By Robin OBrien

If you’re planning on breastfeeding your child you’ll need to think about purchasing some nursing bras. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the best option to make breastfeeding your baby as enjoyable as possible.

There are five main types of nursing bras you can buy. Which one you choose will be down to personal preference. The ones listed below all have different ways of allowing a mother to breastfeed her child. So before you buy take a read and decide which type would be more convenient for you.

Like some conventional bras, one type of nursing bra fastens between the cups at the front. This type is easy to open but perhaps a little to indiscreet for some mother.

Another type of nursing bra consists of zips, which sit under each cup. The advantage with this bra is that it quite discreet and easy to open and close. The zip-line can show through if the mother is wearing a tight fitting top.

The third type has a fastening (or small button) on the shoulder strap just above the cup, which can easily be unfastened to allow the cup down. Ensure you buy one that exposes the whole of the breast and not just the nipple, because the bra fabric left pressing on the breast may cause the blocked milk ducts. Again, the primary advantage of this bra is ease of use.

You can buy nursing bras made from a stretchy material. This is simple to use; you just pull the cup over the breast.

Finally, nighttime nursing bras are usually lighter in weight so as to make sleeping more comfortable. Instead of the usual ways of opening for feeding, this type of bra might have a crossover front design so you can just slip your breast out.

Don’t purchase your bra too early in your pregnancy. Buy during the last month, as your breasts will be nearing their full size prior to breastfeeding your baby.

Buy as many bras as you can afford and also the best quality you can afford. You don’t necessarily need one for each day of the week but remember that you will be producing a lot of milk and will suffer from leaky breasts, so you will need to wash your nursing bras frequently.

It is important to buy the best quality you can afford. The main things to look out for are: cotton bras, as they will help keep you nipple cool and dry; good, wide straps that are going to give you lots of support, your breasts are going to enlarge and get a lot heaver so support is vital; test the fastening of the bra making sure that it unfastens and refastens easily; the fastenings should not dig into you; Above all, make sure the bra is a good fit. Not only does a bad fitting bra feel uncomfortable and not provide support, it may even interfere with milk production.

Robin O’Brien is founder of a website devoted to the benefits of breastfeeding where you can read articles about such things as, breastfeeding and alcohol and fenugreek and breast milk.