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Ep. 133 – The History of Bras

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Ep 133 History of Bras

Heather, I have a confession to make. Ooh, I’m all ears. I just bought another bra from Davin & Adley, even though I definitely don’t need more, but I can’t resist. They are so cute, so comfortable, and they just feel so good. Don’t be mad. You deserve a bra.

And actually, if you don’t buy one for yourself, you should buy one for a friend because nothing shows your support like something that literally gives you support. And you should definitely check out this company because Davin & Adley is a female-owned small business run by a breastfeeding mom who’s also an experienced intimates designer, and they offer just the most wonderful line of size, inclusive, super cute and sexy combos, nursing and pumping bralettes.

I absolutely adore them. Me too. And they actually just launched a full length pumping and nursing tank, which is fantastic for people that don’t really like to feel like they’re wearing a bra. That is totally me. I would be all about that tank. So if you are plus size or busty or any shape at all, and you enjoy supporting a female owned company with a beautiful product, head on over to Davin & Adley with a link in our show notes.

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Milk, minute. Milk minute. Milk minute. Yay. Milk. Milk. This is Maureen Ferrell and Heather ONeal, and this is the Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most UpToDate evidence for all things lactation so you can feel more confident about feeding your baby body positivity, relationships, and mental health.

Plus, we laugh a little or a lot along the way, so join us for another episode. Welcome to the Milk Minute Podcast everybody. How are we? I’m doing pretty good. Well, caffeinated, medicated, ready, . Yeah, I would be better if my son didn’t develop a chronic whistling disorder. What? Yeah. You know how little boys are just generally noisy anyway and then you Yes.

I have a noisy boy. Yeah. Then you add in a little touch of ADHD and they get like they stem a lot. Yeah. You know, with like random squealing and things. Yeah. Griffin does like a lot of like random shouts. Yeah. Lots of random shouts. Mm-hmm. . But just recently Theo’s decided to whistle and he’s really putting his heart into it.

Okay. You know, he is a whistling machine. It is all. Every day and it is becoming compulsive. So when I mention something to him about it where I’m like, Hey buddy, you know or mention anything where I’m just kinda like, Hey, can you pick up your clothes off the bathroom floor? He’ll be like, I can’t whistle.

So, oh God, you know? It’s impressive how much little kids can do that. Sometimes I’m like, I can’t do that. Well, so then it’s turned into buddy, like, you really cannot whistle all day, every day. Like, your teacher is going to murder you. Mm-hmm. , you know, you can’t just disrupt the classroom like this. And he’s like, But I’m really good at it,

And I was like, Good answer though. Well, yeah, you’re good at, He’s like, so it’s not annoying if you’re listening to something. Pleasant and good, and I’m like, well, I see somebody probably told him that at some point when he was like learning to whistle where they were like, It’s really annoying, but if you get better at it, it’s not that bad, I’m sure.

Yeah, I’m sure. And so now it’s become this whole like it. , if there’s music playing, he will whistle along to the music. So it’s like there’s no, It’s like double stimulation for me. And so then he’s like, But mom, you can’t even tell I’m whistling because I’m so good that it’s the same as the music . I’m like, It sounds like there’s someone whistling to the music, Theo.

That’s what it sounds like. And then My own fault, he talks me into getting a recorder because he has one at his dad’s house. Yeah. And so he’s like, I have one at Daddy’s. I really want one here. I’m getting so good at it, but I don’t wanna lose such a hard instrument to learn. Why do we make third graders learn them?

I do not know. But he talked me into it because it was $7 on Amazon. And of course I got a two pack so Heidi could have one too. No, trying to be supportive and also trying to break the whistling. So here’s what happened, . Now we’re just whistling and playing the recorder. Mm-hmm. . And he’s hot cross bun zing.

I’ve had to put like limits on it where I’m like, no hot cross buns until 9:00 AM or at least until I have two cups of coffee. And so the other day he just comes in hot, but that recorder and he is blaring it and I said the, I need a minute, like I can’t do any more recorder. And he looks be dead in the face.

He goes, I can’t do anything musical in this house, . And he’s stormed off to his room and I had to go and apologize. I was like, I get it buddy. I’m just having a hard time being myself. Yeah. Maybe when you reclaim your basement, eventually you can make like a music room. Yes. And then make it really cool and fun and be like, Look, I even like put some tutorials on the TV for you and you know, here’s your music.

Stand in a little instrument place. You know, they’re not gonna use that. I know they’re gonna drag that upstairs to where I am. Heidi turns the recorder over, over in her mouth, upside down, deep throats it, and blows as hard as she can. So it just squeals at top notch. Yeah. Yeah. I, I strongly disapprove.

Recorders for children. I know. Well, I mean, a friend of mine once I might go missing, a friend of mine bought Griffin an Irish whistle once, which is not a dissimilar instrument, but a little bit higher pitched. Oh man. and I, and I just looked at, I was like, I love you. But right now, Yeah. I hate you . Right?

Right. Now we need to not be doing that. You don’t have children and it shows . Well, yeah, and you know the, the real issue is when he says, Well, I have it at my dad’s house and I’m practicing and if I come here for a week, I lose my abilities. . Yeah. You just have, I don’t know, there’s gotta be some boundaries around.

Recorder whistling boundaries. Yeah, Only, only recorder Practice from 2:00 PM to five or something. I don’t know. Wow. My house is the very unfun house. Too bad. Too bad. It’s the house of Sandy was pitching this morning. He’s like, I need you to have another baby. And I said, Why? And he goes, because I need another little companion.

