Five Tips to Buying Your Daughter’s First Bra
All of us who have daughters will eventually take them bra shopping for the first time and for some moms and daughters, it might be terrifying, embarrassing, or fun depending on you and your daughter’s attitude towards it. I’ve recently received a lot of emails about my tips for going first time bra shopping with young girls. Today, I’m going to share with you how to have a successful bra shopping experience, the things I’ve learned from fitting several hundred of young girls in my lifetime, and what I recommend for those just developing. My five tips to buying your daughter’s first bra.
1. Decide how to talk to you daughter about puberty, body changes, and bra shopping.
The first thing all moms/parents/guardians/dads taking their daughter bra shopping should do is talk to her about why her body is changing and why you’re going bra shopping. I grew up in a family that was pretty open about topics like puberty and bras. As a young girl and teen, it drove me nuts and I was often embarrassed by it, but now I am so grateful about it because I feel I’m a lot more open about these topics because of the influence of my family.
My husband grew up in a very different way. His parents never talked to him about sex or puberty as a child or a teenager. This created a very hush-hush environment where topics were swept underneath the rug to avoid awkwardness and or embarrassment. This led to my husband learning about these things from his friends (yikes!). Do not let her friends educate her about her body. This is often the cause of poor body image, even if her friends have the best intentions. I don’t recommend you go this route.
I’m not saying that your family needs to talk about periods over the dinner table (had this happen many times in my family) and have the birds and the bees talk everyday, but I strongly believe that the family’s attitude towards topics like these will affect your daughters outlook on them and of herself. Because of the way I grew up and how my family was open about these topics I’ve become really open about them too and it’s shaped how I view myself as a woman. I strongly believe that the family dynamic is responsible for the amount of embarrassment a young girl feels about talking about her body.
So before you take your daughter bra shopping, have the conversation about puberty and how her body will and is changing, and what to expect when bra shopping.
Some of the things I tell young girls when they see me is I have a policy if they don’t feel comfortable they need to tell me, and we’ll try a different route. I would tell your daughter when you go bra shopping they’re going to be measured with a measuring tape and try on several bras to see which ones fit the best. They won’t be naked, and won’t have to expose themselves to the bra fitter helping her or you (mom).
It’s important to tell your daughter her breasts will change in size and shape throughout her lifetime. They say the average woman changes bra sizes at least 10 times in her life due to weight gain or loss, pregnancy, nursing, and etc.
If you’re open with your daughter before you take her bra shopping, I promise you that you and your daughter’s experience will be a lot more enjoyable and it can be more of a bonding experience instead of a chore or fight.
2. Know when it’s the right time to go bra shopping.
So when do you know when it’s the right time for your daughter to get a bra? Follow the two stages of breast development for your tween/teen.
1st Stage of Breast Development
The first stage typically occurs between the ages of 8-13. During this stage, girls begin to "bud." Budding is a nickel-sized bump that develops under the nipple. Uneven growth is normal at this time. We recommend training bras for budding breasts. Training bras are often lightweight, cotton bras that offer a buffer between the body and clothing.
2nd Stage of Breast Development
Tissue will start to grow beyond the budding stage and the areola and nipple will begin to rise above the breast. This is the stage that you will get your teen professionally fit.
3. Be sensitive to her feelings.
So what do you do when your daughter isn’t forthcoming about bra shopping or her changing body? It’s up to you to address the subject. If your daughter is still super uncomfortable about the thought of bra shopping, be sensitive to her feelings and reassure her that that every woman goes through puberty and it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It’s part of growing up! Maybe tell her about a story of when you were going through that stage in your life, to reassure her that it’s ok.
Don’t make fun or point out the lack of her breasts or the abundance of them. You’re daughter is aware of what she has and doesn’t have. Sadly, I saw this far too often in the dressing room with mothers and it’s disheartening because this causes a shopping trip to be an awful experience and starts the cycle of body shame in her. Here’s a great example of what not to do, here. What this really shows that the mother isn’t comfortable with herself or her own body.
If she is developing and she’s poking through her shirt but has no interest in wearing a bra, start out slow by getting her a shelf/camisole bra or bralette. Get her used to those and once she feels more comfortable move over to a bra.
4. Get a proper bra fitting.
It’s so crucial to start this process of wearing a bra in the right direction. Don’t add to the confusion, stress or anxiety by making bra shopping complicated or trying to figure out on your own how bras should fit.
My best advice: Take her to a professional! Mother may know best in most cases, but the bra fit specialists at Bra Fittings by Court really know boobs and bras best. The bra industry changes so fast, there may be new information and products out there since you’ve been fit. Start off on the right foot so your daughter can have the education and information about bras, breasts, and proper wear from the start. And be a good example by get a fitting yourself! If you’ve never been fitted, this is the perfect time to educate yourself so you can practice what you preach.
I recommend you read my Sizing 101 post where I show you how the numbers and letters work and how to find you and your daughters bra size. By knowing this you’ll be able to be more confident in the dressing room with your daughter by knowing the basics of a good fitting bra. Even though these are great resources, I still recommend being professionally fitted.
We also offer a free bra sizing calculator where you can find your bra size, get bra recommendations based off your size and breast shape.
5. Know the different types of bras.
It might be overwhelming trying to decide what bra is best for your daughter. I highly recommend you ask her what she would like to wear. Sometimes what she wants to wear isn’t going to be the right bra for her at that moment, so kindly suggest some other options that will cover, support, or be better for her.
There are four different types of bras that I recommend young girls, depending on how developed they are. I’ll start with the most basic types of bras to the more constructed and supported ones.
These bras are great for your daughter in her early stages of development. These bras will help her get used to wearing something around her chest. They don’t do a great job of coverage, but they are comfortable. These bras are light and don’t give much support.
Sports bras are bras worn when your daughter is going to be active and needs more compressions against her chest. These bras will give more support depending on how snug they are, so I suggest that these to fit more snug. They tend to flatten a girls chest to prevent breasts from bouncing. They are comfortable but I don’t recommend them for everyday wear. Because the straps aren't narrow you can always see the straps poking out of the top of the shirt and they don’t look great underneath everyday clothing. Here are some great suggestions:
A bralette looks more like a bra. It has molded cups but the big difference is these aren’t as supportive as bras, don’t come in bra sizes like a 30A or 32B, and are always wireless. These give more coverage and shape compared to the camisole/shelf bras. I like bralettes that have a hook and eye in the back so your daughter can tighten it as it stretches out. These provide medium support.
There are two types of bras: wireless and underwire. The difference between a bra and the camisole/shelf and bralettes is bras come in a bra size like a 32A or a 36D. Wireless bras are fine, but if you’re larger than a C cup, I highly recommend an underwire. Here are some of our go-to wireless bras for teens:
Little Bra Company Erika
If you’re wanting to get your daughter an underwire, make sure you know how bras should properly fit and or go get her professionally fitted. An incorrect fitting wired bra can be extremely uncomfortable especially if the band is too big and the cups are too small or too big. Underwired bras provide the most support and shape. Here are some of our favorite wired bras:
Natori Bliss Perfection
I hope this post navigates you better in the world of bra shopping. I strongly believe the more educated you and your daughter are the better experience you’ll have!