May 25, 2012

Reader Question | Swimwear for Thin, Large Busted Mamas

Reader Question:

Hi ANMJ, 

I've been desperately searching for some swimwear for the fast approaching summer season.  I have three little girls (ages 4.5, 3 and 8 months) and since they will be decked out in the cutest matching swimwear available this year, I feel like I need to be able to keep up with them too.  I have finally lost all of the baby weight (and then some), yet my body just isn't the same after 3 c-sections.  I'm looking for a fun/trendy tankini, if that even exists.  On top of all that, I'm still nursing.  Are there even nursing-friendly bathing suits out there?  If it helps, or is of any consideration, I'm 5'5" and about 121 lbs, but the real zinger is that I'm a 32DDD on the top.  Being so top heavy and still nursing has made finding suitable swimwear a nightmare. 
Thank you in advance for any help you can offer!  I love your website and read it almost religiously.
 
- Alison
p.s. if it's of any consideration, the only thing I've been able to find online is this splendid tankini which I've ordered but wish I could find more options since I'm afraid I may not squeeze into the top! 
 

Answer:

Oh, what these babies do to us!  Alison, I feel for you, really feel for you, because I'm five months out from my third c-section (no, even when you do lose the weight, it's just not the same, is it?), I'm nursing, and I've been there, squeezing the girls into too-small suit tops, combing the internet for separates since the top and the bottom don't match and generally dreading (while dying for) pool time. 

I've reconciled myself to just owning my slightly (snort!) looser tummy and keep wearing bikinis.  Ironically, they're a great option for a nursing, postpartum mama whose boobs are off the charts because you don't have to worry about tankini/bandini fabric being too loose around the middle, or falling out of a one-piece that fits on top but is roomy on the bottom, or (worse?) vice-versa.  Talk to me again when I've been asked for the umpteenth billion time when I'm due.  Or, since we'll be swimming at the gym's pool this summer, whether I need a trainer. . .

Now, while I do love the Splendid bandini you ordered, and I do think it will be nursing-friendly, I have to say that, given your measurements, and looking at the woman who is modeling it, I believe there's a chance it might not work out.  I hope I'm wrong, because it's flippin' adorable, but unless the triple "D" part of the 32DDD portion of your email was a type-o, I'm thinking the girls may need more support than this suit seems to be offering. 

This leaves you two options, the first of which is a little crazy, but I'm not sure why I've never heard of it until, both on our second pregnancies at the time (why don't maternity suits have any support!?), a friend and I invented the swim bra.  Here's what you do: layer a strapless or halter bikini top (depending on the cut) under your suit of choice, and voila, you have a swim bra.  Warning: this doesn't always work out.  I have not personally tried the combination I am showing here, and it's definitely not a science, just a suggestion if you find that you are in love with this suit and cannot let it go, but want a little more support.

Swim Bra!

 

Splendid
$67 - splendid.com

 

Mix Match bandeau bikini
$14 - target.com

 

 

If you find the swim bra approach isn't working for you, I must say I was surprised by the number and quality of "cup-sized swimwear" (the search engine euphemism for large busted) suits I found, particularly at Figleaves.com.  My favorite here, as a possible replacement for the Splendid bandini, is the Preppy Stripe Underwire tankini from Figleaves, and I adore the retro feel of the Freya Swim Fever tankini, but I truly do love each one of these.  They're all great tankinis that I think are going to help you feel a little bit (but not too much!) more covered and confident.  As for nursing, I think just slipping one strap off your shoulder should do the trick, though Victoria's Secret's Plunge Tankini (caution, this is sized to DD) is the clear choice for breastfeeding-friendliness, obvs ; ).

DD+ Tankinis

 

Top
$72 - figleaves.com

 

Top
$54 - figleaves.com

 

Seafolly
$134 - nordstrom.com

 

 

Seafolly
$134 - nordstrom.com

 

Victoria s secret
$132 - victoriassecret.com

 

 

 

If you find you're not of the tankini mindset after all, consider these fab cup-sized bikinis–most of them go up to size 38FF, so they really have most mamas covered.

Cup Sized Bikinis

 

Freya bathing suit
$64 - nordstrom.com

 

Seafolly ruffle bathing suit
$88 - nordstrom.com

 

Swimwear
$35 - figleaves.com

 

 

 

Thank you so much for writing in, Alison!  We looove our reader questions.

- M.

Also, congratulations to the winner of our Kokopax giveaway! Andie Brands, please send us an email so we can get the Kokpax carrier to you ASAP!

16 Comments
  • Sarah
    May 25, 2012

    I am a size 8, 32F and I just bought the freya pier bikini. Best. Decision. Ever. After years of doing like, dd cup lands end and extra large target bikini tops, I wish I had discovered this sooner. It’s the best fitting, most flattering, least likely to go anywhere bikini I’ve ever worn. And prb the cutest. I have two small boys I run after and the top stays put like perfection. Ugh, really, I love it and my
    I’ve has been changed.

