Expert Bra Fitting For Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

by Jessica Martin-Weber with Judy Masucci of Levana Bratique.

This article made possible thanks to the generous support of bravado! Designs.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding can bring a great number of changes to your bust which can make getting a good fit with a bra challenging. Is it possible to get a good fit with all that fluctuating and changes?

I decided to find out and invited bra fitting expert Judy Masucci of Levana Bratique to help me figure out what size and type of bra I needed to be in during pregnancy and what to look for in bras for the changes to come. Judy has fit me 3 times before and every time got me into incredibly comfortable and well fitting bras. I knew I could rely on her again. You can see our video chat here and bullet points on getting a good fit for pregnancy and breastfeeding below.

Judy is a mom who owns and operates the bra boutique Levana Bratique. As a passionate supporter and advocate of breastfeeding, Judy knows first hand the importance of breast health and support in breastfeeding.

That passion led her to start virtual bra fittings because many don’t have a place to go get fitted locally and that could make it difficult for ordering online. She says: “I started this service to help women figure out what size they are, especially when you’re breastfeeding because your bra size changes, your body changes – even if you knew your size before your got pregnant, you don’t know your size anymore. It can be hard to figure out when you’re all alone and you don’t have someplace to go to get measured in person.” If you’re interested in a virtual fitting, go here and here

Good to know

Judy explained a few points about bra sizing and fitting that are just good to know and keep in mind when bra shopping.

  • Most women are wearing the wrong size bra. Limited options may lead to women being in the wrong size. Judy explained that this happens even when you go in person and get fitted because you go to a place that doesn’t carry your size and and instead of telling “hey we don’t have the size you should be but we don’t carry that, you should go someplace else” they try to fit you in a bra that they have. They actually do you a disservice because they end up putting you in a band that’s too big and a cup that’s too small and all you are is uncomfortable and unsupported.
  • Put your bra on correctly! There’s an art to putting your bra on. Try the “Swoop and Tuck” method for a better fit (find it here). Check your band too, if it is too high in the back your bra can feel too tight while not giving the support you need. Try pulling down the back of the band and see how that adjusts your fit.
  • With breastfeeding, improper fit can be more than uncomfortable, it can lead to clogs, mastitis, and neck and back pain. You need a well-fitting bra especially during breastfeeding for your breast health and even for reaching your breastfeeding goals.

Bra Fitting

So how do you get a good fit? Judy walked me through the process of measuring myself in the steps below.

  • Wear your most comfortable bra (for me that was the Bravado! Body Silk Seamless).
  • Use a flexible measuring tape.
  • Take 3 measurements: with arms down take a snug measurement parallel to the floor, just above your breasts; with arms down take a snug measurement parallel to the floor just under your breasts; with arms down take a loose measurement at the widest part of your bust. See this guide and calculate your rough measurement by subtracting the measurement of the fullest part of your bust from the above the chest measurement. (This is just to give you a starting point, your most comfortable bra may end up being a different size!)
  • Try on different bras in different styles.
  • Underwires shouldn’t be on your breast tissue at all.

The bra fitting, as you can see, is not a science, it’s more of an art. Judy asks questions such as What’s your best fitting bra? What size is it? And how does it fit you? There’s more to a good fit than your measurements and a specific number.

