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Photo courtesy of Catherine Connelly

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After reviews from six mom testers about 17 nursing bras — each worn for 6 to 12 months and sometimes longer — we chose these as the best.

I’ll start with this: I’m extremely grateful to have successfully nursed my son for one whole year. I’ve seen the mental energy that pours from some moms trying to keep up supply or figure out what’s wrong with their latch just to be left with bloody nipples and wonder who ever decided to call this natural.

But, grateful as I was to experience a relatively smooth nursing journey, by the end of one year, I was also happy to mourn the time period for just a moment and end the chapter. Goodbye nursing bras, hello “regular” bras that had been hibernating in the back of my drawer.

I know I’m not alone in the feeling. In fact, when recruiting reviews on nursing bras for this article, one mom aptly joked, “Would feedback of ‘I never want to think about a nursing bra again’ count?” I giggled.

“But if you did, you’d wear…?”

So that’s what this article is about — what we consider to be the best nursing bras based on months of personal experience. They’re the ones we’d go back to, the ones we sometimes still wear, and the ones we recommend to newly pregnant friends and relatives.

Note: All bras were purchased independently by our testers. All opinions are our own.

The numbers

  • 6 moms
  • 17 bras
  • Worn for at least 6 months (but for 12 in most cases)
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Pricing guide

  • $ = under $25
  • $$ = over $25

We liked the fit and style of the Hotmilk Warrior Soft Cup Nursing Bra. It’s very easy to reclasp with a magnetic element, but we found it took two hands to unclasp, which isn’t convenient when you’re switching sides and holding a newborn.

We also tried the Hotmilk My Necessity Nursing Bra. It’s a good option (and more affordable than our top overall pick by Kindered Bravely with a similar style). However, we did find there was some pilling after washing and wearing for a few months. Not a dealbreaker, but something to consider. The shape and level of support held up well despite this.

Lane Bryant makes a lot of nursing bras for bustier builds. After trying one, our tester still found the Kindered Bravely Simply Sublime bra to be more comfortable.

Our testers also tried a handful of Auden nursing bras from Target. The Auden Women’s Nursing Yoga Bra fit like a too-tight sports bra, was scratchy and stiff. We received mixed reviews on the Auden Women’s Wire Free Nursing Bra. One mom felt it was soft but lost its shape over time. Another has been using hers for 2 years. We also heard back that it felt a bit flimsy and didn’t stay in place well. However, if you’re open to nursing bras with wires, our tester found the Auden Nursing Full Coverage T-Shirt Bra was a great daytime bra with good coverage and support.

Lastly, we liked that the Boob Seamless Nursing Bra with Pads is made from recycled materials. Our tester wore it for 20 months of nursing and reported the fabric is very breathable. We struggled to make it a top pick because this style just has an open circle around the nipple rather than exposing the whole breast. It might be more difficult to hold and manipulate the breast as you’re learning to nurse.

We looked at a range of nursing bras for a variety of lifestyles and body types.

  • Overall experience: We analyzed feedback from six moms about their experience with 17 nursing bras. We chose the best based on their feedback after wearing them for anywhere from 6 months to 20 months. Some moms provided feedback on multiple bras, while others on only one.
  • Comfort: We asked about comfort and wearability both for around the house and out and about. We wanted to know if the nursing bras felt uncomfortable at the end of the day and if they held up well to fluctuating levels of engorgement.
  • Clasping ease: It was important to ensure the bras were easy to clasp and unclasp with one hand while holding a baby.
  • Durability: We considered how well the bras held up throughout the moms’ nursing journey, if they started to lose shape or pill, we deprioritized.

Use caution with underwire

Both La Leche League (LLL) and March of Dimes recommend against underwire bras while breastfeeding because research suggests it can put too much pressure on the breasts and lead to problems like mastitis or plugged ducts — especially in the early days and weeks when your milk is coming in.

This has been frequently shared, especially with authoritative lactation organizations like LLL. Generally speaking, it may be best to avoid underwire bras at least in the first 2-3 weeks postpartum and ideally for the first 2-3 months to be safe. However, more recent research suggests that this isn’t necessarily the case, and that you want to avoid bras that are too tight or don’t fit correctly — not the underwire.

However, you probably always want to avoid wearing an underwire bra while sleeping.

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As with a regular bra, it’s best to wash on a cold, gentle cycle in a lingerie bag and hang to dry.

We chose the Kindered Bravely Simply Sublime Nursing Bra as the best for large breasts. Our tester is a 32H and raved about how comfortable it was even years after nursing ended.

A bra can’t boost production, but an ill-fitting bra can constrict milk flow and affect your supply — even leading to blocked ducts or mastitis in severe cases. Your bra should be comfortable and shouldn’t feel like it’s digging into your breasts or rib cage, or compressing your breasts.

There’s no rule for when you can stop wearing a nursing bra — if you love it, keep wearing it. But there’s a guideline for how long you should wait before switching back to underwire bras. Most guidelines center on when to reintroduce underwire bras to your routine, with the La Leche League recommending to wait at least a few months after your baby is born. Most moms wait until they’re done breastfeeding before ditching nursing bras altogether.

Most people’s breasts increase in size during pregnancy and then often increase again after the baby is born. If you buy nursing bras in your pre-pregnancy size, they’ll likely be too small once you’re actively nursing your baby.

A good strategy can be to buy a couple of comfortable (and affordable) nursing bras toward the end of your pregnancy. When your milk comes in a few days after your baby is born, your breasts might be HUGE, but fear not, they don’t stay quite that big. Once you’ve been nursing for a few weeks, you’ll have a better sense of how big your postpartum breasts will be and you can shop for more bras if you need them.

Note that it can take 2-3 months for your milk supply to fully regulate to your baby’s needs, so your breast size might continue to fluctuate a bit during that time. Whichever bras you choose, always check the particular brand’s size guide.

Nursing bras aren’t exactly the most exciting purchase, but investing in something that’s comfortable and durable can save you money in the long run — and go a long way toward helping you feel a little more at ease at a time when need it most.