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If you’re planning on nursing after you give birth, one of the most important things you can do is buy several quality nursing bras.
A good nursing bra can not only provide essential support — much like a traditional bra — but can also make it easier to quickly nurse your little one. This is good, because you may find that baby goes from hungry to hangry in an instant.
Especially when you’re just beginning to breastfeed, your breasts can fluctuate in size. And if you’re wearing a bra that doesn’t provide stretch and support, you’re going to be uncomfortable especially if you’re struggling with issues like engorgement.
Many pregnant women transition directly to a nursing bra rather than opting for a maternity bra. Typically, nursing bras tend to feature more enhanced support than standard bras. This can include:
- wider shoulder straps
- back straps with additional hook and eye closures for a more secure fit
- a back extender to accommodate your changing bustline
Shopping for a nursing bra isn’t too different from normal bra shopping, but you’ll need to consider a few additional factors.
To get you started, we looked at a range of nursing bras for a variety of lifestyles and body types — you definitely want to choose one that fits you comfortably and doesn’t put any pressure on breast tissue to avoid health complications.
For this list, we took customer reviews into account and also considered the following:
- enhanced support
- easy nursing accessibility
- adjustable straps
Here are the bras that won out.
Best supportive nursing bra for larger bust sizes
If you’re larger than a DD cup, you already know the frustration that comes with bra shopping. The Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is available in sizes XS to XXL to accommodate traditional cup sizes from A to J.
The soft, wire-free construction features molded cups, removable foam inserts, and a four-way stretch fabric that not only hugs your shape but can accommodate your breasts as they grow — so important while breastfeeding! And nursing is made easy thanks to the clips and drop-down cups.
While most reviews of this nursing bra are positive, some women noted that the seams frayed in critical areas such as where the clips are fastened to the straps and bra cups. Others noted that this bra can run a little small and recommended ordering up a size to guarantee a comfortable fit.
Best full coverage supportive nursing bra
Especially in the early days of breastfeeding, a supportive nursing bra is a must-have item. This bra is a full coverage design that’s created with larger sizes in mind. Specifically, this bra is available for DD through H cup sizes. It also accommodates you as you grow.
This bra relies on U.K. sizing, although most cup sizes are comparable between the U.S. and U.K. But size conversions aside, a common issue with this bra is that the clips can be hard to maneuver, can be very stiff, and in some instances require serious force to open or close. Another complaint was that this bra lacks padding in the cups.
Best budget-friendly nursing bra
Whether you’re not ready to invest in pricier nursing bras or your budget won’t allow you to, you don’t have to go without. The Daisity Seamless Sleep Nursing Bra is a great value — three bras for a modest price.
These seamless, wire-free nursing bras provide core features like clips with drop-down cups, adjustable straps, light padding, and breathable nylon and spandex fabric.
However, some women found the material to be scratchy and felt that the stitching dug uncomfortably into their skin. And for some people, this discomfort created skin irritations. So if you have sensitive skin, this might not be the bra for you.
Best budget nursing sports bra
If you’ve managed to stay active throughout your pregnancy, good for you! When you’re ready to transition to a nursing bra, the Bamboobies Yoga Nursing Bra is a smart option that will grow with you while also providing the support you need to stay comfortable during low impact exercise.
It has adjustable straps with a racerback design and a bra extender, and it accommodates one-handed accessibility while nursing thanks to the clips and drop-down cups.
Women who are well endowed and larger than a full D cup may find that this bra isn’t as supportive for an active lifestyle. A common issue with women larger than a D cup is that the fabric could lose its shape after a few washes and that the plastic clips could break.
Best low impact nursing sports bra
Getting back into a workout routine can be hard after having a baby, but it can be even harder when traditional nursing bras aren’t designed to provide the type of support you typically need when exercising.
The Kindred Bravely Sublime Nursing Sports Bra is extremely functional and gets positive reviews for being both fashionable and easily adjustable.
