There are a lot of accessories women need when preparing to breastfeed, but do you know what is often overlooked? The over-the-shoulder boulder holder. And when you’re breastfeeding, they feel more like boulders than they used to.
Many women splurge on items like nipple guards and nipple cream, but never think about supporting the lady parts that make the liquid gold. Nursing bras are designed to help make the breastfeeding experience easier and smoother for both mom and baby.
Finding a good nursing bra can help make you more comfortable and can help you comfort your little one quicker. There are many different kinds and brands on the market with various features, so your selection process can be a little tricky.
Here’s what you need to know on your hunt for the best nursing bra, as well as some of our top picks from one mama to another.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Nursing Bra Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
How Do Nursing Bras Work?
A nursing bra is a bra specifically designed with lactating mothers in mind. A nursing bra houses your baby’s food source. It’s important your breasts are properly supported and can be conveniently accessed.
The bra cups in a nursing bra are designed to open in a way that allows you to access your breasts without having to remove your bra.
The most common ways a nursing bra opens are by the use of:
Nursing bras are not a necessity, but many lactating moms swear by them.
Different Types of Nursing Bras
There are many different types of nursing bras, and it can be overwhelming to determine which kind is right for you. The most common types include the following:
- Sleep Nursing Bra: A sleep nursing bra is designed to have maximum comfort. The bras you wear daily may have hard clasps that bother you at night when lying directly on them. But the material of these bras is often very soft and they also help keep breast pads in place overnight.
- Breast-Pumping Bra: A breast-pumping bra has small openings that can fit in the breast pump shield. The idea behind these bras is that you can pump hands-free. These bras can be worn over or under a regular nursing bra.
- Underwire Nursing Bra: This type of bra is most popular if you need more support. The wire in these bras helps support your breasts in a better manner than that of a wireless bra. You must make sure you purchase an underwire bra in your correct size because too small of a bra could hinder milk production.
- Sports Nursing Bra: This type of bra is just like the regular sports bras except it has the openings to access your breasts. The most common type of nursing sports bras contain no underwire and are made of nylon or spandex. This is a good option if you want light support.
- Seamless Nursing Bra: Many nursing bras will utilize the seamless design because seams pressing against lactating breasts can become painful and uncomfortable. Not all nursing bras are seamless, so if this is a feature you prefer, be on the lookout.
- Soft Cup Nursing Bra: This type of bra is the most similar to that of a standard bra you probably wore before becoming pregnant. This bra simply unclips and you can lower the entire cup to access your breast for feeding or nursing.
- Strapless Nursing Bra: A strapless bra is still available for nursing mothers and it has the openings for breastfeeding. You need to find a strapless bra that can still offer you some support because your girls will appreciate it.
Important Nursing Bra Features
Not all nursing bras are created equal and some have features that others don’t. It always helps to become familiar with certain features so you have a starting point to help you make comparisons between similar products (source).
- Support: Your breasts are at their fullest when you are nursing so you want them supported properly to keep them perky and comfortable. A bra with strong sides, undercup support, and comfortable straps are key.
- Closures: The way you will open and close your flaps is important because some methods might be easier for you. You need to keep in mind when opening those flaps you will probably be holding your baby, so find a bra with closures that are easy for you to open with one hand.
- Comfort: Breastfeeding alone can bring about certain discomforts, so it is important you find a bra that helps the journey rather than hindering it. You need to make sure your bra properly fits you and is made of comfortable material.
- Adjustability: Your breasts will fluctuate in size when breastfeeding. It is beneficial to find a bra that is adjustable so you can choose between different clasps if need be and loosen or tighten your straps.
- Color and Style: There are nursing bras out there that scream mom, and there are some out there that will still make you feel sexy. It comes down to personal preference, but different colors and style options are out there. If you aren’t used to having big boobs, now is the perfect time to flaunt them if you want.
The Best Nursing Bras of 2019
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the different kinds of nursing bras and some of their features, here are our top picks.
1. Leonisa Comfy Everyday Nursing Bra
This nursing bra offers you support and comfort that can withstand everyday needs. There is a clip-down double opening cup design so you can easily access either breast whenever you need.
The wireless cups will help keep you comfortable, while the underbust band will help keep you supported.
2. QT Intimates Cotton Nursing Bra
This nursing bra has a more traditional bra look, but it has the comfort and support of a nursing bra. It is comprised of spandex and cotton to allow for a soft-to-the-touch feel and a little stretch to help comfortably accommodate your fluctuating breasts.
This bra utilizes the clip feature for breastfeeding and it also comes in a variety of colors.
3. Simple Wishes Everyday Nursing and Pumping Bra
This 3-in-1 bra is a nursing mother’s dream. It has the look of a normal bra, but can be used for maternity use, nursing, and pumping.
There is the easy clip-down feature for breast access and there is a special layer designed for hands-free pumping. The material of this bra is soft and stretchy so it is comfortable to wear all day long.
