Postpartum bodies are ever-changing, and if you’re breastfeeding — and thus in the market for the very best nursing bras you can find — that’s particularly true. After all, being a birth parent means that 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. But how on earth do you find the best nursing bras out there, when there are so many options — cute nursing bras, structured nursing bras, stretchy nursing bras, are you tired yet?!
Although there are plenty of cute breastfeeding tops out there, you can generally get away with regular tops and two-piece outfits for breastfeeding when it comes to clothes. 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. There are options for underwire nursing bras or soft-cup, plus-size nursing bras, and more.
Are you on the hunt for the perfect cute nursing bra? Here are nine lines that will make your life easier.
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We’ve long loved the sustainable Girlfriend brand, and its new maternity collection is aimed at “whoever you are, however you mom” — and we are so on board. The Midnight Ellie nursing bra has easy-clip hooks and a scoop neck — plus removable pads that are both recycled and recyclable. Because hey, those diapers are doing enough damage to this planet.
We love everything about super-modern, inclusive brand Bodily, which uses evidence-based research about female physiology to inform the design of its postpartum products. Its breastfeeding-friendly bras, developed with the help of a lactation consultant, come in two stages: The Insider Bra is meant to be worn 24/7 for the early days of nursing when you never change (let alone shower), while the Back At It Bra offers a silky band of support that doesn’t feel the least bit restrictive.
Sustainable clothing brand Pact is known for its super-soft organic cotton duds that are made in a Fair Trade factory, and the same ethos applies to its maternity collection. While you’ll find everything from leggings to midi-dresses, we’re here to talk about the wireless maternity nursing bralette, which comes in six sold colors and is so comfortable you can literally sleep in it.
This athleisure-inspired lingerie brand originally expanded into maternity with two 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. Since then, Lively has expanded its assortment to include a wireless maternity bra ($35) and a busty maternity bralette ($35) that’s specially made for larger busts.
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.
The classic underwire ($72) has drop-down clasps as well as front closures for all sorts of easy access, and comes 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.
This full-support superstar is made of a cotton-spandex blend that promises comfort, stretch, and so much stability. The drop-down cups on the front allow for easy feeding and pumping — plus this one gets rave reviews on Amazon.
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.
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.
Lonely Nursing Bra
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.
A version of this story was originally published in July 2020.
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