger than you normally wear.
The nursing bras purchased 3-4 weeks before delivery should fit for 6-8 weeks postpartum at which time your breasts regulate and many moms either stop leaking or at the very least stop feeling fuller before feeding and emptier afterwards. If your bras begin to feel big, this is the time to try on the nursing bras you purchased earlier. If they still do not fit, try them again at approximately six months postpartum as this coincides with your nursling eating less often due to the introduction of solid foods. Often your breast size will decrease again at that time.
While we recommend buying only 1-2 bras at a time during pregnancy, after 6-8 weeks postpartum is a great time to stock up on your favorite nursing bra that fits your particular cup size like the Amamante Smooth & Shape Nursing Bra.