That’s what it’s . Maybe if you stop playing the recorder, I know there’s no way I’m bringing a baby into this noisy screechy, screeching house. But you could. So when Griffin kept asking for a sibling, you know, he knows how babies are made, but I was very clear with him that like it does not work every.

you know, so when he kept asking, and I had no interest in it, but I, I like used it as a tool. I was like, I’m trying very hard every time I’ve got an egg to make sure we can have, it’s just not working yet. I’ll keep trying, but in preparation. . You know, if we’re gonna have another baby, maybe you can practice wiping your own ass or like, you know, things like that.

So like it, you know, when we have another baby, if we have another baby, I’m not gonna have time to do that. Or like, it’s gotta be quiet in the house. Yeah. What are you gonna give up to help the team? Oh my gosh. Pitch it as a team effort. But I don’t know, maybe that’ll backfire too. It could, I don’t know.

I’ve at least got him making his own cereal in the morning at nine years old. Nice. Yeah. Baby steps. You know, it’s really ama like my son is so capable. You just have to give him the reason that makes the most sense to him to do things like he can make oatmeal and pasta and all sorts of interesting things.

He can cook. He is. , he will not if he has no reason to , but if I’m like, I do not wanna make you chicken noodle soup, I’m busy. He’ll go get the can himself and he’ll take a pot and he’ll put on the stove and he’ll put the soup in. He’s like, I wanted soup. Fair. That’s fair. I mean, Theo’s like, I’m good. He would rather starve.

He’s like, the other day he said, Can I have another piece of pizza? And my husband watched him walk right by it to go sit down. And my husband was like, Why did you not grab a piece of pizza on your way back? And he goes, Can you just give me one? And my husband goes, No, no, you can get up and get your own pizza.

And. I’m good. Then. Never mind. literally chose hunger rather than getting up and getting his own pizza. That’s where we’re at. Griffin has started before he asked me for something, he’ll move to make sure he’s further away from it than I am. Ah, , like he’ll be on like say one side of me on the couch.

He’ll like climb over to the other side and then he’s like, Mom, can I have a drink of water? You’re closer. Oh my gosh. . Meanwhile, Heidi at three years old, I found in the living room the other day holding an entire bag of grapes. You know how they opened at the top? Mm-hmm. But she’s using her craft scissors to cut into it because she doesn’t know you can just pull it apart.

And I said, What are you doing? And she goes, I’m getting some grapes. And she’s like, And she didn’t even bother asking, obviously, like, this is the difference in children guys at all. I think I; I’m seeing it in lira too, man. She can now reach like; I have a snack box all the time that just the kids can have whenever they want.

Please stop asking me. It doesn’t work. But Lira got herself a snack from it the other day, , and I caught her like with a cliff bar on the ground trying to open it with her. See, these girls are like, I got it. I see that you’re busy. The boys are like I’m gonna be here till I’m 30 and I need you to serve me.

Hey, Griffin’s sitting right next to it. Mom, can you get me a snack? Oh God. I hate that. I hate that so much. Well, anyway, today we are talking about. The history of bras? Oh yeah. We are, we do a lot of thinking about bras in our culture. I’m wearing one right now. I’m also wearing one in preparation for the activity I’m gonna do later.

Mm-hmm. , which is working out, So I’m wearing a workout bra. We have bras for different activities. True. I have a, I have a nursing brawn because it was the clean one on the top of my. Right. And I also still wear nursing bras, even though I haven’t nursed in two years, . So, you know, for all of you out there who just like never get rid of your very expensive nursing brass, just keep wearing ’em.

Everyone else does. Yeah. But yeah, so they’re a hot topic of conversation with lactators everywhere. Mm-hmm. . There are devices that are infamous for being uncomfortable and lacking some purpose. In most cases, I would say. Yeah. However, some do enjoy bras for decor and cosmetic purposes. Structural support.

Athletics has been the oldest reason for bras, which we’ll get into, but. I just want, I wanted to know like, when did our breasts become such an issue? , You know, I would also like to know the answer to that question. This was the question. I’m like, why is this such a thing that we have to worry about all the time?

Well, and it’s, it’s not everywhere. Not people don’t wear bras everywhere. Yeah, exactly. And, you know most of you out there can’t even get the thing unclipped fast enough for your hungry baby. I tell you what, nothing wakes up a baby faster than that. Let me just demonstrate just a little, Oh, , or it’s, it’s putting it back when you’re like, Yes.

And your baby’s listening right now to that and is like, looking at you. Good dog. Sorry. So sorry I woke up all your babies. Yep. It’s like Papa love’s dog. They’re like, I hurt the clip. It’s happening . But yeah, so I wanna know, like when you’re wearing a corset, how did you whip it out? It’s much more than a little clip.

So like, what was the situation there? So let’s look back and see what happened. And how we got here. But first, let’s thank a patron. Oh yeah. I’d love to thank a patron. Let’s thank Sarita F from West Virginia, a local lady. We’re so thankful that you joined our Patreon. Yep. Thank you. Thank you very much.

And we’re gonna do a quick question here. Let’s see. We pulled this one from TikTok. This is Sublime Chick 85, who says, Can your flange sizes change? Your whole body is just one elastic, ever changing thing. And you know, those nis are no exception. They change, I would say the OLA changes a lot. It does, but the actual nipple doesn’t change so drastically most of the time.

Yeah. I, I think for most people, you know, measuring. Like within the first week postpartum or something, the first couple weeks, you know, if we’re ideally not pumping right away, if you do pump right away, measuring right before birth, that kind of gives you pretty accurate sizing. And then I usually tell people, you know, remeasure if something isn’t feeling right or if your output’s weird.

