by Kimmie Dillon
How do you and your daughter know when it’s time for her first bra? Some girls can’t wait to get the new undergarment and want to race off to the mall. Others just dread the thought. Here is a simple guide to helping you and your “tween” approach this touchy subject.
For many girls, breast development starts somewhere between 7 to 14 years old. As a parent, the most important thing is to be sensitive and aware of her feelings. The first sign of development can be no big deal to many girls. Others will understandably feel awkward and uncomfortable. Just remember there is no “right” time to start wearing a first bra. The best time is probably when she starts to feel self-conscious without one.
1. Use a flexible tape to measure the diameter around the rib cage directly below the bust. This will be her frame size.
2. To determine the “Bra Size”, add 5 inches to this above number. If this new number is odd (say 27”) add another inch (now 28”) since bra sizes only come in even sizes.
3. Then measure over and around the fullest part of the breast.
4. To determine “Cup Size,” subtract the initial frame measurement (#1 above) from the breast measurement (#3 above.) Here is a general guide-
AA cup: ½” difference or less
A cup: ½” to 1” difference
B cup: 1” to 2 ½” difference
C cup: 2 ½” to3 ½” difference
D cup: 3 ½” to 4 ½” difference
The 2 of you may prefer to leave the measuring to a professional. This can be especially true, yet not limited, to single fathers. Many department stores offer professional bra fitting in their lingerie sections. Simply head to the lingerie department to have your young lady sized for her first brassiere.
Adjusting to the look
I must say “training” bras today look quite a bit different than when I was a pre-teen. Didn’t we have like 2 choices, beige and white? And extra padding and push-up features never entered into the picture. Today, many young girls are thrilled will all of the exciting styles.
Others, however, may be just the opposite and a bit more anxious about her new shape under clothing. Try offering her a tank top with a built-in shelf bra. Another solution is to introduce her to a sports bra or snug-fitting camisole. These can offer her the nipple coverage she needs at this initial stage without overwhelming her with under wires, contour cups and lacey details.
Either way, the bra needs to fit and feel right. Have her try on different brands and styles. You want her to feel comfortable and happy with her new selection.
A time to bond
Choosing your daughter’s first bra can be a memorable occasion. By encouraging your girl to be open with her thoughts and apprehensions, this will be a bonding time for both of you. What’s important is that we as parents are there for her during this time. Maybe she’ll thank you for it (don’t hold your breath) but she’ll certainly always remember the process and how you supported her (pun intended!) through it.