You’re sailing through your pre-baby to-do list. Your nursery is stocked with the haul from your baby shower. You’ve imagined every possible baby gear necessity. Yet one question remains: What will YOU need to accommodate your changing body?
Although it may be tempting to make do with what you already have, a comfortable nursing bra works with your body, not against it, helping you to enjoy nursing your baby even more. Nursing Bras - Your Ultimate Guide will tell you everything you need to know to find your perfect bra fit!
Read our in-depth guide below, or to get right to our favorite nursing bras, click here:
1. Comfort Nursing Bras
2. French Terry Bra
3. Organic Cotton Bra
4. Simply Sublime Bra
5. Sublime Adjustable Crossover Bra
6. Contoured Cup Nursing Bras
7. Marvella Everyday Nursing T-shirt Bra
8. Specialty Nursing Bras
9. Sublime Nursing Sports Bra
10. Simply Sublime Lace Racerback Bra
11. Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra
12. Nursing Bra Alternatives - Nursing Tanks
13. Simply Sublime Tank
14. Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Tank
15. Bamboo Nursing & Maternity Tank
Why do you need a nursing bra?
They make nursing easier.
Since most regular bras are fairly structured, you may not be able to bring your baby to your breast without taking off your bra or disrobing. Nursing bras (and many of the best maternity bras) are designed with cups that clip down, fold down, or pull aside for quick, and often one-handed, access. The cups can generally accommodate disposable or reusable nursing pads. Paired with the right nursing top, a great nursing bra will help you easily feed your little one anywhere, in any breastfeeding position you’d like.
The materials used in traditional bras may be uncomfortable for new moms. The type of elastic used in the band may leave itchy red marks; lace or 100% nylon fabric may irritate already sore nipples. Narrow straps may not provide enough support, and underwire may dig into your swollen breasts.
Many nursing bras use materials like bamboo and cotton, which allow your skin to breathe. Additionally, nursing bras often have wide straps to offer more comfortable support and reduce or eliminate back, neck, and shoulder pain.
They adjust to your body.
Throughout pregnancy, your breasts may grow up to four cup sizes, and they may grow even more when you’re nursing, especially if you become engorged or have an oversupply of breast milk. As a breastfeeding mom, you’ll probably notice your breast size changes from one day to the next. In quality nursing bras, breathable fabrics are blended with just the right amount of stretch to allow for the normal fluctuations in bra sizes experienced by nursing moms.
What type of nursing bra should you get?
Just as there are different dresses for different occasions, so too are there different breastfeeding bras for different needs. For some women, one high-quality nursing bra could do the trick for sleeping, lounging, and going out. For most women, having several different bra styles makes the breastfeeding journey much more comfortable.
It’s also important to consider how your needs may change during the fourth trimester and postpartum period. In the early months, you’ll likely be home (and in your maternity pajamas) a lot. You’ll want soft fabrics and stretchy material, with flexible sizing and easy access to the breast. Later, as you start venturing out more, you may want a more structured bra with molded cups and additional strap support.
1. Nursing Bras - Comfort Nursing Bras
Comfort or sleep bras have softer elastic bands, less suspension in the straps, and a crossover design, which allows you to easily slide the breast out for night feedings. They’re ideal for the initial postpartum period since they offer quick breastfeeding access as you and your newborn begin to get comfortable with nursing, and they’re especially comforting when your baby is cluster feeding. They also provide just the right amount of support at night, without making you feel constricted. Since milk production often peaks overnight, you’ll want a comfortable nursing sleep bra to hold your breastfeeding pads in place so you don’t wake up to milk-soaked sheets. Even better? Our lounge bras are supportive enough to wear all day long!
2. Nursing Bras - The French Terry Sleep Bra
The French Terry Sleep Bra features a stylish racerback and simple crossover front that you can easily pull aside with one hand for nursing. Since it doesn’t have clasps, underwire, or exposed elastic, this racerback nursing bra guarantees you nighttime comfort.
3. Nursing Bras - The Organic Cotton Sleep Bra
The Organic Cotton Sleep Bra is soft and lightweight, offering gentle support 24/7. Its organic cotton material is environmentally friendly and feels great against even the most sensitive skin. The pull-aside, wire-free design ensures comfort and ease for the late-night breastfeeding sessions that new moms know so well.
4. Nursing Bras - The Simply Sublime Bra
The Simply Sublime® Bra is buttery soft, with adjustable strap support and a padded cup with removable padding. The drop-down cups are smooth and seamless, and the stretch fabric allows for fluctuations in cup size. Moms say this bra is supportive enough for daytime activities but comfortable enough for nighttime wear too.