Not everybody changes sizes, but some people will call me and they’re like, It, it’s, is it possible? My nineteens went to a 16 and I’m like, It’s possible. Maybe you measured wrong the first time, or maybe your nipples just changed size because they’re, you know, we’re like constantly changing all the time and responding to what’s happening in our environment.

Yeah. My standard is usually when I do a prenatal with someone, I will measure them and I will recommend two sizes, and then we kind of see which one feels better. Yeah. You know, because it can be the right size technically, but it doesn’t feel as good. As maybe the next size up and like, you know, it’s fine.

We don’t have to put your nipples in a box, bill’s not put them in a box. Don’t limit yourself and don’t put your nipples in a box. I hope that helps. Yes, I hope so too. And I just wanna remind you all out there, if you want personalized advice, maybe help measuring for your flange sizes. Both of us do that.

We offer private consultations in person and virtual. Yep. Yep. Let’s thank a sponsor and then get into the long sorted history of our over the shoulder boulder holders,

All right. It’s Maureen here, and I want to tell you that I have finally set up a link so you can instantly book virtual lactation consults with me. Thank the Lord. I know Heather, it took me a long time to take the leap from in-person visits to virtual, but I did it. You’re gonna love it. I love doing virtual consults.

They are the best. It serves more people. I’m so glad you took the plunge. Thank you. And if you guys out there wanna book some time with me, you can go to highland birth and then click on my lactation services tab. Is that H I G H L A N D? Yes. Okay, . I will see you on Zoom everybody.

Welcome back. I’m so excited to hear from you about this. Heather. Maureen, I’m gonna pull you and let’s go way back to the 14th century BC . Yes to the ancient Minoan civilization. I love it. Let’s go way, way back. So far back. So like 27 BC ish to like 4 76 A. That’s quite a bit of time. Sure. You know, we’re getting most of this information from art and some written Word event sculptures.

Yeah, exactly. Ss to try to get a vibe for like what was hot, you know? Cuz sex has always been interesting across cultures and time fashion too. This is like an interesting intersection with the brassiere. Yeah, exactly. So you know, we’re mostly talking about Romans here because. That’s the art that we have the most of, I would say from that time.

Mm-hmm. and you know, some of the Greek as well. And actually they weren’t super hip to seeing breast for some reason according to their art. Yeah. They just like didn’t care about it. Like there, it wasn’t as much like naked as it was like, All naked except for a thin strip of fabric across just the nipples.

So women would wear like a thin strip for athletics a lot. I mean, honestly though, like I see the practicality because I do not want my nipples touching things I’m walking by, right? , they just point out in random directions You. Yeah. It’s like just enough coverage. Yeah. And you know, I was thinking when I saw that about the first time I went to a topless beach when I was 18 in the Dominican Republic, and you know, me and my friend Fran, we got all, you know, ready for it.

We were like, We’re gonna do it. We’re pumping each other up. And then, You know, we’re laying their top list with our little bottoms on, and within 15 minutes this old man who’s super tan with very white teeth comes leaves. His wife in the chair, comes over to talk to us, and I’m like, No, , no. What’s happening?

And I. Remember thinking if I could just cover just my nipples, you know, there’s something about the nipples for me. It’s like I don’t care about showing the breast, but the nipples feel like Howard, don’t look at my nipples. , I feel like more than anything and I just, you know, have to put it out there. I’m very comfortable being naked in front of same many lots of people.

I actually, I went to Oberlin College and I lived in a co-op where we had these. Roman showers, as you would call them, and we had signs you could say, Nope, don’t come in. But there were like six shower heads so you could shower with your friends, which I liked. It was fun. It was social hour in the shower, , social hour in the shower.

But it’s just like in daily life your nipples are very sensitive. Yeah. It’s just like, I just don’t want them being sunburned or like the chase. Right. The sun. Think about the sun. What if? What if like I am often like catch my hip on the corner of things. Like what if that was my nipple? This is the same reason I wear underwear with jeans.

Yeah. You know, like you just don’t want anything rubbing on jeans. Mm-hmm. , you know, it’s just some people do it. They fascinate me, I can’t do it. But anyway, that’s what was happening back then. It made some sense to me, I guess. And we also have some literary references to more supportive bras like home.

writing the Id Sure. Actually writes about Aphrodite’s embroidered girdle. Oh. Being loosed from her breasts. Right. So that’s hot. Sure. You know, also, like girdles were supportive af you know. Yeah, yeah. Well, this one’s embroidered. Like, what does that mean? Is it like crocheted? I mean, there’s like a picture.

I, I wonder if there, there’s not like little like flowers, Embroider, I don’t know. . Yeah. You know, that’s like a chapter four vibe of a romance novel, , you know, we’re not quite at the heavy hitters yet, but it’s something’s getting loose from your breasts and you’re like, Homer. Oh my god. . Yeah. So other than a few references to goddesses or like Helen figures wearing these decorative thingies, we don’t really have evidence that it was commonplace.

Sure. So it wasn’t, not. Mass produced. Yeah, exactly. So that was like way back then. And now we’re gonna just hop right forward into like 13, 15 to 1480. Sure. Let’s move on forward. So we have some European writings that mention breast bags or shirts with bags. Sounds okay. And we’ve been used to contain their breasts.

I imagine there was like a lot of physical labor going on back then. Mm-hmm. and. I’m sure women were just kind of like tired of having to have them bang around in a city environment. Like we’re, we’re living in some towns now at this point. Yeah. Well, and if we’re thinking like the, most of the population is doing work, so what would you do, especially if you had larger breasts to contain them, You’d probably just like scoop ’em up a little bit.