Bra Selection For Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Measure and get fitted in person or virtually. But understand that there can be a lot of changes in your future still.
  • Look for a flexible fitting bra. Your breasts make more glandular tissue with each pregnancy so your breasts are changing every pregnancy. Once baby is born and milk production ramps up, they’ll likely change again and may continue to do so through out your breastfeeding journey. Flexible fitting bras (like the Bravado! Body Silk Seamless) without underwire can fit more cup sizes allowing for these changes.
  • Consider extenders for better fit in pregnancy. A lot of women will find that their bras feel too tight during pregnancy, because their rib cage is expanding and their belly is pushing out on their bra band. If your cup size hasn’t changed yet, but your band size has changed, then you can just use an extender on your bra to make it more comfortable.
  • Wait to see how your breasts change. With an extender you may be able to continue using the bras you already have and just wait to make your investment. When you go from pregnancy to breastfeeding there’s absolutely no way to predict how large your breasts might get. Some women don’t change at all. Some women go up one cup size. Some women go up 4 cup sizes. Even if you’ve had previous babies, it’s can be different with every baby. Give it 6 weeks to regulate or you may end up needing a completely different size later.
  • You don’t have to rule out underwire bras for breastfeeding. Just be sure that the underwire is not pressing on any breast tissue including on the side under your arm as that can compress milk ducts and potentially cause mastitis. The underwire bras for nursing, such as the Belle Underwire Nursing Bra from Bravado actually have flexible underwire and that underwire is less risk for your milk ducts. Even with a flexible underwire, you’re putting something into the bra that is restricting the movement of the cup. Judy recommends waiting until after the baby comes, about 6 weeks postpartum before getting something with an underwire because by the time 6 weeks comes you go up and then you come down a little bit, and then your milk regulates and so you’re about at the size that you’re going to be for the duration of your breastfeeding.
  • Even wireless bras that are too tight can cause issues. An ill-fitting bra that compresses breast tissue rather than support it can lead to reduced supply, clogged ducts, mastitis, and more.

Avoid these common bra mistakes when breastfeeding

  • Wrong size. Proper fit matters!
  • Only having one bra. The recommendation is that you have a minimum of 3 bras, and don’t wear the same bra more than one day at a time. Rotate them and they will last longer. This applies to non-breastfeeding moms too.
  • Sleeping in your daytime bra. Use a sleep bra. It should be only enough support to keep a breast pad in place and sleeping in a daytime bra can cause problems.


Judy Masucci is a Ph.D. Scientist turned bra fitting guru. She lives in Wexford, PA just north of Pittsburgh, where she operates the region’s only specialty bra boutique, Levana Bratique. Judy has been fitting women in great bras for over 10 years, both virtually and in person. She specializes in hard to find sizes, carrying over 150 different sizes of bras. Often referred to as the “bra whisperer,” Judy has made it her mission to change women’s lives- one bra at a time.


Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of, co-creator of, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 21 years.

#LeakyLooks: Valentine’s Date Night

by Shannon Streger

Been to the store lately? Pharmacy, hobby store, ANYWHERE? Then you know what’s coming this weekend..Valentine’s Day! The smell of chocolate and candy hearts has permeated the air.  How do you plan to celebrate (or not) with your partner? Whether you are a sucker for the cheesy hype, or a nice “night in” snuggling on the couch sounds perfect, we have the looks for you to enjoy your weekend.

Kid-Free Night Out


Ahh, a night out, and kid-free at that! What a fun excuse to get dressed up and wear those heels that have been hiding way in the back of your closet behind your yoga pants stash and flip-flops. This gorgeous maxi dress from Figure 8 will provide all the glam along with comfort and accessibility for pumping on the go. Feel your sexy self with this hot nursing bra and panty set from Figleaves.  

1.Figleaves  2.Figure 8 Necklace  3.Figure 8 Dress 4.Sara Wells Pump Bag  5.Bamboobies  6.French Girl Organics Lip Tint  7.Target Pumps  


Valentine’s Date Night In


Opting for a date night-in this weekend? Maybe you are planning a cozy night on the couch, or you could be in the mood for something a little more physical (or both!).  Perhaps a soak in the tub with some bath herbs from Earth Mama Angel Baby with your partner, followed by a round of (strip?) “Rotten Apples.” Slip into something comfortable (or not so comfortable later) like this soft pajama set from Figure 8, or you could opt for some lingerie from Mommylicious Maternity.  

1.Vintage Pearl Necklace 2.Mommylicious Maternity lingerie 3.Target board games  4.Fredrick’s of Hollywood Robe  5.Figure 8 Majamas 6.Alma Caramel Sauce  7.Earth Mama Angel Baby Bath Herbs  8. Uberlube


Whatever your plans may be this Valentine’s Day we hope you get to enjoy it with someone you love, and feeling loved in return. How will YOU be celebrating this weekend?