5. Nursing Bras - The Sublime Adjustable Crossover Bra
The Sublime® Adjustable Crossover Bra is perfect for lounging, running errands, and sleeping. The stretchy, ribbed fabric and crossover design allow for one-handed, pull-aside breastfeeding access, while the adjustable straps help you make it your own. The removable padding helps maintain a smooth shape, and the underwire-free construction means this lounge bra feels amazing all day and night, which is essential for a nursing and maternity bra.
6. Nursing Bras - Contoured Cup Nursing Bras
Contoured soft cup bras have a smooth design and cups that fold down for easy nursing access. These bras are usually much more structured than other nursing bras, so they’re best for moms who are three to four months postpartum and looking for more support during public outings.
7. Nursing Bras - The Marvella Everyday Nursing T-shirt Bra
Our redesigned Marvella Everyday Nursing T-shirt Bra is a stylish look for everyday nursing, featuring a deep cut that’s perfect for your V-neck shirts and dresses. It has easy fold-down foam cups and ultra-soft, stretchy material. This wireless nursing bra has the perfect combination of structure and comfort: the smooth appearance of your favorite T-shirt bra with the comfort of your favorite sleep bra.
Thanks to some great design innovations, we now have nursing bras that allow us to go anywhere and do anything. From working out to pumping at work to exclusive pumping, our bras have got you covered. Whether you want to exercise and nurse in the same bra or pump and nurse in the same bra, these specialty nursing bras are super functional – and super comfortable!
9. Nursing Bras - The Sublime Nursing Sports Bra
The Sublime® Nursing Sports Bra is perfect for low-impact activities like walking, Pilates, and yoga; plus, it’s made of breathable, moisture-wicking material that will keep you dry and comfortable throughout your workout. With its super comfortable design and nursing clips, this maternity sports bra will take moms from pregnancy through breastfeeding—and beyond. Whether you’re breastfeeding your baby or doing Downward Facing Dog, you’ll love this cute sports bra.
10. Nursing Bras - The Simply Sublime Lace Racerback Bra
The Simply Sublime® Lace Racerback is the perfect bra to keep you supported from pregnancy through postpartum and nursing. With super-soft, stretchy fabric, adjustable straps, and clip-down cups, our Lace Racerback is ideal for everyday wear, and the flirty, romantic lace accent makes the everyday feel just a bit cuter. This comfy pullover bra even works for sleeping.
11. Nursing Bras - The Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra
The Sublime® Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra is the ultimate in comfort and convenience for pumping and nursing mamas alike. Whether you pump exclusively or occasionally, you'll love our pump bra, which is designed for busy moms and combines the best features of your favorite nursing and hands-free pumping bras. The patented design features our unique Easyclip™ so you can wear the same bra all day (or all night) long for pumping, nursing, or both at the same time! Say goodbye to awkward bra changing sessions in your office, car, or bathroom. Almost as essential as your breast pump!
12. Nursing Bra Alternatives - Nursing Tanks
Another amazing option for expectant and nursing moms is the nursing tank, featuring moderate support and clasps for discreet nursing. You can wear a nursing tank on its own or layer it under a button-down or sweater, like our Clara Criss-Cross Nursing Top, for extra coverage.
13. Nursing Bra Alternatives - The Simply Sublime Tank
The Simply Sublime® Tank is a nursing wardrobe staple that also works for lounging, layering, sleeping, or doing yoga. The extra-long, hip-length cut won’t ride up and also provides enough coverage for burgeoning baby bumps. The built-in bra can accommodate multiple cup sizes.
14. Nursing Bra Alternatives - The Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Tank
The Sublime® Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Tank is an all-in-one pumping and nursing tank. All the best features of our hands-free pumping bra are built into our fan-favorite tank, including the super soft, stretchy, and supportive fabric moms love. The patented design features a unique Easyclip™ so you can wear the same tank all day for pumping, nursing, or both at the same time. Underwire-free with removable padding, our double pumping tank securely fits all standard pump flanges, including Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh, Ameda, Hygeia, Philips Avent, Motif, and Evenflo, as well as wearable pumps like Willow, Elvie, and Freemie. A must-have pumping tank top, especially if you’re an exclusive pumper.
15. Nursing Bra Alternatives - The Bamboo Nursing & Maternity Tank
The Bamboo Nursing & Maternity Tank Top has a roomy-but-flattering cut and side access for nursing and pumping. The premium bamboo fabric is unbelievably soft, lightweight, and breathable. The nursing tank can be worn from pregnancy through breastfeeding and beyond, and it has a hidden underlayer that allows for easy, discreet breastfeeding.
