Training bras have, er, matured, along with a lot of other pubescent clothing. Plenty of young girls will be delighted with the sexy styles, but their moms, not so much. "I wanted coverage--support and a smooth look--not something that added an extra cup size," says omaha mom Linsey Knerl of bra shopping with her 10-year-old. The lingerie lowdown:
If the outlines of your daughter's nipples are showing through her T-shirts, it's time. Lisa Raacke, M.D., an internist who practices at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, suggests getting your tween measured professionally. Too mortified to have a stranger near her chest? You two can do it at home: Measure her rib cage just below the bust to get the band width. For cup size, measure her at the fullest part of the breast, then subtract the band measurement from this number. A difference of one half inch or less is AA, one half to one inch is A, and so on.
Don't push the look.
If your daughter freaks out at the sight of two mounds under her T-shirt, back off and let her wear what she's comfortable with--a camisole with a soft bra top plus another shirt is fine, says Dr. Raacke, the mom of three daughters. Many girls this age just need something to cover their nipples, not to support their budding breasts. You can also try removing some padding from the cups.
Try sports bras with cups.
They give A-cup-size girls support without creating cleavage. Looking for a sports bra to wear under a dressier top? Danskin makes one with thin straps. Sports bras are also durable--perfect for kids, who aren't exactly conscientious about caring for their under-(or over-!) garments.