Trying to find a nursing bra when you are pregnant can be tricky, because you do may not know what size you will be once your baby arrive or what style will be right for you. (And if you’re wondering, yes, your boobs can get a LOT bigger.) Some moms might prefer a more structured nursing bra, while others will prefer something more like a tank that can be pulled down for feeding sessions.
No matter what you choose, there are a few key things to consider. Your family, your lifestyle, and your budget all factor into the decision about what nursing bra is right for you, so as you look through the list keep these things in mind:
Your Feeding Choices
Exclusively pumping parents—or those who do a combination of pumping and nursing—have very different needs from a bra than mamas who exclusively nurse at the breast. Consider your plan for breastfeeding and look for bras that will work with you to make your plan as easy as can be.
For exclusive pumping, look for hands-free options that will let you have a bit more freedom while you pump, as well as some comfy seamless options. And for those who plan to nurse at the breast exclusively, having at least one bra that can double as a hands-free pumping bra is still a good idea—you never know when you’ll need it.
Are you heavy into sports or running, or are you going to be heading back to work pretty quickly postpartum? Nursing bras have specific styles and different support levels you will need to consider, especially for your own individual lifestyle. Take note of the activities you do regularly, as well as the items and styles of clothing you wear often that you need your bra to work with. All of these are key considerations when looking for a nursing bra, because your bra should work with your lifestyle, not against it.
Nursing bras can range greatly in price, depending on the brand and design. Keep in mind that while nursing bras are a short-term investment, they provide you with much-needed support during a time when your breasts are undergoing major changes. Never sacrifice the support you need because of the price tag—there are great options out there at all price points if you take the time to look for them.
Truly Mama’s Picks for Best Nursing Bras
Best Budget-Friendly Nursing Bra
If you’re looking for value, this three-pack of seamless nursing bras can’t be beat. They have the perfect amount of stretch to serve as a maternity bra and through your entire nursing journey.
The nursing clips are easy to use one-handed, which is a must in a day-to-day nursing bra like this one. Plus, with three nursing bras in the pack, you’ll always have one clean and ready to go. As a nursing mom, it is helpful to have multiple bras in rotation so you can always have a clean one on hand. You never know what’s going to happen!
Best Seamless Support Nursing Bra
This nursing bra is designed for support without wires, even for larger chest sizes in the crowd. It offers seamless wire-free comfort as a maternity bra or a postpartum option.
We love that it includes six clasps on the back to accommodate postpartum size changes, and the adjustable straps are wider than some other options, so you don’t need to worry about it digging in on your shoulders. The breathable fabric is comfortable during hormone fluctuations, and it is designed to smooth out underarm bulge. It does tend to run on the small side, so consider sizing up from your usual pre-pregnancy size.
Best Nursing Tank
There are times when a nursing bra won’t cut it, and it’s in those moments that you need this nursing tank. The patented hook and loop design that connects the tank top to the clips on your nursing bra, enabling one-handed nursing access on-the-go. This unique design turns your favorite nursing bra and into a nursing tank instantly.
A warning, however: the tank runs very small, so you may want to consider ordering a size or two up from your usual size, and note that because the tank is only connected in the front, some mamas experience issues with it falling down in the back.
Best Front-Closure Nursing Bra
One of the biggest wins on this bra is that it features a wraparound front-closure function. Designed for easy nursing with the drop-down cups, this sleep bra is a comfortable option to wear when relaxing at home or getting some much needed ZZZs. This bra is best for smaller-chested moms, as the cups are on the small side, so it does not provide as much coverage as other bras. The postpartum phase is awkward enough, so this bra can really help with that getting-the-hang-of-it phase of breastfeeding. (We’ve been there!)
Best Full-Coverage Nursing Bra
This one is a must for the those who love to run or do intense workouts. Your breasts need extra support while nursing, and this bra has what it takes to keep bouncing to a minimum, even when you take on that crazy HIIT workout. This full coverage bra provides the shape and support you need to get your workout in comfortably, without pinching or shifting awkwardly as you move. We also love the hook-on the straps that provides the option to turn it into a racerback to work with your different workout tops.
