My mother was so shy that going out to buy my first bra was an awkward and uncomfortable experience. I vowed not to do the same with my daughter, and yet I totally missed the moment. It wasn’t until she asked me if we could go shopping that I realized that we might need to measure for a training bra.
My daughter was growing whether I noticed (or was ready) or not. She might have been on the later side of development because she was so active in sports, but that only slowed things down a little bit. It wasn’t going to stop time.
These days, girls are maturing physically faster than in previous generations. While most will need to start thinking about wearing a bra in middle school, others have to start as early as eight years old. There is no set age for starting to wear a bra so don’t let that be the only factor that determines when is the best time. Be aware of the physical changes happening to your daughter’s body and how she feels socially.
Get Into the Right Mindset
If you notice that your daughter’s nipples are starting to swell and are visible under her shirt, it’s time. Even if she doesn’t have buds showing, she may want to wear a bra so that she feels like she fits in with other girls in her class. At this age, bras can make her feel more confident and at ease with her peers in social situations, such as during sleepovers or when changing in the locker room for gym class.
Some girls want to start wearing a bra before they need one physically. Conversely, some may not want to wear one even though they should.
Either way, talk to your daughter and see what she thinks about wearing a bra or other type of undergarment if she’s not ready for an actual bra. Respect her opinion, and perhaps this conversation will open doors to future chats that will need to happen as your daughter grows and starts dating and going out with friends in the evening.
Think About How the Bra Will be Used
You know from your own experience that there are bras for all types of occasions. Chances are your daughter’s first bra will be one that she can use every day under her school and play clothes. If she is athletic, she may also need a sports bra. If there is a wedding or other special occasion coming up, she may need something a little fancier too.
Try to put yourself in her shoes and select a store that caters to tweens and has a body-positive atmosphere. This might be a large department store or a specialty lingerie shop. Either choice is fine, just make sure it is a place where your daughter will feel comfortable.
Consider how and when the bra will be worn because when you take your daughter to the store to try on bras for the first time, you might be surprised at the large number of options for young girls. Doing some research online will help so you don’t feel overwhelmed when you get there.
It’s better to be prepared so you can walk into the store with confidence and head directly to the part of the store that has the bra styles your daughter needs and wants.
More About Training Bras
The term training bra is a bit of a misnomer. Your daughter’s chest is not being trained for anything. These bras don’t provide any actual breast support, but instead, help a girl get more comfortable wearing a new piece of clothing that is tighter fitting around her chest than she might be used to.
Breast buds can also be quite uncomfortable when they start growing, so a training bra could help prevent them from being sensitive to brushing against the underside of tee-shirts or other clothing.
These bras (as well as camisoles and sports bras) tend to be soft fabric that offer an extra layer to cover breast buds so they don’t poke through a shirt. If your daughter is more developed than her peers, there are age-appropriate bras that have cups for support.
There is also no need to worry about padding for the first bra. Padding is used in adult bra styles, not in beginner bras.
Grab the Car Keys and Go
The bottom line is that comfort is key. Before you head out bra shopping, measure your daughter by wrapping a tape measure around her rib cage just under the chest.
When you get there, select a few different styles so she has something to wear on different occasions and during the activities she loves to participate in.