Pregnancy is tough on a body. One of the perks, however, are the boobs. They are fantastic. Large, perky, able to mesmerize men with just a hint of cleavage. At around 6 months pregnant, my boobs literally rendered my husband speechless with joy. Unfortunately for him, my boobs were also too sore to be touched, breathed on, glanced at, or thought about. "Stop looking! Stop thinking about looking!"
Nursing boobs reach even more epic proportions. Immediately after giving birth, my boobs reached heights that would clearly save me from drowning. But what goes up must eventually come down. And whether you nursed or not, most moms I know are lamenting the fact that their girls are starting to migrate south. This problem can often be solved with a fantastic push-up bra, but, as one of our readers, Esther, asked, "what can moms do when they need a strapless bra?" Must we face up to the fact that our choices are either: 1. use those horrible clear plastic bra straps (which fool no-one, BTW) or 2. reach a zen-like state where our sagging boobs are something to be proud of - we are MOTHERS, hear us roar, etc, etc. Not that I'm anti-roaring. But I don't like either of those choices.
So, we at Ain't No Mom Jeans went to the experts. We asked two owners of very fabulous, drool-worthy lingerie stores - both known for amazing customer service and specializing in bra fittings - to weigh in on this problem.
Cindy Johnson, the co-owner of SOL (Store of Lingerie) in Denver, CO, a 5280 Top of the Town repeat winner and my personal go-to place in Denver, quickly assured me that moms with saggy boobs should not despair. "The first thing post-nursing moms should do is to get a professional bra fitting. A woman's bra size can change up to five times in her lifetime, and pregnancy and nursing are two of those times. But it is not only the size, but the shape that can change; it is important to know which bras fit your new shape best."
Ummm....yes. The shape definitely changes. From melon to tube sock.
Cyla Weiner, the owner of my favorite DC lingerie store, Sylene (a store that not only carries sumptuous lacy things but also specializes in hard-to-fit fuller cups and breast cancer survivors) echos Cindy's sentiment about fit. Cyla also stated that the most important part of the fit is the band size. Hmm...I've always been so focused on cup size, that I've never paid much attention to the band size. I have bras ranging from 32 - 36 in band size. Not a good sign. Cindy adds, "Any good fitting bra should be comfortably snug around on the LOOSEST hook. For extra security when wearing a strapless bra, you can tighten it down to the tightest hook."
Both women encourage all moms to get a professional bra fitting done. If you don't live in either the Denver or DC areas (and therefore don't have access to either SOL or Sylene), you can either find a specialty lingerie store that specializes in bra fittings, or you can try the lingerie departments of Saks, Neimans or Nordstroms.
As mentioned, fit is one thing. Shape is entirely another. On the topic of shape, Cyla encourages moms to look for a strapless bra with "bump pads" and a good liner to help give a nicer shape. Bump pads are those little gel-chicken-cutlet-looking things that are now being built into bras. The liner helps to forgive all post-nursing nipple sins while your boobs transition back to normal.
Now, for the fun part! Which bras do our experts recommend? First of all, the bandeau is out. OUT. No matter how comfortable, it's not the best choice for saggy boobs. But...drumroll please....here are the winners:
The Daisy Strapless Bra by Marie Jo at SOL
Cindy says: "Our top selling strapless bra is the Daisy Bra by Marie Jo. It offers a great shape and has the added benefit of a silicone band along the edge of the strap which helps it stay up. It does come with very cute detachable daisy straps so you can wear it as a t-shirt bra. It is like getting two bras in one."
This beautiful bra (pictured below with and without straps) comes in black, ivory, nude, coral and geisha (an ivory with colored flowers on the straps), retails at SOL for $110, and is available on the SOL website here. (search for "Marie Jo Daisy strapless" for a current list of colors and sizes)
The Le Mystere Sculptural Strapless Push Up at Sylene
I like the sound of the name. "Sculptural" and "Push Up" - how could we go wrong? Like Cyla mentioned earlier in the article, once you have the proper fit, looking for a strapless bra that helps you achieve the proper shape is important. And this one by Le Mystere, with it's "push up molded foam built into each cup for a gradual lift with a deep plunge in the center for low cut shirts" will help to solve all of our shape woes.
The Le Mystere Sculptural Strapless Push Up comes in black or nude, retails at Sylene for $60, and is available on their website here.
Felina's Bra of the Year Strapless at Sylene
It's hard to argue with a bra called the "bra of the year". Going through Cyla's checklist, this bra has it all. Bump pads? Yes. Lined? Yes - in micro dernier fabric. This bra also has something called bonded edged cups to help keep it up.
The Bra of the Year Strapless is available in nude, retails for $44 at Sylene, and is available online here.
If you happen to be in the Denver or DC area, a visit to either SOL or Sylene is well worth the trip. I also wanted to mention that SOL's sidewalk sale is going on now (until Sunday, July 19) and all new customers get $10 off any online purchases at Sylene.
A huge thank you to Cindy Johnson at SOL and Cyla Weiner at Sylene! Thanks to you both, I'm feeling that there is some hope for us moms. At least in the saggy boob department. Now if I could only do something about the pregnancy induced cellulite on my bum.