#LeakyLooks : Holiday Family Photo Ideas

by Shannon Streger
This week’s Leaky Looks was put together by an experienced photographer, Shannon Streger. As she recommends options for family photo ideas with a traditional look, a more modern feel, and a weekend at the campfire, she offers some helpful tips to think outside the box.

It’s that time of year when we gather with our dearest family and friends to celebrate another year spent together. What better time than now to commemorate the season with a family portrait in this year’s holiday card. As a former professional photographer, I know there are a lot of things that can make a family portrait go from mess to success! Here are three great looks for you this week, put together to give you some great ideas as you prepare for that perfect holiday card snapshot.  

Some great pro tips: Instead of a matching theme, use colors that coordinate. The varying textures will add depth to your portrait. Decide on a casual look in an outdoor setting, or go formal with an elegant shoot in the studio with the typical holiday props.  

LL- Under the Mistletoe

Look 1:  

Looking for a formal style to wrap that classic holiday family photo? This essential little black dress (from Figure8) is perfect for an elegant maternity look or breastfeeding Momma. Collaborate it with a comfortable pair of pumps and a simple yet stylish pendant. Your partner can coordinate in a fitted black blazer with a red pocket square. Dress up the kids in some red and gold formal wear and keep the accessories simple.  



LL-Happy Holidays2

Look 2: 

If you want to go for a non-traditional look, make it a theme focusing on jewel tones. It will provide the rich colors of Winter while allowing you to stray from the traditional reds and greens.  You can do this look up casual or dressy, and you can mix up the textures a bit like throwing in an adorable lacy dress (BTW it’s from Target!).  Chunky jewelry and hats are great ways to add depth to your portrait. Pair this soft, stripped nursing dress (from Figure8) with some modern rain boots and chew beads from Chompy Chic.  


LL-Into the Woods2

Look 3:

If you want a more organic feel for your family photo, head outside! Ambient light and natural landscapes provide a great look. Mix up a few posed shots with some fun candid ones. Perhaps hire a photographer to capture the family trip to the Christmas Tree farm. This cozy mustard yellow coat (from ModCloth) will look great accented against some warm flannel plaid prints. The trapper hat (from Target) is essential for the baby with this cute “Baby’s 1st Christmas” bodysuit. Think layers!  Now would be a good time for your partner to grow out that facial hair for that woodsmen look. 😉 And don’t forget the NoseFrida! Nothing ruins a great photograph quite as well as a drippy nose. (Pro tip: wet wipes will only make it worse.) Now pull up those fuzzy boots and head into the woods. 


#LeakyLooks: Of Turkeys and Taking Care

by Kileah McIlvain

As these days get shorter and the nights get longer, our little family looks forward to the “turning in” of our home. The reveling in the warm light of candles, the pile of fluffy blankets just waiting to be nested in, the warm smells of fresh banana bread baking in the kitchen.

Reveling in the small, slow, intentional things can help us slow down, especially during the holiday season when schedules and nights can fill up quickly with events or extra work. By the time that crazy 4 PM rolls around, the thought of running away sounds much more enjoyable than mustering that last squeeze of energy to last to the end of the day (or bedtime!). So? I put together a few looks this week that highlight some of my favorite “seek simple pleasures” moments throughout the day…whether that’s working, a family get-together, or taking a night to yourself (or maybe a date night in!). My hope is that you transition into this holiday season with peace, armed with some essentials that can help you along the way!

Of Working and Pumping 



I loved the classy style of this dress that is specifically for the working or jetsetting mama who needs to pump or breastfeed on the go! It’s easy to layer with a great jacket, blazer, or poncho wrap. Unique accessories are a great way to change the look of your main wardrobe pieces. Juno Blu wins the day again with their stylish pumpgear-toting handbags.

