Gear

Best Nursing Bras: How to Choose the Perfect Fit for You

by Kitty O’Callaghan


Best Nursing Bras: How to Choose the Perfect Fit for You
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Back in the day, nursing bras were the orthopedic shoes of lingerie: very useful but also kind of demoralizing. Fortunately, most bra companies have come around to the idea that new moms might like to feel supported physically and emotionally. Today’s designs offer lots of styles, fabrics and colors that cater to every mom’s size and situation, from firm, structured bras with seamed cups and wide bands to wrap-front seamless numbers that stretch like loungewear to handle months of shape-shifting.

 

Make no mistake: Choosing a feel-good nursing bra is not an indulgence, it is vital. Often worn 24/7, nursing bras may stay in your rotation for months or even years. Of course, the best nursing bras out there (see below) are only as good as their fit and function on your body, and no bra will work magic for everyone. And even the idea of your “perfect” nursing bra may change the longer you nurse, as your breasts settle into a different size or you return to work.

 

Whatever your situation, it’s always a good idea to try before you buy and to keep your online receipt for returns. (see below for fit tips). It may take more than a few trips to the dressing room to find what fits you and your miraculous body, but the results are worth it.

 

 

 

  • Best Everyday Nursing Bra

 

Bradado! Designs Women’s Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

 

Target Medela seamless Nursing Bra

 

  • Best Affordable Nursing Bra

 

I Love Sia 3 Pack

 

Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra

 

  • Best Nighttime Nursing Bra

 

Mesh Trim Wrap Nursing Bra

 

Maternity Lace Racerback Nursing Sleep Bra

 

Cakye’s 3-Pack Nursing Bra

 

  • Best Breast-Pumping Nursing Bra

 

Rumina Hands-Free Pumping And Nursing Bra

 

Momcozy Hands-Free Nursing Bra Accessory

 

  • Best Sexy Nursing Bra

 

Paramour Women’s Contour Nursing Bra

 

  • Best Plus-Size Nursing Bra

 

Leading Lady Women’s Wireless Nursing Bra

 

Motherhood Maternity Plus Size Seamless Clip Down Nursing Bra

 

  • Best Nursing Bra For Large Breasts

 

Bare Necessities Goddess Keira

 

  • Best Nursing Bra For Petite Women

 

Cosabella Never Say Never Maternity Soft Cup Nursing Bralette

 

H&M MAMA 2-Pack Nursing Bras

 

  • Best Low-Neck Nursing Bra

 

Kindred Bravely Marvella Classic Nursing Bra

 

  • Best Strapless Nursing Bra

 

La Leche League Convertible Strapless Nursing Bra

 

  • Best Sports Nursing Bra

 

La Leche League International Sports Nursing Bra

 

Glamorise Women’s Full Figure Elite Performance Adjustable Wonderwire Sports Bra

 

 

Nursing Bras: All of Your Questions Answered 

 

        • How Does a Nursing Bra Work?
        • When Do I Need a Nursing Bra?
        • Where Can I Buy a Nursing Bra?
        • Why Do I Need a Nursing Bra?
        • What Are the Types of Nursing Bras?
        • What Should I Consider When Choosing a Nursing Bra?

 

How Does a Nursing Bra Work?

Detachable panels or cups pull down or to the side, allowing you to nurse your baby without having to take off your entire bra. The panels are attached by a clasp on top of the shoulder band or along base of the bra.

 

When Do I Need a Nursing Bra?

You’ll want a nursing bra for added support as soon as you start nursing. To give yourself time to find one that feels right, it makes sense to shop before your due date. Keep in mind that your breasts will certainly change when your milk comes in, both in size and soreness, so opt for a comfortable style where less is more — seamless and wireless.

 

Where Can I Buy a Nursing Bra?

The easiest place to find nursing bras, of course, is online. Type in “nursing bras” and you will be flooded with results. Luckily, you can find sizing calculators to help you find a good fit before you click and buy. For brick-and-mortar options, you can choose from many national retailers, like Macy’s, Target, Nordstrom and Walmart, who carry nursing bras. (Tip: Call first to see if they are currently in stock.) Or you can go to a maternity boutique, such as Motherhood Maternity. This type of speciality store will not only carry nursing bras but also may have a professional fitter on staff who can help you find the right size and comfortable fit.

 

Why Do I Need a Nursing Bra?

In other words, “Why can’t I just wear a regular bra in a larger size?” Well, you can but why make yourself crazy? Nursing bras are designed to make things easier for you and your baby as you both try to make nursing work. The clasped pull-down or pull-aside panels make feeding convenient without sacrificing support. As any veteran mom can tell you, lactating breasts can be uncomfortably heavy or rock hard when engorged with milk or sore to the touch if you are struggling with mastitis or a blocked duct. Regular bras are not designed to expose a breast and trying to make that work by pulling down or hiking up a side can put pressure on an already tender area. And last, but not least, nursing bra sizing is not limited to A-DD but offers up half of the alphabet.

