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Product Review, Covering, Nurse, Parenthood

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Although you may love breastfeeding or chestfeeding your baby, the thought of doing it in public may not thrill you. No matter how confident you are, the thought of pulling out your nipple in front of strangers might be a lot. It may even leave you feeling worried or anxious to feed.

Not only can anxiety impede milk letdown (and production!), but it can also set the tone for a difficult feeding session. If you’re already nervous about nursing in public, the last thing you want is a fussy baby during the feed!

If you feel this way, know you’re not alone and that a solution exists. Nursing covers have allowed plenty of people to feel confident nursing in public, so the only question that remains is which one is the right one for you?

There are many types of nursing covers, but some of the big groupings are:

  • Apron style. Like an apron you’d wear in the kitchen with the string around your waist, these nursing covers slip over your head and cover your chest area.
  • Wearable covers. Fashion with a purpose! These nursing covers double as a piece of clothing (e.g., shawl or poncho) that you can wear and then use to cover up when it’s time to nurse.
  • Convertible covers. Usually shaped like a large fabric loop, these can act as blankets or as covers for car seats, high chairs, and shopping carts when not in use as a nursing cover.

Nursing covers really come down to preference. Because this is all about creating a safe and comfortable space for you and your baby to breastfeed or chestfeed, you’ll want to — first and foremost — find a nursing cover that you both like.

Most lactating folks prefer a simple cover that doesn’t require a lot of adjustments. Fixing snaps and buckles with a hungry, screaming baby on your hands? No thanks!

If it’s your first time nursing a baby, know that there is a learning curve as you and your baby figure out how to latch and which positions work best for both of you. You will most likely need to be able to see what you’re doing and use both hands to do it.

In the early days and weeks of nursing, a nursing cover that doesn’t block your view will probably be the most user-friendly. Before you fully get the hang of nursing, it’s also possible that any nursing cover at all will just feel like an extra obstacle. Fear not, it gets easier!

Babies will likely prefer fabrics that are soft and breathable. You’ll probably appreciate them too since it can get extra hot breastfeeding with a cover on.

Keep in mind, some babies may not like having their face covered while they’re nursing. Not to mention that blocking your view might interrupt all the lovely bonding that can happen while you and your baby make eye contact during a feeding session.

One final thing to keep an eye out for: a nursing cover that’s machine washable! Spit-up happens (especially during feeding times), and the last thing you probably need is the extra work of constantly handwashing a nursing cover.

Nursing covers are a very personal decision, but quality, price, available patterns, and recommendations from breastfeeding parents helped us to decide which ones should top our list of best options.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $25
  • $$ = $25–$40
  • $$$ = over $40

Best overall nursing cover

Kids N’ Such Nursing Cover with Built-In Burp Cloth

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: 35 inches x 25 inches

Because this nursing cover is a full apron with extra width, you’ll get plenty of coverage. The rigid neckline also allows for good sight lines as you try to latch your baby and watch them during feeds. (Don’t worry, the fabric is breathable, so you can avoid sweating up a storm on hot days!)

To make the whole process easier, this cover also has a large burp cloth sewn in for easy transitions between feeding and burping. It also comes with a carrying pouch that matches the nursing cover and can be used to hold diapers and other key items.

Pro tip: You may want to hang it to dry to ensure it doesn’t start to shrink.

Pros

  • The apron style of this nursing cover allows for a sight line with your baby.
  • The fabric is breathable.
  • It comes with a carrying pouch.

Cons

  • You need to hang it to dry to prevent shrinking.
  • Some may not like the apron style cover, as it’s less versatile than other options on this list.

Best budget nursing cover

KeaBabies Car Seat Canopy Nursing Cover

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: 24 inches x 31 inches

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the KeaBabies nursing cover. Not only is the price of this nursing cover a steal at under $15, but it can also be used as a car seat cover, high chair cover, and infinity scarf. It offers 360-degree coverage and breathable fabric.

To top it off, the cover also comes with a matching storage bag, which can double as a diaper bag organizer.

The biggest downside customer reviewers noted was that it wasn’t always big enough to cover their car seat.

Pros

  • This nursing cover is one of the most affordable options on our list.
  • It’s multipurpose, so you can use it as a car seat cover, high chair cover, and nursing scarf.
  • The fabric is breathable.
  • Reviewers say it isn’t see-through.

Cons

  • Some reviewers said it wasn’t big enough for their car seats.
  • A number of customers said certain colors didn’t look like the version advertised online.
  • Stretchy design might not allow for easy view of your baby while nursing.

Best multipurpose nursing cover

Milk Snob Cover

  • Price: $$
  • Dimensions: 26 inches x 30 inches

A multifunctional option, the Milk Snob cover can be used in many of the same ways as many other multifunctional covers: car seat cover, high seat cover, shopping cart seat cover, and so on.

