Unsure when to buy your daughter her first bra? A first bra is an important milestone, both for you and your daughter. For your daughter, the bra represents approaching womanhood and the fact that she is growing up and becoming independent. To you, it signifies pretty much the same, but with the addition of “Nawwwwwww, my little baby is growing up.” Not to mention the added dread that you're entering the hormone-fuelled teenage years.
It can be difficult to know when it’s the right time to take your daughter to buy her first bra. Should you wait until she has fully developed, or head to the shops as soon as you start to notice a change? Should you take her as soon as she asks, or try to teach her that it’s ok if she develops later than her friends?
When To Buy Your Daughter Her First Bra
The average age for a first bra is 11, though some girls need them earlier, and others do not need a bra until later in their teenage years. Remember though, being a teenager is tough. It’s not just about the physical development, you also battle against unkind teasing from boys at school. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where that didn’t happen? There's also the desire to fit in amongst your friends, who may already be wearing bras. So the decision of when to go bra shopping is actually more complex than it first appears.
Developing breasts can feel tender and sore, so a well-fitting bra may help to reduce this discomfort. If your daughter has asked for a first bra, it’s probably time to consider making that all important trip to the mall. If you have noticed that your daughter’s breasts are starting to develop, offer to buy her a bra. Not all teenage girls are desperate to grow breasts, in fact some girls delay their first bra for as long as possible. An alternative if she's not developed very far are crop tops – Bonds make some lovely colourful (as well as plain white) crop tops that are popular amongst young girls.
Buying The Bra
Buying this first bra is a momentous occasion for both of you, but there’s no need to send out an announcement to the press or have special t-shirts printed. Remember that your daughter may feel embarrassed or awkward about buying her first bra, so try not to make too much of a big deal about it. A great way to do it is to organise a shopping trip, spend the day choosing new clothes, and then casually ask if she’d like a bra whilst you’re in the right shop. She may surprise you by suggesting it first.
“My mum bought me training bras for Christmas when I was about 12 or 13. I was horrified when I opened them in front of everyone.” — Fiona
“My mum got my brother's girlfriend to buy my first bras – totally embarrassing!” — BellyBelly Forum Member
“I repeatedly badgered mum for a bra, after I started getting hassled at school about my boobs.” — BellyBelly Forum Member
Here are some pointers to help the first bra purchase go as smoothly as possible:
#1: Get Measured
This one might seem unnecessary, especially if your daughter hasn’t yet fully developed. But you’re in this for the long game. It is estimated that around two thirds of women are currently wearing the wrong bra size. Why? Because they don’t want to get professionally measured, often out of embarrassment.
By taking your daughter to get measured, you can teach her that this is a normal part of bra shopping. Explain to her that breasts change over time, and she will probably need to be measured with each new bra purchase.
Make sure she is wearing a vest or singlet so that she can be measured without having to strip off. Offer to accompany her into the cubicle, but don’t force the issue. She may feel more comfortable with you waiting outside.
#2: Choose The Shop Carefully
Not all shops sell the same sorts of bras. A number of shops have been criticised for selling overly sexual bras to a young market, if this will make you feel uncomfortable, then avoid these shops.
Pay a visit to the mall a few days in advance, and do a recce so you know which shop sells the sorts of bras you want to buy. You don’t want this first bra shop to end in an argument or tears – or in the purchase of a lacy, red push-up plunge bra. Make sure the store offers a professional fitting service by trained staff.
#3: Let Her Choose
Once the recce has been done, and you’re in the mum-approved shop, hand the reins over to your daughter. Take her to the range of starter bras, and tell her she can choose whichever bra she wants. Colour, pattern, style – it’s all up to her. This control and freedom will help her to enjoy the experience, and leave her feeling even more grown up.
#4: Buy A Sports Bra
As well as her everyday bra, pick up a sports bra for her to wear during sports at school. Sports bras offer better support, and are specially designed for use when exercising. Make sure she has one to wear during physical education at school and at any sports clubs she may attend.
#5: Teach Kindness
Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes. A woman’s breasts are rarely equal, meaning there is always some variation in size. Breasts change their size and shape throughout the month. Some girls develop later than others. And boys get off easily because you can’t see when they go through puberty — although they do get the short straw when it comes to voices breaking. Talk about all of this with your daughter, and make sure she understands that some of her classmates may be cruel or unkind, but that she can rise above it. A fantastic book for her to read is Puberty Girl.
#6: Keep Quiet
Congratulations, the first bra shop was a success! You scraped through without tears, and now have a fully fledged bra-wearer living under your roof.
You’re probably feeling pretty proud of your mothering abilities right about now, especially if the whole trip went by like a scene from the Gilmore Girls. But, this is no time to brag. While her new bra is nothing to be ashamed of, your daughter likely won’t want you to announce the purchase over dinner. Or to the postman when he next calls by.
Yes, she will definitely run into school and show off to all of her friends, but you’re old enough to know better. Ok, you can tell one friend, but make sure you pick one who is really good at keeping secrets.
Hopefully that's helped you to understand when to buy your daughter her first bra. Would you like to share any experiences you went through buying your first bra? Please comment below!