I'm a New Mom With Large Breasts, and This Is the Only Sports Bra I Can Exercise In

It’s like running with cloud support.

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Photo: lululemon.com

It's no big secret that if you have larger breasts, shopping for sports bras is terrible. For the most part, they're either cute with no support, or hold you in place but look and feel like, well, a boob prison. As a busty person (I'm an E/F-cup, depending on the bra) who likes to exercise, I have dealt with a lot of subpar sports bras. I have worn two at a time. I have bled from hook-and-eye closures hitting me in the wrong spot. I had more or less made my peace with sports bras being, at best, mildly unpleasant.

And then, a few months ago, I had my second baby. My breasts, which got modestly bigger during my first pregnancy, got much bigger post-delivery as my milk came in (I'm breastfeeding). My just-OK pre-pregnancy sports bras couldn't come close to helping me get through workouts with my postpartum breasts. Thanks to breastfeeding, they were wildly different sizes depending on what time of day I exercised and always felt like they weighed 8 pounds each. Even in the busy time of having a new baby, exercise is a priority for me because it gives me time to myself, and the jolt of endorphins makes me feel more awake and alive. But it's hard when you don't feel supported, and when ill-fitting bras can cause serious consequences like clogged milk ducts.

Just a few weeks ago, there came a moment during a run when the coach, my beloved Peloton trainer Becs Gentry, cued a speed push. I called on my legs, my core, and my breath to get ready, and they all showed up. I started moving faster. And my breasts, trapped inside a not-right sports bra and full of milk, basically screamed at me to slow down. I did, all the way to a walk. I was so incredibly frustrated: all of me could handle the workout, except my chest. Honestly, I cried a little. I was pretty ready to give up.

A few days later, I got an email about Lululemon's new AirSupport bra ($98; lululemon.com). The name alone was intriguing: I like support, and I like when it feels like air. The tagline was "revolutionary high support designed for running." That was also promising, so I decided to give it a shot.

Let me tell you—the AirSupport bra delivered. It has adjustable straps and an adjustable band, meaning I can make it work for my constantly-fluctuating breasts, even from one workout to the next. The band itself, which is ribbed on the inside of the bra and seamless on the outside, sort of defies gravity. Somehow the majority of the support seems to come from just above it, in a magical, liminal no-man's-land that keeps your breasts up where they're supposed to be without a super-tight closure or heavy duty straps yanking them up by your ears.

This seems to be because of the way the foam molding in the cups holds you in place— so fair warning, it does take up a bit of room in a drawer. While I still have to admit that none of the high-support sports bras for larger chests are cute as their smaller-cup-size counterparts, this one does have some stylish perforation on the sides and the split straps look cool. (I also like how minimal the back is— often the sports bras for bustier folks have blah-looking backs that don't look nice under strappy workout tanks.) The fabric is heavenly (pun intended), made from a new one called Ultralu that is sweat-wicking but also soft and smooth.


Most importantly, the bra held up during my workouts. I tried another run with Becs and was able to crank my speed up to "legs flying under me like a propeller" without feeling like my breasts were going to kill me, fly out of their enclosure, leak everywhere, or get clogged up: a major win. The adjustable straps really made a difference—I felt secure that the bra was holding things where they needed to be and that they would stay there for the duration of my speed efforts.

I'm a Peloton addict and my Achilles heel since having a baby has been riding my bike out of the saddle— my breasts move around so much that the movement is borderline impossible. But even though the bra is designed for running, I tried an out-of-the-saddle ride in it too, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the clever design let me "jog" (without actually running at all) in peace. Lululemon poured some serious manpower into this bra— according to the email I got, the bra was developed over researching breast movement for five years and tested in 217 different environments—and it shows. I wouldn't necessarily wear it all day (though experts don't advise that anyway, plus it would be tough to nurse in), but as far as the high-impact bras I've tried? This is the best one.

I know the challenges of exercising-while-breastfeeding are pretty specific (don't even get me started on so-called nursing sports bras— that S/M/L sizing is not going to cut it for those of us whose breasts change sizes several times a day, people!) but anyone with larger breasts should find the AirSupport bra awesome for tough, high-intensity workouts, runs especially. Currently, the sizing is available for C-DDD cups (32-40 band sizes), but more are coming, as Lululemon continues its push towards size inclusivity.

If you've got large brests and have struggled to find a sports bra that works, this just might be the one for you, too.


To buy: $98, lululemon.com.

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