The 10 Best Nursing Bras
This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in May of 2015. The period from when your children are born until they are weaned can be uncomfortable and awkward without the right nursing bra. Whether you are looking for a model that can stand up to a baby's regular demands or something you can wear to work or the gym, our selection offers a wide variety of styles and sizes to meet all your fashion, comfort, and breastfeeding needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 30, 2020:
While not every woman decides she wants to wear a nursing bra after her baby is born, if you do choose to wear one, fit, efficacy, and comfort are of vital importance. After that comes coverage, style, fabric, and other concerns. To meet the needs of women with bodies of all shapes and sizes, we did our best to curate a varied list with options to fit many requirements. That being said, this is a category that can be tricky to find the perfect item on the first go, so pay special attention to sizing and be aware that it might take a few tries to get the right one.
Today we said goodbye to the Anita Maternity Microfiber, Lamaze Cotton Sleep, and Gratlin Lace to make room for more reliable and popular designs. We didn't want to lose out on the benefit the Gratlin Lace brings to fuller-figured ladies, so we swapped it for the Gratlin Comfort Cotton, which provides a sports bra style in supportive plus sizes. We also brought on the Kindred Bravely Sublime to extend our offerings for active women, and the Hofish Full Bust for a budget-friendly, everyday option that can be worn out as well as comfortably lounged in. If you're looking for a soft sleeper style from the same well-loved Kindred Bravely brand, opt for the Kindred Bravely Black.
While we have a separate list for pumping bras, we still felt it important to have at least one on this list, and the extremely popular Simple Wishes Signature more than fits the bill. It's compatible with all major brands of breast pumps, can be adjusted in a handful of ways to get the sizing right, offers complete coverage, and can be washed in the machine rather than by hand.
Third Love 24/7 Classic Third Love is notable for their dedication to a proper fit, with sizes running from A-I. This nursing version of the company's bestselling bra is crafted from cotton and spandex and features thin memory foam cups that form to your body. The double-layered band smooths your back and is outfitted with a foam-padded hook and eye closure with extended sizing. It also contains flexible nickel-free wires and is tagless for comfort. thirdlove.com
Morrow + Mint Lace & Dot Longline Often nursing bras favor function over form, and for good reason, but if you're looking for something aesthetically pleasing as well as lightly supportive, this pullover-style longline bralette from Morrow + Mint is a solid choice. Available in black or white, it sports a sheer lace and polka-dot overlay that slips off easily, adjustable straps, and removable pads. The company also offers a range of other stylish pieces in myriad sizes and colors. morrowandmint.com
Knix Leakproof Made from adaptive fabric and outfitted with patented leakproof pads, this model from Knix was designed to conform to your shape, feeling snug at first but fitting just right after a few wears. The 5-row back closure and band extender help for fluctuating sizing, while stretch fabric supports without restricting. knix.ca
The Advantages Of Wearing A Nursing Bra
Fortunately, nursing bras can accommodate this size fluctuation, so you don't need to spend a lot of money on a new bra every few weeks.
When you bring a newborn home, you'll have a long list of items you need to buy (or need your significant other to buy while you rest). Understanding each one, and whether or not you need them, can be overwhelming, but one thing you simply cannot be without as a new mom is a nursing bra. When you're nursing, your breasts are incredibly sensitive. Normal bras aren't always made from materials that will protect your delicate breast tissue at this time, but nursing bras are specifically designed to prevent chafing, as well as cover more of each breast to offer more protection.
Ensuring your baby properly latches onto your nipple and drinks as much milk as he needs isn't just important for his nutrition, but also for your health. Failing to do so can lead to issues like mastitis, breast engorgement, and other painful conditions for the mother. Unfortunately, because new moms can often feel embarrassed about undoing a regular bra in public to breastfeed, they can sometimes wait too long to do so, which is bad for them and the baby.
Nursing bras are designed to allow you to feed your baby without taking off your entire bra. So, whenever your breasts feel full, you can fill up some bottles and get on with your day. These special bras are also made without underwire, which is a dream come true for any woman, nursing or not. This is especially important for new moms, though, because underwire can block the milk ducts, which can be quite dangerous.
Another concern of new mothers is how gravity will affect their breasts. Many moms are devastated to discover that their breasts sag significantly after nursing. But nursing bras are made from materials that can lift and support even heavy, milk-engorged breasts, allowing new moms to get back to their pre-baby body sooner. Nursing breasts don't only sag, but they can also drastically change in size. Fortunately, nursing bras can accommodate this size fluctuation, so you don't need to spend a lot of money on a new bra every few weeks.
The Benefits Of Breast Milk For Your Baby
Before you forego nursing bras entirely because you just plan on giving your baby formula, you should consider the many benefits of feeding him breast milk. Breast milk contains all of the vitamins and nutrients your baby's growing body needs in his first years of life. This includes colostrum, which is incredibly high in antibodies to help your little one fight off illness. Colostrum also works as a mild laxative, helping your baby relieve himself of some of the waste his body accumulated in the womb, thereby preventing jaundice. Breast milk also contains something called mature milk, which contains protein, carbohydrates, water, white blood cells, and other compounds critical to your baby's development. After the first few weeks of breastfeeding, the milk changes and carries an antibacterial enzyme called lysozyme, which is also important in fighting off disease in newborns.
Before you forego nursing bras entirely because you just plan on giving your baby formula, you should consider the many benefits of feeding him breast milk.
Breastfeeding doesn't only protect your baby's health while he nurses, but long after, too. In fact, breastfeeding can reduce your child's chances of developing chronic conditions like Crohn's disease, diabetes, and Celiac disease. Breast milk also contains an immune factor called secretory IgA that you simply cannot get in formula. Doctors believe that this factor reduces the likelihood of children developing allergies later in life. Really, only the breast milk from a baby's mother is tailored perfectly to his health.
Breastfeeding is even beneficial to the mother's health. Research suggests that nursing may reduce a woman's risk of cardiovascular disease. Other studies have found that women who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer. Nursing can also help a woman during the critical months after giving birth. The release of prolactin and oxytocin that occurs while breastfeeding may help fight postpartum depression. Oxytocin can also help a woman's uterus return to its regular size quicker, reducing the chances of postpartum bleeding.
What Makes A Good Nursing Bra
If you plan on going back to work while nursing and before maternity leave is over (something nearly half of new moms do), then you'll want a nursing bra that is discreet. When you want your colleagues focusing on your presentation, you don't want them distracted by the seams of a bulky nursing bra. Fortunately, there are models that are seamless and boast a low neckline, meaning they won't limit your wardrobe options or show under your clothes. There are even nursing bras that will allow you to get back to your workout routine sooner. These models will often wick away moisture and contain movement during exercise.
There is no right or wrong style, it just depends on what you're comfortable with.
Any new mom will appreciate extra-wide, padded straps that can bear the load of milk-filled breasts. You don't want to have those unsightly strap indents on your shoulders at the end of the day. On the topic of straps, many are adjustable to accommodate the fluctuating size of your breasts while you empty and refill your milk ducts throughout the day. You should also check that your nursing bra has room for breast pads so you can prevent leakage without feeling that your bra is too tight.
The main purpose of your nursing bra is to allow you to provide your little one with sustenance throughout the day in a way that is convenient and comfortable for you. For this reason, you should consider what sort of access you'd like to give your baby. Some bras are designed to allow you to swiftly pull the entire cup to the side, while others don't require you to move the cup at all, but rather have small openings built right over the nipples. There is no right or wrong style, it just depends on what you're comfortable with. If you plan on changing in and out of your nursing bra, just make sure it folds easily so you can toss it in your baby tote bag when on the go.