1.Hadley Stilwell Jet Set Dress  2.Etsy  4.Modcloth  5.Matraea Soothing Nipple Fix  6.Simple Wishes Pumping Bra  7.Born  8.Juno Blu “Nepenthe” Pumping bag 


Mama’s Night In



A Mama’s Night In? Date Night In? This look features some of my go-to pieces for a cozy night in snuggled up under my favorite blanket. Drinking chocolate is one of my favorite late treats I’ve discovered…and wearing my favorite pair of socks while I do my nails (a true indulgence! absolutely love SOPHi’s line…and seriously. the stuff wears like nail armor. I went 5 days without chipping! It’s basically a mama miracle). Rubbing on some gentle lotion…or taking turns with my partner massaging aching shoulders with our favorite massage bar really helps my body and mind relax after a stressful day.

1.Belabumbum Nursing Dress “Eva”  2.Lush Massage bar “Soft Coeur” (the honeymooner!)  3.Creo Brewing Cacao drinking chocolate  4.Ikea Ursula knit throw  5.SOPHi non-toxic nail polish “Skinny Dip & Chips”  6.Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion  7.Smart Wool socks


The Leaky’s Essentials To Surviving Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving here in the states is one of my favorite times to get together with our friends and family. Over the years as we’ve added to our family, I’ve discovered a few (though not all are listed here!) essentials to not only surviving, but thriving at a holiday get-together. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of those around you! Also, we just featured the Innobaby AquaHeat in our comprehensive Infant Feeding Guide! Check it out for more details and why we recommend it!

1.Bamboobies  2.Ergobaby Original in “Black Twill” (NEW!) 3.ThinkSport Insulated coffee mug/coffee  4.Calm-a-mama Calm Drops  5.Etsy  6.AquaHeat by InnoBaby  7.JuiceBeauty Authentically Pink Makeup Kit


Do you have some good holiday survival tips? Shoot them my way! I’m going to be featuring some more looks and holiday-themed articles designed with every mama in mind! xoxo



#LeakyLooks: Oh Autumn, Let Me Count The Ways!

by Kileah McIlvain

Autumn is by far my favorite season. All of the layering possibilities, cozy colors, soft knitted things and all of the scarves a mama could want (yes…they cover up the crusty nut butter and toddler teething drool quite nicely when I need to make a run to the post office!).

Here’s a great collection of cozy-inspired looks featuring some great names I got the chance to meet up with at ABC Kids Expo last month! So sit back with that yummy chai, and get ready to celebrate the start of November with some functional, comfy, versatile outfit and multi-use accessory options!

Easy Chic

IMG_5549 (2)

I loved putting this look together to highlight the range of great sizing that some brands have! Also, check out the cool scarf that is actually a cotton swaddle blanket. (Get it? Put a bird on it? Portlandia? 🙂 )

1.H&M  2.Little Unicorn  3.Modcloth  4.Old Navy  5.MelindaG  6.Happ  7.DSW


Cozy Always Wins



This look practically screamed “WEAR ME AND BE COZY” when I put it together! Featuring a great super-soft jumper, cozy knit sweater, versatile diaper bag (right?! doesn’t even LOOK like a diaper bag!) and all of the soft knitted things…this look can go from daytime function to funky date downtown. Plus? it’s absolutely maternity and nursing-friendly!

1.Belabumbum  2.Modcloth  3.Toms  4.Modcloth  5.Target  6.Lily Jade


Peaches n’ Plaid



Who says powder blue and peach can’t be worn in the fall? Adding in some touches of soft greys and blacks are a great way to transition some of those traditionally “summer” shades and adapt them to your autumn wardrobe!

1.Modcloth  2.Tula  3.H&M  4.OiOi  5.cloth diaper  6.Wooly Baby  7.Mama Owl Shop  8.Old Navy


#LeakyLooks: Final Costume Call!

by Kileah McIlvain

Whew! I can’t believe it’s been over a week since the Leaky Boob Team came home from Vegas! What a week we had together. We have so many exciting things planned for all of  you!

For our final week of our #LeakyLooks costume series for October, I picked out 3 new looks to highlight some great fun (and breastfeeding friendly!) options for the harvest parties and trick-or-treating you’re bound to be celebrating! Let me know what you think! I wanna see YOUR awesome babywearing and boob-friendly costume ideas!

