Lifecycle of a Nursing Bra

How long do your nursing clothes last you? And what do you do with them once they’ve finally clacked their last click, flopped open never to be re-snapped?

With my regular clothes, I try to donate the garments in good condition once I’m done with them. Clothes in bad condition get used as rags until they ultimately go in my trash, and I feel badly about it. Why? I learned that 85% of our textiles wind up in landfills and I try my best to limit what I send there.

I know people who compost their socks…these are really hardcore composters who actually tend to their bins and pay attention to layers and turning the pile. I’m not ready to compost my cotton bras. I found a website suggesting rather unusual re-uses for bras…like Christmas gift sacks or even knee pads.

But nursing stuff? Man, I wear my nursing bras hard. I wear my beloved full-bust nursing tanks to “sleep” all night and my nursing bras all day, every day, opening and closing them a lot for my baby.¬†After two years nursing my older son, there was barely anything left of my bras by the time he weaned. The beige paint coating had worn off the bra hooks, the backing was basically see-through and the cups were saggy bits of once-satiny fabric begging to be put out of their misery. I tossed them right in the trash.

So that’s done and over with, but now I’m 14 months into this latest collection of nursing garb, and some of my favorite nursing tanks and bras are beginning to show signs of wear, which means they aren’t supporting my huge boobs adequately and I’ve stopped wearing them. It’s time to figure out where to put them.

I like the idea of Bra Recycling, an organization that passes on bras in good condition to women in need. My bras, however, are not in good condition. Not even good enough for a dust mask (another crazy-sounding repurpose that website suggested). I learned from Earth911 that I can still recycle textiles (and anything else from lice shampoo to flip flops to trophies). They have a searchable database for folks to find drop-off centers close by.

Textile recyclers grind up the fabric and reuse it for industrial rags, car mats, cotton-fiber fancy paper…lots of stuff. So, even if my shabby nursing bra is beyond donation, it might still enjoy a lovely second life insulating someone’s home. Whew! There’s one problem solved.

What did you do with your nursing bras once you were done using them? Leave us a comment to share your experience.

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