What's the best combination of comfort, support (with or without wires), fit, moisture-wicking material, and everything else a mom wants and needs in a nursing bra? Here are 10 options that may have everything you're looking for.
1. Leading Lady Women's Nursing Bra Wireless Cotton
Lucie's List called the Leading Lady Women's Nursing Bra Wireless Cotton one of the best on the market, especially for the price (less than $40.00 for two). It's available in sizes 34B to 44DDD and three color options: Black/Gray Stripe, White/Black, and White/Gray Stripe. Almost 600 Amazon reviewers rated this an average of 4.0 of 5.0 stars. These are 95 percent cotton and five percent Spandex, plus they're wireless, so they'll be comfortable enough for everyday wear. There's no padding to get in the way, and the drop-down style of nursing cups makes this a convenient choice as well.
2. Essential Relaxed Pump & Nurse Bra
The Essential Relaxed Pump & Nurse Nursing Bra with Built-in Hands-Free Pumping Bra is another Lucie's List pick. Finding the right size may not feel as much like a science when you purchase one of these, simply because the sizes are listed as X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large. It's 90 percent cotton and 10 percent spandex, so there's some stretch that will handle your changing breast size. The bra is also available in nude, black, or white, so it should work under any color of top. At less than $30.00 per bra, you may want to stock up over the course of a few months if you find yourself pumping quite often. It's designed to work with all breast pumps and keep you from having to sit and hold the bottles in place yourself, plus it's easy to breast-feed in thanks to pull-down cups. It's designed to be comfortable enough to wear at night if you want to, and if you have to pump through the night, there won't be any need to take the extra step of putting the bra on just so it can hold the bottles in place. The trade off is that you only get light to medium support from this bra. Over 1100 Amazon reviewers have weighed in on this bra, and they gave it an average of 4.2 stars.
3. Hotmilk Lingerie Luminous Nursing Bra
Baby Center users voted the 100 percent cotton Hotmilk Luminous Nursing Bra as a favorite. It's not just functional; it's pretty too; perfect if you're missing your lacy Victoria's Secret bras from your pre-pregnancy days. This full-cup style offers the support and structure that some other nursing bras lack, but it still doesn't have uncomfortable underwire. There are only 21 reviews on the Hotmilk Lingerie site, but the bra does have a 5.0-star review. This bra works with ever-changing needs. Its cups are stretchy for the fluctuations in size throughout the day, and there's a hook-and-eye extension to accommodate rib cage expansion. When it's time to take advantage of its functionality, you can drop the cups down with one hand. This one's on the more expensive end at just under $45.00.
4. Kindred Bravely French Terry Nursing Sleep Bra
The Kindred Bravely French Terry Nursing Sleep Bra was mentioned in Heavy.com's lineup of the best nursing and maternity bras, and it won the Mom's Choice Award. In addition, there are almost 2000 reviews on the Kindred Bravely website that rave about how wonderful it is (it has an average of a 4.5-star rating). Moms love how soft and comfortable it is, plus its moisture-wicking fabric can make breast-feeding (leaking and all) a more comfortable experience. There's no elastic or underwire to contend with, and the crossover style allows you to pull the cups to the side for feedings. The fabric isn't the usual cotton/spandex blend. Instead, it's 92 percent rayon of bamboo and eight percent spandex. There's also a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, so you're not risking much by giving it a try. It's less than $25.00 (barely), and comes in black, beige, gray, ivory, light blue and pink. Sizes range from XS to XXL.
5. Bravado! Designs® Women's Body Silk Seamless
The Bravado! Designs® Women's Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is another pick from Baby Center, and it has a 4.2-star rating at Target and Nordstrom with almost 150 reviews each. Reviewers on Amazon also love it; nearly 3500 have given an average of 4.4 stars. It's available in black, white, butterscotch (nude), pink ice and sea glass, in sizes small through 2X. What makes this a winner? The comfort, mostly. It's seamless, silky and wireless, and it molds to your body's shape as it changes. It also offers foam inserts for more coverage and shape. Expect to pay around $50.00 for this option.
6. Leading Lady Women's Seamless Nursing Bra
Babble recommends the Leading Lady Women's Seamless Nursing Bra, which is available in black or white (sizes 36B to 40DD) for less than $25.00. These aren't all function. The use of shirring and the hint of mesh make this cute and possibly more practical than a lacy alternative. It's 64 percent modal, 29 percent cotton, and five percent spandex, a blend that's soft and won't trap moisture. Women love the comfort, affordability, ability to handle changing breast sizes, and how easy it is to unclip it when it's time for a feeding.