 

What Are the Types of Nursing Bras?

Nursing bras come in a variety of styles, including:

 

        • Soft Cup Nursing Bra

          The most common nursing bra design features a flexible molded cup support instead of underwire.

 

        • Sleep Nursing Bra

          Nighttime nursing bras give you support (a must for side sleepers) without hooks or clasps that dig into your skin.

 

        • Sports Nursing Bra:

          Like regular sports bras, these nursing bras offer moisture-wicking material, more compression support, wider shoulder straps and no-roll bands underneath.

 

        • Breast-pumping Nursing Bra

          These bras have slits or layered panels that fit a pump’s flange and allow for hands-free pumping. (Check sizing limits — this type of nursing bra may not work for larger cup sizes.)

 

        • Seamless Nursing Bra

          Cups made of stretchy material instead of constructed seams that could irritate already irritated nipples.

 

        • Strapless Nursing Bra

          Bandeau nursing bras with lift-up panels to let you wear strappy summer dresses, halters or other shoulder-baring styles.

 

What Should I Consider When Choosing a Nursing Bra?

Nursing bras must be comfortable and convenient for you. Here are some design features that can be deal makers or deal breakers:

 

        • One-handed release:

          How easy is the clasp to fasten and unfasten? Remember your other hand will be holding a squirmy and impatient baby.

 

        • No-roll band:

          Without underwire, a wider, no-roll band helps keep you comfortable.

 

        • Extra padding on shoulder straps:

          At the upper end of the size chart, even the best-fitting bra can dig into shoulders. Added padding can help prevent discomfort.

        • Extenders:

          A short band of extra hooks and eyes that lengthens the bra band. A very handy feature when your body can’t decide what size it is. Some nursing bras come with extenders included.

 

        • Nursing pads:

          Bras may come with removable nursing pads, which can save your bras and your shirts… and your pride.

 

        • Breathable fabric:

          It’s hard enough to stay dry in the first year of motherhood. Night sweats, leaking, baby spit-up… so look for nursing bras made from cotton or moisture-wicking fabric.

 

        • Fastening hooks or pull-over style:

          Whatever is most comfortable for you is the best for you. Note: If you’ve had a C-section, you may not be able to pull a bra over your head for a few weeks.

 

Now that you know everything about nursing bras, it’s time to pick one. Here are some of the best ones out there.

 

Best Everyday Nursing Bra

Image Credits: Nordstrom

Bravado! Designs Women’s Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

Price:$49.00

This seamless bra offers a large range of sizes for all moms, has one-handed clasps at the straps and removable molded foam cups for modest, smooth coverage under tees.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Excellent quality with ideal level of support, plus removable pads allow for a more natural contour.”

“This bra is extremely comfortable and easy to use! I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a soft, ‘barely there’ feeling nursing bra.”

“I love how it stretches as your breasts fill with milk and it even fits perfectly after your milk has been released!”

Image Credits: Target

Target Medela Seamless Nursing Bra

Price:$23.00

Casual and comfy, this Medela bra made of stretchy nylon features thin, padded cups, a no-roll band, and it can be reconfigured to a cross-strap back.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“It's a great choice for those first weeks after delivery.”

“The fabric is soft and very stretchy so I think it will stretch as I nurse. There is not much support, but this bra is perfect for wearing under a loose shirt, at night, or around the house.”

“Better than any of the expensive ones I bought.”

Best Affordable Nursing Bra

Image Credits: Amazon

I LoveSia 3 Pack

Price:$25.00

For one budget-friendly price, this nursing bra 3-pack gives you one to wear, one to wash and one that’s ready to go. Design features include one-hand nursing clips, removable foam cups and seamless soft fabric.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“They are incredibly easy to hook/unhook with one hand (so important especially when nursing in public!). The price is incredible, and the quality is very good. I have had no problems putting these in the washing machine (I use a lingerie bag) and I hang them to dry. Just be sure to straighten out the pad insert after washing.”

“Best bras at this price! I like that these bras work with your ever-changing boob size in the beginning of breastfeeding.”

“The snap that releases the bra part so you can nurse is very easy to maneuver, even in the dark at 3am.”

Image Credits: Walmart

Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra

Price:$17.00

Good coverage at a great price, this Playtex nursing bra has wide, no-dig straps and higher sides, and the drop-down soft foam cups and stretching fabric offer gently shaping support.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“There is nothing scratchy or uncomfortable about it and it is super supportive for me. The hooks (for the cups) stay hooked when you bend over and move around a lot, they are secure and easy to hook/unhook.”