The quality of the fabric and the protection it can offer against various types of weather put it at the top of our list in terms of versatility and usability.

Another bonus of this nursing cover is all the fun prints — there’s even a Star Wars-themed version.

Pros

  • The cover is available in a variety of fun prints.
  • It can be used for multiple things — from car seat cover to shopping cart cover, and of course, for nursing.
  • Reviewers say the fabric is breathable and some praise the nursing cover’s fit.

Cons

  • It’s pricier than many of the other covers on our list.
  • Some reviewers complain that the color faded or changed after washing.
  • A number of customers said it was frustrating to use during breastfeeding because it was difficult to see the baby.

Best lightweight nursing cover

Bebe au Lait Muslin Nursing Scarf

  • Price: $$
  • Dimensions: 70-inch circumference, 20-inch width

When it comes to breastfeeding in the heat, you want something lightweight and breathable, and muslin is an ideal fabric.

This muslin nursing cover comes in a variety of patterns and colors, so the heat won’t bring you down. It’s wearable, too — so you don’t need to worry about packing something else when you leave the house. Just throw the scarf around your neck and you’re good to go.

There is a downside, though. While muslin is super breathable in the heat, it’s also a more transparent fabric and not as stretchy.

Pros

  • The nursing cover is made of lightweight, breathable fabric.
  • You can use it as a scarf or nursing cover.
  • It’s machine washable.

Cons

  • The fabric is more transparent and less stretchy than others on our list.
  • A number of reviewers said the fabric didn’t provide sufficient coverage.

Best for on-the-go use

Hicoco Car Seat Canopy Breastfeeding Cover

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: around 27 inches x 27 inches

If you need a packable nursing cover, this one from Hicoco might be a great pick. The cover is the shape of an infinity scarf and comes with a storage bag that you can use in between feedings. You can also use it as a car seat cover or stretched over high chairs and shopping cart seats.

It also offers full privacy coverage without snaps or other fasteners, so you can rest assured that you’re feeding your baby in complete privacy. Plus, reviewers said the fabric is ultra stretchy, but not see-through according to reviewers.

If you’re on a tight budget, this multiuse cover could be the way to go, as it serves a lot of purposes at a lower cost.

Pros

  • This cover comes with a stowing bag that you can use between feedings.
  • It’s multipurpose, serving as a car seat cover, breastfeeding cover, and more.
  • The price is tough to beat.

Cons

  • Some reviewers said the cover wasn’t large enough.
  • A few note that the material is heavy and lacks breathability — and that it can get too hot in summer.

Best patterns on a nursing cover

Copper Pearl Multi-Use Cover

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: around 26 inches x 27 inches

Not only does this cover come in a large selection of patterns, but because it’s a multiuse cover, it can also be used for tons of purposes.

The medium weight of the fabric means that it’s appropriate for various types of weather and the stretchy fabric can fit a variety of positions while still offering full coverage.

Pros

  • The cover comes in a variety of patterns.
  • It’s multipurpose, so you can use it for more than just nursing.
  • The medium-weight fabric is great for different weather conditions.

Cons

  • Some said the fabric was thinner than expected.
  • The top doesn’t have a wire, meaning it could be tricky to get it to stay open if you need to see your baby.

Most wearable nursing cover

Bamboobies Nursing Shawl

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: not provided

In addition to being a piece of clothing you’ll actually want to wear in public as a scarf or poncho, this nursing shawl is quick-drying and lightweight. It also offers UPF 50+ protection. Many users mention how soft the fabric is, too.

Another feature to appreciate: There’s an easy-open side for quick nursing access when your baby is ready to feed.

The main downside is it’s only available in one size, which the company claims will “fit most,” but might not work for everyone.

Pros

  • The shawl is quick-drying and lightweight.
  • It offers UPF protection.
  • Reviewers like the softness of the fabric.

Cons

  • The shawl is only available in three colors.
  • It may not suit every parent’s fashion style.
  • It only comes in “one-size-fits-most,” which may not work for everyone.

Best apron-style nursing cover

Bebe au Lait Cotton Nursing Cover

  • Price: $$
  • Dimensions: 26 inches x 36 inches

This apron stands out due to its great ability to adjust at the neck, making it easier to check on baby and get good airflow. There are two internal pockets to hold things like pacifiers and breast pads.

While the lightweight material can keep you from sweating in the summer, it may not keep you warm enough in colder weather. It also isn’t multi-use.

Pros

  • The apron’s neck is adjustable, making it easier to check on your baby during nursing.
  • It comes with two internal pockets you can use to stash things.
  • You can purchase it in a variety of colors and patterns.

Cons

  • Some parents found this was difficult to use and more revealing than a regular swaddle or blanket draped over their shoulder.
  • It may not provide enough warmth in cooler months.