The most frequent complaint is that the stitching can come undone in various locations.
Best plus size nursing bra
Going bra shopping can be tough enough if you wear a larger bra size. But when you’re shopping for a nursing bra, it can be even more confusing.
The Motherhood Maternity Seamless Clip Down Nursing Bra gives you good support and a smooth silhouette (it’s seamless!). This full-coverage bra is designed with stretchy nylon and spandex to accommodate any size fluctuations.
On the downside, many women compared this to a traditional sports bra in that it pushed their breasts together rather than providing individual lift and support.
Best convertible pumping bra
Whether you’re new to pumping or not, you can expect to spend anywhere from an average of 10 to 30 minutes per pumping session. We can all agree that it’s not the most exciting way to spend your precious moments — especially if you have to hold the breast pump the entire time.
The Simple Wishes D*LITE Hands-Free Pumping Bra makes the experience more tolerable thanks to the built-in cutouts in the cups that are designed to hold most major breast pump brands and give you the freedom to do anything else.
Other essential features include adjustable and convertible shoulder straps that can transform this bra into racerback, strapless, halter, and traditional tank styles. It’s soft to the touch, yet the four-way layering provides added support and a secure seal when the breast shield is inserted.
Most versatile pumping bra
Imagine if you were able to turn any nursing bra into one that could support hands-free pumping. The Bravado Designs Clip and Pump Hands-Free Nursing Bra Accessory promises to do exactly that.
Instead of buying a separate pumping nursing bra that can often look thick and overwhelming, this bra works by slipping on over your existing nursing bra and clipping into the existing clips. Unhook your normal drop-down cups and then slide the breast shield of your pump into the figure-eight openings within each cup of the Bravado Designs bra.
The biggest benefit of using this type of nursing bra enhancer is that it allows you to continue to use traditional nursing bras without having to swap to a bulkier style that you typically see with pumping nursing bras.
Best sleep nursing bra
One of the biggest issues, when you’re nursing and sleeping, is that you need easy access for those late-night feedings but you might not be ready to go braless just yet.
The Sunzel Cotton Spandex Seamless Sleep Bra is soft and comfortable. Wider shoulder straps provide extra support and the low v-neck crossover design makes nursing easy to do. And generous sizing from M through XXXL can accommodate a range of bra sizes. For the most value, opt for the multi-packs.
Although it’s listed as a seamless nursing bra, some women found that the inner stitching was uncomfortable and irritating. And fuller busted women noted that the support wasn’t as effective as they had hoped.
Best underwire nursing bra
Sometimes you want more support than soft cups can offer. In that case, Cake Maternity Croissant Flexi Wire Nursing Bra fits the bill. This bra may cost a bit more than the others listed here, but it’s made from cotton and has wider shoulder straps and four-set hook and eye closures to provide excellent support.
A big drawback is that this bra isn’t available for sizes smaller than 32C. And the underwire isn’t padded, which can add to your irritation as you breastfeed. Underwire bras can cause pressure and may lead to mastitis, though more research is needed. Don’t wear an underwire if it’s uncomfortable.
Most stylish nursing bra
Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you don’t want to be sexy — or even just give your ego a boost with a bra that looks more fashionable than functional.
The Momanda Lightly Lined Nursing Lace Bralette is the perfect blend of form and function. While it looks like a sexy lace deep-v demi-cup bra, it still features the essentials that a nursing mom needs: clasps and drop-down cups, a wire-free design for comfort, light padding, and three-row hook and eye closures.
Although beautiful, a common complaint with this bra is that it isn’t as stretchy as users would have hoped, especially as their breasts changed to accommodate incoming milk. And others felt that the band was a little too tight.
Best camisole with built-in nursing bra
When baby’s screaming with hunger, the last thing you want to do is fumble through layers of clothing while you try to reach your nursing bra. Even though many brands offer nursing tops, you can bypass the whole frustrating scenario with the Brlido Nursing Camisole Tank Top that has a built-in bra.