“This bra is super comfortable and very supportive. Also, it looks really nice! Even better, it's affordable. A lot of others like this are over $30.”

“It looks like I am wearing a underwire bra even though this bra is wire free and way more comfortable!”

Best Nighttime Nursing Bra

Image Credits: A Pea in the Pod

Mesh Trim Wrap Nursing Bra

Price:$38.00

No hooks, no clasps, no kidding! This nighttime nursing bra is made of light spandex and pulls on over your head, with unlined breast panels that are easily pulled aside for nursing.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This bra is very comfortable. Not super supportive but definitely quick, easy access for baby. Recommend!”

“Comfortable enough to sleep in and cute enough to layer!”

Image Credits: Motherhood Maternity

Maternity Lace Racerback Nursing Sleep Bra

Price:$20.00

A racerback panel keeps straps in place while giving light support. The stretch fabric moves with you and features a pretty lace overlay detail, just because.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This is my favorite nursing bra, hands down! So comfortable, cute, and allows me to breastfeed with ease. I have one in every color.”

“The fabric is comfortable, it fits nicely...the girls stay in place at night.”

Image Credits: Amazon

Cakye’s 3-Pack Nursing Bra

Price:$20.00

This affordable, fastener-free sleep bra checks off all the boxes for comfort and convenience: Its pull-aside design is made of breathable cotton, and it has wide shoulder bands and a soft, elastic-free rib band. The best perks, however, are the interior pockets for nursing pads that keep the soft fabric next to your nipples.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Very comfortable, soft, and stretchy material that gives enough support without making any current swelling or tenderness worse.”

“My son is now 10 months, Im back to 34D. Still wearing them every night to sleep. Very comfy and good quality.”

Best Breast-Pumping Nursing Bra

Image Credits: Amazon

Rumina Hands-Free Pumping and Nursing Bra

Price:$28.00

This unique bra design features overlapping fabric panels rather than fixed central openings, allowing you to bring the pump to the proper location of your nipple. Made of breathable, seamless cotton, this pullover bra is also great for nighttime.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This bra is one of my favorites for a typical day around the house. It's nice to just take my shirt off and pump without taking off and putting on another bra.”

“I bought this for use on the overnight pumping sessions.”

“It's easier than fussing with the "holes" pumping bras when you're half-awake.”

Image Credits: Amazon

Momcozy Hands-Free Nursing Bra Accessory

Price:$20.00

No need to change into different bras when you want hands-free pumping. Momcozy’s cotton and spandex accessory clips onto the strap clasps of your favorite nursing bra, transforming it into a hands-free pumping design.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I really like this product! It allows me to wear my more supportive nursing bra at work and attach this for hands-free pumping. This accessory just snaps onto my nursing tank and holds the pump parts perfectly.”

“I keep it in my pump bag at work and it doesn’t take up much room. It clips right onto a nursing bra and makes it easy to do hands-free pumping. It’s a comfortable material and keeps everything in place.”

Best Sexy Nursing Bra

Image Credits: Bare Necessities

Paramour Women’s Contour Nursing Bra

Price:$45.00

Seamless, contouring cups with light underwire support, side-smoothing panels and lace detailing offer a shapely silhouette (no uni-boob) that is flattering under any top. Or no top.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“It is very soft and the wires are comfortable. Plenty of strap over shoulder for my tall frame.”

“I bought this nursing bra a month ago and I really like it. It is VERY comfortable and smooth. The straps sit securely on my shoulders and do not dig in at all and the cups support me well. My only concern is that it runs a little small.”

Best Plus-Size Nursing Bra

Image Credits: Amazon

Leading Lady Women’s Wireless Nursing Bra

Price:$33.00

The key to this soft cotton nursing bra is the wide shoulder-strap design that distributes downward force to prevent digging. Another plus: he drop-down panels have three adjustable-height hook clasps with fabric backing (no plastic clips touching your skin).

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The bra has comfortable shoulder straps and is a breathable cotton material.”

“The bra basics are spot on--the wide shoulder straps are comfortable and the wide back clasp is supportive. The bra has plenty of room for adjustments as your size requirements change during pregnancy and nursing.”

“Nice comfortable nursing bra especially for a larger size woman. It was hard to find nursing bras for true plus size women without paying an outrageous price.”

Image Credits: Motherhood Maternity

Motherhood Maternity Plus Size Seamless Clip Down Nursing Bra

Price:$25.00

This plus-size nursing bra offers full coverage (no spillage) that’s super comfortable. It features removable pads and a seamless design of nylon/spandex stretch that works with your shape.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“No bulges and no uniboob. So comfortable.”

