Shopping for your daughter's first bra

Tween girls, who have reached the point in their development that some support is necessary, tend to fall under one of the following categories:

  • Sassy confidence - These girls are bold and secure enough to ask and shop for a training bra without any coaxing.
  • Sheer denial - They do not want to hear about this garment; they are not ready for the experience.
  • Mortified - They are intensely aware that they suddenly need more coverage than a t-shirt gives them, but are absolutely horrified at walking down the underwear aisle.

Regardless of what approach your little girl takes, it does have to be addressed. Every type of child, though, creates her own set of parenting obstacles. Little Miss Sassypants may want a bra that is far too mature for her age, the reluctant girl may balk at ever wearing a bra, and the mortified girl may be too embarrassed to even call it by name.

As you may have guessed, my daughter fell under the mortified category. She would shop with me by standing in an adjacent aisle, whispering her color preference, and then hiding the secret garment under the rest of our purchases. She called it an undershirt and preferred to do her own laundry, so that her little secret was not discovered.

Steps to buying your daughter's first bra

1. Find the proper size. Use a measuring tape to find the band width. Wrap the tape around her rib cage, under the bust line, to find this number. Now, measure her at the fullest part of the breast, the difference in these two numbers will give you the proper cup size. For example, if the difference is one-half to one inch, she needs an A cup.

2. Modesty matters. While tween fashions continue to push the limits of modesty, all you really need at this age is a bra that creates a smooth front and proper support. A soft bra top that is part of a camisole will do and so will a sports bra. Sports bras are great for those who are not interested in this new phase just yet. It is athletic enough to pass the test and easy to care for.

3. Respect their style. The daughter, who refuses to speak of this undergarment, may still have very clear desires. Does she like colorful clothes? She may like the polka dot training bra instead of the basic white. Also, telling a child to not be insecure does not make it so. Use discretion and respect her wishes to avoid creating a wedge in the mother-daughter relationship.

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