Midwife offers important advice to mums wearing bras while breastfeeding

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Wearing the wrong bra could be damaging to your health when breastfeeding (stock image) (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Wearing the wrong bra could be damaging to your health when breastfeeding (stock image) (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, but if it's something you've never done before, it can feel a bit daunting. As the start of August marks World Breastfeeding Week, midwife and breastfeeding consultant Lucy Webber, in collaboration with lingerie experts at Next, has shared some advice on bra and hygiene while breastfeeding.

One of the many questions women might have in regards to breastfeeding, is what bras they should be wearing. While it's perfectly safe to wear bras while nursing, if it "is the right fit for you" and "feels comfortable", Lucy has issued a warning to mums.

The lactation expert explained: "It is important to bear in mind that an ill-fitting bra could potentially cause blocked ducts and mastitis." Clogged or blocked milk ducts can cause intense pain, swelling and itchiness. It's important to deal with a blocked duct quickly, as it could lead to mastitis, which is when the breast becomes inflamed.

It can make your breast feel painful and inflamed - even leading to flu-like symptoms. If this goes untreated, it can turn into an infection, which may lead to you needing to take antibiotics. Symptoms of this include the breast feeling hot and tender, a red patch of skin, feeling achey or having a high temperature.

Another thing that can cause blocked ducts and mastitis is wired bras, which midwife Lucy advises against wearing. She explained: "It is well known that a sizeable percentage of people wear the wrong size bra. A wired bra that is the wrong fit could potentially cause blocked ducts and mastitis.

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"In the early weeks and months of postpartum, breast size can change, meaning a wired bra may not be the best option. However, once your bra size has settled, a wired bra may be fine if it is the right fit. It is important to regularly check breast size fluctuations to ensure you're wearing the right fit throughout your breastfeeding journey."

If you're looking for the right type of bra to wear, Lucy recommends either a regular, well-fitting bra or a nursing bra. She added: "Nursing bras are specially adapted to allow the cups to be unclipped and dropped down, making it easier for feeding".

If you have symptoms of a blocked duct or mastitis, and they don't get better within 12 to 24 hours after treating it at home, you should see your GP.

Ariane Sohrabi-Shiraz

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