These Hands-Free Pumping Bras Make My Life as a Labor and Delivery Nurse Easier
by Sarah Shapiro BSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM, FN-CSA
Image Credits: Ollie Gray
I tested pumping bras from Medela, Hatch, Simple Wishes, and more.
Finding a hands-free pumping bra changed my life as a first-time breastfeeding mom, and I’m pretty sure it’s the reason I’m still doing nursing and pumping 15 months later. I have pumped almost all of my son’s life due to some jaundice and supply issues. But most important, I’m a nurse, and when I went back to work, I wanted this journey to continue. Using a hands-free bra helped make that possible.
I love breastfeeding my son, and the contact time and the bond it helps us forge is one of a kind. I needed to figure out how to keep that going when we are not together, which means a lot of pumping. Hands-free pumping allows me to utilize my time more efficiently and continue to multitask. Driving to work? Lunch break at work? Pumping time. It’s less of a chore and more just a part of my life, so here I am months later, still pumping while we are apart. With the right hands-free pumping bra, that might become the case for you too.
What to Look for in a Hands-Free Pumping Bra
There’s a lot out there in the world of pumping bras today. There are pumping bras you can wear all day, pumping bras you can zip into, pumping bras with a lot of support, pumping bras with less support, and pumping bras that come in a million different fabrics and prints. Personally, I would rather wear one bra all day rather than change in and out of one for pumping. Also, I’m a busty girl, so I need to find a bra that offers a wide variety of sizes and gives a lot of support for me to make it through a day as a nurse. I need to have enough coverage and enough space to get the flanges of my breast pumps inside, and I want the fabric to be comfortable and easy to put on.
A pumping and nursing bra is also a plus, because some days I’m gone just a few hours instead of a whole day. On those days, I nurse more often than I pump, and it’s easier to wear a bra that does both, so I don’t have to change before breastfeeding my son.
The Best Hands-Free Pumping Bras
Best Sports Pumping Bra: Kindred Bravely Hands-Free Pumping and Nursing Sports Bra
Best Stylish Athleisure Pumping Bra: Ollie Gray Anywhere Bra
Best Pumping Bra for Comfort: The Hatch Pumping Bra
Best Bra for Changing Sizes: Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra
Best Bra for Medela Pump Users: Medela Easy Expression Bustier
Best Bra for Compression: Snugabell PumpEase
How I Tested Each Hands-Free Pumping Bra
I tested all the bras on the two different pumps I use during a typical day. I mainly use my Medela pump while working and driving. My Spectra pump is not battery-operated, so I use that one only at home.
First, I decided to test the two bras I felt I could wear all day in the busiest place I know: my labor and delivery unit. I wore the Kindred Bravely sports bra and the Ollie Gray Anywhere bra each for a shift, which is 12.5 hours, plus a decent drive back and forth.
The next day I wore the Hatch bra at home, all day and night. I honestly was sad to take this one off.
For the bras that zip on or hook in the front—the Simple Wishes Hands Free Pumping Bra, Medela Easy Expression Bustier, and Snugabell PumpEase—I tested them for a day each, but wore them only while pumping, since I wouldn’t wear these out as a normal bra. To me, they feel like wearing a strapless bra when you don’t need to.
Since my initial testing, I have gone back to using the Kindred Bravely, Ollie Gray, and Hatch bras, and actually enjoy all three of them. I have worn the two sports bras to work multiple times, and I wear the Hatch bra at home almost every time it’s washed.