Be Able To Nurse On Demand With The Best Nursing Bras (2018 Guide)
My nursing bra was my best friend once my son was born. I’m not kidding.
It was with me day in and day out, it supported me (no pun intended) and it helped me make it though those late night feedings and mid day pump sessions once I returned back to work.
At first, I had no idea which kind of nursing bra I should buy. I just knew I needed one.
But, as time went on, I learned which features were important and decided to do a trade in.
Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll get it right the first time around.
Read on to learn everything there is to know about choosing the best nursing bra so you can nurse whenever you need to!
What Is a Nursing Bra?
A nursing bra is a special bra that is extra supportive and allows you to nurse your baby (or pump) without having to physically take off your bra.
Do You Need a Nursing Bra?
I definitely think you need a nursing bra—it just saves time and is easy to use, especially if you are feeding in public!
You definitely need one if you are going back to work and you plan on pumping, as it’s kind of ridiculous to undress and dress again to pump.
It’s also helpful for moms who stay home, but who just like the convenience of its features, especially if there are other children in the home already.
Plus, when you first come home from the hospital, you’re going to be getting a lot of visitors. And, your baby is going to be hungry, often.
It just isn't practical to run in and out of rooms, taking your bra off and on, while you could simply stay put and utilize the removable cup feature and remain covered and discreet.
When Do You Need a Nursing Bra?
You need a nursing bra right from the get go!
In fact, mine was packed in my hospital bag so I could start using it right away and chat with the lactation consultant in case I had any questions about how to use it.
How Is a Nursing Bra Different Than a Maternity Bra?
A maternity bra is not to be confused with a nursing bra (or a regular bra for that matter).
A maternity bra is meant to replace bras you used to wear prior to pregnancy.
Your chest is going to grow substantially! Your body also widens and you may not fit in your pre-pregnancy stuff anymore.
A maternity bra has wide straps, and is extra supportive and comfortable (since your breast tissue is going to grow a lot and get much heavier).
Maternity bras do not consist of any underwire (thank goodness!) and it also has extra hooks on the back to adjust to your growing form.
A maternity bra also cannot be used for nursing because its cups are not removable.
However, I know a lot of ladies who have had some luck with finding a nursing bra that they decided to use while pregnant, just to get used to the fit and feel of it, and to use once their regular bra started becoming uncomfortable.
I decided to make the two separate purchases—maternity bra and nursing bra, but it’s really up to your preference and budget.
How Many Nursing Bras Do You Need?
I always made it a point to have at least two nursing bras on hand.
This way, when one was being washed, I could wear the other.
The Importance of Finding the Right Fit
Whether you choose a maternity bra or nursing bra, the fit is key.
You’re already feeling uncomfortable enough as your body grows and changes. The last thing that should give you trouble is your bra!
Plus, you want to make sure you size up a cup in your nursing bra if you’re wearing it during pregnancy, because your breasts will grow once your milk comes in.
5 Tips for Finding the Right Fit
Here are five helpful tips that helps me find the right fit:
- 1Choose cotton. Not only is it stretchy, but it’s comfortable and it dries quickly if you have a leaking issue.
- 2Go up a cup. Trust me, your boobs will start to swell once your milk comes in and you don’t want to be wearing anything too tight because things will get uncomfortable quickly.
- 3Thick, adjustable straps. The thicker the straps the better, in my opinion. It helped me adjust my posture, which took less stress off my back. And, the ladies will sit up nice and high, and will be pain free, even when it’s time to feed or pump.
- 4Look where it lays. If the top of your bra is squished tightly on top of your breast tissue, it could not just lead to discomfort, but clogged milk ducts.
- 5Get measured. Who said you have to go at this alone? I got measured, and boy did it help! I learned that nearly 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size, pregnant or not.
How to Measure
Here is how my nursing bra size was determined.
First, I wore a non-padded bra that I felt fit me well.
The assistant wrapped measuring tape around my rib cage, just under my bust (this is where many women who measure on their own goof up), and my measurement came out to 36 inches. This was my band size.
If you end up measuring in between an “even” size it is suggested you round up when pregnant, so you have a little wiggle room, and a more relaxed fit.
When it’s time to determine your cup, you need to measure around the fullest part of your breast.
Be sure to position it loosely, since you want to factor in some growing room.
Make sure you subtract the number of this measurement by your band size and check with the manufacturer’s website to determine your cup size.
For example, if your breast measurement is 41 inches and your band is 38 inches, you would have a difference of three inches, and for many companies, this would put you in the C cup range.