Best splurge nursing cover

Storq Mama + BB Nursing Cardigan

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: XS/S shoulder 39 inches, body length 34 inches; M/L shoulder 41 inches, body length 35.5 inches; XL/XXL shoulder 43 inches, body length 37 inches

This cardigan sets itself apart as a stylish option for folks looking for a nursing cover that still looks trendy enough for regular wear. The cardigan is made primarily of alpaca, but also includes nylon and some wool, and many reviewers praise its softness.

The cardigan has two snaps — one at the front in the center and another toward the shoulder. These can be used for discreet nursing, according to the company.

One of the biggest downsides is that the product isn’t machine washable. Wearing it for breastfeeding around an infant could mean it’s a pain to keep clean. It’s also much pricier than other options.

Pros

  • The cardigan is stylish and can be worn all day.
  • It features snaps at the center in the front and at the shoulder to allow you to nurse discreetly.
  • Reviewers love how soft it is.

Cons

  • The cardigan is dry clean only, which could be a hassle with a little one.
  • It’s the priciest option on our list.
  • The fit is oversized, which could make it difficult to pinpoint your size online.

Easiest nursing cover to pack

Genovega Multi-Use Nursing Cover

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: not provided

What could be easier to pack than something you can wear out the door yourself and still look fashionable? This poncho-style nursing cover can also be thrown over a car seat or stroller instead of in the diaper bag to avoid taking up any extra space.

Reviewers say the bamboo fabric is super soft. The material is also naturally hypoallergenic, so you don’t have to worry about it causing any problems on your baby’s skin (or even your own). Finally, it contains spandex, which will stretch for pulling over a car seat or stroller.

Pros

  • The cover is multi-use, serving as a poncho, nursing cover, stroller cover, and more.
  • The fabric is hypoallergenic and made from bamboo.
  • This cover is affordable.

Cons

  • Some reviewers said the fabric was sheerer than expected.
  • Some complained about the fit, saying the cover was too short or that the armholes were too big to provide privacy while nursing.

ProductPriceFabricBest forDimensions (in inches)
Kids N’ Such Nursing Cover with Built-In Burp Cloth$cottonapron style35 x 25
KeaBabies Car Seat Canopy Nursing Cover$rayonmultiple uses24 x 31
Milk Snob Cover$$rayon and spandexmultiple uses26 x 30
Bebe au Lait Muslin Nursing Scarf$$cotton muslinstyle and wearability70 circumference, 20 width
Hicoco Car Seat Canopy Breastfeeding Cover$not providedmultiple uses and cold weatheraround 27 x 27
Copper Pearl Multi-Use Cover$rayon blend multiple usesaround 26 x 27
Bamboobies Nursing Shawl$$bamboowearabilitynot provided
Bebe au Lait Cotton Nursing Cover$$cottonapron style26 x 36
Storq Mama + BB Nursing Cardigan$$$alpaca, nylon, and wool blendstyle and wearabilityshoulder: 39–43; body length: 34–37
Genovega Multi-Use Nursing Cover$bamboo blend multiple usesnot provided

Is a nursing cover necessary?

Nursing covers aren’t strictly necessary, but they might make you more comfortable nursing in public. If you’re feeling stressed about breastfeeding in front of other people, a nursing cover is a simple solution that might make the process easier and less nerve-wracking. It’s all about what will make you and your baby feel safe and at ease.

Many of the nursing covers in this list are multi-use, so if you wind up deciding you prefer to nurse without a cover, you can still use them as part of your wardrobe or as a car seat or shopping cart cover.

How do I use the nursing cover in public?

How you use a nursing cover depends upon the style you choose. If you opt for an apron style cover, you’ll want to drape it over your head, as you would with a regular apron, and feed your baby from underneath. You’ll still be able to see them with some of these styles, as the wire necklines are rigid.

If you purchase one that’s tube-shaped, you’ll still slide it over your head, but your arms will likely be inside (or at least one of them will). You may not be able to see your baby well, so if they’re already having trouble latching, you may want to opt for a different style of nursing cover.

If you go for a wearable cover, like the Storq Cardigan, you may use a fasten or snap to hold the fabric closed as you nurse. Other wearables, like the Bamboobies poncho in this list, will allow you to slide your baby under the cover during feedings.

Are nurse covers with wires safe?

Some covers, especially those that are apron style, include wires that give the opening near your neck rigidity so you can see your little one as you nurse. They also can give your baby better ventilation.

There aren’t specific recommendations or research that support or discourage the use of covers that include wires, so in the end, it purely boils down to preference.

Nursing covers are an optional item, but the right one really might make you feel more comfortable feeding your baby in public. Depending on the type of nursing cover you want, it can also double (or triple!) as a car seat cover, blanket, or clothing item, so it’s money well spent!