  • Crunchy Con Mommy
    May 25, 2012

    cute suits-my fave is the blue with white polka dots! Land’s End also started carrying suits up to DDD cups, and they often end up having some in the overstocks section, so you can get them for great prices-that’s what I ended up getting and they are plenty supportive enough for a 34DDD :)

  • Emily
    May 25, 2012

    I’m so glad you posted this. I am between a 6 and 8 and a 34G. Finding swimsuits has always been difficult for me. I recently bought an Athena tankini on zappos, which I really like. I found mine at zappos, but the options were definitely limited. Thanks for sharing more options for us large breasted ladies!

  • Julia
    May 25, 2012

    I’m SO GLAD you posted this!!! I just had a babe two months ago and am by no means in bikini-body-shape yet (I’m pretty sure I still look pregnant and the girls are the size of my head!) but we live at the beach, are avid surfers and I’ve been agonizing over bathing suits!! I’ve had my eye on Lilly Pulitzer’s Cinch 1 Piece Printed in Touchy Feely or Mate or Vineyard Vines Starfish Tankini but now I’m kind of obsessed with the Seafolly Polka Dot suit! Thanks for the post!!!!!!

  • Erin
    May 25, 2012

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  • Lara Minnear
    May 25, 2012

    Any suggestions for those of us who are done nursing and left with very little up top?

  • Lorna
    May 25, 2012

    I just finished searching for similar suits. I found the Profile by Gottex makes a super cute tankini. The size states D cup but I’m also a DDD right now and it fit great. The best part is that not only does the top have underwire, the straps do not go around your neck (so tiring to carry your boobs around your neck all day) and there is a built-in bra for extra support.
    Nursing seems like it will be easy enough when you pull the strap down.
    http://www.barenecessities.com has a plethora of cup-sized suits to check out too.
    I tried the Seafolly line and there is ample room in the top. The bottoms run a little small.

  • Laurel
    May 25, 2012

    After having two kiddos, my tummy area is not my favorite so I’ve worm tankinis. Last year I found these Body Glove monokinis and really love them. They are a little more sassy than a monokini, hide the tummy area, but from the back look like a bikini. They aren’t cut super slim over the tummy either so they don’t look too Kardashian-ish.
    http://www.zappos.com/body-glove-smoothies-sexylicious-love-bra-one-piece-charcoal?zfcTest=fw:0
    http://www.zappos.com/body-glove-smoothies-miley-one-piece-black?zlfid=111&recoName=zap_pdp_sub&zfcTest=fw:0

  • KS
    May 25, 2012

    I have that same issue and Figleaves is perfect for large bust sized, but pretty swimwear. I actually have 2 Freya bikinis from them… just went to Mexico and perfect.

  • Beth
    May 26, 2012

    I’ve had three babies, am skinny again finally and big busted so I have to ask- is there a reason we are avoiding one pieces? The tankinis I’ve seen reveal the worst of a mom’s body- the stretched out lower tummy. I just feel like mommies look classier and more flattered in a good one piece. I finally splurged on a great halter with rouching over the belly and pin up style. I feel great every time I put it on, which is a lot living in Florida and owning a pool. So- are one pieces ok? I realize we aren’t old but I feel like we can look sexy and feel great in a one piece. Thoughts?

  • Molly
    May 26, 2012

    Thanks for all the great comments, mamas!  Beth, I hear ya', mama!  We love one pieces here at ANMJ, and that post is coming up, but this mama in particular wanted a tankini and we aim to please : ) 

  • Claire
    May 27, 2012

    This post is super helpful. I ordered my usualj crew size 2 in a D cup one piece swimsuit and the cups are wayyyy too small for me, and so is the booty, guess after two kids I have some sag issues I need to confront! Looking forward to your post about one pieces also, yay ANMJ!

  • Abi
    May 28, 2012

    i bought this suit from jcew in the D-cup and the material was strechy enough to accomodate me up top (i wear an F bra cup)but I did have to size down for the rest of the suit to fit and flatter…its a beautiful one piece.
    http://www.jcrew.com/womens_feature/catalogjcrewcomexclusives/onlineshops/swim/PRDOVR~27781/99102557315/ENE~1+2+3+22+4294967294+20~15~~20+17+4294967001~15~~~~~~~/27781.jsp

  • Mary
    May 28, 2012

    I have the same problem! I’m a 32DD and have had terrible luck finding suits… until this year! I had my son 2 months ago and am going to the beach next weekend. Bare Necessities has a great selection. I got this one, and I really like it. It has good support and looks very flattering.
    http://www.barenecessities.com/freya-samba-coco-triangle-halter-swimwear-top-as3173c_product.htm?pf_id=FreyaAS3173C&search=
    They have a tankini version of it too. I’m not back to beach-body shape by any means, but at least I have a cute suit that fits for a change.

  • Regine
    May 29, 2012

    Maybe some classic Bikini would also work. love this model from ASANDRI – and this is even from an independent fashion designer – so you will definitely stand out of the crowd.
    http://www.nelou.com/article-803337/Retrokini-by-ASANDRI

  • Gretchen
    June 5, 2012

    Tried the D-cup femme ruched tank from J Crew (currently wearing a 34 F/G nursing bra from Bravado) and shouldn’t have been surprised, but it didn’t do the job and it’s going back. There’s no support in those cups for one thing and in my case in particular, not enough fabric on the side of the cups.

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