7. Cake Lingerie Maternity Croissant Smoothing Bra
Babylist.com recommends the Cake Lingerie Maternity Croissant Smoothing Seam-Free Flexi-Wire Bra. If you like the support and shape that an underwire bra can provide, this may be the perfect solution. Even with the wire, it's designed for the comfort, seamlessness, versatility and smooth shape as a T-shirt bra. Nearly 200 Amazon reviewers give this bra an average of 3.9 stars, and they love the way it fits, the way it looks under clothes (thanks to the smooth fabric, wire, and cup shape). Expect to pay between $50.00 and $75.00. This bra has one of the widest ranges in sizes available (listed in US and UK sizes), from 32C to 40I (which is 40G in UK sizing). There are some sizes, like 32GG, that may not be available in most brands. Colors available are black, nude, mauve, and beige.
8. Brooks Fiona Sports Bra
The Brooks Fiona isn't designed to be a nursing bra, but the ladies at Fit Pregnancy named it as one of the top three supportive sports bras they love because it has adjustable Velcro straps (which are nice when your breasts are constantly changing sizes) and is convenient for breast-feeding. Reviewers at the Brooks website (over 800 of them) give this bra a 4.4 overall) and like that it's comfortable, moisture-wicking, lightweight and stylish. Sizing runs from 30B to 38C and it's only available in black. Brooks has a 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed policy, so you can try it out and return it within 90 days if it just won't work for you. Expect to pay around $50.00.
9. La Leche League's Women's Nursing Bra
The La Leche League is a trusted resource for breast-feeding women. The La Leche League Women's Nursing Sports Bra won the iParenting Award in 2007 and offers buckles and a drop-cup style that you can easily work with just one hand when it's time to nurse. While a lot of nursing bras on the market offer minimal support, this one is designed for high-impact activities and provides more without incorporating wire into the design. It's made from a breathable cotton blend (58 percent polyester, 32 percent cotton, and 10 percent spandex). Choose from black, gray/pink, moonlight jade, purple fuchsia, and white/gray in sizes small through 3X. It's priced around $30.00.
10. Cake Cotton Candy Seamless Nursing Bra
With over 250 reviews at Nordstrom, the Cake Cotton Candy Seamless Nursing Bra scores an average of 4.4 stars. It's a simple slip-on racer back style with fold-down cups and an inner sling that reviewers say offers good support. They also love the softness that's due to a high thread count. This style comes in beige, black, blush, and steel gray in sizes small through X-large. Expect to pay just over $50.00.
Choosing the Right Bra
If you hate waiting until the last minute to do things, you're not going to like this: you won't know what size you really need until your milk has come in and your body has gotten used to your baby's eating patterns. However, don't fret - there are a few things you can do to make the process go a bit more smoothly and prep a little in advance.
- A few weeks before your baby is due, purchase a relatively inexpensive bra that comes in more general sizes (like small, medium, or large) rather than something with a specific band and cup size. There's more wiggle room there.
- If you're trying to measure before delivery, remember that your band size is likely to decrease by one size once your rib cage no longer has to accommodate the baby, and you should buy a bra that fits well when you have it fastened on the loosest setting. Once you've had the baby and your band size shrinks, you'll be able to fasten it on the tighter settings.
- Once it's time for a more fitted bra, Nursing Bra Express recommends measuring your band size (under your arms and above your breasts), then getting the cup size by measuring around the rib cage and fullest part of the breast and subtracting the smaller number from the large one. The number of inches between the sizes will tell you what your cup size should be. For example, a one-inch difference means you should get an A cup, a two-inch difference means B, etc.
- Whether to choose padded nursing bras is up to you, your preferences, what you'll be wearing, and where you'll be going. The padding will help you with coverage, shape, and hide some minor leakage issues, which is great if you'll be out of the house a lot and want to look good, but padding could feel like it gets in the way when you're breast-feeding.
- Fit Pregnancy says the underwire decision is really up to you. However, you shouldn't use an underwire bra for the first six to eight weeks of nursing, once your body has gotten the hang of breast-feeding. You should also be professionally fitted for bras with underwire.
- Don't strain your budget to purchase a wardrobe of expensive nursing bras since you may fluctuate in size during the breast-feeding experience and what you find most comfortable could change.
Get What's Best for You
Just see what feels comfortable on your body and makes breast-feeding feel convenient. The best bra for one mom may not be the best for you, and it's important to think about what you look for in a bra in general. Love support, separation, and shape? Do all of your regular bras have padding and look pretty? You may want to purchase an underwire option as soon as it's recommended. Do you typically live in the most minimalistic bra styles available? You're probably not going to want to venture too far past those easy-to-fit bras without wire or lace.