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Bravado Essential Embrace: Finally, A Decent Daytime DD+ Wireless Nursing Bra!

2014 September 22
by Sarah

So, yeah, after 2 and a half years pregnant or nursing, I’ve tried on so many of these and most of them? They make me feel bummed out. For a while, when there were like 3 options out there in my cup size, I put up with Freya, but this go-around? UNH-UH. What is up with this shape?

From my first pregnancy about halfway through

From my first pregnancy about halfway through. That oh-so-pretty downward pointy look? It just got more pronounced the bigger my boobs got.

The Panache Sophie bra? The cups are way, way too shallow for me. (Nordstrom fitter trying to fit me nursing Baby #1: “Ugh! Let’s get that OFF you!”)

And I can’t even go there with the Royce:

Royce Sadie

Royce Sadie from first pregnancy…just. no. 

At this point I’ve realized that my super full-on-top nursing boobs just don’t get the right shaping or support from most wireless nursing bras.

However!  I found the Bravado Essential Embrace to be my exception.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.21.33 PM

Image via Herroom.com

Bravado Essential Embrace, 32 J/K, in Chai Almond

Bravado Essential Embrace, 32 J/K, in Chai Almond

This bra is supportive, super comfortable and — here’s the clincher — my chest still looks normal.

Boobs not falling down to knees? Check. IMG_7920

Boobs still…round looking? CHECK! IMG_7919

For the first 6 weeks or so after my latest kiddo arrived, I threw on this bra and then, you know, got dressed. I worried about figuring out what clothes fit my post baby pooch and my new extra large nursing boobs, not how to cover up that said extra large nursing boobs were strangely contorted from a wireless bra.

Would I have liked my boobs “up there” a smidge more? Yeah, but honestly, it felt like such a small quibble to me: the shape, support and comfort seem worth the tradeoff of a teensy bit more lift that I don’t think I’ll ever get without wires, anyway.

The fabric on this is very stretchy and accommodated me when I was engorged as well as cup fluctuations between feedings. Right after the baby, measuring 31″ underbust and 41-42″ overbust, the 32 J/K in Chai Almond (i.e. beige) fit perfectly (the black did not; that weird sometimes black fabric = smaller fit thing happened for me with this one), but as my ribcage has gone down to about 30″ now, I’m on the tightest hook and hoping this will hang in there a bit longer.

This does have a bit of what I *think* is flexible wire in the side seams of the bra. I feel like it gives the bra some stabilization. I definitely don’t notice it when I have it on. IMG_7947

For me, I use this as just a daytime bra because it holds me in more snugly, sort of sports bra like.  For sleeping, I prefer the really relaxed fit and breathable cotton of the Bravado Original nursing bra I reviewed earlier. Between these two bras, I felt like my chest was manageable the first several weeks after the baby–such a change from my experience two years ago, and something I wanted to help share with other nursing mamas looking for good wireless options.

FYI: this bra comes in one additional cup size, an L/M, in the 34 and 36 bands, too!

Sizes: 

32, 38 B/C – J/K; 34 – 36 B/C – L/M; 40 – 42 D/DD – H/I; 44 D/DD – F/G

Available at several online stores, but if you purchase through HerRoom.com I get a small affiliate commission.

 

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DD+ Night/Sleep Nursing Bra: Bravado “Custom” Original Nursing Bra for Even Larger Cup Sizes (and a Smaller or Bigger Band!)

2014 September 8
by Sarah

SO … I went and got pregnant and had another baby. She’s 10 weeks old already. How did that happen??

Doing this whole nursing thing the second time around, I thought I knew what to expect bra-wise. BUT. When I went to stock up on a few new nursing bras–my last bunch from Baby #1 were wrecked–I found some new options in my size range and was stoked.

Here’s what I’m digging for that first postpartum period when you’re breasts are like, “HEY! And you thought these were big before? Mwahahaha.”

First up: the sleep bra. You’re engorged, you’re leaking, you gotta keep those nursing pads in place — I never really wore a bra to bed before kids, but nursing? Yeah, I’m pretty much in the YOU MUST HAVE ONE camp. My go-to sleep bra is the same one Patricia first wrote about here: the Bravado Original Nursing Bra.

Bravado Original Nursing Bra via Bravado

Bravado Original Nursing Bra via Bravado

But here’s the exciting part: Breakout Bras carries a “custom” version that goes up even higher in cup size and smaller in band size! I wore the S++ with Baby #1 but was really just kinda fudging it with the cup fit. The size chart is super generic and the S++ is supposed to fit a 32-36 band in cups E-G. Ummmm…right.

The “Custom” version Breakout Bras has? It lets you specify a 30-32 band size (yes!) if you need a smaller band fit. AND you can order cup sizes F-G and H-I in a 30-32 band (double yes!).

