Don’t worry, this is not an invitation for a bra bonfire party (although we can have one if you want, our boobs might be happier that way).
Following my last post on toxicity in children’s clothing, I started thinking about bras and boobies. Since I’ve been breastfeeding for more than four years non-stop, I want to make sure my boobs are not ‘toxic‘ to myself or my child. Bras are not inherently ‘bad‘, but there are few things we should keep in mind to keep wearing them more safe.
1. Skip the Padding
Padding in bras is made from a petroleum product. The foam in the padding may or may not have been treated with various flame retardants, anti-mold chemicals, anti-bacteral chemicals and so on… there is no way to know what chemicals are in the foam of a bra because manufacturers are not required to provide the consumer with such information! All that wouldn’t be so bad, except for the fact that breast tissue (which is extremely fatty) is really good at absorbing and retaining toxins that leach through the skin. Also, foam in bras doesn’t allow your skin to breathe properly and can thus can literally ‘heat’ up your boobs. While boobs are ‘hot’, they’re not healthy if they are actually temperature hot, get it?
2. Pass on the Underwire or Change to a Plastic Underwire
Underwire is usually made from metal coated in plastic. The metal and the plastic are not actually leaching toxins into your skin. We’re talking pressure points, reflex points, energy and drainage of the lymphatic system (the body system responsible for moving nutrients, waste and fluids around your body). If you think along the lines of accupressure, and the flow of energy or chi, having metal or hard restrictive pieces of clothing on certain parts of your body, it acts as a sort of energy block to that part of the body. I’ve heard several energy healers speak about this.
My combination knowledge of spirituality/chemistry teacher has also led me to understand, that metal contains ‘positive ions‘ (the not so happy kind), which are not the healthy type of ions you want surrounding certain parts your body. Of course, I haven’t scoured the resources out there to find the proof, but it certainly makes sense to me that having positive ions near any energy spot on your body (like a lymph node) would not be a good thing. Anyway, hard metal underwire is uncomfortable! You can change your metal underwire to plastic here.
3. Proper Fit
Make sure your bra fits snug, but is not too tight! It’s ok if boobs jiggle a little, it’s good for that lymph drainage. Most women around the world don’t even wear bras, it’s our society keeping us thinking that boobs need to be smashed and pushed up to keep from moving! Keep the support low to medium, unless you’re doing some sort of physical exercise and you feel like you need something really supportive. A bra that is too tight reduces the amount of fluid drainage, or makes the lymph nodes in your armpits not able to do their job. Anyway, wearing a bra that is too tight is super uncomfortable and is bound to make you irritable by the end of the day!
4. Healthy Fabric
Choose bras made from fabrics that are mostly made from cotton or other natural fibres like bamboo. Synthetic fibres, such as polyester, nylon and rayon are treated more heavily with chemicals in their manufacturing. Synthetic fibres also don’t breathe as well as a natural fabric. If you can find an organic cotton bra, GET IT! If it’s not organic, conventional cotton is still treated with chemicals, so just wash wash wash and the chemicals will eventually reduce.
5. Don’t Wear Your Bra to Bed!
Some studies have shown that woman who wear highly supportive bras for 24 hours a day have a much higher risk of getting breast cancer. Woman who reduce the amount of time wearing their bra, also greatly reduce their chance of getting breast cancer. So, give your boobies lots of bra-free time. Even if it’s only when you’re asleep, that’s better than nothing!
But Kate, My Boobs Will Sag and Everyone Will See My Nipples!
Ok, I know some of the big breasted/big nippled girls out there are rolling their eyes because I’ve got average sized boobs and wearing low/medium support is fairly comfortable for me. So… the part about everyone seeing your nipples… well, that can be a tough one depending on how much you CARE if people see your nipples poking through your shirt. I personally don’t give a crap because it’s part of my body and they shouldn’t be looking anyway. If you’re concerned, you can find some two-ply heavy duty bras, without padding, that will hide the nipples better. Also, looser fitting clothing, or a tank top underneath or darker colors on top.
If you really like underwire, you can actually buy plastic underwire, remove the metal underwire and put in plastic instead! There are some other excellent DIY ideas here, for making your bra more healthy. Boobs will sag a little anyway, by the time you’re old and gray. It’s natural and seriously, when you’re 80, will you even care?! I would rather have healthy, slightly soft boobs than squashed up sweaty unhealthy ones! Also, there is a theory out there that you have some ligaments in your breasts that will strengthen over time if you allow them to be ‘exercised‘ by not wearing a bra, or by not wearing so much support. So, give your boobs a chance to ‘work out‘!
I hope this post helps you to have a lifetime of happy boobies! Eat well, smile often… and wear a comfy bra, non-restrictive bra!
Share with any of your friends who have boobies 🙂