Why I’m buying my 8-year-old her first bra

Why I'm buying my 8-year-old her first bra

Three years after I first shared this post, we’re about to mark this milestone for the third time as our third daughter turns 8 (how did that happen?!), and it continues to be one of the best parenting decisions I’ve ever made. It’s become a fun tradition…and then a non-event; wearing a bra is just what we do after we turn 8. 

She’s not yet 8 and just entering 2nd grade.

She knows more about the animal kingdom and world history than Sean and I put together, but she still giggles over Yo Gabba Gabba.

And although our culture rushes children through childhood and then lets them linger in adolescence, we believe childhood should savored and protected in those early years.

So why am I buying her her first bra already?

Honestly, I didn’t even realize that 8 years old was considered young for a bra until I mentioned it in passing to a few friends and they looked at me like I’d grown two heads.

But to be clear, when I say “bra”, this is what I mean:

why I'm buying my 8 year old a bra

The main reason I’m planning to buy my girls training bras early (when they turn 8, since we’re pretty big into birthday milestones in our family) is because it’s what my mom did for us. And I’m so glad she did!

We all know that puberty can be a time of feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable with your changing body. And when I was little (and let’s face it, 8 is still little!), my mom watched other moms struggle to get their older, developing girls to wear bras. They were already sensitive about the changes their bodies were going through, and while they needed to wear a bra, it was a reminder of those changes, so they resisted.

She bought my sister and I training bras when we were 7 or 8 years old, and we were so excited to have something so grown up that it was never a struggle to get us to wear them. When we did start developing, that habit was already in place and it simply wasn’t a big deal.

Although I was fairly awkward and self-conscious in general as an adolescent, I don’t remember ever once feeling self-conscious about my body, and I think my mom’s approach played a huge role in that.

That’s why my oldest baby girl will be going bra shopping for her 8th birthday. (And three years later, I can say that it’s worked just like I hoped it would!)


If you have little girls, are training bras on your radar? If your girls are older, when did they get their first bras?

  • Shiels

    I just break into a sweat just thinking about it. I am mother to 1 baby girl, She turns 8 in 2 weeks and I must say I have been turning a blind eye on her growing chest. She had just turned 7 when she wanted to talk about bras and back then its was so easy for me to say, lets wait till ur 8.I’m not ready.

    • kira

      Your right you wait until your ready to let your daughter have a bra

  • Cyd

    I am 11 years old and I worry I won’t catch up to the other girls who are already wearing bras but I always remember that every one grows at a different rate but I still worry have any advice?

    • kira

      Just because other girls are wearing bras doesn’t mean you don’t have to get one just be you

    • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy Robinson

      I didn’t “need” a bra until I was 17 years old. But I did wear one of those training style bras starting around fourth grade. If you want one, share with your mama or dad, grandma or even a friend’s mama. Another easy idea is a camisole. I wore one everyday for before wearing an actual bra.

  • http://thefrugalgirl.com/ The Frugal Girl

    I’m kind of the opposite. I think bras are so freaking uncomfortable and irritating, I’ve opted to wait until they ARE necessary to buy ’em for my girls. lol I figure they have a limited number of years to feel unrestricted by a bra, and I hate to cut that short.

    Clearly this is working fine for your girls, so carry on!

    But I will forever loathe bras, I think.

    (I try to remind myself that women’s undergarments used to be WAY WAY worse. At least I live now, and not 100 years ago.)

    • http://lifeyourway.net/ Mandi @ Life Your Way

      LOL! That’s funny. I actually agree with you, and I’ve been known to take my underwire bra off in the car after a long day—ha!

    • Kelly Cook

      Me too! I’ve always said part of what makes a good day is NOT having to wear a bra, which I can do frequently since we homeschool.

  • http://www.kmlogan.com/ KM Logan

    I remember getting one when I was 9, and I needed one. Maybe 8 is a good rule of thumb. I’ve got three girls in my family so it’s something to start thinking about. Also 2 of my girls are very close in age so having a set number might make things easier.

