Your Cart

Your Cart is Empty
  • Subtotal
  • Total (before taxes)
Taking care of the girls
May 9, 2012 1:55 pm | by

Disclaimer: Today’s blog post is not for the faint of heart. This blog is written for the ladies, and for the ladies only. If you are my ex-boyfriend, male co-worker, brother-in-law or my father, please stop reading this post now. You cannot unread the things I am about to type. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ladies, we need to have a little chat, woman to woman. I have a little Oprah-style confession to make. I’ve been wearing the wrong size bra. Wow, it feels good to have that off my chest (pun intended). But seriously, when was the last time you were properly fitted for some much needed support for your two best gal pals? Honestly, until a few days ago, I never had. I always just used a tape measure at home and Googled until I found a website that would calculate my size. I realized months ago it was time to do something about that, but I procrastinated.
You would think after having (and nursing) four children (including twins, simultaneously with a football hold) there would be little in this world that could scare me. The thought of undressing and showing the sad state of my original twins to a perfect stranger was enough to make me consider wearing a burka for the rest of my life. Not only do I have four kids to thank for my current situation, but I’ve also lost 40 pounds in the last 15 months. It’s easy to just drop down to the next jeans size and try things on, but not so much with bras. I honestly didn’t know how to measure and account for my friends who have inflated, deflated and moved south over the last 10 years. I knew something had to give and I needed professional help.

I gathered up my courage and my spare pennies. I chose my day to go. Thanks to some tips from a blog I’d read months ago, I showered, shaved my armpits, wore the best fitting bra I currently had and dressed in a simple white button down shirt and jeans for my adventure. I drove to the nearest mall and walked into the fanciest department store inside. I figured if I was going to do this, I wanted a grandmotherly woman, whose girls would probably be worse than mine, helping me.
When I arrived in the lingerie department, no one was there. Actually, they were there, but it was a weekday morning and the two associates were both helping other customers. One greeted me warmly and assured me another “personal stylist” would be arriving in less than five minutes for her shift and she would assist me. As I wandered looking at all the colors, fabrics and lace, I realized all the associates I saw were younger women, not far from my own age and there wasn’t a gray hair in sight. Great, this was already not going as planned, but now I was committed.
The stylist arrived, grabbed her measuring device and showed me to a large dressing room with a lighted three way mirror. “Awesome, florescent lights will make my pale midriff look FANTASTIC,” I thought to myself. She introduced herself as Ashley and asked what I needed that day. I nervously babbled about losing lots of weight recently, having nursed four children and having no idea what size I should be wearing. She smiled and nodded knowingly, which put me at ease. She then asked me to get down to my bra so she could take my measurements. It wasn’t nearly as invasive as I’d imagined, she was quick and efficient. She said my new number aloud and said she’d be back in a few moments with a couple to try to verify the size. She carefully opened and closed the dressing room door to shield me from other customers.
When she returned, in addition to the bras she brought a cami and a robe (for modesty as she entered and exited the room). Now was do or die time. I removed my old, ill-fitting bra and Ashley assisted me into a new one. Her measurements were spot on and it was a perfect fit right from the start. She verbally instructed and gestured as she taught me how to make sure everyone was carefully inside. She explained how it should fit and adjusted the straps for me. She then asked what styles I liked to wear, colors and other details so she could bring me more items to try on. One by one, we tried them all. Each time she assisted me with a new one, I noticed her eyes went up and over my shoulder at the most vulnerable time. I can’t imagine it is an easy job for her either, but seeing that she was intentionally giving me as much modesty as possible was very reassuring. After trying several on, she left me alone to try them on again and with the cami to see how they would look. It took me about 5 more minutes to decide how many fit my budget and which ones of the 6 or so she brought would be going home with me. I had just finished redressing in my original clothes when she knocked again to check on me.
Although I was completely terrified walking into the store that morning, I left with amazing confidence. You would have thought I slayed a dragon rather than just allowing a stranger to see the effects of 3 pregnancies, 4 children and a lot of weight fluctuation had done to my once perky girls.
I’m sure you are wondering why I’m sharing this with you today. It’s simple, because it’s important. I didn’t realize how important it was until I did it myself. I didn’t realize how important it was until I shared with other women. Those women asked questions, and I realized that I wasn’t alone in my anxiety about this type of experience.
The other reason I’m sharing it on the Cotton Babies blog is because if you are an expecting or nursing mother, you can visit one of our local retail stores for a fitting. We have associates on staff that have been trained and certified to help you get a perfect fit on a nursing bra. My oldest child is now 9 years old, and I’ll admit, I just grabbed whatever un-supportive, cotton nursing bra I could find at the local big box retailer during my nursing years. But, I didn’t live in St. Louis and Cotton Babies didn’t have a retail store or sell nursing bras at that time. If I was doing it today, I would do it much differently. I would march into Cotton Babies and ask for a fitting. I know several of our female associates personally and they are the kindest women I’ve ever met. They will treat you with respect and dignity as they help you find the perfect fit. I know from experience how important it is to have a nursing bra that is supportive and fits well. Most of us only purchase a few and they get months or years of use.
If you don’t live near Cotton Babies, we suggest finding a local maternity or baby retailer with a certified fitter to help you find your perfect size. One of our favorite brands, Bravado, has a list of retailers with certified fitters available on their website.
If you are past the pregnancy and nursing stage like me, but still wearing the scars, I highly recommend finding a local store to get a professional fitting. My back feels better, things look perkier again and even my t-shirts fit better. As we think about Mothers’ Day, there’s really no better time than now to take care of those all important, life-long friends that stick so close to you every day. You’ll feel more confident and I highly doubt the man in your life will complain once everything is back where it should be.
One final note, if you write for a living, don’t tell your boss about these types of experiences unless you are prepared to hear “You should write a blog about that!” It’s never easy to hit “publish” on a blog like this. I do it because I’m thankful another brave blogger told her story, which inspired me to not only get my own fitting, but to share my story with you. I hope it inspires you to take the time to take care of your girls, because a properly fitting bra isn’t just about appearance, it can prevent health issues, especially while you are nursing.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all of you (and your girls)!
~ Heather

About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.