You know what, Yeah. And you know, still, As women, we’re trying to like, not necessarily highlight them, but if I’m putting my boobs in a bag, like a breast bag, there’s probably a reason for it. Yeah. But a lot of like the upper crust men were calling them indecent. Of course they were. Yes. And quotes like all the young men that look at her can see her beautiful breasts.

So, I’m sorry. Should they have been like tying them to their waist, you know, just like pulling them down ? Yeah, just tuck it in the belt. But yeah, the fashion in that century required breast to be lifted and separated to achieve the look. Oh yeah. I’ve seen a lot of Paintings where like these days were kind of into like the cleavage look together.

Mm-hmm. , not quite the mono boob, but like close mm-hmm. . But yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of interesting like paintings and sculptures where they’re just kind of like they’re really spaced. Yeah. And that was called the apple breast look. I see that. Yeah. So that’s kind of just for everybody out there who has widely spaced breasts.

Were and are still desirable, but they still didn’t have their own area. Like it was still like one bag but just lifted. Sure. Whatever. I mean the under boob sweat, it’s not like that’s a new thing. Oh, don’t worry. , we’re getting into that that applies to Lact everywhere. Trust me. So now like 1500. 1800, we have most wealthy women in the Western world, which is hard to say.

10 times fast that are in corsets. Yes. So these are supposed to be helpful. Healthcare providers were recommending them for abdominal support and they basically were supposed to transfer the weight of the breast to the rib cage. Yeah. I, you know, I’ve did some weird you know, rabbit hole diving about corsets before and learning that like, you know, the most commonly used corsets were more supportive.

They were not like too restricting mm-hmm. , and they were sort of just like, A structured shirt essentially, and not what we think of when we think, of course, it’s, we’re like the itty bitty six inch waist and height. You know, somebody’s foot in your back like pulling the strings. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. The tight lacing.

Yeah. So you’re, you’re absolutely right. And this was the mono boob situation. Sure. So we are supposed to highlight our tiny torso and then we have a chronical vibe of a shape. Mm-hmm. up towards the breast, which are supposed to. I don’t know what highlight your chastity is what they said interesting. In a couple things that I found.

Well, and I know the styles have varied where like some corsets didn’t include the breasts at all. They basically stopped Yes. Like an where an underwire does and others come halfway up and others come more the way up . Yes, exactly. And that probably had a lot to do with like money. Yeah. And how much fabric you actually that Yeah.

And function. Right. And right, exactly. And. , we know now, by the way, that restricting your abdomen is not great for pelvic floor health. Wow. You know, limiting your, your muscle’s ability to like function does not help your other muscles that are integrated with it. So I’m sure all these people that use long term corsets had like bladders between their knees.

Oh God. You know, And also like pregnancy courses were a thing. Yeah. Good God. I actually did not see anything on that. Oh, okay. So I , I’ve looked these up before, cuz I saw them in some TV show and I was like, Wait, wait, wait, wait. . And like, the, the goal was kind of to like push the bump lower down because like you could hide it under a dress then.

Oh. But like, if it was really high up, it would like interfere. But who’s, They’re pretty crazy. They’re like pretty wide at the bottom. , you know, and you would kind of like lace, like push down. Oh God. It was, Anyway. Poor fetuses. Yeah. That was so well, they all turned out fine. Well, listen, speaking from someone who had a shotgun wedding with a dress that had whalebone in the side, I can tell you that somebody didn’t get to eat dinner that night because I went from like okay.

To not Okay. In about a week between like the last fitting and the wedding. And I was like 14 weeks pregnant when we finally got married. Yeah. What an absolute nightmare. So like, I can’t even imagine what those women were going through. I could not hide it. In fact, some girl switched me dresses in the bathroom, like she didn’t wear mine.

She was staying at the hotel, gave me the dress off her back to put on at my own wedding because I was like, I’m not going to survive . And then my, my dress got laid out in lobby and then my uncle. Went and tried to put it on . Fun. That sounds like a fun time. We call him Aunt B anyway. It was a good time.

So did it fit him? Not quite. Not quite. That’s not too bad. But he would’ve was stunning. It probably it was close. So . So these. Of course it’s that we’re talking about here that mostly everybody wore either long line or short line, were mostly quilted, and it was only later that people started sticking pieces of wood and then later on boning into the sides, which then restricted their physical labor.

Yeah, so this is where we see a real divide in like upper crust and physical labor people. You know, I can see the quilted ones. Acting a lot more like a waste support band, like when you’re lifting really heavy things. Yep. You know, I, I could definitely see that happening, but the mm-hmm. The wood and the metal and the bone, no.

Yep. That seems like Exactly. And so you can actually breastfeed in a corset. Mm. And I got this information from a girl who does period pieces Oh. As an actress. And she was breastfeeding all of her kids for like five years that she was doing a bunch of period piece movies. Cool. And so she had a whole blog about tips on breastfeeding your baby and of corset.

I’ll link in the show notes. She’s, she’s widely applicable. Knowledge . Yeah. I’m like, well, this is kind of firsthand. And she’s wearing. Authentic corsets. That’s really cool. Well, and I imagine otherwise the clothing probably accommodates nursing cuz it was just all like buttoned up and laced and like, you know, I know like, at least in that time period, like a lot of the undershirts just had a big drawstring around the top and like everything had buttons.

You know? So many buttons. So many buttons. Well, so we had a, we had a couple options here. Yeah. So, , if you were probably more well off, you could get the corset that had boob doors, that could be unlatched. I put a picture there on the left. Little beep. Open up. Yeah, so like right above the waist, there’s like basically a bra shaped door that is buttoned up with two buttons toward the midline, and you open it like a door, like a barn door peek boots.