Mom’s Bakery


Sweet as can be with one of parents’ best-loved carriers. Now you can take your cupcake and take on a night of sweets and treats!

1.Ergobaby (Indigo Mint Dots) 2.Etsy  3.Baby Leggings  4.Amazon  5.Target


A Princess & Her Ewok


I am such a Star Wars fan. I know. Big shocker there 😉 This is a pretty easy outfit to put together with a bit of creative skill! What’s cuter than a fuzzy little Ewok baby?!

1.Endor Rebel helmet (make your own here!)  2.Etsy (or search pinterest for easy how-to!)  3.Amazon  4.H&M  5.Tekhni Nymphai (Tuxedo)  6.Payless Shoes  7.Petco Ewok Costume


Mama & Her Chicks


My main reason for this adorable get-up? The TwinGo Carrier! I got to see this carrier in action at the ABC Kids Expo in Vegas and it looked extremely comfortable.

1.Old Navy  2.Target  3.Walmart  4.Target  5.TwinGo Carrier  6.Amazon


#LeakyLooks: Best of October!

by Kileah McIlvain

This week we’re rounding up our top 3 most-LOVED #LeakyLooks on our Instagram page for October! Also, if you like surprises, keep looking for new content. I have some fantastic stuff I wanna share with you Leakies. Trust me. You’re gonna LOVE it 😉

Ready for our top 3 most-loved looks? Read on, get your Leaky Fashion on!


Favorite Look #1: Welcome To Hogwarts


I will fully admit: I am a total Potterhead! Would you believe that most Hogwarts-themed costumes can be totally breastfeeding-friendly?! (Plus, check out my FAVORITE wands from Woodland Wandolier!) Now you and your little witch or wizard can sport your favorite Hogwarts House in style!

1.Etsy  3.Buy Costumes  4.Costume Express  5.Ebay  6.Kohl’s  7.Woodland Wandolier  8.Walmart


Favorite Look #2: Steampunk Cosplay



Yeah. I totally went there. I’m pretty sure one of my secret fantasies is getting to go full-on steampunk! I’ve always wanted to wear some Victorian gothic-inspired outfit with goggles and a top hat. This look features some fun ideas (and a GREAT breastfeeding-friendly dress!) and the beautiful Tekhni Nymphai woven wrap in Tuxedo! (it’s not out yet, so consider this a great preview and get your ordering fingers ready!)

1.Leche Libre  2.CafePress  3.Silver Bird Treasures  4.Etsy  5.Ebay  6.Tekhni Nymphai  7.Steampunk Parasol


Favorite Look #3: Pumpkin Patch Party!


I look forward to Pumpkin Patch parties all year long! I chose this outfit to highlight some GREAT sizing options for some great autumn wardrobe pieces. My favorite piece in this collection? The Tekhni Nymphai Clover woven wrap. It’s heaven. <3

1.Modcloth  2.Bebe Au Lait  3.Torrid  4.Tekhni Nymphai  5.Target (great deal!)


What do you think of the favorites for October? Was there another look that you absolutely loved? What would you like to see us roll out in November? Comment below or give us a shout-out on Facebook or Instagram! We’d love to get your ideas.


#LeakyLooks: Autumn For Everyone (With A Twist!)

by Kileah McIlvain

I remember the first time I had my partner watch Nightmare Before Christmas. He kind of had this blank stare on his face…and probably fell asleep 15 minutes in (to be fair, he’d worked a 12-hour day and well…sometimes my weird is just a lot to take in after all that.). 😉 I’ve always had a love of Jack Skellington and his Sally! One of my favorite outfits this year (Paxmommy Jillian ROCKS a great Disneybounding Sally!)



1.Hot Topic  2.Tula (custom-made from Kokadi “Sally”)  3.Ebay  4.Spencers  5.Classic White pumpkin (because you need one to carve Jack’s face properly!)


I was just talking to some fellow Leakies today about our very different Pumpkin Patch experiences this year. It’s currently pushing almost 100 Degrees in southern California and here in Portland we’re enjoying cooler temps and foggy mornings! This might mean some very different wardrobe choices for the both of us! So I chose to highlight some wardrobe choices that might accompany some of our different experiences. I hope you enjoy!