This camisole offer a generous length to accommodate your postpartum body. It’s also made of a soft nylon and spandex blend, comes with adjustable shoulder straps, and features the common clips and drop-down bra cups. And the stretchy fabric guarantees that it will grow with you as you adjust to breastfeeding.
Although convenient, a common complaint with this nursing camisole top is that the shoulder straps are too short. Even after adjusting them with the extra built-in length, many women found that the straps were still uncomfortable. You may want to order up a size for increased comfort.
Most pregnant women choose to start shopping for a nursing bra during their third trimester. If you decide to start using one earlier than this, it’s important to confirm that the fabric is stretchy enough to provide comfortable support if your breasts continue to grow.
Keep these other factors in mind as you select the right nursing bra for your needs:
Whether you’re just starting to breastfeed or are an old pro, your breasts are heavier than before you gave birth. A nursing bra should provide support through the shoulders without digging into them or around your rib cage.
Room to grow
You know a bra is comfortable and fits properly when you’re able to secure it on the middle hook and eye closures. But many nursing bras come with a back strap extender that allows you to add additional length to the back strap to accommodate your growing breasts. This is a key feature you should keep in mind as you shop for a nursing bra.
When your little one is hungry and crying, the last thing you want to do is fumble with complicated closures. Most nursing bras feature one of two ways to easily nurse your child. Snap front styles allow you to unsnap the front panel of your bra from either the shoulder strap or the center front band and feature foldable cups.
Bras without snap fronts are usually designed with crossover soft cups so you can easily slip one of them down to allow your child to nurse.
Additionally, if you’re planning to pump as well as breastfeed, you might want to consider purchasing a nursing bra that’s designed to hold a breast pump so you can be hands-free.
You don’t realize how important it is to have comfortable fabric against your skin until it’s irritated. Especially during the early days of nursing, your breasts — and especially your nipples — may be in a lot of pain as you adjust to your new normal.
To help reduce that discomfort, look for nursing bras with a soft cotton lining. Cotton is a natural fiber with moisture-wicking capabilities to help keep your skin dry. That moisture-wicking feature is especially important if you’re looking for a nursing sports bra.
More than likely, you won’t just rely on one nursing bra. But even so, you want to look for bras that can retain their shape, supportive features, and clasps in the wash. Look for styles with reinforced stitching and durable fabrics that are meant to be cleaned in a washing machine. (But to protect your investment and prolong their lifespan, wash your nursing bras in a mesh laundry bag.)
For the most part, you can expect to find a quality nursing bra at a moderate price. Most of the bras in our list range between $20 and $40. However, underwire nursing bras or those designed for larger cup sizes do tend to be more expensive. But if you shop wisely, you can find nursing bras in multi-packs which can help you to save money on the “per bra” purchase price.
If you opt for a nursing bra with underwire in the design, you need to ensure that the underwire is made of flexible materials like bamboo. This will make it easier to move your bra cups when you’re nursing and are less likely to cause you discomfort like traditional underwire bras.
Stock up on styles
Even though a nursing bra might seem like a utilitarian purchase, it can be a very versatile undergarment. You wouldn’t just buy one type of standard bra and expect it to work for every occasion. So, the same can be said of nursing bras.
Whether you’re planning to restart a fitness routine and need a good sports nursing bra, or you want to present the right neckline or silhouette in specific clothes, selecting a range of styles will give you that versatility you need.
Nursing bras have come a long way from decades past where you only had so many options and all of them were bulky designs that covered your entire chest. Whether you’re petite or well-endowed, the options are limitless. But the type of bra you select is going to be directly dependent on your lifestyle, needs, and comfort level.
You don’t have to necessarily pay an arm and a leg for a quality nursing bra. As we’ve highlighted in our list, many of them are budget friendly. And, you can still feel like a hot mama when you wear them!