Super cute. Then we have other corsets that are more like, plates where they end at the nipple line, which I imagine is incredibly uncomfortable. So you could just like pop, pop a nip out there. Right? So you actually lift your breast up and over the corset it sounds. And then we even have evidence of people that would lift their breast up and over to breastfeed and then rebutton the top neck button for modesty

See that picture right there? Yes, I do. It looks uncomfortable. It looks, Look at her face. Yeah. She’s not happy. Well, she’s also sitting. Like a tin type photograph that looks Victorian, right? She’s probably sitting there for six hours. So she’s probably sitting there for like three whole minutes holding her baby rigidly, being like, Do not move.

Or, This photo that I paid so much money for is not gonna come out. And I also like, it’s interesting to me that she did take a breastfeeding photo in a tin type. You know, there was a time that was popular to take breastfeeding photos and portrait. Why? Yeah. I want, I need to know more. We’ll do a breastfeeding portrait history.

Yeah, the breathy a history . Let’s do it. Put it on the list. So anyway, we’re moving on now. And from this point on, the obsession with bras pretty much sticks with Europe and North America from this point on. Everyone else in the world, Asia, Africa, Latin America, were like, Nah. Until like hundreds of years later.

Yeah. I mean, I, I guess I would imagine in other places having like boob holders for like functional stuff existed. Yeah. Like if you’re like running or something. Or maybe they were just used to the movement. I don’t know. Yeah. And also, you know, we didn’t have. We were in industrialized, so we did a Europe, had a lot of industrial stuff happening where you had access to like metal, Right?

You know, where you could do things like structured things. The Irish, no, that’s way before . The iron, the, the after. What is it? The early modern period or whatever? Yeah. So pretty much until about 1800, everyone was in a corset and around 1800 women just were like not having it anymore. Good. And they started putting together societies like the Rational Dress Society.

I would be a member a hundred percent you would. And the National Dress Reform Association that. Too center for me. Yep. It does actually. And then of course we had healthcare providers that were finally pushing back on the corsets. Were they? Oh, that’s good. Yeah. They were like, Oh, we’re finding some significant concerns about corsets.

They like dissect cadavers. And they were like, I wonder why their liver has this weird shape. Maybe that, but also maybe like, why is everyone’s bladder between their knees? Maybe that’s a problem. So all of those groups and healthcare provider. Finally advocating for more reasonable dress clothes for women.

Good. Parisian women got real aggressive about it. Mm-hmm. and they actually burned their corsets in Paris. Got in 1790. Just, we love, love a Paris woman. I know. It’s just, but unfortunately, it did take until the early 19 hundreds to get rid of the corset for good. Mm-hmm. , and we’ll get into that in a minute.

So a lot of what I had heard about bras is that they originated in France as like a sexual thing. Is that true? Do you know? So we didn’t really see that so much. I will say that what I did find interesting was there’s a lot more of. Females that had patents on bras, and a lot of them were more for function.

Mm-hmm. , as opposed to like the history of breast pumps were, which were really like male driven in the patents. So although the first recorded patent for a bra was a man, from that point on, the ones that were really popular and commercially available were patented by women. Interesting. And so we don’t really see the bras become incredibly horrific until later on

You know, when men get involved. So, 1859, our first bro, our first bra bro, Henry Lecher, he gets a patent for a bra like device that gave a symmetrical rotund to the wearer’s breast. Oh, great. Dude also came up with the perspiration shield slash breast pad to help us with our sweaty boobies. I mean, I’m pretty on board with that

Okay. But what, what, Apparently it was incredibly complicated and uncomfortable. Oh, great. He was also trying to solve for pit. at the same time. Interesting. And I guess because your clothes, like your bras and your clothes, you probably don’t have a lot of it. They washed a lot and so he’s, they still don’t get washed a lot.

Your bras . So, but listen to some of the things that were involved in this dude’s bra. Okay. The, some that are just hilarious to me. Okay. Okay. So we had the shields, which were meant to project the armpits from, Were they like cotton pads or were they. Something else? No, they were made of India rubber cloth.

Oh, that sounds notable. Not like so sweaty . But listen to this, the cloth was constructed in a way that allowed the cups to inflate as needed to help with the symmetry and beauty of breast. You have a picture? I need to see a picture. Is that it down there? Yes. That’s it. So what you’re supposed to do to inflate it is so it has tubes that go to it and they taper downward right under the breast pads.

And to inflate them, you had to blow them up with your mouth. This is wild . They’re like, like you’ve got like little bladders on your boobies. You can like . But then he was the first one to use an elastic band to attach the cups together, which is like the bridge. Between the cups. Sure. So, yay. And then it had a belt that sat around your waistline.

So fun. It’s like, you know, anchor that hints of corset kind of stuff. Well, and I imagine like, I don’t know. I can just imagine a guy looking at this and being like, How will it stay in place? , We should belt it. Could we solder it to her body? ? Okay, so I’m not gonna read all of that, but those were the highlights of how freaking weird that was.

It’s just, it’s so. It looks like a device that you would wear to like it. It reminds me a little bit of like fake boobs, like that you, you know, like drag queens might wear something that’s just like this whole rubber chest sheet. Yeah. You know, it’s like the ultimate chicken cutlet God, which. I mean, I know those aren’t that comfortable, but the armpit things.

Oh man. Yeah. Save, save it. I don’t need it. Uhuh. We don’t need little, They’re like little armpit rubber aprons, . I don’t, I don’t know what you just with your arms, like a foot out from your body at all times. I would, because I would not be able to stay, like I can barely stand the sensation of certain fabrics under my arms.

