The 5 Best Nursing Covers In 2017
Last Updated September 26, 2017
When you’re breastfeeding, it isn’t always practical to look for the nearest empty room whenever your baby gets the urge to eat. Sometimes you have to breastfeed in public or at family gatherings, and there’s no shame in that. Nourishing a human life should come ahead of people’s sense of decency any day of the week.
But that still doesn’t mean you want to put your breasts on display for the world to see. What you need are the best nursing covers to keep your business private while your child gets all the nutrient-rich breast milk he can.
What Are Nursing Covers?
Nursing covers are a pretty simple concept -- they’re just fabric that you use to hide your fun bags while you are nursing your baby or pumping milk in public.
You can make them nondescript so they won’t draw any extra attention to you -- although your crying baby will do that for you, no matter what your nursing cover looks like. If you want something bright and colorful that pleases your fashionista side, they make those too.
Are Nursing Covers Necessary?
If you plan to breastfeed, you might think you don’t care if people catch a glimpse of your twin towers in the process. But feeling that way in your mind is a lot different than actually doing it (source). The hostile stares from other people as you start to breastfeed while sitting in a restaurant can sting, even though you aren’t doing anything wrong.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have a nursing cover, even if you aren’t sure you’ll use it. Because when you need one, you’ll desperately wish it was there, especially if you have large breasts because you’ll be putting on quite a show for the onlookers. Sometimes there are no options when you’re breastfeeding, other than exposing yourself or letting your baby cry. And neither of those work for some moms.
If you don’t mind flashing your boobs in public, more power to you. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It didn’t matter if I was with friends or strangers. There was no way I was comfortable with it. When I was at a restaurant, I didn’t want to make some junior high boy blush because I couldn’t be bothered to throw a piece of fabric over myself to preserve his feelings.
To a mom, breastfeeding might seem like the most natural thing in the world, but to a 12-year-old boy, it can be a source of major embarrassment. I tried to always consider other people’s feelings when I was breastfeeding, especially if there were kids around. That mothering instinct doesn’t stop with just my kids -- I feel the need to mother everyone else’s child too.
Because of my sensitivity to other people’s feelings, I wouldn’t have breastfed in public without a nursing cover.
But whether you breastfeed without any shield or you use a nursing cover, it’s up to you. There’s no right or wrong way to do this (source). It’s entirely up to you.
What Should I Look for in a Nursing Cover?
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to pick out a nursing cover -- it’s pretty hard to screw up this purchase. All you need to do is find covers that meet these simple needs.
They have to be made of a breathable fabric so your baby can keep sucking air along with that breast milk: The fabric should be comfortable for both of you. You don’t want anything too thick and heavy because your baby needs to breath under there, and you don’t want her to get overheated if you use a thick nursing cover in the summer.
They have to keep the wonder twins well covered: Finding a nursing cover that’s big enough to get the job done is important. You don’t want to leave any part uncovered that makes you feel uncomfortable. Your focus should be on feeding your baby -- not worrying about your boobs being in the spotlight.
They have to be easy to clean: You don’t want a fragile fabric that won’t hold up well to constant cleaning in the washing machine. If your baby spits up on your nursing cover, you need to be able to wash it without fear of it being destroyed.
They have to comfortably fit into your diaper bag: If you have a nursing cover that takes up half your diaper bag, you aren’t going to be happy. That’s valuable real estate with all the baby gear you have to lug around.
You might want something that pulls double duty: This isn’t a requirement, but it is pretty nice. Moms are multi-taskers, so naturally we want our products to be as efficient as we are. To that end, there are nursing covers that can also do other things. They can be scarves, baby stroller covers and also shopping cart covers (source).
What Are the Different Styles of Nursing Covers?
You won’t have to suffer through using a style of nursing covers that you hate because there are a lot of choices out there when it comes to cut and style. Make sure to give some thought to what style will work for you and your lifestyle before you buy one.
