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Before you have your baby, you might wonder why you can’t just wear your everyday shirts to breastfeed.
Of course, you can. But if your top isn’t designed with nursing in mind, it can be quite difficult to finagle. Between a lack of sleep, pesky buttons, your changing boobs, your hangry baby… breastfeeding can be a complicated enough journey without your shirt getting in the way.
Plus, if you plan on being out in public, you may also be more comfortable with a nursing-friendly shirt that provides a bit of privacy for you, while offering easy access to milk for your baby.
Nowadays, there are countless clothing brands that offer helpful solutions for breastfeeding moms — pieces that are designed to give your body the support it requires while you recover, and the ability to feed anywhere without having to undress.
“A nursing wardrobe is a necessity, especially when it comes to the beginning of your nursing journey,” says celebrity stylist, mom of two, and creator of Striptd Down podcast Ali Levine. “When you’re on the go, you want to know that you can nurse and soothe your baby and get back to whatever else is happening.”
Shopping for nursing tops requires a bit more attention to detail than shopping for regular clothing. Not only do you want to like the style and fit of a top, but you also want to make sure it’s functional, accessible (think: flaps, zippers, easy-to-use snaps, buttons), and comfortable.
“The fabric should be nice and stretchy, as your body is morphing, getting larger and smaller, by the day,” notes Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC, a private practice lactation consultant and La Leche League leader.
“Breathable fabric is important too — in the early days you are shedding fluids and your hormones are trying to figure out where to land, so you may get cold, you may get hot, and you may sweat more than usual.”
To make the selections for this guide, we spoke to breastfeeding women to better understand the needs and demands of their bodies in order to feed their growing baby.
We also researched which fabrics and materials provided the most comfort and support for the postpartum body. And we factored in ratings and customer reviews to make sure we were including some of the most recommended nursing tops out there.
- $ = under $50
- $$ = $50–$75
- $$$ = over $75
If you’re looking for something basic and feel most confident with a V-neck, you can’t go wrong with this sleeveless black top. It has a pullover nursing function so you don’t have to do much maneuvering at all to give your little one the goods.
Though it’s pricier than most of the other tops on this list, the high-quality viscose fabric means it will maintain its shape and form well after several washes — trust us, milk residue will ensure that this puppy goes through plenty of laundry cycles.
Though it’s on the pricey side, Belly Bandit is one of the most trusted brands for pregnant and postpartum moms. When it comes to this cleverly designed T-shirt, it’s all about the buttery soft fabric, which is made to last through your entire pregnancy and nursing journey.
No one would ever know just by looking at you, but there’s a hidden layer that allows for easy and discreet nursing access through a side slit. It comes in three basic colors: black, gray, and white.
Chances are you’re going to be nursing your little one around the clock, which means plenty of 3 a.m. feeds. That’s why it’s important to stock up on sleep-friendly nursing tops, like this fan-favorite set from Kindred Bravely.
It’s made from a light viscose material and has double-layered fabric for maximum support. There’s no tight elastic around the chest or waist, so you can nurse your child freely and comfortably. Sizes range from XS to XXL.
Your body can still feel unfamiliar when you’re in those early postpartum months and you may be less hesitant to wear tight-fitting clothes. This nursing tank from UpSpring Baby is famous for its slimming material that hugs and provides support for your midsection.
The built-in bra is wireless and has removable pads, and the tank’s straps unclasp for easy access when it’s time to feed your babe. Of course, if you’re wearing an additional layer on top of this tank there’s still some finagling involved.
Reviewers say this tank helps them feel confident as they revisit their pre-baby wardrobe. But it’s worth noting that it only comes in two different sizes, so some folks found the fit to be too long or too short for their torso.
On colder days, you’ll want to wear something that keeps you nice and warm but still allows your nursing babe access to the goods. This sweatshirt from Bearsland might look like a regular hoodie, but it’s actually nursing friendly: concealed zipper cutouts make it easy to breastfeed or pump without having to take it off.
The fabric is soft, made from a mix of polyester, cotton, and spandex, and it comes in 21 different colors and patterns so you can mix it up all fall and winter long.
If you still plan on breastfeeding after you’ve gone back to work, you’ll most definitely want to invest in pump-friendly shirts that are also office appropriate.
This jersey knit wrap-over top from H&M MAMA hits all the marks — it’s professional, but comfortable, and the inner panel design provides easy access so you can nurse with considerable coverage.
This tank comes highly recommended for women with large busts, as it provides maximum coverage and has an easy pullover design so that you can give your baby breast access in a flash. It also comes in a variety of different colors so you can mix and match outfits.
With one single purchase, you get three nursing tanks in varying colors, all made of the same breathable, soft fabric that’s earned it some rave reviews on Amazon.
Believe it or not, you can look and feel sexy in a breastfeeding-friendly top without compromising on material and accessibility.
This one, from A Pea in the Pod, is great for well-deserved date nights. It’s lightly lined, so it’s supportive without feeling thick, and has a pull-down feature that lets you breastfeed or pump freely. Plus, the sassy (yet classy) deep V cut and versatile black color make this tank perfect for dressing up or down depending on the occasion.
Nursing in the wintertime is especially tough if you have to take off endless layers (when all you want to do is bundle up). This nursing-friendly cardigan from Storq lets you stay warm as you snuggle with your little one under a soft, loose, blanket-like material.
It’s extra lightweight (thanks to its alpaca knit blend) and extra wide so it drapes beautifully over any outfit. It also has a center from snap closure for more discreet nursing. And while this is a pricier option, it’s a timeless piece that you can continue to wear beyond your breastfeeding days.