Also, the idea that breasts will sag unless we "properly support" them with bras seems to be a MYTH. There is no research to prove that the bra will prevent the breasts from sagging. Read more on the sagging issue.
"A mistaken popular belief maintains that wearing a bra strengthens your breasts and prevents their eventual sagging. But you sag because of the proportion of fat and tissue in your breasts, and no bra changes that."
Susan M. Love, M.D. in her "Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book."
- "Because they jump up and down while I exercise and do sports."
Exercising is not doing any damage to breast tissue or to the chest wall, and actually, movement of breasts aids the lymph flow. However this is again an issue to experiment with, whether you can exercise without bras or not. Again, if you need bras, choose fitting ones that are not too tight.
"That was 6 months ago, and my eyes are wide open now. The monthly breast tenderness is gone, in fact, it was totally relieved by the second month. As for tripping over them, NO WAY, in fact they are the firmest they have ever been in my life. Even during my aerobics class (I was sure I would have to wear a bra there), and granted it did feel a bit weird not wearing one in class for a while, but I think that was the most important place not to wear it! The way my friend put it, and I believe it now, is that breasts need exercise just like any other part of your body, and muscles underneath can go a long way to prevent sagging if they are given a chance to work.."
- JILL, FROM OREGON, AGE 39
Fibrocystic Breast Disease case histories
"...when are we going to start to respect the body, nature, and women properly? In many parts of the world the breast is considered an important organ, not an icon of sexuality. That, I'm afraid, is an invention of our culture, and a sad one at
A New Look At Breast Cancer
By Brian Sanderoff, Craig N. Fryer
- "Because I am breastfeeding and I need to wear nursing bras."
Nursing moms (or pregnant women) are indeed told to buy nursing bras and wear them. There is no medical necessity to wear nursing bras either. Of course nursing bras is a handy way to hide the leaking of breast milk, and maybe you want to wear one in order to avoid society's pressure.
However be careful because wearing a nursing bra may cause breast engorgement or sore breasts. It might be safer just place a towel under you during the night to catch the leakage, and not worry about breast milk spots on your T-shirts at home, where you can easily go brafree. We got a comment from one experienced mom whose engorgement troubles were over when she quit wearing a bra:
"I stumbled on your site trying to find some information about the link between breast cancer and breastfeeding.
I breastfed my four kids all for an extended time. The youngest is six so it has been a while....
I found something that really helped me with my babies.
You know how they tell you that you need to wear a bra when you are beginning to breastfeed? I would wake up after finally getting some sleep with a huge bra-shaped engorged breast. With my last two children I decided to go braless during those times and just let the breasts drip. It was very effective for me for treating and preventing engorgement. I think the movement of the breasts also probably helped keep them from getting hard. The bras I ended up wearing the most during those nursing years were some old thin sports bras that my sister had handed off to me. It did elicit some comments ("You need a new bra") but it was probably more natural than those other nursing bras that didn't work well for me."
Thanks for your site.
So should I wear one or not?
All that said, the choice to wear a bra is still yours. Obviously many women are very used to wearing bras, and feel uncomfortable in public without them. Or, certain social occasions may basically require you to wear one. Bra wearing is not going to kill you (or 'kill' your breasts) if you follow the simple guideline of giving your breasts free time as much as you can - at home, while sleeping. And, if you wear one, remember to always wear a good fitting bra. It should not leave marks on your shoulders or under your breasts, or feel tight. Find a professional bra fitter. Or order custom-made ones. Don't sacrifice your breast health to fashion.
Some healthy bra alternatives
There are many healthy alternatives for dressing bra free (some women prefer the positive term "bra free" rather than "braless" because they say women don't really need to wear bras).
- Camisoles are inexpensive, and there is a huge variety at many department stores with variety of fabrics and weights, from silk to cotton. Some have straps similar to those of a bra, with adjustable clasps, so others may assume that a bra is being worn or that there is a bra under the camisole. You can find thin and/or cropped camis for summer.
- Men's singlet undershirts, also called A-shirts, sleeveless undershirts, etc. They are inexpensive and comfortable.
- Vests, similar to those of a man's 3-piece suit, over a blouse at work to hide breast outline or movement.
- Shirts with pockets over both breasts; extra fabric layer conceals.
- New alternatives include tops with two layers in front and one in back.
- Loosely fitted tops.
- One new possibility might be a product called "Simply
Shapers" two silicone bra cups that adhere to your skin and are connected with a clamp. There are no straps, wires or anything - just the adhesive cups.
- Or simply wear no undergarment depending on weather, confidence, self image, and nature of overgarment.