Also? They carry more cup sizes in the S-XL band sizes, too — up to an L cup in 32-36 or 36-40 band sizes, a K in 38-42, and an I in 42-46 – and have a bigger band option than the XL; a 46-50 in F-G cup.

ON CUP SIZES: Yes, these are US cup sizes, so on first glance it seems to only accommodate up to the equivalent to a UK G (30-32 band) or HH (32-40 band), but honestly? The cup sizing on this bra runs *very* large and even with an 11″ difference between my band and cup size (a US K cup), I still have a bit of room. If you want some fit advice, email customer service at Breakout Bras. I did before I ordered to confirm if these were returnable if they didn’t fit (the “custom” part threw me off; YES, they are returnable) and if the 30-32 H-I had any chance of fitting. I gave them my measurements and the bra size/make I was currently wearing and they told me it would be no problem at all. They were right on!

Now, the downside — the custom bra sizes are $49.50 versus the regular $35. UGH. However! Breakout Bras does free shipping and, if you’re a returning customer, you get your own discount code worth 15% off. (Note: I’m not affiliated with Breakout Bras and am not receiving anything from them for this post–I just totally dig that they carry this custom option!)

Is the fit on this bra perfect? No. It’s still a little loose in the band and I look a bit, how shall we put this…saggy. But for a sleep bra? It’s comfortable, supportive for sleep, and keeps everything (including those super important nursing pads) where it should be. I’ll call that a WIN.

 

 

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My Nursing Essentials

2013 July 15
by Sarah

I wanted to share a few of the things that made me feel comfortable when I first started nursing in public with the little man. A quick disclosure: I believe in letting nursing mamas do their thing–whether that’s with a coverup, in a baby carrier, or au natural–baby’s gotta eat! For me, I felt most relaxed when I had some coverage.

The nursing outfits I always hear about are to layer a nursing tank with a button up or a T-shirt. The luxury! Nursing tanks were too small and unsupportive for me (I bought a Cantaloop–he he, get it? Gosh, I’m way too easily amused…)–tank and there was no way I could step foot in public in it, but it was great as a sleep tank in those first few weeks. Instead, during the first few months when the LO nursed all the time and on-the-go, I stuck with nursing bras and pulled up my normal tops under a nursing cover. For coverage in the back from hiking up my shirt (something you don’t have to worry about with a nursing tank), I liked higher waisted pants. 

1. Bebe au Lait coverup ($35).

Loved the stiff wire so I could see what I was doing and check on the babes. I tried something called the Boob Tube as well, but it was super awkward to manage with large boobs and I needed more coverage where I pulled my shirt up in the front. The Bebe au Lait design is super simple, a kind of apron around your neck, that you can throw on and pull off fast. It folds up really small in the diaper bag. I tried to find the most inconspicuous print, to keep it less “hello, I’m nursing!”

Bonus: Shade while they’re sleeping on planes…

IMG_0545

Snoozing under the Bebe au Lait

2. Jag Jeans “Malia” High Rise Slim Leg (available at Zappos or Nordstrom, $64). LOOOVED these pants post-partum. They pull on with no zipper or button to awkwardly cut into your post baby deflated balloon belly–plus 50000000 points. The upper panel is not super stretchy like maternity pants, it’s a stretch denim that has some give so you feel comfy but was also sturdy enough to keep my belly from sloshing around. The back comes up pretty high so you don’t have to worry about flashing a whale tail while nursing.  Photo on 7-14-13 at 3.33 PM #3 Photo on 7-14-13 at 3.40 PM #5

3. Leggings. My old Madewell ones were easy to pull up higher on the waist to sit closer to my natural waist.  I’m sure there are plenty of other brands you could hike up, too. Same thing as Jag Jeans, here–covering up any exposed back while the Bebe au Lait covered up the front.

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 3.56.26 PM

Image via Madewell

4. Workout clothes. Especially for the first few weeks home…don’t even try on most of your pre-pregnancy stuff (especially pants)!! Spandex is your friend. Trust.

I liked my Astro pants (same ones that I wore throughout my entire pregnancybecause they came up high (again, loved that for coverage in the back) and helped pull my belly in so I could wear a stretchy workout top without feeling too self-conscious, but Lululemon doesn’t seem to make those anymore. Maybe the Groove pants would be a good alternative (well, as long as they’re not see through!). I also lived in my workout tops because hardly any shirts fit me while I was engorged and the stretch was perfect for the extra boob volume.  

