When Is It Time To Hang Up The Nursing Bra?


What would a mommy-blog be without obsessive, maternal minutia?

Today, for me, I am obsessing about my nursing bras.

The ones I bought two years ago when I was about to have Emily are too big now- stretched out, worn, and unsupportive of my ginormous milk-maids.  I bought a new one a couple months ago that fits really well and gives terrific support, but at $80 a pop, I could only afford one.  It is beige and boring, but it is super comfortable, and it is the only nursing bra I have that actually fits.

(Note:  I highly recommend the Anita microfiber, underwire nursing bra if you are a ample-chested gal.  They fit great and are very supportive.  Worth every penny, IMHO.  Get fitted in a shop if you can, and then buy them online to save up to $20 in some cases.)  

About six months ago, I made the leap to wearing “normal” bras during my work week.  But I continued to wear nursing bras on the weekend and my day off with Emily, so that she could continue having easy access to her milk.  She’s recently turned two, and her nursing sessions are down to twice a day- when she first wakes, and before bed at night.

To be honest, I can’t remember the last time she asked for milk during the day.  Even before her weekend naps, she doesn’t want to nurse and snuggle like she used to. Seeing this admission in black and white tugs at my heart.  It means she is growing.  It means she is no longer a baby, and her needs are changing.  It means we are moving closer to that day when she weans forever.  She is my last baby, so when she is done nursing, my journey as a breast feeding mama will be over.

Anyhoo, this morning, I was trying to decide what to wear.  I had washed my one and only nursing bra the night before, so there it was, fresh and clean.  As I looked at it, I thought, but Em probably won’t nurse today; couldn’t I just wear a regular bra?  

Wearing a regular bra gives me a bit more support and comfort.  I also have a couple more colors to chose from.  But wearing a regular bra is also an admission to myself that my busy toddler will have many other things on her mind today than nursing with mama.  For me, wearing a nursing bra is akin to a biker wearing a leather jacket.  It is representative of my desired identity as earth mama, at the ready to nourish and nurture my little one.

It should be a simple choice, but it made me stop and catch my breath.  I went back and forth on the bra issue and finally tossed the clean nursing bra onto the top of my pile of clothes for after my shower.

Part of mindfulness is just stopping to acknowledge, to be 100% aware and accepting of whatever is happening in a given moment.  It may seem like a weird thing to stop and take note of my beige, matronly undergarments in such a detailed way.  But there you go.  It kind of reminded me of being in my 20s and the time I used to put into designing every detail of my outfit including matching my underwear, which at the time was far more exotic and interesting.  In this moment today, I paused to realize I am in a much different place on the spectrum of womanhood in general, as well as in my journey as a mom.

I thought about how many of these little, seemingly unimportant moments pass us by every day without much pause, drama, or ceremony.  If I actually stopped to think about every little change in a significant way, I would drive myself crazy.  As a working mom, I miss so much of my children’s lives already.  Some things I just want to stop and take in for a moment longer, like wearing a nursing bra for another day, even though it might not be totally necessary.

What moments in your life as a parent made you pause and sigh?  Is there an article of clothing that “represents” your role as a parent?  

17 responses »

  1. I so understand how you feel about the bra. I remember when my youngest no longer wanted to nurse. It took me a while to give the bra up because I was still in denial.

    Te biggest moment that made me sigh is when my stepson stopped snuggling with me. I hope his younger siblings continue to snuggle for years to come.

    • Its good to know I’m not alone! I think they go through phases with the snuggles. My son wanted nothing to do with me for a while, but now he is always craving hugs and kisses and cuddles again. . . and on the other side, my toddler is too busy to give me the time of day!

  2. Awww… I totally understand… Every time I have an opportunity to buy a nursing bra thanks to a special offer I wonder how long I would use it… And my daughter will be 16 months next week… Every nursing session seems to be a special gift now… As for moments which made me pause and sigh, we just had one today at noon: she ate her meat by herself without trowing the plate on the ground! And she begins to say no as well….
    Lots of love

  3. Completely understand.. Our littlest and last bub surprised me when she self weaned at 21 mths. I was prepared and expected to continue much longer, knowing I would never be nursing again. Such a bittersweet time, and I, too, was saddened to return to ‘normal’ bras- not the least additionally being that the sizings are completely different now to PRE-baby.. But that in itself is something to embrace, marvel at the reasons why and know that I will get to a place, body -wise, closer to that it was, and try not to be so down on myself.

  4. I understand! My sad moments happen every time I pack up an outgrown pair of sweet little pajamas. The newborn clothes and pajamas were the hardest for me…I cried for a while! They just grow so fast! Great post!

    • I cried the other day when I packed a few outgrown clothes. But I got truly shocked yesterday night: the sleeping bag that was just fine the week before was too small and she couldn’t stretch her legs anymore…

    • Oh! I could cry just remembering the newborn clothes and little pj’s with all the snaps and cute little animals. I have probably held on to way too many of those things (taking up tons of space in my closet), but they are so adorable and easy to remember the little ones kicking their little legs in!

  5. I’ve been there with the bras too! A few months ago, I had to face the fact that the wireless medela’s I’d bought just a few days after giving birth were basically akin to not wearing a bra at all since my supply decreased and they were stretched. I bought one cake nursing bra, which is prettier than any other normal bras I have. I want to wear it everyday for that fact alone! But I also realized that I could potentially wear normal bras during the week since I didn’t need access to my boobs for pumping or nursing. I haven’t gone there yet, and I likely won’t for a while. I was worried my size might change again after weaning, so I’ll probably stick with the pretty cake bra for the long haul.

  6. My boobs got a lot smaller after Hugo entered toddlerhood, and I ended up back in regular bras. The only ones I wear are so comfortable, they were easy to flip up to grant access. Now my boobs are huge again and I swear not one bra fits me! I don’t know what the heck I did the last time I was pregnant.

  7. I’ve been here too. It was so sad for me when my little one stopped. It just shows how quickly they grow up I guess! I loved my nursing bras, they were so much prettier than what I usually wear. I bought some from Mothercare and a few from Amoralia.

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