If you’re currently lactating or getting ready to nurse your baby, you may have already discovered that nursing moms have a ton of choices when it comes to bras. There are maternity bras, nursing bras, pumping bras, sleep nursing bras, nursing sports bras, and more.
It’s good to have options, but with so many types of nursing bras, it can be complicated to figure it all out—especially if you’re a sleep-deprived new mom. This guide will make it easy for you to learn how a nursing bra works.
Why Do You Need a Nursing Bra? Benefits of Nursing Bras
Regardless of how you feed your baby (nursing, pumping, formula feeding, or a combination), your breasts will continue to grow throughout your pregnancy. Wearing larger regular bras instead of a great maternity bra or nursing bra can put pressure on your growing breasts and lead to issues like blocked ducts, engorgement, and mastitis.
Without the right tools for the task, new moms who are breastfeeding their babies 8-12 times a day can find themselves in so much pain and discomfort that it may feel like breastfeeding is taking over their lives.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Nursing bras are designed to address the challenges that women can experience while nursing. The best nursing bras are made with the health of the mother and her baby in mind, and the right bra with the perfect fit can be a game-changer.
Consider this: every detail in a nursing bra serves a purpose, which means a nursing bra is much more technical than a regular bra. For instance, nursing bras are made with soft, stretchy, breathable fabrics and soft cups that are strong enough to support and accommodate several breast size increases (weight gain and milk production can quickly increase your band size and cup size).
Nursing bras are also often underwire free to prevent constriction of the breast milk ducts, and they may have adjustable straps as support needs vary quite frequently throughout pregnancy and nursing (and even throughout the day)!
Pro Tip: When buying a nursing bra, check the company’s size charts to get the right bra fit.
How Does a Nursing Bra Work? Nursing Access Is Key to a Great Nursing Bra
A good nursing bra makes it easier and more comfortable to feed your baby. Nursing bras have specially designed cups that provide direct access to the nipple, allowing your baby to easily latch on or allowing you to express milk with a manual pump or electric pump. Since most women hold their baby while nursing (some people can nurse while babywearing), a bra that requires both hands to make your breast accessible will generally not serve you well.
Types of easy breastfeeding access:
Drop-down cups feature a nursing clip or clasp that you can open and close with one hand so you can feed your baby.
Lift-up and pull-down cups make it easy to pull the bra up or down to expose enough of your nipple and breast for your baby to easily latch. Good latching can help prevent plugged milk ducts.
- Pull-aside cups, also known as crisscross cups or crossover cups, are super easy and popular with nursing sleep bras. You simply pull the soft cup bra to the side when it’s time to feed your baby.
Our Sublime® Collection has a variety of great wire-free bras and tanks for every stage, including the award-winning Simply Sublime® Maternity & Nursing Tank, Simply Sublime® Nursing Bra, Simply Sublime® Lace Racerback Nursing Bra, and Sublime® Nursing Sports Bra, among others.
Hybrid pumping and nursing bras provide access for nursing and hands-free pumping so you can pump hands free, nurse, or do both at the same time. Our best-selling pumping bra, the Sublime® Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra, is also from the Sublime Collection. Like the Sublime® Pumping Tank, this pumping and nursing bra features our patented EasyClip™ to unclip and clip either the pumping layer or the nursing layer.
The soft cup design provides ample support without underwires. It also fits all standard double electric breast pump flanges, especially helpful for women who are pumping exclusively or who rely on regular pumping to help prevent clogged milk ducts.
Nursing Bras and Nursing Pads Prevent Milk Stains
Nursing bras are designed to be used with breast pads that are reusable or disposable. When nursing pads are placed under the bra cups, on top of the nipples, they can absorb breast milk that is released between feedings so it doesn’t saturate your nursing top or leave your nipples wet.
Our award-winning Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads are highly absorbent without showing through your clothes, and they’re essential to pair with your nursing sleep bra so breast milk leaks won’t wake you up at night.
And our Ultra Absorbent Reusable Nursing Pads are great to have on those days when your milk production is especially abundant. They’re eight times more absorbent than the leading washable breast pads and more environmentally friendly than disposable nursing pads.
Nursing Bra Fit
A woman’s body changes dramatically during pregnancy and postpartum. It’s a good idea to do several bra fittings throughout your pregnancy and beyond to keep your breasts healthy, comfortable, and available for feeding your baby.
To help you get the best fit before buying a nursing bra, connect with the Kindred Bravely Customer Care Team.
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please reach out to your health care team with any questions.
(Note: Our giveaway has ended, but we'd still love to hear your thoughts!)
WIN A LABOR & DELIVERY GOWN FOR YOUR HOSPITAL BAG!
To celebrate the launch of our brand new delivery gown, we’re giving you a chance to be one of SIX LUCKY MOMS who’ll receive the Bravely Labor and Delivery Gown to pack in their hospital bags!
When I started designing nursing and maternity clothes, I knew without a doubt that creating a beautiful, comfortable, and useful labor & delivery gown was a must. So I’m thrilled with the gorgeous gown we’ve just launched. With the comfort of your favorite t-shirt and doctor & doula recommended functionality and accessibility, this is a labor and deliver gown like no other.
The Velcro front opens completely for skin-to-skin contact immediately upon delivery and allows easy access for baby monitoring, ultrasounds, epidurals, and C-section incision inspections.
Snaps along both shoulders provide convenient breastfeeding & IV transition. Our gown also includes two large pockets for any essentials you want readily available.
Since it doesn't have snaps along the back, moms will be comfortable while lying in bed and won't experience “drafts” or unexpected flashing.
Whether for yourself or a friend, these birthing gowns are a must have on your registry, in a hospital bag, or as baby shower gifts.
How to Win:
- Comment on this blog post (What did you bring? What are you planning to bring?)
- LIKE our Facebook Page
- LIKE the Giveaway Announcement on Facebook
On May 26, 2017 we’ll randomly select SIX lucky winners who’ll get to pack the gown in their own hospital bag!
This giveaway is not associated with Facebook. Prize fulfillment will be done by Kindred Bravely. Contest ends at midnight on Thursday, May 25th. Winners are responsible for contacting Kindred Bravely to claim their prize within 48hrs. Open to US residents only.
Congratulations to moms Jerry-Stacie Morton, Sarah Prüfer, Kassandra Marie Martin, Noelle Lynn, Yolanda Aldridge, and Stephanie Robinson!