There are three main types of nursing covers.
The apron design: Regular aprons have been popular for so many decades because they are a cinch to use and they do what they set out to do. So it makes sense designers would tap the popular apron style when it comes to nursing covers. You place the strap behind your neck, just like you would an apron. This style is great when it comes to seeing your baby while he’s feeding and making sure he gets enough air. The one downside is there isn’t a lot of fabric right above your boobs, and if your baby tugs hard on the apron, it can slide and create quite a show.
The infinity design: This design is like the master of disguise in the nursing cover world. It doubles as an infinity scarf and as a nursing cover when you need it. You get a lot of material to cover up with when you go with this option. The material is typically light and breathable for your baby, but you won’t be able to see your baby very well with the infinity design.
Ponchos: A raging trend in the 1970s, the poncho is making a comeback as a nursing cover. If you’re paranoid about part of you being seen while you’re breastfeeding, the poncho might be the right choice for you. You will keep everything covered with these bad boys and there’s no risk of your baby ripping it off of you either. But you need to make sure you don’t buy a regular poncho because the material might be too thick and heavy.
The Best Multipurpose Nursing Cover
When you’re looking for the best all round nursing cover, you might want to focus on covers that can be used in multiple ways. Even after you’re done nursing your baby, you’ll still be able to use the nursing cover in other capacities.
This cover is tops when it comes to versatility. It also works as a baby car seat cover to block wind or bright light. You can also use this on shopping carts to keep the germs off your baby’s little hands or as a scarf.
Made out of rayon and polyester, it will stretch without losing its elasticity. And because it’s so stretchy, it’s easy to put on and take off.
As a nursing cover, it will give you plenty of room to hide your breasts from prying eyes. The material is thin enough that this would make a good hot weather nursing cover -- it won’t make your baby too hot in the summer.
Your baby will have no trouble getting enough air under this cover because the fabric is breathable.
When you aren’t using this cover, it can be safely stored in the matching bag that comes with it.
- The material is soft and comfortable against your baby’s skin.
- Versatile cover can be used in many ways.
- Big enough to completely keep you covered.
- Some moms have had problems with it snagging easily because it’s so thin.
- This cover might not be warm enough for winter use, unless you are indoors.
The Best Nursing Cover for Twins
If you’re breastfeeding twins, you’ve already got your hands full. You don’t need a nursing cover that’s difficult to manage added to your juggling act.
For nursing twins, the biggest thing you’ll have to look for in a nursing cover is size -- you need it to be plenty big to accommodate your double bundles of joy.
This Hooter Hiders cover will ensure your babies have plenty of air while they are feeding. With two babies feeding under your cover, it’s more important than usual to make sure there’s enough air circulating because they’ll need twice as much of it. This cover delivers with its Rigiflex neckline.
The neckline is rigid enough that the cover will keep its bowed shape, even when it’s on you. That bowed shape will mean that the cover stays away from your skin just above the breast, which will give your babies air and will also let you make eye contact with them.
Even with the rigid neckline, it’s still flexible enough to fold up easily when you’re finished. And you can store it in its matching carry pouch that’s included with the purchase.
These covers are big enough to give you complete coverage even when you have two babies with you. Plus it comes with an adjustable neck strap to make sure you can find the perfect fit.
- This cover has two pockets so you can keep small items handy, like breast pads once you’re done feeding your babies.
- It’s machine washable.
- This cover is large enough for two babies.
- The cotton material makes it breathable for hot weather.
- The carrying case fits easily into your diaper bag.
- They don’t come in solid colors -- only patterns.
- It may take you a few tries to find the right length of the neck strap to ensure a proper fit.
The Best Nursing Cover for Summer
When it’s hot out, you don’t want to cover up your baby with a heavy cover. He’ll be hot and miserable and so will you. You’ll want to find a light, airy fabric that lets the air in and out so you’ll both be comfortable.