5. TOPS? 

What the heck tops do you wear while your boobs are extra big? My outfits were hit or miss, especially because it was fall and winter during my most active nursing days and sweaters + nursing boobs = Kathy comic “Ack! Ack!” reenactment in the dressing room. I found a few sweaters / tops on the longer side that had a band at the bottom so it cinched a bit, in thinner knits, and I liked those the best. I also tried longer shells to pair with long cardigans and blazers. But I never felt totally together, so I’ll hand it over to you lovely ladies. What tops do you go for during the nursing months? Please share in the comments!!

Here’s an outfit I attempted 4 weeks postpartum and then another 9 weeks PP. I tried my best :)

IMG_4446

4 weeks PP and sleepy :)

Halloween, 9 weeks PP

Halloween, 2 months PP

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Boobs and Babies: Thoughts on Full Busted Nursing Bras

2013 June 8

Hello!! I have been wanting to do a post for ages, and every time I sat down at my computer after tidying up after the baby or doing the laundry, he’d, of course, wake up from his nap. Without fail. And suddenly here I am, with a precious 9 month old son and feeling very guilty for having abandoned my blog!

So, first things first, a pic of the little guy:

IMG_6021

I’m soaking up all the mom moments and loving watching him go from a tiny little thing who conked out every few minutes to a wild bundle of energy racing around the apartment to find everything he’s not supposed to touch! Every parent says they grow up quickly, but I didn’t realize how fast it all would happen until all these milestones started piling up one on top of the next and I started packing away the 4th big bin of clothes. Sniff…

So, onto something boob-related…NURSING!

To be honest, I was very non-commmittal about the whole thing going in. I had heard about all these horrible sounding things like clogged ducts and mastitis, not to mention engorgement (bigger boobs??? Are you kidding? How could they grow any more than my 9 month bra size??). But I thankfully and luckily didn’t have trouble getting going at the hospital with the wonderful nurses who showed me the ropes and reassured me when I couldn’t tell if I was getting the latch right. With a good supply and a hungry little guy we were off and, somehow, now coming up to the 1 year birthday when I can wean him to milk when we’re ready.

IMG_4512

One of many nursing comas on the Boppy in the early days

But despite an easy nursing relationship with two minor hiccups (2 clogged ducts I resolved on my own following tips on the amazing Kellymom), I gotta be honest. The thing that was the biggest hurdle was finding nursing bras in my size that made me feel good, and reading June’s recent post about this brought all those feelings right back. I wanted to wait to post about nursing bras until I found ones I loved so I could help provide solutions, but the options were scarce in my cup/band combo. I don’t want to scare anyone away from nursing for fear of this, though–honestly, this issue made me dig in my heels even more to figure out a solution, because, as my hormones would have said if they could have: Damn if I’m going to stop feeding my child because the bra options for me are scarce! Whatever, bra companies!

Hormone-rant aside, if you’re in the middle range of the full-busted cup continuum, don’t worry; there are some good options, like Anita, which guest poster Patricia mentioned here, and June is on the case to find even more. They may not be the most beautiful bras in the world but they do the job.

But if you cross up into the higher end of the cup range with a small band, where I found myself (I think around a 30J/JJ until recently; allowing for fitting-myself error, as I probably overestimated the cup to avoid wires touching my breast tissue for fear of mastitis), the options include soft bras by Royce, Freya, Panache and one Cake Lingerie option (Cheesecake) and for underwires, going out on a limb with a special order Ewa Michalak. None of the soft cups gave me enough support with my heavy nursing boobs, and I was super droopy in them. My Ewa special order I’ll tackle separately, but I couldn’t use them.

The best solution I found for myself?

Making my own. Even with my remedial sewing machine skills, I knocked one out in an hour. If you’ve sewn more recently than 15 years ago, you’ll probably be done much faster. I followed these two tutorials at Hourglassy and Venusian Glow and made my Panache Jasmine (I liked it because of the stretch lace at the top–great for cup fluctuation between feedings–and the closer-set cups and bigger cup range than the Andorra) a nursing workhorse.

photo-3

Next time around, my strategy will be to order this bra or one in a similar style in sizes one to two cup sizes up prior to having the baby, try them on when possible and return the sizes that don’t work (I *cover my nips* with Bandaids when trying on bras while nursing to avoid unfortunate leaking and return issues!) and tackle the alterations when I can. A lot of sites give you 60 days to return so you can get through that engorgement period and see what size you settle into.

Also: some Nordstrom’s will do nursing bra alterations. My experience was that the alterations department chose which bras they’d turn into nursing bras and there weren’t very many. The department manager did her best with their available stock and what the alterations department could do, and had them take an Elomi Caitlyn 34J and cut 3″ off the back and add nursing bra clasps. The uplift was better, but the cups were huge and the wires wrapped around onto my back, giving me a very wide east-west look and eventually bruising me… It was better than the soft wires but not as good as my own alterations, which were cheaper to do than Nordstrom, which charged for the band and the nursing bra alterations for a grand total of $35 per bra. As usual, the customer service from Nordstrom’s was wonderful and the manager was incredibly sweet and encouraging about finding a solution.

