Ah, motherhood: Just when you think you can finally wear "normal" clothes after months spent in leggings and maternity dresses, reality hits post-birth, and you realize your wardrobe now revolves around another rapidly fluctuating body part: your boobs.
While you can generally get away with regular tops and two-piece outfits for breastfeeding, bras are another story; it's all about quick and easy access, which traditional lingerie just can't provide.
Thankfully, bras for breastfeeders have evolved to become more versatile, comfortable and (thankfully) stylish as more and more brands start to offer nursing versions. Are you on the hunt for the perfect breastfeeding-friendly bra? Here are five new lines that will make your life easier.
If you pump at all, you'll probably want to burn your strapless hands-free adapter and only wear this genius multipurpose bra for the rest of your lactating days. It's designed like an ultra-comfortable (and supportive!) wire-free sports bra that has the usual clasps for nursing but also slit cups that securely keep pump flanges in place.
Ollie Gray only makes one signature style, but it's available in a trio of cute prints ($68) as well as staple solids ($63), and every bra comes packaged with an SPF 50 nursing cover that fastens around your neck with magnets. We also love that this one is made of an antimicrobial fabric, which is key because you'll be living in it so much, you may well forget when you last threw it in the wash.
The Bitsy (pictured), $68 at Ollie Gray
This athleisure-inspired lingerie brand expanded to two new mom-friendly styles: a sporty-sexy mesh-trim bralette ($35) that looks precisely nothing like a nursing bra and a sleek black maternity bodysuit ($45) that flatters fluctuating tummies pre- and postpartum. Both come in sizes extra-small to large, which is awesome since it's anyone's guess what cup size you'll be a week after giving birth — or a month or a year.
Mesh -trim maternity bralette (pictured), $35 at Lively
With a newborn around, getting to the grocery store is a Herculean feat. So the thought of making an excursion to get a proper bra fitting can seem downright laughable. That's where ThirdLove comes in. Take a 60-second quiz on its site, and it'll spit out your correct size without you ever having to take your top off — something you're already doing plenty of these days.
Both styles for nursing moms — a classic underwire and a wire-free option ($72 each) — have drop-down clasps as well as front closures for all sorts of easy access, and they come in A through G cups as well as half sizes. Best of all, there are free returns and exchanges within 30 days, so if you don't love the fit, you can send it back without wasting a dime.
24/7 classic nursing bra (pictured) , $72 at ThirdLove
Something about this New Zealand-based lingerie label's bohemian-inflected offerings conjures up a romanticized vision of breastfeeding as a beautiful art form. Available in basic black or cream, the three lacy styles — a soft-cup bra ($77.90), a high-waisted brief ($38.95) and a crop bralette ($53.11) — are made of stretch bamboo fabric to account for size fluctuation throughout pregnancy and nursing. The bra even has six rows of hook-and-eye closures to accommodate changes in band size, with a secondary benefit of extending its lifespan until it's truly stretched out to the max.
Bonnie maternity bra in Whisper (pictured), $77.90 at Lonely
As such a stalwart in the lingerie biz, it's kind of surprising Wacoal is just now jumping on the nursing bra bandwagon, but its two new offerings were perhaps worth the wait. In addition to an underwire T-shirt bra ($65) that features a pretty lace A-frame for more coverage and support while breastfeeding, there's also our personal favorite: a wire-free sports bra ($65) lined with moisture-wicking mesh that absorbs sweat and inevitable milk leakage.
Wire-free sport nursing bra (pictured), $65 at Wacoal