Should I Buy a Pumping Bra? Which One?

When I first saw these bras I knew I had to have one. I was still pregnant and not planning on returning to work, so I don’t know why I thought I had to have one at that time, but they seemed like such a great idea. I saw myself wearing it while working on the computer or doing other chores around the house and it would be so convenient!

It turns out there are pluses and minuses to these bras.

Fit?

The Lansinoh is designed to be more or less a universal fit and they do a pretty good job at it. Adjustments are via a panel on the back that’s velcro and allows you to adjust to your size and comfort level. I usually wear a 36DD size cup and had it pretty close to maxed on size, but you can buy additional panels to make it bigger.

As for the ones that are sized, these really vary a lot according to opinion and how you like your bra to fit. A bra that is adjustable or fits a range of sizes is probably a best bet, simply because your body is going to be going through a lot of postpartum changes, such as weight loss, engorgement, etc.

Comfort?

Yes, they are very comfortable, but most do squish your breasts. Even the “bra shaped” ones are not lightweight bras, so if you normally wear very delicate bras, this will feel a bit like a mini corset or at best a sports bra. The fabric is thick and firm even though it is soft and it gives a lot of support.

For the bustier styles, you put the bra on buy zipping it in the front. Pumping cups are fed through the holes from the inside, which you can do either before or after you zip closed. Some of the others are pull on, which could get uncomfortable if your breasts are tender. A few have back closures (the bra style).

Also, many of the styles let your nipples poke through. I felt it was awkward. The Lansinoh did cover them when not in use  and a few others aren’t like that, but it’s a factor to consider.

The only downside to the comfort was that at times my skin was pinched between the pump cup and the bra itself, which caused an irritation, but was easily fixed. It could have been something I was doing wrong or just the way my breasts are shaped or something, so you might not experience this problem. The cups of the bra have to fit snugly to keep the pumping cups in place.

Pumping Volume?

Some of these bras advertise in a way to make you think that they squeeze out every last drop. They don’t. You will get better results by massaging or squeezing out the extra yourself. I’ve seen zero difference between wearing the bra and not wearing it as far as volume goes and I measure by the milliliter. If there was a difference, I’m sure I’d see it.

Convenience?

For pumping? Most definitely, yes. Sitting at a computer in particular.

For convenience of putting the bra on, no it isn’t convenient. You probably won’t wear a large bra that smooshes your boobs to your chest all day long. That means getting undressed to change your bra for a half  hour pumping session. If you are pumping because you have a NICU baby or you’re at work, that could mean every 2-3 hours you are changing clothes.

Unless you bought a portable pump, you aren’t going to be walking around with this on like some pictures in the ads imply, nor are you likely able to stand up because the lines going to your pump will ensure that (unless your pump is on a high table).

You will be able to be hands free in that you can sit in one spot and do something other than hold the pump cups. In this, they are wonderful. You can work on the computer, knit, eat popcorn, etc. In other words, you are hands free, but you are stationary. This is convenient, because most people don’t want to just sit and hold a pump to their breast for 30 minutes at a time, staring into space.

Price and Value?

They cost less than most bras from Victoria’s Secret and are better made. The price for these tends to be around $35-$55. We are still talking about a specialty bra, so its value will depend on how long you think you will use it.

Alternative?

I had a back closure sports bra that I had bought while I was pregnant which was a size or two smaller than I needed in order to get support. Needing a bra to pump with right away when I came home, I had cut two holes in it at the nipples that were large enough to feed the stem of the pumping cups through. This was what I ended up preferring to use because I could wear it when I wasn’t pumping.

However, the homemade pumping bra did not keep the pumps as neatly out of the way as the professional one did and it was easier to accidentally leaning the bottles against something and break the suction from the pump, so I’d have to realign it to continue pumping. The homemade one also would occasionally pop out a nipple while not pumping which required adjustment. Some of the specialty bras don’t have this problem.

There are tons of “how to” videos and articles on this, but it really isn’t that hard to figure out. Cut a hole where your nipples are, just big enough for the stem of the shield.

Brands Overall?

Lanisoh – Softest fabric, adjustable universal fit, excellent control of the pumping parts, discreet in the way the holding portion goes in that there is a double layer nipple closure where the pumping cups are held.

Medela – Similar to the Lanisoh in style, but the nipples are exposed and will poke out when not pumping, firm support of the pumping cups, some people find the sizing is not as expected and they are not overly durable.

Homemade – Convenient for daily wear and probably the cheapest, may snag or ravel depending on the fabric you choose and are not the most firm support of the pumping cups.

Rumina – A great concept bra in that it is verstaile, does not have “nipple holes” to worry about, is about the same pumping cup support as homemade, comfortable, but not durable as many users complain about it stretching out or falling apart.

Simple Wishes Supermom All in One – Great design concept, sizing is tricky to narrow down a good fit and can be problematic if breasts are engorged, covers nipples when not in use.

Simple Wishes Bustier – almost identical to the Lansinoh.

Bravado Clip and Pump – great concept, quality fabric, covers nipple when not in use, can be awkward to use when pumping because of the need to shift the cups around.

 

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