  • Jenny Bradford said...
    May 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, very encouraging!!

  • Jess @ MomEinstein said...
    May 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story! I am guilty of just wearing whatever size I guessed at that one time I went to a store 2 years ago that was close to accurate. I definitely need to get fitted for new nursing bras soon. In fact, I’ve been wearing my old nursing bra recently since my boobs have outgrown my regular bras already and I still have over a month to go!

  • Hands Full said...
    May 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I went out to buy a nursing bra right before my 3rd was born (he’s 4 weeks today). I knew what size I would be once my milk came in, and settled, as I’ve done this before. Anyway, the woman at Motherhood asked if she could size me. I said sure, even though I was 36 weeks pregnant and knew it wouldn’t be accurate. She took the tape measure out, held it around me loosely with my clothes, including a cardigan, still on, and declared me a 42 H. I am a 34 F. I laughed, asked if I could try on anything in my size. They don’t carry my size (I sympathize with the woman who can’t find her size anywhere) and went on. The next two stores I went to we fantastic though, much like the blog post describes. I bought a few there, and ordered a couple online, an at 4 weeks pp feel pretty wonderful.

  • Jill said...
    May 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I had a fitting at a store before I pregnant this last time, and it REALLY helped to get some properly fitting bras, but just make do when it comes to nursing bras. I can’t imagine getting in and out of a bunch of bras without leaving milk everywhere! eek!

  • Anonymous said...
    May 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I too was wearing the wrong size. And even though my girls are not as perky as they were: it was an ego boost to hear “30 G!” The smaller bandsize really does lift the girls up! And the larger cup size keeps me from having the dreaded muffin top. This is a great message to spread!

  • Anonymous said...
    May 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Cottonbabies did not carry anything close to my size. I currently have a Bravado 34H/I since that’s the largest cup for my bandwidth I could find ANYwhere. Going back to Nordstroms as soon as I’m done breast feeding. They did an awesome job for me with regular bras but our location didn’t stock many nursing bras.

  • Anonymous said...
    May 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I wish it were that easy for me, too. Unfortunately, I wear an outrageous size. From my best guess, it’s a 36 or 38 K or L. I have NEVER EVER been in any retail store that even comes close to carrying my size. Not once. I’ll go in for a fitting, hopeful, only to have the salesperson recommend the other stores in the area that also don’t carry my size because their store doesn’t, either. 🙁 Even “big girl stores” don’t carry my size. I’ve even considered having a corset custom made out of desperation.

  • Anonymous said...
    May 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Just a note of warning – not all maternity/nursing stores are equal! I had a horrible fitting experience at a Motherhood store as well – I don’t think they train their staff on fittings properly. Our other maternity stores have all closed and I had to fit and order online since the Macy’s near me didn’t have anything decent for nursing bras.

  • Anonymous said...
    May 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I completely agree. Though I always get fitted just before I start nursing a newbie. I should do it after as well. I don’t have a Cotton Babies near me but have found that Nordstroms has a few options of very supportive (though not Bravado) nursing bras and they are so quick! I was done in 15minutes and my two crazy boys didn’t have time to get into trouble. I would have loved to go to your store if it were less than 3.5hrs away (yes I have it timed on how to get to the closest Cotton Babies).

  • Brandy said...
    May 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I wish it were that simple. My right side is a full cup smaller than my left. I went to a Motherhood store to get fitted for new nursing bras once the fluctuations had settled down, and she measured me as a 38E! But rightie was swimming in those bras, and the band was just too tight – measurements be damned, it was creating too many extra rolls of back fat. So I wound up going with a 40C, even though leftie wouldn’t mind a larger cup. The saleswoman kept protesting, but her tape measure wasn’t all-knowing. Of course, she didn’t go in the fitting room with me so she didn’t get to see just how sad the situation was for rightie in that 38E, but she didn’t seem to believe me. I wish they made bras with two different cup sizes! (Actually, one company does, but only in band sizes up to 36.)

    • Anonymous said...
      May 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      I’m right there with you!! I have an adorable well behaved C on my right side and a rude and crazy DD that will not listen to reason on the left. (sometimes i tries to po out of the DD so I know DD probably isnteven accurate.) and I seem to be in between a 36 and 38 so I am just in a mess allthe way around. also,, apparently the typical womans breasts are farther apart than mine. Im really short and while I am not skinny,, my boobs are NOT 3 inches apart. so the underwires are all digging into the insides of the I said,, a mess all the way around.. what is the company that does the different cup sizes?

    • Anonymous said...
      May 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Bravado sells bras that have two cup sizes. The Cotton Babies stores and their website has a few different styles of Bravado Bras available in many band sizes.

  • Bethany Haid said...
    May 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Great story, Heather!! I was hoping you would name drop a little for the best bras for such a situation. Bravo, brave girl!