A Girl’s First Bra

A good rule: if she asks, she's ready for a bra

Be sensitive when helping girls choose a first bra.

There is no set age at which you should go out and buy your daughter her first bra.

You could find that you have a 14 year old who isn’t ready to wear a bra yet. On the other hand, you could have a youngster of 10 who already has some breast development and wants one right now! The challenge for any parent of a female child is that breast development can begin at any time between 8 and 14.

Obviously, your approach with a younger child will have to be much different than your approach with an older teenager. Younger girls can be very self conscious about the physical changes in their bodies. A youngster of 9 may not want to draw attention to herself. If your daughter is developing before you or she is ready, camisoles with a shelf bra are a great option.

If you have a girl who is a little older and a bit more ready for the transition to something with more support, a good choice can be a sports bra style. Make sure your child is comfortable, regardless of what garment you choose.

This is a juggling act. You have to keep in mind your child’s unique personality, her likes and dislikes as well as her comfort level. She is the one who has to wear the bra; she is the one that will need to be coached in this process.

Try to remember how you felt when you were first put in the dreaded training bra at 9, or how difficult it was when everyone else was already wearing a bra at 14 or 15 and you hardly filled one out. If your child is going through puberty at a rate or time much different than you, it can help to get the input of reputable advisors. The more you can put yourself in your daughter’s shoes, and talk with her openly about your experience, the more likely you can help her navigate this particular rite of passage.

If you are buying your daughter her first bra, no doubt she’ll be embarrassed about it, regardless of her age. Try taking your daughter to a professional bra fitter with a good reputation. The matter-of-fact approach of a fitter, who is neither embarrassed nor flustered, may help your daughter to relax. It can also give her the confidence boost of a well-fit garment.

Always consider the age of your daughter. If you feel you can trust the bra fitter to be alone with your daughter, your older teen may feel as if she is being treated as an adult. During the process, as much as you want to stick your head in and have a peek, don’t! Trust her and the fitter, unless she asks for help.

With a younger child, stay close by – if not directly in the change room. She may be much more comfortable with the bra fitting process if she sees that you are comfortable too.

In most cases, fitting a first bra yourself is not necessarily recommended – unless you have a good and open relationship with your daughter. Consult information on how to fit for a bra, including our article on the basics. Proceed with humor, respect and care for your daughter – and that means knowing when to consult a professional fitter too.

Young girls develop differently depending on their body’s individual characteristics. It is just as difficult for girls who start developing early as it is for those who develop later than their friends. Make sure you are not neglecting your daughter if you feel she has not yet developed enough to need a bra. If she asks, assume she’s ready.

Whether your daughter is an early bloomer or a late starter, her first bra should generally be a soft cup . Growing bodies are best suited to more unstructured undergarments. Save the joys of underwires and such for when she’s older!