Moms may like that this material feels just perfect for summer -- it’s soft and super light. You won’t feel weighed down or like you’re roasting alive.
This cover has a Rigiflex neckline which will keep the cover away from your neck and upper chest so you can check on your baby and let the fresh air reach him. An Interlocking Cap System is used on the neckline to ensure that any sharp boning material won’t pop out through the ends.
There’s a neck strap on this cover to help keep it in place, even if your baby decides to tug on it.
You can use this cover as a changing mat, or a blanket for your baby. On sunny summer days you can drape it over her stroller for some shade.
When this cover gets dirty, you can simply toss it in your washing machine where it will hold up wash after wash.
- One size fits all -- it’s 36 inches wide.Lets you make eye contact with your baby while she’s nursing.
- Doesn’t take up much room in the diaper bag.
- Won’t be too hot in the summer.
- A bit on the pricey side.
- Wrinkles easily.
The Best Nursing Cover for Pumping
When you’re pumping in public, you should stay away from the infinity scarf type of nursing cover because it won’t keep you adequately covered with the pump there too. You’ll be best served by a poncho style of cover, and it won’t matter how heavy the fabric is because your baby won’t be under there needing air.
This poncho gives you full coverage from front to back when you’re pumping milk in public. People who are nearby won’t be able to see a thing.
This breathable fabric will keep you cool while pumping, meaning you shouldn’t break a sweat. The material feels soft on the skin so it shouldn’t irritate you, even if you have sensitive skin.
It comes in solid colors, which some moms may like better than patterns that will clash with their clothes. You can wear this with jeans or a dress -- it can look formal or informal.
This cover only comes in one size fits all, and it can be cleaned in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. If you plan to dry it in the dryer, you’ll have to put it on low, or you can air dry it if you have the time.
- When you aren’t using it, this cover can double as a blanket.
- It’s stylish enough that you may want to keep using it long after your pumping days are over.
- This is good for older babies who tear off flimsier nursing covers. With the poncho style, this one isn’t going anywhere.
- Great for cooler weather too.
- Can’t see your baby well with this poncho.
- A little more expensive than other covers.
The Best Nursing Cover for Plus Size
When you’re plus size, you can have a hard time finding a nursing cover that is big enough for your needs. You still want total coverage, but you aren’t sure where to find it. Don’t worry -- we’ve got you covered with our pick for the best plus size nursing cover.
At 32-inches across and 24 inches in length, this is a big nursing cover that will work for plus-sized women. It uses stainless steel d-rings that will let you adjust the neckline to get the right fit and level of modesty.
This Udder Covers product has a more rigid neckline that is shaped away from your neck and upper chest area. That will let you have some room to easily check on your baby and to stare into his precious eyes.
Made out of 100 percent cotton, this material is fairly thin, which makes it breathable. It will stay relatively cool in the summer, and it even provides a bit of warmth in the winter. The non-creasing fabric will always make it look fresh and ironed, even if you just took it out of the diaper bag.
These come in eight different patterns that you can choose from, ranging from bright and vibrant to subtle. So whether you want to stand out in a crowd or blend in, you’ll find a pattern to suit you.
- One of the more affordable covers on the market.
- It folds up easily and compactly to store in the diaper bag.
- Big enough for taller moms.
- Some moms had problems with the cover shrinking while they washed it.
- Doesn’t come with a matching bag to carry and store it in.
Our Favorite Nursing Cover
Hooter Hiders nursing cover is my favorite of those on this list. That Rigiflex neckline really helps the air circulate under the cover so your baby can keep breathing and stay cool. Plus, it’s nice because moms can keep making eye contact with their beautiful babies during breastfeeding.
It won’t take up much room in the matching carry pouch that comes with it, and it’s big enough that you can use with twins if you need to.
The pockets are a nice touch as well because keeping a few breast pads in there is handy for when you stop your breastfeeding session.