After breastfeeding for about 34 months, I have very strong opinions about nursing bras. There are many choices of bras with little hooking flaps. How does a rookie mom decide? Allow me to help.
At a bare minimum, you need three nursing bras. One to sleep in, one for daytime, and one that can do either in a pinch. As a bonus, you might need one for sports and another for sexy time. Here are my personal guidelines on your nursing bra wardrobe:
The sleeping nursing bra.
The main job is to keep your breast pads in place; appearance is secondary. I like the Bravado basic classic (top) and this bamboo one from bellabumbum (lower). The Bravado has more support but the bellabumbum is barely there and was perfect for the early days in the hospital. When searching for nursing bras for sleep, chose something soft and easy to operate.
The daytime nursing bra.
Your everyday nursing bra should be comfortable and supportive and my your breasts look decent outside your clothing. With all the advances in modern technology, it is unlikely to be pretty in its own right. I like this one from Anita but wish that I didn’t buy white because it feels so culinary-school issue. The Body Silk Seamless from Bravado is also popular for larger breasts. Both are comfortable and supportive when it counts. There’s also the DIY option nursing bra made from your favorite regular bra. Stay away from underwire for your day-to-day bra until your supply is well established. Mastitis is not worth it.
The specialty nursing bra.
Do you need a nursing bra for jogging or swimming? Maybe so. I got a Moving Comfort Fiona sports bra with velcro straps for use during and after my exercise class. Let’s just say that a regular sports bra might be supportive enough but is very inconvenient for breastfeeding. Picture it.
The sexy nursing bra.
Whether you want to feel extra pretty during the day or on a date or if you still need to keep pads in place during business time, a sexy bra is a worthwhile purchase. I love this one from Cake. Also, our friend the mominatrix shared her favorites here.
The nursing tank.
Ladies, I’m up in the air about tanks and shirts with such a singular focus to the extent that I wrote a nursing top smackdown about just them. For smaller breasted women, they can be a fantastic every day option. In this context, let’s call them optional and move on.
Other hard-earned tips I have for you:
- Buy a soft-banded sleep bra before the baby comes around week 37 or so. But wait until about 4-5 weeks afterward to purchase the others. Get fit by a professional if possible. Here is a handy buying guide from consumerreports.org.
- Buying a bra online is tricky but possible. Many of the better websites will help you through the process and accept returns.
- White is boring and depressing. Nude is also boring and depressing but will show less under white tops. I prefer black and fun colors.
- Make sure to jump in your sports bra before purchase. After your six week appointment, of course.
- And, anything that can’t be opened and closed with just one hand is bullshit. Try the one-hand closure with each hand.
I’d love to hear what you think.
Disclosure: I received a Bravado original bra as a gift but bought the rest. All opinions are mine. All pictured boobs are not mine.