4. Strapless Pump and Nurse Bra
This strapless bra is great for mothers who pump and nurse frequently because it can accommodate both. You can insert your breast pump for hands-free pumping, or simply lower a side to breastfeed.
The clasps on the back offer increased adjustability because the designers of this bra know how quickly breast size can fluctuate when nursing.
5. Mothers En Vogue Strapless Nursing Bra
Unlike many strapless nursing bras, this one does not require you to lift or drop the bra entirely to access the breast. This bra utilizes a double layer feature that lifts open to reveal a second layer with breast openings.
You will still be able to support the girls with this bra because the reinforced underbust bands have been carefully constructed for maximum support. There are also built-in cup pockets to house breast pads.
6. Surewin Seamless Nursing Bra
The wireless feature of this sports bra makes it comfortable to wear and the fabric is also soft to the touch. This bra utilizes the drop-down feature for breastfeeding, so all you have to do is quickly unclip the side you want to nurse on.
There are adjustable straps and a hook-and-eye closure in the back so you can adjust your support as needed. This bra is breathable and stretchy to help comfortably accommodate fluctuating breasts.
7. Rosie Pope Seamless Nursing Sports Bra
The lightweight and breathable fabric this bra is composed of makes it comfortable for daily activities as well as relaxing. There are adjustable straps so you can adjust the bra to comfortably fit your body.
To breastfeed, all you have to do is simply unclip one of the sides and the top layer of fabric will drop down to reveal your breast.
8. Sayceli Wire Free Nursing Bra
This bra utilizes 4-way stretch fabric to help keep you comfortable throughout the day. The drop-down method allows you the ability to use one hand and quickly access your breast for nursing.
There are removable cups so you can choose whether you want that extra coverage. You can also insert breast pads if you prefer. The straps are adjustable and there are a number of clasps on the back for you to find your perfect fit.
9. MIRITY Nursing Bra
This soft and seamless nursing bra is comfortable and can be worn for most activities. The drop-down design lets you reveal your breast for simple and quick breastfeeding.
This bra is comfortable enough that it can even be used as a night-time bra. The back of this bra utilizes three vertical clasps so the wider band can help support your breasts even better than typical bras.
10. Loving Moments Wire Free Nursing Bra
This bra helps tap into your feminine side by pairing subtle colors with lace and bows. This bra is similar to many bras that women wear before pregnancy.
This bra still has the nursing capability because it includes the drop-down cups that are accessible with one hand. If you are looking for a bra that doesn’t make you feel like a worn out mom, this one might just give you that extra spark.
11. Gratlin Lace Trim Nursing Bra
A little bit of lace can go a long way. This nursing bra brings the sex appeal with a lace trim and a cute little bow in between. You can still be a nursing mom with the drop-down cup feature, but you can be a sexy mom when you are all clipped up.
This bra also utilizes underwire to help support your breasts and give them a little added lift to help you show off your new enhanced cleavage.
12. Motherhood Full Coverage Underwire Nursing Bra
This bra utilizes padding and underwire to help you have maximum coverage. The adjustable straps and back clasps allow you the freedom to determine just how well you want your bra to fit and support your breasts.
It uses the drop-down cup feature, so you will be able to use one hand and unclip a side to begin feeding.
13. Kindred Simply Sublime Nursing Bra
This bra provides great coverage with its extra stretchy material that adjusts to your changing body and its adjustable straps.
Your breasts will be fully covered with the soft spandex material in the front, and around back you will have a wider band to help evenly distribute the weight of your breasts to help avoid muscle strain.
The full coverage support, variety of available colors, and the easy one-handed drop-down breastfeeding panel make this bra a nursing contender.
14. Simple Wishes Hands Free Pumping Bra
This bra can be worn on top of a nursing bra or shirt, so you don’t have to remove all of your layers to begin pumping.
One of the best features of this style is that it has a Velcro back that can be adjusted up to 10 inches! This means as your breasts or general weight fluctuates or changes, this bra can change with you.
You will have the freedom to pump hands free when you purchase this bra and simply zip the front closed and Velcro the back.
15. Essential Relax Pump and Nurse Bra
This bra is an all-in-one pumping and nursing bra. There is no need to remove or add additional layers — this one bra can help you get the job done.
There are specialized pockets that allow you to fit your breast pump shield inside and then you can quickly pull the material aside to nurse. The material this bra is made of makes it comfortable for daily and nightly wear.
16. Kindred Bravely Sleep Nursing Bra
This bra offers gentle support day or night. The soft material makes it comfortable to wear at all hours of the day. There aren’t any uncomfortable clips or clasps that can cause discomfort when sleeping.
During night-time feedings it can be a struggle to see how to clip or unclip your nursing bra, but this night-time bra utilizes the pull aside method.
The stretchy material allows you to pull one side of the bra over to quickly access your breast for nursing and then pull the fabric back to cover yourself back up.
