Today I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the owner and staff of the Bra & Girdle Factory located at 1900 Hwy 70 in Lakewood.

I reached out to Bra & Girdle Factory for answers to the questions we hear from our birth & postpartum doula clients.  I compiled a list and headed to Lakewood for answers.

Upon arrival, I was escorted to the round table and the women shared their wisdom. 

I sat with Cheryl Teitelbaum, the owner of the Bra & Girdle Factory, and a few of her staff, Joan Diana, Lorraine Hammersten and Cathy Levey.  These women were a blast to talk with and swap boob and breastfeeding stories.  They all contributed to the Q&A. (Women in the photo from L to R:  Cheryl Teitelbaum, Joan Diana, Gala Sossa-Delgado and Joni Maione)

1.  At what point in pregnancy should women shop for maternity bras / nursing bras?

We suggest 3 different time frames because your body changes so much, so rapidly.

Initially you should come in to be sized and fitted when your bras start feeling tight or uncomfortable. This varies from woman to woman.  Some need a fitting when they make the switch to maternity clothes.  For most it will fall around month 4 of your pregnancy.

The second sizing and fitting should be as close to your due date as possible.  This is when you breast tissue starts getting ready to go to work and you be closer to your nursing size.

Third fitting should be during months 3-5 postpartum.  This is when you will lose some of the "baby-weight" and your breasts have settled in with your individual breastfeeding cycle.   

2.  Is there a formula for sizing a nursing bra? Is it based on my non-pregnant size?

The formula is coming in and getting sized and fitted.  You may be wearing the wrong size right now. (The women shared some chuckles over how deluded we are at selecting our own sizes, I was pegged immediately.  I will be heading in for a fitting ASAP) 

3.  Are there specific styles you suggest for plus sized nursing bras or larger breasted women?

Larger breasts need bras with less stretch and more structure.  Wider straps to take the strain off the shoulders.  We offer sizing up to size 56 N.  

4.  We hear underwire nursing bras are contraindicated in breastfeeding, potentially causing blocked ducts. Is this a result of poor fit?

This is often a painful result of poor fitting bras.  Not all women who get blocked ducts are wearing the wrong bra, but a good indicator is a repeat problem in the same area of your breast.  Wired or wireless, if your bra is too tight you will eventually have a problem. 

You can wear a wired bra, but it must be the right size and fit.  We carry wired and wireless nursing bras in the larger cup sizes.  NEVER SLEEP IN A WIRED BRA – whether you are nursing or not.  It is just bad for your boobs.

5.  What do you recommend women wear for nighttime nursing?

Sleep bras are great for night nursing because they hook in the front.  They are super comfortable and stretchy, so it’s easy to just pull the cup down to nurse without unhooking too. 

6.  What is the recommendation for laundering nursing bras?

Wash by hand and NEVER put them in the dryer.  We tell women to take them in the shower and just wash them while you’re in there.  Hang them to dry.  Your regular bath soap is fine and it's a couple more minutes of peace in the shower!  

7.  What is the price range of nursing bras at your location? What is the range of sizes available?

Regular prices range from $50-75, but we offer a 20% discount which brings them down to $40-60.

8.  What are the benefits of coming the Bra & Girdle Factory vs grabbing a bra at one of the big box stores?

The biggest benefit is our dedication to providing you with comfort and correct fit.  That means less pain, less stretch marks and less sagging later.  We have trained professionals who are here to help you.  Women who come here benefit from a larger selection and a larger variety of styles.  

We also want women to avoid the frumpy look they get from generic box store bras. Especially for women who are returning to work and pumping.  A good undergarment makes the outfit. A supportive nursing bra with the correct fit will help keep you looking stylish and professional, while still giving you access for pumping sessions.

I heard you can convert a regular bra into a nursing bra....is this true and what magic are you conjuring?

This is true, and it isn’t magic.  For a seamstress fee, we can convert any bra into a nursing bra.  If you have a brand/style you love, we will turn it into a nursing bra for you.  We can also size a bra up or down for you.

Thank you to the gals at the Bra & Girdle Factory for their time, dedication and support!  We hope you will stop in on your quest for the comfortable nursing bra.  Let us know how your visit goes!

This post was contributed by the Fabulous Doula Jill Dillner.  Jill can be contacted by email at jill@wisebirthchoices.com.