Important Features to Look For
Now that you know how to measure and how to find the right fit, look for the following features in your bra:
Best Nursing Bras
Practicality and comfort are at the top of the list of most new mom's needs when it comes to nursing bras, and this nursing bralette from Hofish (click here to check the price on Amazon) uses gentle compression to reduce motion while maximizing support.
The cups can be unsnapped one-handed, and once open they fold down and stay down making nursing or pumping easy.
This three-pack of bras also comes with matching extenders to keep them comfortable even if your weight or cup size fluctuates.
The seamless design and ultra soft fabric make the Hofish nursing bralette a great choice for when you are sensitive or sore, will flatter your new curves and will look great under any outfit.
#2. Hofish Seamless
For moms who prefer a more shapely bra, another great option from Hofish is their wireless Deep V Push Up Nursing Bra (click here to check the price on Amazon).
As your shape changes, this bra accommodates you thanks to its stretchy yet soft modal fabric. Molded foam cups help add support and provide gentle shaping, but are removable if you prefer a softer shape.
The deep V-neck design makes this bra more breathable than some other nursing bras and looks great under shirts.
Like the nursing bralette, these bras are easy to undo with one hand making breastfeeding easier.
They also come as a 3-pack and include matching extenders.
#3. BAOMOSI Seamless
The Baomosi Seamless Nursing Maternity Bra (click here to check the price on Amazon) fits smoothly under clothing and has discreet nursing clips which allow you to detach each cup from the shoulder straps with only one hand.
The coverage is excellent, and yet the low cut prevents it from peeking under your shirt.
Many women feel that because it looks like a regular bra but feels like a sports bra that the Baomosi makes it a great choice even if you have a larger bust.
Light padding and comfortable fabric make for a smoother fit and hide lumps and bumps as well as underarm engorgement making it a great T-shirt bra.
#4. Lataly Wireless
If you need a nursing bra that can continue to offer support and protection overnight, the Lataly Sleeping and Nursing Bra (click here to check the price on Amazon) makes breastfeeding through the night less difficult.
The hook and eye closure in the back has three rows rather than two, making the wide chest band more supportive and secure.
The fabric under the arms is higher than on a normal bra and helps create a smooth look.
Like other nursing bras, one-handed snaps allow easy access for feedings.
However, this bra differs in that it is stretchier and can be worn while sleeping to help support sore breasts.
The soft shape of the Cakye Maternity Nursing and Sleep Bra (click here to check the price on Amazon) is similar to a sports bra and is designed to accommodate fluctuating breast size.
The cotton fabric is breathable making this bra a good option for use as a sleeping bra.
If you need to use breast pads, the stretchy cups have convenient mesh pockets that can easily accommodate pads and keep them snugly in place.
Some women with larger chests may find that this bra is less supportive than other brands, but it is for exactly this reason that many women find it more comfortable than highly padded and compressive hook and eye bras.
While the Lamaze Sleep Bra for Nursing and Maternity (click here to check the price on Amazon) can be used as a comfortable sleeping bra whenever you are breastfeeding, it can also be particularly useful during the postpartum period thanks to its soft feel and comfortable fit.
If plugged ducts are a concern of yours, this may be a better choice for you than more restrictive bras.
Some wearers also note that, while this bra may have occasional manufacturing flaws, it is one of the best inexpensive sleeping bras available.
The iLoveSIA Seamless Nursing Bralette (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a great compromise for moms that need the support of a hook and eye bra, but prefer the softness of sleep bra styles.
The back closes with four rows of hooks while the front of the bra has stretchy ribbed fabric so that it can accommodate engorged breasts.
The bra has removable molded foam cups that add a bit of support or can hide breast pads.
This is an ideal design for the first few days back home with your baby since it's comfortable enough to wear throughout the day as loungewear.
#8. Kindred Bravely
Kindred Bravely's French Terry Nursing Bra (click here to check the price on Amazon) is definitely a crowd favorite among pregnant and nursing mothers.
Not only are the racer back design and French terry material of the bra ultra comfortable, but because it has no underwire, clasps, or padding, it can be used as a sleeping bra.
Most importantly, Kindred Bravely offers this bra in both normal and 'busty' sizes so that women who have difficulty fitting into sports style bras won't struggle with sizing. Sizes XL and above use a chest band for extra support.
If you've had a hard time finding a nursing bra that fits well, then try the Kindred Bravely.
The two most notable features of the Gratlin Comfort Maternity and Nursing Bra (click here to check the price on Amazon) are its tightly knitted chest band and body-hugging fabric.