17. Cakye Nightly Nursing Bra
This ultra soft nursing bra is made of spandex to help provide that extra stretchy comfort. This bra provides that much-needed comfort because it does not have any clasps or underwire.
There are specially-designed pockets that allow you to insert breast pads at night, and the crossover front design allows you to easily access your breast for quick breastfeeding. That’s good news when you have a hungry baby and a tired mommy.
18. BAOMOSI Nursing Bra
This bra is seamless and stretchy to help accommodate all breast sizes. You can find a variety of sizes ranging up to a 40E.
In addition to the larger sizes, there are also adjustable straps and clasps in the back to help you size the bra appropriately to your body.
The drop-down feature of this bra helps you easily nurse your baby and then quickly cover back up. The wide elastic band also helps offer extra support and comfort.
19. Kindred Bravely Racerback Nursing Bra
This bra uses extra soft French terry and no clasps or clips to help ensure maximum comfort. The bras are accommodating for women with larger breasts because the sizes go up to extra extra large.
The thicker straps and wider back help increase support of larger breasts and help evenly distribute the weight of the breasts.
You can quickly and easily feed your little one by utilizing the cross-over design and simply moving one panel to the side to access your breast.
20. Gratlin Softcup Plus-Size Nursing Bra
This bra is designed to fit full-figured women because it is composed of stretchy material and includes an added layer of clasps to ensure a better fit.
The material this bra is made of is not only stretchy, but also breathable and soft to the touch. Its moisture-wicking ability helps keep you cool and comfortable no matter the weather.
You can easily breastfeed your little one by unclipping one side of the bra to reveal your breast. There is an inner sling that also helps increase privacy for public breastfeeding.
21. Motherhood Maternity Plus Size Nursing Bra
The full busted silhouette of this bra provides medium support and helps keep you comfortable when your breast size fluctuates.
The stretchy material makes this bra extra accommodating, while still providing full coverage.
For feedings, you will simply use the clip design and undo one side to expose your breast.
The adjustable straps and adjustable back make this bra a good choice for full figured women because they can make necessary changes to make the bra best fit their own body.
22. Gratlin Racerback Nursing Bra
Racerback bras help provide a little more coverage and support for low impact activities.
You might like this bra if you are looking for a bra with a seamless and non-padded design. The lack of wire makes this bra more comfortable and gives you a more freeing range of motion.
This bra will allow you the freedom to discreetly breastfeed because it utilizes the front opening clips and a side sling to help keep you well hidden.
23. Bravado Racerback Nursing Bra
This racerback nursing bra takes comfort a little further by excluding the back clasps. The total racerback design makes this bra comfortable for sleeping or lounging, as well as daily activities.
The full drop-cup design allows you to have more skin-to-skin contact with your little one when nursing and the super soft cotton makes this bra comfortable for not only your skin but your baby’s.
24. Dritz Nursing Bra Clips
These nursing bra clips come in white and black so they can best match your own nursing bra.
You can apply them to your own bra, tank, or sleepwear with straps.
If you have bras or tops you love and still want to use when you are nursing, then adding these clips to them will give you the freedom to design your own breastfeeding clothing.
25. KAM snaps Plastic Nursing Clips
These plastic clips come in black and white and can be attached to any of your favorite clothing with size appropriate straps.
Once installed you will be able to utilize your own clothing to breastfeed. The clips give you the freedom to one handedly undo your top and access your breast for feedings.
When to Buy A Nursing Bra
It’s best if you wait until after your milk comes in to make your nursing bra purchase.
The reason you want to wait is because you have no idea how your body is going to respond. Some women maintain their cup size and for other women it can increase significantly.
Even if you have had previous children, it is a good idea to wait because each pregnancy is different and your body may have a completely different response than last time.
In the meantime, you can stick to a trusty maternity bra or buy a nursing bra made of stretchy material if you feel like you must have one. Sports bras are a great option.
How Many Do I Need?
Nursing bras aren’t a necessary part of breastfeeding, but they do help the process.
You should have at least two nursing bras — that way you always have a backup. Many women only have two, while other women have many (source).
During your breastfeeding journey you will probably only utilize nursing bras, so you should try to keep a stash that is similar to the number of bras you had before you were pregnant or nursing.
You are going to want to be able to cycle through them in just the same way you used to with your regular bras. Let’s be honest — it is always nice to have more on hand than necessary because laundry piles up and you don’t want to feel obligated to wash your clothes because all of your nursing bras are dirty.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for a nursing bra is the Surewin Seamless Nursing Bra.
This bra is both breathable and adjustable to help keep you comfortable. The stretchy material gives you room to breathe when your breast size fluctuates.
The seamless design ensures no wires will be poking or bugging you. The bra comes in a variety of colors, so you can choose one that coordinates with most of your outfits.
The straps of this bra are also supportive, yet thin enough to be discreet under whatever clothing you choose to wear.
Not to mention, the simple one-handed clasps to drop down the bra for breastfeeding makes this a great choice.
What type of nursing bra do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below!