Ali Cudby is one of the amazing women that I’ve met while working on this blog.  An entrepreneur and author (she’s actually writing a book on the subject of bra fitting), I knew she would have important insights to contribute to my Mother’s Week Series.  Read on to see how right I was!

A first bra-shopping trip is a rite of passage that can define how a girl feels about her body. These days, most girls start shopping for bras long before they’re ready to be sexually active, which creates the potential for a fundamentally mixed message that comes along with the confusion of a developing body.

How we feel about our breasts is integral to how we feel about ourselves as women, and that’s why bra shopping is such a loaded topic. In order to make the shopping a pleasant experience, a Mom – or whoever is taking a girl shopping – first needs to be clear to send a positive message to her daughter. Too often, mothers choose to take bra shopping as an opportunity to initiate conversations about sex. That can make girls feel even more self-conscious. A first bra-shopping trip is already confusing and embarrassing for a girl without layering in the talk about birds and bees. This is particularly true when a girl starts developing at 8-10 years old. Yes, it’s important to talk to your daughter openly about sexual education, but that can – and should – be a different conversation. Wearing a bra can be discussed in terms of health and well-being.

Where you shop can also have an impact on how a young girl thinks about herself. Here are three tips to help both Mom and daughter prepare for a positive first bra-shopping experience:

1)  Pick a store that carries the merchandise you want to purchase, in sizes that work for your daughter. Some stores stock first-bra styles, while others stock smaller sizes that are designed specifically for petite adults. These bras come in styles and materials that might fit your teen’s body, but are not appropriate for her age. Do some homework before taking your teen shopping.

2)  Find a sales person who can talk to your daughter on her level, someone she can relate to with minimal embarrassment. Phone ahead of time to make an appointment, particularly at a store where a sales person can be identified in advance and will pull merchandise expressly for your needs.

3)  Be prepared for a girl’s figure to change dramatically over the coming years – or not. Girls are exquisitely sensitive and uncertain about the changes in their bodies at this age, so it’s important to be positive and accepting of your daughter’s body, no matter how much or how quickly it develops – or doesn’t. In the case of rapid development, new bras may be required quickly.

Bra shopping can be a great opportunity to reinforce the messages of positive body-image and health – and these are vital messages for our daughters to hear, particularly from Moms, as the most influential women in their lives.

Ali Cudby still shudders when recalling her earliest bra shopping misadventures. As the mother of a teen, she understands the unique challenges of the bra shopping experience from both sides of the equation and is on a mission to help all women get their best bra fit. Ali’s bra shopping experiences with both her Mom and daughter were just part of the inspiration to write her forthcoming book, FAB FOUNDATIONS: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FITTING YOUR GIRLS. Find out more at