The 9 Best Pumping Bras
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in August of 2015. Today's moms know that breast milk is better than formula for their babies, as it contains vital nutrients and protective antibodies. These pumping bras make it more convenient to ensure your little one gets the best start in life, allowing you to do tasks like work on the computer, read, or even take a moment to relax (which is invaluable for mothers) while you fill those bottles. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best pumping bra on Amazon.
October 15, 2018:
We removed several that seemed to be getting increased negative reviews regarding comfort or usability and replaced them with models proved tried and true by moms. We tried to include a wide range of designs so mothers don't feel limited in their wardrobe options.
Why Pumping Bras Are Essential For Nursing
Even without this torture device, nursing bras are strong enough to provide plenty of support.
If you are a nursing mother who attempts to wear your standard bras during this special time, you'll quickly see why those just won't do. Regularly emptying the breast of milk and using proper technique are important steps to preventing painful mastitis. Traditional bras can interfere with effective nursing, which is why there are bras designed just for the task. In order to breastfeed in a regular bra, a mother would have to remove the item of clothing entirely. This is not only a nuisance, but sometimes it isn't even possible when women are out in public, or at work. Nursing bras can stay on during nursing or pumping. They have slits on the front, or sides, that the mother simply opens slightly to allow either her baby or pump to latch on.
These special brassieres also allow for hands-free pumping. By creating a nice seal around the nipple, they hold onto a breast pump, relieving the mama's hands of this task. This makes such an accessory essential for very busy mothers (which is pretty much all of them). When nursing directly from nipple to mouth, the flaps of these bras help a baby get better suction on his mother, guiding and securing his face in the right area. Nursing completely bra-less — which is what moms who don't have one of these accessories must do — usually results in the baby losing his latch and drifting away from the nipple. Unfortunately, when this happens, moms can be discouraged from breastfeeding entirely and can turn to formula bottle feeding. That's quite a shame since prolonged breastfeeding has been linked to better cognitive development in children.
Another wonderful perk of nursing bras is that they don't contain any underwire. Any woman, breastfeeding or not, can attest to the fact that this rigid addition to undergarments can be quite uncomfortable. However, that's especially true for nursing mothers, whose breast tissue is particularly sensitive at this time. Even without this torture device, nursing bras are strong enough to provide plenty of support.
What Makes A Great Pumping Bra
While all nursing bras are superior to any regular one while a woman's milk ducts are active, there are some features that truly enhance the experience of the wearer. A woman's body goes through many changes between pregnancy and breastfeeding. Her stomach, feet, and — of course — breasts expand and contract again. Though keeping a healthy BMI is important for increasing the chances of a healthy delivery, even the fittest of expecting and nursing mamas are bound to experience weight fluctuations. That's why a nursing bra with stretchy materials and adjustable settings is important. It will ensure the mother can get the proper fit through every phase of breastfeeding.
Some have removable and adjustable straps, so you can have a racerback, halter, or standard look.
There are several styles to choose from, and you'll happily find that you don't need to adjust your wardrobe to accommodate. If you like to wear low-cut tops or blouses with a couple of the buttons undone, you'll like the more traditional bikini-shaped designs. If you're in the market for a bit more coverage, there are wider, tube-top-like models. These tend to zip up in the front, and either tie or zip in the back. Some have removable and adjustable straps, so you can have a racerback, halter, or standard look. If you plan on trying several pumps, you'll want a bra with expandable nipple holes to suit models of all sizes.
Though you're very proud to be producing milk for your little one, maybe you don't want your nursing bra to show beneath clothes. Luckily, you can find one with flat seams that are barely noticeable beneath your shirt. If the hormonal roller coaster of motherhood is causing hot flashes, you may want a bra that breathes well, too. Should you need therapeutic pads, make sure your bra will accommodate these. Since it's no surprise this is an item you'll need to wash with some regularity, make sure yours is made from materials that won't warp or shrink in the machine.
Tips For Nursing On The Go
Working mothers and those with hectic schedules never know when or where they'll need to give their little one sustenance. Finding a private, comfortable place to feed isn't always easy, but there are some tips that can help. Many mothers find it useful to practice at home first, either in front of a mirror or family members. Try different positions to discover which one lets you feel the least exposed. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it with ease while out and about.
If you're traveling, bring extra battery packs for electric pumps, since wall outlets may not be available.
Wearing lots of flowing layers ensures you can lift one up, and create a private place for your baby to feed. When in doubt, a cozy nursing cover always helps. Being an expert planner is also key. Think about where you'll be throughout the day, and whether or not those locations will have a comfortable place for you to nurse. If you have to, adjust your schedule so you'll be near a good place to feed around the time you know your baby gets hungry.
Don't forget some of the items that will make feeding your little one easier wherever you are, like a good nursing pillow. If you're traveling, bring extra battery packs for electric pumps, since wall outlets may not be available. Always have plenty of water on hand, too, because you need to be properly hydrated in order to produce enough fluids for your little one. The most important thing of all is to remember that breastfeeding is perfectly natural, and if anyone around you is uncomfortable with it, that's their problem. They were once the little baby being nursed, after all.
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