Together, they allow for a stretchy but molded fit that hides underarm bulges and gently shapes the bust.
Removable cup pads help contour your breasts and also camouflage breast pads if needed.
Unfortunately, the Gratlin nursing bra does not come in larger cup sizes and is best suited for women that are a DD-cup or smaller.
But for most women, this is a reliable workhorse of a bra.
For pregnant or nursing mothers on a budget, the Fittin Maternity and Nursing Bra (click here to check the price on Amazon) offers great support for less money.
The low-plunging bust line makes it ideal for wearing under blouses and the supportive and wide chest band makes it possible to wear this bra all day.
Unfortunately, these bras have non-removable padding, which can be an issue during the first few months of nursing.
Additionally, some moms noted that the clips that release the bra cups break easily.
However, their low cost and smooth fit make them a good t-shirt bra.
#11. Kindred Bravely
This award winning bra from Kindred Bravely (click here to check the price on Amazon) boasts a wireless design and is very soft and snug, and has drop down cups, which can be adjusted with ease.
The bra is stretchy overall, and many women choose to use it as their maternity bra. It does have a memory feature, which hugs your body as it grows and changes back to your original form.
This bra is sold in sizes that range from small to extra large, so it’s important that you pay close attention to the sizing chart.
You also have to follow care and cleaning guidelines to avoid shrinking and to help it maintain its form.
In addition to the features, it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can keep it if you love it, or send it back if you don’t!
#12. Curve Muse
This bra from Curve Muse (click here to check the price on Amazon) is designed in a cotton-spandex blend, so you are not just getting something breathable, but something that will be comfortable because it is able to stretch and move with you.
And, it kicks things up a notch by boasting delicate lace trim, making you feel sexy in your new body.
Moms can nurse easily because it has a one hand release clasp, so you can hold your baby or pumping equipment in one hand, while your other does the work.
In addition, the bra is wirefree, so it won’t dig into your body or breasts over time. And, it’s available in sizes that range from 34-48 C, D, and DD.
It does need to be hand washed to maintain its form and shape, and also laid flat to dry, rather than put in a drying machine.
#13. Mothers en Vogue
This nursing bra from Mothers en Vogue (click here to check the price on Amazon) is ideal for smaller busted moms from the get go.
It’s a very stretchy yet supportive bra that is used by pulling it down/above or over to the side of the breast to nurse or pump, and has a demi cup shape and it’s comfortable enough to sleep in, which many moms do, for added support.
The bra is composed of a cotton-nylon-spandex blend, so it’s not just comfortable and stretchy, but it’s breathable and can absorb spills or leaks quickly.
You can also utilize its removable molded padding for additional support, or as an additional layer to your nursing pads.
This unique bra from Topwhere (click here to check the price on Amazon) can be worn when pregnant or after delivery, and provides plenty of padding and also some push up, so your girls look and feel their best!
The bra is designed with zero underwire, so you know you’ll be wearing something super comfy. It allows for a one handed clasp so you don’t have to put your baby down when it’s time to nurse.
Its foam inserts can also be removed if you’re feeling over engorged, or if you want to use nursing pads instead.
Each shoulder strap is totally adjustable, so you get a great fit all the time, and the overall blend of the bra is soft and stretchy, so it is ultra comfortable (wear it overnight!) and breathable regardless of what you’re wearing or the temperature outdoors.
#15. Happy Lily
This maternity and nursing bra from Happy Lily (click here to check the price on Amazon) mimics the shape and design of a sports bra.
It’s unique because it is composed of natural silk, so it’s soft and smooth, and it also boasts a double layer of padded cups (but it’s still suggested you utilize nursing pads). Each of the cups is lined with 100% cotton, so you get something breathable on your breasts.
It has a front hook fastener, and 4 rows of hooks and eyes. So, the bra grows and shrinks when you and your breasts do. Each strap is wide and supportive, and it’s specialized hemming supports a large chest.
The bra doesn’t stretch like the typical maternity bra does, but because it has so many hooks and eyes, you should have no difficulty getting a great fit. It contains zero wire and is recommended to be hand washed to maintain the overall integrity of the bra.
In addition to wearing it on a daily basis, many moms also wear this while they sleep and work out.
Who knew there was so much to think about when choosing a nursing bra?
Consider your body, your preferences, and your lifestyle before making a selection.
And, don’t be afraid to get some outside help and get measured so you can achieve the right fit.
A nursing bra will be with you day in and day out, for at least the first year of your baby’s life, so choose wisely!