“I wear it all day and it doesn't bother me or dig into me.”

“This bra is so soft, no digging into your ribs or shoulders.”

Best Nursing Bra for Large Breasts

Image Credits: Bare Necessities

Bare Necessities Goddess Keira

Price:$48.00

With this pretty satin bra, support comes from all quarters — four quarters, that is. The soft, pull-down cup is constructed with four seamed panels and side boning for keeping everything in its place. Available in sizes Sizes 36DD-46N.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I am currently in a size 38n. To find a bra that can hold you up and in, and not look like something circa 1925 is amazing!”

“Little did I know that it would become one of the best bras to have at the start of nursing when I'm dealing with overly full breast. I would recommend this bra to any woman to keep for when breast are fully and a routine isn't established yet.”

“Most nursing bras I've tried that don't have an underwire end up fitting like a sports bra and create a huge squished uniboob. That's not a problem here, yay!”

Best Nursing Bra for Petite Women

Image Credits: Bloomingdale

Cosabella Never Say Never Maternity Soft Cup Nursing Bralette

Price:$79.00

As the name implies, a “bralette” often works best smaller women and smaller breasts. This model from Cosabella is a wireless pullover nursing bra that offers a nice fit for petite moms who don’t need industrial-strength support. Soft foam cups lie underneath the lace fabric to keep nipples both comfortable and covered.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I’m usually a small in most things but I ordered a medium in this and it’s comfortable, don’t smush the girls in the name of vanity.”

“Runs a bit small, I bought medium though I usually run at 34B and I feel like I could almost go with large.”

Image Credits: H&M

H&M MAMA 2-Pack Nursing Bras

Price:$30.00

Cute bras perfect for smaller breasts, these soft-cup nursing bras made with organic cotton jersey, feature sewn-in light padding for smooth coverage that doesn’t shift or bunch.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I liked how the padding is sewn in and not loose like other nursing bras have. They're soft and made out of cotton.”

“No lift but I wasn’t looking for that to be honest.”

“I love how comfy these nursing bras are! They fit perfectly.”

Best Low-Neck Nursing Bra

Image Credits: Amazon

Kindred Bravely Marvella Classic Nursing Bra

Price:$50.00

Featuring a deep V-cut front and seamless, molded cups and a racerback panel, this pullover nursing bra by Kindred Bravely works well with all shirt styles.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The fabric is so soft that feel like I'm not wearing a bra at all! It is full coverage and fit exactly as I expected. The only area I can find for improvement is that I wish it provided a bit more of a push up... but that would probably prevent it from being so comfy!”

“This bra provides comfort, support, and hides nursing pads.”

“I love the feel of this nursing bra. It is super soft!”

Best Strapless Nursing Bra

Image Credits: Walmart

La Leche League Convertible Strapless Nursing Bra

Price:$12.00

For all shoulder-baring styles, this bandeau nursing bra from La Leche League keeps you looking carefree yet covered, with removable contour pads and gentle, no-roll elastic band on top, and a nursing pane that lifts up from the bottom. This bra also comes with optional clear shoulder straps that crisscross in the back.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“This nursing bra has good support. It is a little tight so I'd probably order a size bigger than you think you'd need. I was happy to find a strapless nursing bra, there aren't many available to buy.”

“I currently wear a 36C and ordered a M in this bra. I should have ordered a L b/c the bands were extremely tight on me. Other than that, it allowed me to wear an off-the-shoulder top and nurse easily as needed.”

Best Sports Nursing Bra

Image Credits: Amazon

La Leche League International Sports Nursing Bra

Price:$31.00

This stretchy sports bra keeps the girls gently in place during medium impact activities, like yoga, running or laundry lifting. It’s made of polyester, cotton and spandex, and has pull-down cups and a wide racerback panel with stretch that moves with you.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I have been living in this bra ever since I got it. It is super comfortable and supportive enough to let me run without discomfort.”

“I feed my son immediately before going out for a 3 mile run in this bra.”

““It was the right size for me and very comfortable. It provided adequate support (not quite passing my jumping jack standard, but good enough for a run).”

Image Credits: Amazon

Glamorise Women’s Full Figure Elite Performance Adjustable Wonderwire Sports Bra

Price:$92.00

While many sport bras are good at smushing breasts, the Glamorise relies less on the stretch and more on construction — namely, separated, underwire support and adjustable straps. High top and side coverage are also a plus, especially for larger busts.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Seriously: little to no bounce. LOVE it!!!”

“My boobs have their own little pockets, my mile long cleavage is covered and I don't have one big boob. I like it.”

“No bounce no monoboob. No hideous midback squeeze. No band ride up. Excellent! The neck is higher than I'm used to but eliminates bounce while doing high impact workouts.”