Yeah. You know, just like normal cottons and stuff. , you know, there were some defiant teenagers. Cut that shit out of their armpits, out of their dresses completely, where they were just like, I hope so. Free arm pitting. Good God.

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Go ahead and check out the link to Arrow Flow in our show notes and order your pump through them.

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So now we’re moving to 1876 where we have dress maker Olivia Flint. Mm, who was granted four patents covering the true corset or the flint waist. And this bra was designed for large chested women. Thank you. Finally, she was the first person to ever think about big busted people. That’s very kind of her very kind.

And she also introduced the idea of rubber thread, which we now know as elastic. Oh hell yeah. Girl. Like smarty. That’s. Smarty smarty. So then 1893, this is probably where you’re thinking like the French sexual stuff. This was Marie Tuke who developed the first under wire bra. Ah, come on Marie. Did you have to?

I know. So these bras were the actual tits, like they didn’t even cover your tits. They were basically just resting boobs on metal plates supported by shoulder straps. You can still get bras that are kind of like this, where they just have rigid padding. As like one inch under the boob, and then there’s like a lace that pulls your whole boob in.

It’s really interesting. Mm-hmm. , I imagine they’re very uncomfortable, but better for breastfeeding, so who knows what she was thinking, but maybe sexual, maybe also I just Metal . Yeah. Yeah, it was metal. But this was the first time ever that each breast got their own. Ooh. And the nipples just jutted straight out.

So they were high. Did, Sure did. So easier for breastfeeding though. Yeah. Okay. Sure. Okay, So now 1911 is the first time the word bra is coined by American Vogue. Oh. So prior to that, I don’t even know what they called it. 1914, the first modern bra is patented. Okay. The first time ever that women realized that boobs weren’t supposed to be smooshed together and that they were meant to be naturally separated.

Oh, no boob. Yeah. So this was Mary Phelps Jacob, who was a socialite, who actually was like, I’m over this, and she’s the first one. Who employed two silk tanker chips. Okay. And a pink ribbon to do the trick where that sounds so much more comfortable. Yes. That’s the whole point. She was like, women need everything they’ve ever imagined about a bra.

They needed to be lightweight, easygoing, comfortable, and it needs to naturally part the breasts. So they’re not like constantly being s smushed together or pulled apart. They just need to hang where they’re gonna hang. So that was nice. and this was a bra that actually won worldwide usage and acceptance by women.

So this is where we’re starting to influence the rest of the world. Okay. And we’re starting to talk more about it. This is also moving into like flapper eras. Mm. And also World War I. We have metal shortages. Oh yeah. So, so yeah. So actually don’t stick those in your clothes anymore. Right? So the government was like, Hey women can we ditch the corsets for the war efforts?

And women were like, Can we, Did they like recollect them to recycle the metal? They did . And so you’re just, Big piles. Of course, it’s on the side of the road. , I probably, they pulled it all out, melted it down, turned it into bullets and everything else, and actually the US saved 28,000 tons of metal. Whoa.

Which they used to build two battleships. Of course, it’s. , those ships were the tits course it one and course it two. tits up, battleships tits up. So now the modern bra is spreading across Asia, South America, and Africa. But during the 1920s we have the Simington bra. Mm-hmm. , which was for the flappers where we were supposed to be thin, like wave thin, no boobs we’re supposed to be very boy like cutter hair.

Yeah. you would’ve wanted to, but it might not have been for you. It just would never have happened for me. Yeah. So this one is more like a bando that is meant to flatten. I see. And it just, it’s like a sports bra kind of. Yeah. But of course, We have to have polarizing things happening at the same time.

So all the flappers running around in their bandos. Then you’ve got the women over here who are like, Ugh, those dirty little boy shaped women. They’re ruining it for everyone. We need to finally be in our true form, the maiden form. Ugh. And they developed the maiden form bra, which still, by the way, did not have cup sizes until 1949.

Were they all custom made? Yes. They’re all custom made. That does sound kind of nice though, just to have the standard to be custom. You go in and they’re like, Let me just make you something that fits you well there. I think a lot of lingerie or whatever you call ’em, stores, they did have custom made ones, but they also were starting to move towards large scale commercial distribution in the 1930s.

Sure. So this is where things get like weird because you have these commercially available bras and department stores and things mm-hmm. , but no cub sizes. So it’s very weird. They ah, They did eventually put cup sizes in because I’m sure they realized like, Hey, women have no clue how to buy these things.

Small, medium, and large is they come in different sizes despite the fact that we want them all to look the same. Exactly. So they developed the letter cup scale based on how much the breasts sag. Stop. Yeah. So dear. And it only went up to a. So I would probably size out of that pretty quick. . Yeah. So, but I was cracking up thinking about like, oh man, before they hide cup sizes, what did the douche bags in high school even joke about?

Yeah, , you know, they didn’t have anything to like, Well, women Did you go to high school before then? ? Yeah, those women were at home anyway. So then again, you know, we’re moving into the next World War under wire bras could not hit the market until after that. Sure. Because we needed the metal. Sounds fine.

Right. Thank you. And then we actually developed nylon and lace text fabric. Mm-hmm. , which is like the Spanx fabric. Spanx around this time, which was very nice. Mm-hmm. . And in 1943, we have our first patented nursing bra. Oh, that’s early. Mm-hmm. . I kind of figured that would’ve been later on the scene. Well, you know, , what happened after the war?

Boom, boom, boom, boom. Babies. We have all these people who are still breastfeeding actually. Yeah. So the formula hasn’t really become Right, right. At this point, it wasn’t like available for everyone. It’s on the rise. It was on the rise, but not quite yet. And so most people who were poor. Having eight and 10, 12 children are still breastfeeding.