    • http://lifeyourway.net/ Mandi @ Life Your Way

      I think the spacing (or lack of!) of our girls is one reason we’ve fallen into so many birthday milestones. It makes it so much easier to explain why the older ones get something sooner even though they share so many other rules/activities.

  • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com/ priest’s wife

    This is a MERCIFUL idea- why mercy? I remember being in the 7th grade (flat as a pancake until high school). in the gym locker room, I had to take off my shirt so I could be tested for spinal trouble- all the girls had their shirts off and bras on- my mom never got me one.

  • Carol Graham

    What a great idea. My mother was bedridden all my life so I had to figure these things out for myself. When I thought I needed a bra I bought the smallest one I could find – 28AAA. I almost passed out in school and the principal realized what had happened and took me shopping.

    • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy Robinson

      What a fabulous principal!

  • Crissy

    Great idea! I was around the same age. If a little girl starts showing please get her a training bra. It will help to cover them in white or light colored shirts especially uniform shirts. This will save her lots of grief from her peers. I like your idea of doing milestone things for birthdays too. My sister has bigger girls and my little one thinks she should do whatever they get to do.

  • Anne Quarles Gibbs

    This is the best idea I’ve seen today. Filing this away for when my little are older.

  • http://www.familybalancesheet.org/ Kristia

    I bought my 9 yo a few sports bras at the beginning of summer. She has no need for them physically yet, but her sporty tank tops were loose, so the sports bras gave her some extra coverage.

  • Virtually Paula

    This is a very good idea. I wish I had done it. When my daughter was around 6 – 8 years old, she would always ask if we were going to buy bras when she saw all the cute bras in the girls section of the stores. She wanted one in the worst way. Forward to when she was 10 years old and starting to “bud”. She could still have gone a while before getting a bra, but I figured we should get some then and get here used to wearing them before she got bigger and actually needed one. I assumed she’d be thrilled when I told her we were going bra shopping, since she had been so desperate to get one for years. I assumed wrong. Now that she was starting to develop, she was self-conscious about and didn’t want to talk about it, let alone have bras to remind her that they were there. It took a good 6-7 months before she would wear them consistently, even when she started to develop more and she really should have been wearing them.

  • Angi Schneider

    This is a great post Mandi. There are so many things in parenting that don’t have clear cut answers and what is right for one family might not be right for another. I love seeing how mom are navigating the waters and giving ideas for others. I have two daughters 15 and 6 (and four boys). When my 15 yr old was about 3 she started wearing undershirts under some of her shirts – white t-shirts or shirts that were a little loose around the neckline. It made it a very easy transition to a bra when she need one at about 11. It also “smoothed” her out when she every first started budding and was less self-conscious about it. When my 6 year old was almost 3 she asked why she didn’t get to wear a bra because she’s a girl and just like her older sister and I. So we went shopping for undershirts.

  • http://tinabsworld.com/ Tina B

    My daughter just turned 8 a couple weeks ago and has been wearing training bras for months. For me, it was necessary due to her obsession with her nipples. It’s the only way I could get her to stop playing with them. I have been judged by other mothers and my family members, but I just tell them I don’t owe them an explanation.

  • RaD3321

    My 11yo daughter was obsessed with my bra (and let’s face it all the “womanness” of my body) that she had her first training bra right around 8 or 9. She requested to buy them at back to school shopping and I told her it was fine as long as they were not padded because she didn’t need to look like she had something she did not. She’s worn them ever since and we’ve continued to buy them as she’s gotten older. She’s still not quite there yet but is perfectly comfortable in them. It was a big step into “older girlhood” and opened up a lot conversations about her changing body that have been easier, I think, to discuss because of it.

  • Heather Hill

    Reluctantly I had to start my six and half yr old on them. It was all too apparent that she needed them. My mother said she developed early too.