How many nursing bras do you need?
Most moms we know want three nursing bras: “One to wash, one to wear, and one to spare!”
You’ll feel more relaxed knowing you’re prepared for the unexpected leak, hot flash, or baby spit-up. Having a spare (or two) will ensure that you won’t have to throw in yet another load of laundry when the inevitable happens.
You may find that you function well with a couple of sleep bras to wear day and night. (In fact, you might love them so much, you never go back to underwire bras again!) Many women find it helpful to have a mixture of cozy sleep bras, full coverage daytime bras, and versatile nursing tanks.
When should you shop for nursing bras?
It’s impossible to predict how your breasts will respond to pregnancy and milk supply; every woman (and every pregnancy) is different. Some moms don’t have much of a change in cup size, while others may notice an increase of four cup sizes. Although you may be unsure of your eventual size, there are versatile nursing bras (such as the sleep bras mentioned above) that function well for both maternity and nursing, so don’t hesitate to pick out a couple of comfortable nursing bras early on in your pregnancy.
Comfort/sleep nursing bras, nursing tanks, and nursing pajamas are the best options for those initial postpartum weeks. Since engorgement is common while your milk supply is regulating, your cup size could likely still change. Furthermore, your breasts will be sensitive during this time, and a structured bra may cause you discomfort.
Many experts agree that the most accurate time to size yourself for contoured cup nursing bras is three to four months after delivery, which gives you time to establish and regulate your milk supply. The best time to measure is midday, before a feeding or pumping session when breasts are full.
If you want to purchase contoured cup bras before you deliver, try to wait until you’re around eight months pregnant. By then you will have gained most of your baby weight and undergone most major body shape changes. The size your breasts are at eight months should be fairly close to what size they’ll be eight weeks postpartum when your body has learned to regulate its milk supply.
How do you measure for the perfect nursing bra fit?
The best way to start fitting a bra is to take two simple measurements: underbust and bust. These two numbers are used to calculate your band and cup sizes. You can use a cloth measuring tape or a piece of string and a ruler to get these measurements.
To find your underbust (band measurement), undress down to your bra (make sure it fits you well). Wrap the measuring tape or string around your body, directly under your breasts. The measuring tape should be straight around your torso and snug but not tight. Round this measurement up to the nearest even number. For example, anywhere from 32.5 inches to 34 inches would be considered a band size of 34.
To find your bust measurement, wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your breasts while still wearing your bra. Remember that if you’re nursing, you should measure before a feeding.
Your cup size is determined by subtracting your band size from your bust measurement. Each inch of difference is a letter. For example, if your bust measurement is 37 inches and your band size is 34 inches, the difference of three inches equals a C cup. A four-inch difference would equal a D cup, and so on.
Keep in mind that these measurements are just a starting point; different styles, brands, materials, and even colors can fit differently. You may not even wear the same size in every Kindred Bravely nursing bra you purchase. Kindred Bravely is known for its specialized Busty sizing, great for moms with larger busts. Many of our favorite styles come in Busty, so make sure to check the size chart for each bra you're ordering!
When you put on a new bra, it should feel incredible. The band should be low and even under your breasts and around your back, and you shouldn’t feel any pinching or pulling.
After you’ve put on your bra, try sitting down, standing up, lying down, and even bending over to see how much support you have. If you’ve found the right bra fit, it should almost feel as if you’re wearing nothing at all.
Signs your bra is too big:
- Your breasts slip out the bottom of the cups.
- The band rides up in the back.
- The cups have wrinkles.
- The straps slip off your shoulders even when tightened.
Signs your bra is too small:
- Your breasts spill out the top or sides of the cups.
- The bra straps dig into your shoulders.
- The underwire pokes you.
- The center doesn’t lie flat between your breasts.
Nothing should be poking you; nothing should be slipping around. You shouldn’t have to pull and tug at it all day just to feel comfortable. If your bra isn’t just right, be sure to keep looking until you find the perfect fit, function, and feel. It can be so easy to put up with the wrong bra, especially as a nursing mom, but your body will thank you for taking the time to pick the right one.
Thoughtful encouragement, professional advice, and quality resources help keep you focused on the reasons you’ve decided to nurse, but just as important is the right kind of support for your body, especially during the postpartum period. We hope that by applying this information, you can find the perfect nursing bras for your unique breastfeeding journey.
Still have a question about nursing bras?
Kindred Bravely is here to help! Whether you need guidance on selecting the right style or size, the moms in Customer Care will do whatever they can to assist you with your nursing bra needs.
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