So we have to have a bra because now it’s socially acceptable to have a bra, but we have to have access to do it. And you can check out our History of Formula episode in the show notes if you’re interested in how that. Happened. Oh. And so we have the, the first nursing bra, but all of the other bra manufacturers didn’t want go back to the drawing board and make their own, so they just started adding clips to all of their current bras.

I mean, that’s reasonable, to be honest. Like I, I, I know it’s hard. It’s like maybe I can’t quite figure out this is still happening, but it used to be you could just like bring any broader Nordstrom and they would add the nursing clip for you. But now I think like only some of them participate in it and whatever, but.

That would be nice. What if, I think most people are, I don’t know, I’m gonna say most people are gonna end up ditching the bras and going back to the linen fabric strip. Yeah. , I’m, I’m, I’m on it. So 1947 Cleavage makes a comeback as well as breast padding to push the breasts into a cleavage shape. So the first pushup bra.

Sure. Fun fact, the same dude who invented that invented the thong in the eighties. Of course he did. So he did a lot of thinking about how to smoosh parts of women together as well as separate. Right. Great. That’s, that’s a weird claim to fame. I just feel like, What kind of person was he? I don’t know.

Hm. How else can I manipulate the woman’s body? Very weird. Let’s find out. Very, Yeah, so 1950 we have the bullet bra, which I have never understood. I think these are so funny. You know what I’m talking about. I do the pointy full cone shape pointy situation, which like escalated into like the eighties almost

Oh yeah. I never liked or understood these, honestly. I feel like I, while I would not wear them every day, I feel like I could throw one on some days and just be like, Titties lead the way. Like yeah, we’re gonna like, I’m a fem, know where it coming . Oh my gosh. And so this is where they’re also learning to like cut on the bias so you can have more stretch in your fabric and fill it out because you can’t.

Have a cone shape with a round breast. It’s like square peg, row hole, , you know, unless you already have cone. I’ve met very few people who have like even close to a naturally cone shaped. Exactly. So that is interesting. Interesting. But then after that we have Victoria’s Secret. That starts to come on the scene.

She’s an old man who lives in Ohio. Yeah, we . We kind of know how that shit turned out, but you know. Yeah. In case you didn’t know, Victoria’s Secret has been slowly declining due to competition from other brands. That are more size inclusive. But bro, in the nineties that stuff had us gripped so hard. Oh yeah.

We’re gonna, we’re gonna circle back, but just fyi, Victoria’s Secret just closed 250 of their stores in 2020 and nearly 25% reduction of all retail locations following the pandemic suck. Yeah, cuz they suck. So, 1991, we now have variable cup sizes. It was not that long ago and that I was, I was two. Yeah, exactly.

And a one-handed unlatching method. Mm. Which was obviously invented by a woman. Yes. Named Mary Sanchez . Thank you, Mary. Thank you. Mary . TW 2009. We have memory foam bras and gel bras. Do you remember those? Yeah. Do you remember that ? Yeah. Yeah. Those are basically as comfortable as my hundred dollars unusable memory foam pillow, , if you can recall.

I remember having like double a boobs and getting a gel bra and trying to lift my barely anything there Boob. On top of the gel and it would end up just slipping below the gel. And then I had empty cup between the bra and my chest, and then it was just smashed in the gel. Yeah, this was definitely around the time that I was like the most minimalist

So I don’t think I was actually buying any, anything new in 2009. Oh, I was, . I absolutely was. And it was, I argue it was before 2009, I’m sure. I do remember when I graduated high school in like oh seven was kind of like, it felt like to me as peak pushup season. Yeah. Where it was just like, and of course I was shopping at Vic Victoria Secret, like everybody else, and you know, you’d put these bras on and Yeah.

You’re, you’re like, you’d have like, just as. Volume as your boob, just in like all around it. Pushing them up so you couldn’t breathe. Yeah. And actually now that I’m thinking about it, prior to 2009, I was pro, it was probably 2004, maybe even before that that I had a water bra. What? Yeah. And it had a little stack of water that would fit.

Did not have one of those. You didn’t Well, you had big boobs. Yeah, I had nothing. So you would like slip it into the little CVOs Right in the bottom. And it was removable. What? Yeah, so I think the, like I remember there. Maybe like one year where I was like, I need a pushup bra. And I was like 15 or something and had like, I had like C cups, you know,

Oh wow. It’s like the, that was like small for me, . And then I just got so much bigger that I was like, Can I please have a bra that doesn’t push them up? There’s too much of that. I don’t want them up. I want to breathe. Well, when you have. Breasts and you push them up. Yeah. It just like encroaches on your lower neck and pushes all your chest tissue and it just makes them look bigger.

Oh, it’s so uncomfortable. I don’t know. Well, also in 2009 we have Elena Boar who invented the emergency bra. What? Where the ebra that can be quickly converted into a gas mask. What? And this idea came to her after the Cherno disaster. Whoa. And she actually won the Nobel Public Health Prize for it. Whoa.

Though it even has a radiation sensor built into it in the bridge of the bra that connect house . I can’t with this. That is cool. Crazy. What? Yeah, so that’s nice. And you can actually purchase one today for about $60 online, but they only have one color and the color is red. That’s fine. I need one of those.

Yeah, my emergency bra. I find it so funny that they only have them. It’s like you’re ready for anything. Go for it. Okay. Are you ready for the future? Yes. The bras of the future. Okay. So set to hit the market at the end of 2023. Mm-hmm. is Sybil Chen’s new invention, which is a wearable bra with a built-in breastfeeding pump feature, which also stores the milk, which allows women to no longer inconveniently go out of their way to pump.