Hopefully I will be able to post more in the coming months. I don’t think I’ll be writing on a regular schedule, but we’ll see how it goes!

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A Little Maternity Leave :)

2012 August 3
by Sarah

I’m due any day now, and, well, my brain officially left the building about a week and a half ago! I likely won’t be posting for a couple of months while I get acclimated to Baby and sleep deprivation and feeding and diaper changing, unless I have a free moment to share something booby-related with you all. BUT! I don’t want to leave you hanging. There are TONS of great large breast blogs out there now which I’ve tried to keep up with in my blog roll (on the right side of my blog; just scroll down!)–highly recommended reading, all of them. Keep up with all the goings-on of the DD+ community with any one of these!

And, if you happen to have an idea for a DD+ guest post, whether it’s fashion or bra related or about topics that come up with having a large chest in general, please email me at info at stackdd.com. I’d love to consider it!

See you all on the other side….!!! Xx

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What I Wore: Bras, Pregnancy Edition, and How to Save Money

2012 July 19
by Sarah

In the last few posts, I’ve talked about how my breasts have changed over the course of my pregnancy, bra fitting and bra recommendations, and pregnancy bra fitting advice that REALLY didn’t work for me and why. But undergoing all this change hasn’t been cheap! No one’s ever going to have the same type of breast change in pregnancy, but I thought it might be helpful to see exactly how I got by with bras during my pregnancy and share some tips for saving money while your chest is in flux. So, without further ado…

WHAT I WORE IN BRAS, beginning of pregnancy through 36 weeks:

read more…

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A Fitting Gone Wrong, Part Two: Pregnancy Fit Issues and How To Avoid Them!

2012 July 13

Yesterday I showed you what happened with a pregnancy bra fitting that went awry. The results were not pretty! So I picked Linda’s brain (from Linda’s Bra Salon) to see why the advice used to fit me–be able to fit a whole handful in the top of each cup–didn’t work.

Q: Ack!! Help! What happened with these bras?

read more…

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A Fitting Gone Wrong: Pregnancy Bra Advice That Didn’t Work For Me

2012 July 12

All right, as promised, today I’m going to dive in with some of the pregnancy bra fitting advice that *didn’t* work for me!

One very reputable store I went to tried their very best to fit me, but here’s what happened when I wore the new bras I purchased from them. Sorry for the gruesome photo, but this is simply a case where the picture explains it much better:

So what happened here?

read more…

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The DD+ Reading Roundup

2012 July 10
by Sarah

I love when other bloggers round up their favorite inspirations, news, and reads so I can catch up on everything I’ve missed. But I have been so inconsistent about doing it here! I’m hoping to do this more often if you find it helpful. And coming shortly, a post with the rest of my pregnancy/nursing bra fittings, mishaps, and recs.

XO, Sarah

  • First, the exciting news that we in the US have our first Curvy Kate Star in a Bra, the lovely Krista Cousins! I love her positivity and energy for transforming the bra landscape here in America: “The time for a beautiful, busty, body revolution is now and I am very prepared to lead us all to victory.” Krista went into the contest thinking she was a 34 or 36 F and discovered she’s a 30GG. Here’s to more women finding bras that fit well and signing up for a good fitting at their local specialty lingerie shop or via Skype!

  • The Lingerie Addict interviews new nursing bra brand Lorna Drew’s managing director Lorna Drew on how she came up with her adjustable cup concept and her passion to help support nursing moms. I’ve been following this company as one of the only ones I’ve seen who makes 30 bands up to a J cup (UK) with something resembling a normal shape and am interested to see how it stacks up to other nursing brands out there.
  • I’m loving this bright coral or soft lilac Lululemon running top! It has a super cute back cut-out with a girly lace trim that looks like it would still accommodate our extra-wide DD+ sports bra straps. Plus, like many Lulu tops, it seems long enough that it wouldn’t ride up in the front from the extra fabric the boobs take up. Has anyone tried this??

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Bra Fitting During Pregnancy: Keeping Up With All That Change!

2012 July 5

Let’s talk some more about pregnant boobs!

Last week I showed you how my breasts had changed from the first trimester to week 33 of my third trimester and gave the actual measurements of how they changed. But keeping up with all that in bras? Now that’s been a learning experience, so I wanted to share some of the tips and hints I’ve gotten from professional bra fitters for pregnancy along the way and how they worked for me, as well as a few things I discovered, too.

(PS: I know I promised to post this last week, but my brain died last Thursday–thank you, Baby StackDD+! It seems it has finally returned to functional today. Thank you, God!)

Tip #1:

read more…

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