1.Destination Maternity  2.NYX “Cherry Skies” here or here  3.Modcloth  4.Toms  5.Walmart  6.Beco Toddler Carrier “Benjamin”



1.Elomi 2.Destination Maternity  3.H&M  4.Tim & Leslie “Rachel” Diaper bag  5.Target  6.H&M  7.Old Navy

Do you have some great #LeakyLooks costume ideas for you and baby this year? Tag us on Instagram! We’d love to feature you!




#LeakyLooks: Of Pumpkins and Steampunks

by Kileah McIlvain

I know it may come as a shock to some of you, but I am a nerd. Major nerd. October (besides being my birth month!) is just a 31-day-long reason to dress up and get away with it in public. 😉

Here are a few awesome additions to our #LeakyLooks dress-up-October edition! Have a costume you’re putting together for you and baby? Want to share? Tag us on Instagram or Facebook so we can feature you!

Steampunk Cosplay 



Yeah. I totally went there. I’m pretty sure one of my secret fantasies is getting to go full-on steampunk! I’ve always wanted to wear some Victorian gothic-inspired outfit with goggles and a top hat. This look features some fun ideas (and a GREAT breastfeeding-friendly dress!) and the beautiful Tekhni Nymphai woven wrap in Tuxedo! (it’s not out yet, so consider this a great preview and get your ordering fingers ready!)

1.Leche Libre  2.CafePress  3.Silver Bird Treasures  4.Etsy  5.Ebay  6.Tekhni Nymphai  7.Steampunk Parasol

Mermaid & Merbaby


Remember when we did an awesome PaxBaby themed-look called “Under The Sea”? Well this one is an updated version for all of your trick-or-treating fun! My favorite part? All of these items are great deals!

1.Etsy  2.PaxBaby  3.ASOS  4.PaxBaby  5.AliExpress  6.ecrater mermaid wig

Pumpkin Patch Party!


I look forward to Pumpkin Patch parties all year long! I chose this outfit to highlight some GREAT sizing options for some great autumn wardrobe pieces. My favorite piece in this collection? The Tekhni Nymphai Clover woven wrap. It’s heaven. <3

1.Modcloth  2.Bebe Au Lait  3.Torrid  4.Tekhni Nymphai  5.Target (great deal!)


#LeakyLooks: Breastfeeding Friendly Costumes!

by Kileah McIlvain

I know. It’s September 29th. I couldn’t resist! I’m planning my costume already and (No. Not gonna reveal it just yet! Unless you’re a big MLP fan…then I just might tell you!)

So? This edition is about having fun, and giving some creative ideas for dressing up with your kids (and pssst! They’re also breastfeeding-friendly!).

Have some great ideas to share with our Leakies?

Tag us on Instagram and use #LeakyCostumes to show us some great breastfeeding-friendly costumes for October! 

Forest Creatures


When I saw this great carrier from Tula I just couldn’t resist coming up with a great “Mommy Tree and Baby Raccoon” theme! I even found some great eco-friendly facepaint sticks! What would you add to this one?

1.Tula “Campy”   2.Raccoon Mask/Tail/Ears set  3.Milk Nursingwear brown top  4.Tree Branch headband   5.Gerson Red Lantern  6.Luna Star Naturals facepaint stick

Welcome To Hogwarts


I will fully admit: I am a total Potterhead! Would you believe that most Hogwarts-themed costumes can be totally breastfeeding-friendly?! (Plus…check out my FAVORITE wands from Woodland Wandolier!) Now you and your little witch or wizard can sport your favorite Hogwarts House in style!

1.Etsy  3.Buy Costumes  4.Costume Express  5.Ebay  6.Kohl’s  7.Woodland Wandolier  8.Walmart

Kanga & Roo


One of my favorite Mum-and-Baby costume ideas is Kanga & Roo from Winnie The Pooh! Easy to put together, simple, and so darn cute.

1.Forever21  2.Tula   3.Oriental Trading Company   4.Pinterest  6.Under The Nile