And she’s currently winning all kinds of awards and tech and innovation. How are there ice packs in there? I have so many questions. , I do not know, Have you? Okay, so have you seen those, like, so we all know about like the chicken cutlets, but have you seen the weird bras that are just the pads on the sides and then this like V shaped.

Thing that holds ’em together. Under your boobs? No. Oh my. Okay. So these are supposedly like the new bra that’s really comfortable. I don’t, what do I even call them? I gotta Google them for you. V-Shape side boob holders. . Let’s see. They’re like a strapless. Yeah. Misses, kisses, Strapless. Look at that. What, So it’s like, it’s like, I don’t know, something rigid metal.

Maybe that’s like a rigid wire. And then you put different size pads on the side depending on your cup size. And it’s supposed to like, I don’t know, it doesn’t look comfortable because I, all I can think about when I look at those is, what is that wire doing to my tummy when I sit down? Right? I imagine I would sit down and that shit would pop out of there

Exactly. And then my boobs would just be dangling and they’re $127. Yeah. They’re not the only company that makes them, but that’s, that’s being touted as like one of the most innovative new bra designs cuz basically every bra has looked essentially the same for a hundred years. Yeah. Listen, they go up to a 50 J.

Yeah. So I like, part of me kind of wants to. But I’m just like, Are they made for fat girls? Because like, what is that doing in my stomach? I just feel like at the end of the day, I would take it off and I would have this V-shaped divot, like right above my belly button. Oh yeah. Or like sometimes when I’m bending over and I’d like cough or something and it feels like part of my muscle.

Sucked under my rib. Is that what it’s gonna feel like? I feel like if you did that it would just like leverage it to the whole thing shot across the broom. Also, the pads are bio gel, which is water resistant and sweat proof. No, that does not sound nice. Andre. I want them to absorb the sweat. Thank you very much.

Oh my goodness. This is so good. I’m gonna contact them and see if they want to send us one. I will try it out cuz also like it kind of just leaves your NIS out. , I imagine you could breastfeed just fine. It almost looks like two paddles that you would use to resuscitate somebody like the electric paddles.

It’s just on the side of your boobs with a wire connecting at the bottom. Look wild. Yeah. They have like special fittings and stuff too, because nobody would to have to fit them. Yeah, you’d have to. I just like, I just can’t imagine what that bottom thing is doing. Yeah, but look, this lady’s got like the same size boobs as me.

Mm. , She seems happy in the picture. She does. But anyway, I obviously have questions about the bra that is also a pump that also so many questions. But they’re expected to launch at the end of next year, so we’ll see. Yeah, like, like do you have to take the whole bra off to take the milk out or is there like a tube and you’re just like, boop, and then, and then you put it over a bottle and it just like empties out.

Don’t know . These are answers I don’t have. But I guess like one of the biggest stories that like made her think of this was her friend is a pilot. Mm-hmm. , and I might be butchering this story, but his, the pi, the airline was giving this. Breastfeeding parent a rough time about pumping. Mm-hmm. , like, how are you gonna be a pilot?

And even if you’re pumping with a wearable bra, you still have to go take care of the milk and, and, or it spills, you know? So a lot of the time those things leak. Mm-hmm. , I don’t, I mean, not all of them leak, but a lot of them do. It’s a common problem. Yeah. It’s a very common problem. So she’s trying to solve for, you know, the leaking issue and the long term.

I appreciate the innovation and I am fascinated. Yeah. Let’s see. Tbd. I’m slightly concerned. . Well, I, I think the main takeaway here is that I’m pretty happy that so many women, yes, were involved in bras and that they’re still involved in it, still thinking about how to make it better. They are thinking about breastfeeding as it relates to brass.

Nice. They’re thinking about public safety as it relates to bras, so I. I’m not mad at it. I kind of thought I was gonna be a little mad about it. Like, Oh, it’s gonna be so like sexual. How can we make women this and this and this? You know? I mean, there’s definitely an element of that, of like high fashion and bras and stuff that we didn’t go so deep into today.

I think though I am happy to see that people are starting to rethink it and are starting to think about like comfort and function and all of that. Mm-hmm. . Let’s take a break to thank our sponsor. Sure. And then we’re gonna come back and give an award. Let’s do to one of our patrons. Let’s sounds.

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All right, welcome back. It’s time for our award in the Alcove, and I’m so excited today to give our award to Sarah Faber, who’s a patron from Rochester, New York. Sarah, thank you so much for your support and we can’t wait to read your word. Yes. So Sarah says, Well, I guess a win of mine then would be getting to six months without wanting to pull out my hair.

Yeah, same girl. . My second time around has been so much easier, even with a bout of mastitis than my first. Honestly, I wish I had known about this podcast back then because I needed it then. It’s bittersweet because I almost don’t want this journey to end because it’s hopefully my last kid, but I’m also so proud to reach six months.

Sarah, good job. And I think that’s gonna give a lot of people who are about to be second time parents, a lot of hope that it’s gonna be easier this time. Mm-hmm. . So we’re gonna give you the Easy Operator award. Absolutely. It’s so wonderful when you can make these things easier. That’s the whole point of this whole podcast, is how we can make this easier for you guys.

Yeah. Thank you for sharing that with us, Sarah. And thank you guys all for listening to another episode of the Milk Minute podcast. The way we change this big system that is not set up for lactating parents is by educating ourselves, our friends, our loved ones, and the fashion industry and what we actually need.

Absolutely. And if you liked this episode or any other episode, please consider helping us out by telling a friend about this podcast, sharing it on social media, or considering joining our Patreon. Whoop whoop. All right, well, we’ll see you next week everybody. Bye.


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