Nursing bras are essential for nursing moms, especially in the first year.
“Do I really need a nursing bra?” Um, yes. Most definitely. And you know your boobs are going to get MUCH bigger after you start lactating, right? I mean… really big. PORN STAR big.
Don’t worry, they will settle down a bit after your milk production levels out, usually around 6 weeks or so.
We polled our audience, checked reviews and studied top-sellers to bring you this list of best nursing bras.
Nursing Bra Fit
The fit of your nursing bra is extremely important and will probably change again over the course of your nursing career. Further, a poorly fitted nursing bra may put pressure on your milk ducts, which can cause inflammation and plugged ducts.
During pregnancy, your rib cage expands (usually 1-2 whole sizes) to accommodate your growing baby. Your breasts will be at their largest several days after birth when your milk comes in — and in the days that follow. Much to everyone’s amusement, even the smallest breasted women get to be Dolly Parton for a little while!
Thus, women who were previously accustomed to going bra-less will be surprised at how much more support they now need. Also (very important!), you’ll need a bra to hold nursing pads in place. Nobody wants milk dribbling down her belly.
Your breast size can even fluctuate throughout the day, with larger, fuller breasts in the morning and emptier, lighter breasts at bedtime.
After birth, your rib cage will shrink and, over time, your actual cup size will probably shrink back down as you lose weight and your milk production stabilizes. The shrinkage happens gradually over the first year and continues after your baby starts solids (or after you wean). For those nursing in the long run, your breasts should reach a steady state by the year 1 mark or so.
Over the course of the first year, you may also notice that your breasts…… umm…. let’s just say, they probably won’t be as perky as they once were. A real shame, I tell ya. The price of birthing babies, y’all.
Because shopping probably won’t be the first thing on your agenda after giving birth, it’s recommended that you buy one or two nursing bras at the end of your pregnancy that fit your current [pregnant] rib cage.
Once you get the hang of nursing and your boobs have calmed down a bit, we suggest you buy at least three bras that fit your postpartum/nursing breast size.
Note that when you’re nursing, your bras will get waaaay dirtier than they did before. For one, you WILL get milk in/on your bra and it will start to smell. Also, you’re (probably) going to be wearing a bra around the clock, so they just get sweatier than normal.
Two notes for fitting yourself:
1. Don’t fit yourself for a bra right when your milk comes in (it will be too big) and
2. Note that you may need to buy smaller bras later in the year if you’re nursing in the long-term.
Without further ado:
Best Nursing Bras
$ – Leading Lady Wireless Cotton ~ $20 (2-pack)
Two for the price of one – and with good ratings! These bras are wireless and feature a full inner sling.
omes in sizes: 34B-44DDD
$ – Bravado! Basics Seamless Nursing Bra ~ $23
Have we mentioned how much we love Target maternity and nursing wear?! They’ve teamed up with Bravado to bring you a really high quality nursing bra for a great price. This wireless bra features stretchy cups that adjust with your changing bust size and can be worn two ways in the back. Also: great for holding nursing pads in place.
Comes in sizes: S – XXL
Wear this hands-free pumping AND nursing bra all day under your clothes for discreet pumping [see also: Rumina Pumping Tank]. This bra is wireless but offers good support. Many moms have raved that this hands-free pumping bra actually works while maintaining good suction power. *Not recommended for DD+ sizes.
Comes in sizes: XS – XL
$$ – Belibea Pumping & Nursing Bra ~ $39
Another fabulous nursing/pumping combo, this bra comes with removable pads between the cup panels to offer support and shape. It’s perfect for back to work. *Not recommended for DD+ sizes.
Comes in sizes: S – XL
$$ – Belabumbum Tallulah Nursing Bra ~ $43
Sometimes you want to feel less like a dairy cow and more like a lady. Belabumbum makes beautiful, comfortable bras and nursing wear. The Tallulah has supportive, cotton-lined wireless cups and adjusts with your ever-changing bust size.
Comes in sizes: S – XL
$$ – Cake Lingerie Seamless Cotton Candy Bra ~ $44
Getting into some higher-end bras — the Cake Lingerie Cotton Candy bra was made for two things: comfort and support. The low T-back and double-layered side sling make this bra one of the more supportive wireless nursing bras on the market.
Comes in sizes: S – XL
$$ – Kindred Bravely Marvella Bra ~ $49
I can’t tell you how many times I need a deeper plunge bra. Not only does this do the trick but it’s super comfortable with the t-back style straps, such good quality, has great support and so, so soft!
Comes in sizes: 32B – 40D
$$ – Bravado! Body Silk Seamless ~ $49
This is the highest rated all-around nursing bra on the market… and our favorite too! It’s super soft and very comfortable. The removable molded foam cups hide your nipples or nursing pads and make this bra essentially invisible under clothing. They last forever, I swear; I used it for nursing both of my girls. Love, love, love. It’s the best nursing bra, IMO.
Comes in sizes: XS – XXL
$$$ – The Dairy Fairy Arden ~ $68
Another big mom-favorite is the Dairy Fairy Arden bra – this is their flagship bra. This hands-free pumping and nursing bra can be worn all day long without having to undress to pump. It features two panels for support, where the top panel can be tightened when breasts are drained and loosened when engorged. Some say the 2nd set of clasps are too cumbersome (below the bust), but most are not bothered by it.
Comes in sizes: XS – XXL
Another great option for pumping and nursing from the Dairy Fairy is their best-seller, the Ayla ($54). It’s feminine with a demi underwire which wraps only around the outer part of the cup, for less discomfort but more support.
Large Bust and Plus Size
$$ – Anita Microfiber Underwire Nursing Bra ~ $44
Anita makes the best nursing bra for larger busted and/or plus sized women with sizes going up to 44/i. Most love this bra, but some complain the material is too thin and showy.
Comes in sizes: 32C – 44E
$$$ – Anita Underwire Nursing Bra ~ $51
For larger-busted women and/or those seeking an underwire bra, the favorite is the Anita Underwire Nursing Bra (a.k.a. the “5035”)
Comes in sizes: 32B – 44F
$$$ – Le Mystere Sexy Mama Nursing Bra ~ $66
The people who love this bra are completely gaga over it.
This nursing bra closely resembles a regular bra (both front and back). It has an underwire, which makes it very supportive. Also: it’s pretty. Two thumbs up for feeling like a human again.
Comes in sizes: 32B – 40G
That’s all she wrote. Happy nesting!