Best Lace Nursing Bra
This lace bra is so pretty that it’s great for date night, but it’s so comfortable that it just might become your day-to-day bra, too. Some moms love the support it provides so much that they continue to wear it even after they’re done nursing. It does tend to run on the small side, so consider ordering up a size and check the sizing guide to get the right fit.
Best Nursing Bra for Sleep
This sleep bra is designed to take you through all the phases of motherhood and maternity, so you can get a comfortable night of (interrupted?) sleep while your breasts are supported. This soft, unlined bra allows mamas to wear nursing pads at night to prevent leaks. The size range is fairly limited, so this may not be the best option for all mamas.
Best Racerback Nursing Bra
Everyone needs a racerback bra in their closet, even the nursing mommas. This one is perfect because it doubles as a workout bra as well, with moisture-wicking fabric designed to keep your skin dry and comfortable while you’re active. It provides enough support for jogging, but it’s also a great everyday nursing bra. This option is perfect for the summer months when you want to keep cool and eliminate unwanted tan lines.
Best Nursing Bra for Hands-Free Pumping
Pumping mommas know that hands-free is where it’s at! This pumping bra has you covered, whether you’re pumping in the car, at the office, or at home. This bra is designed to work with breast pumps from various brands, turning any pump into a hands-free pump to allow mamas to complete other tasks while pumping. It’s definitely a must-have for exclusively pumping mamas. Information on proper sizing can be hard to find, so we recommend looking at reviews for suggestions from mamas with similar body types about what size will be right for you.
Best Classic Fit Nursing Bra
This nursing bra provides mamas with the look of a regular bra, with the functionality of a nursing bra. The microfiber fabric is soft and the adjustable straps are thick so they do not dig in or slide off. Mamas who are smaller-framed with larger cup sizes really like this one, as the underwire provides adequate support and lift without the shoulders being too wide.
Best Two-In-One Nursing Bra
Are you telling me this bra gives the option to pump and nurse with one bra? Count us in! The dual functionality of this nursing bra is a game-changer that can save you so much time. The support is great, and it holds your pump securely in place on the breast so there is no need for adjustments while pumping. Mamas rave about this bra as their absolute favorite for breastfeeding and pumping alike.
Best Full Coverage Nursing Bra
If you are looking for a comfortable and supportive bra with a large size range, this T-shirt bra is made for you. With band sizes that go up to 44, this bra provides the options that mamas need to find the right size. This T-shirt nursing bra comes in a classic style and gives the lift needed by mamas with larger busts. Full coverage, full support, and a price tag anyone can get behind—we’ll call that a definite winner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to wash my nursing bra by hand?
Each nursing bra will come with specific instructions on how to care for it, but it is good practice to hand wash your nursing bras whenever possible. If you don’t have time to hand wash it, using a mesh laundry bag on a delicate cycle with other light fabrics will also work in a pinch! No matter how you wash your bra, you should ways hang your bras to dry to maintain them properly.
Can I sleep in my nursing bra?
Yes, you can sleep in your nursing bra overnight! This is a common practice for those who want to wear nursing pads to prevent leaking. There are many nursing bras that work well as sleep bras, and provide easy access for late-night feeds. Look for a bra that will stretch to provide adequate room for your breasts to fill up more while you and your baby are sleeping.
Do I need to size up when buying a nursing bra?
No you don’t, but you also shouldn’t buy a nursing bra with a cupped size while pregnant or in the first few weeks, because your breast size can change quite a bit in the early months of pregnancy. When you first start nursing, your breast size will change dramatically, so an incorrect cup size may cause pain as your supply regulates. Look for a seamless bra or lightweight sports nursing bra in the first few weeks, then find your true nursing cup size with a professional fitting after 8 weeks.
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Reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN…